In late May of last year, NTI merged with Automated Systems Design, Inc. At that time, NTI focused on design of commercial technology (Division 27 and 28) systems and had been doing so for 2 decades. ASD was focused on engineering, project management, implementation and installation of those same systems, and had been doing so for over 30 years. None of that has changed.
Eight months after the merger, the synergies of having a sister company focused on the same technologies are taking root. NTI now has access to resources which were previously unavailable to us, from people who share our vision for well-designed and installed Division 27 and 28 technology systems. And ASD now has access to NTI’s design team, increasing their experienced and credentialed resources.
For over 20 years, NTI has proudly declared that planning the technology design before building a commercial facility is the best way to get the best design at the best total cost of ownership. We even trademarked the phrase, Planning Before Building® as our company’s mantra to highlight our commitment to that approach. And, we still believe that.
Our merger is an evolution for NTI, a strategic decision and response to the changing landscape of technology consultation, design, project management and installation for commercial developments.
In the first few years of NTI’s existence, it was far from a common occurrence for owners or architects to seek out a technology consultant for their commercial projects, whether it was a new build, an expansion or a renovation to an existing structure.
NTI founder, Jeff Cook recalls,
“In 1998, it was often hard to get architects or owners to consider the services we offered. At that time most people and companies relied on land line phones and dial up modems. Today we are answering specific technology related questions relevant to an owner’s vision- questions like, ‘will a GPON save us money?’, or ‘does LED lighting make sense for us?’ Along the way, we have had to be diligent students of our industry to remain knowledgeable of the technologies which have emerged and evolved ever more rapidly over time.”
Today, the issue is seldom whether they will consider the services we offer. It is more about how they address the technology for the development. In general, it is either a Design-Bid-Build or a Design-Build approach, although there can be nuance to either approach.
Design-Bid-Build remains the most widely used project delivery method in the United States, according to a June 2018 study conducted by Fails Management Institute (FMI), reported in an article published by ConstructionDive. However, Design-Build projects have been growing as a project delivery method over the past 30 years. According to the FMI study, by 2021 approximately 56% of projects will use a Design-Bid-Build approach, while 44% will be using a Design-Bid approach.
If the owner has decided on a Design-Bid-Build approach, the project is highly likely to require a technology consultant, such as NTI. As technology consultants, NTI has worked on over 1,200 projects. Most NTI projects are Design-Bid-Build projects, although NTI is no stranger to Design-Build projects. Design-Build projects in the NTI portfolio range from a redundant site data center for a small bank, to the majestic Marriott Marquis in Washington DC, with over 1 million GSF under roof.
Conversely, ASD has historically been more active with Design-Build projects. One example is Hexagon, a leading provider of enterprise software. They selected ASD to design and build the workplace technology package for their new headquarters, a five-story 250,000 sf facility in Huntsville, AL. Dollar General is another example. ASD began working with Dollar General in 2011. After only a short time working together, it became apparent that Dollar General could benefit by combining several of the low voltage systems into one scope of work and allowing one vendor to complete the scope. However State Farm Insurance chose ASD to provide design services only.
Both ASD and NTI have always believed in providing the highest quality service for clients. We now share that vision and an expanded staff of professionals with credentials such as RCDD, CTS, CTS-D, PMP, etc. which helps us continue that quest.
Kevin Kiziah, ASD’s CEO/President sees it this way.
“Today our clients are more interested in the full eco system of deployed technologies than they were even a few years ago. Clients are focusing not only on the initial design, but increasingly all the way through the long-term support of the system. As technology has, and continues to evolve, it has become and will continue to be a major building block. It is a 4th utility, if you will, in commercial facilities. Working with companies that think with the end in mind is a major differentiator in the marketplace; i.e. someone who thinks, ‘how are we going to support this facility for the life of the property?’
In addition to the technology changes that are happening, many of our clients are also looking at alternative methods of procurement such as technology-as-a-service; which allows clients to benefit from the rapid evolution of technology without the limitation of capital requirements. Taking advantage of the newest technology and procurement methods is helping our clients ensure they are delivering the best customer experience to their users. To that end, our company is now positioned to offer a variety of services to our clients which provide them a competitive advantage in the marketplace.”