By: Gerald F. Nelson, BSAT, CTS-D
- Best of the BEST
A critical factor in choosing a team for effective delivery of low-voltage technology design services should be the certifications of the team members. Certifications by leading, third-party industry associations are awarded to individuals who demonstrate through examination and experience that they possess the skills necessary to practice in their area of expertise and provide a degree of assurance that the individual is qualified.
Professional engineering (P.E.) licensure is the engineering profession’s highest standard of competence, a symbol of achievement and assurance of quality and P.E. stamped drawings have been required for many years. Yet, anyone claiming to be a low-voltage systems designer is able to practice as such. This is disconcerting when one considers the absolute critical nature of low voltage systems in modern buildings.
- Increasing demand for high performance
Consider health care’s increasing reliance on electronic health records (EHRs). Compared to paper systems, EHR’s have many benefits. One benefit is the ubiquitous access to large amounts of clinical information. Because of the tremendous amount of information available to many users at any time, system usability and the human interface with the data are essential considerations. Users can quickly become overwhelmed and miss critical pieces of information resulting in life-threatening situations if usability is not optimized. Additionally, imagine the impact to lives if vast amounts of data were lost due to system failure or communication loss.
- Less room for error
Not always does a low-voltage system failure result in life-threatening situations. More often, the result of poor system design is failed delivery and reception of information by industry or institutions. Business, education, and societal organizations all rely on the successful delivery of information to meet their missions. Appropriate signal transmission and image display, image display device placement and sizing, as well as acoustics, are all critical factors in the successful delivery of information that could be the difference in a company winning a multi-million dollar contract or a student mastering mathematics or a congregation feeling moved.
The days when qualifications could be faked are gone. Today, owners require low-voltage technology system designers to be certified, and two of the most common certifications being required is the RCDD (Registered Communications Distribution Designer) and the CTS-D (Certified Technology Specialist-Design).
The RCDD certification is awarded by BICSI, the worldwide association for cabling design and installation professionals. BICSI established its credential programs to provide a level of assurance to the industry that an individual has knowledge in a designated area of information and communications technology design or installation. Candidates for BICSI credentials are required to show industry experience and pass rigorous exams. Those who pass and receive the RCDD designation, must adhere to strict standards of conduct and keep their knowledge current through continuing education and recertification.
The CTS-D is awarded by AVIXA (formally InfoComm), which has offered its certification program for more than 30 years. The CTS-D certification program assesses individuals against peer-developed standards and competencies and provides a credential that is time-limited. Continued competency must be demonstrated through ongoing renewal requirements. The CTS-D must adhere to a strict code of ethics and professional practice.
- National & International recognition
Both the RCDD and the CTS-D are recognized by ANSI (American National Standards Institute), which endorses North American standards, and ISO (International Organization for Standardization), which endorses global standards.