August 9, 2019

Why the ITS Cabling Expert Is Your Critical “Translator” Through All Phases of the Building Process

by: Lenny Lavorante

Any data professional will tell you that a project’s success is tied to how your team members communicate. In today’s blog, we’ll focus on the ever-increasing importance of your ITS cabling expert. ITS stands for Infrastructure Transportations Systems and historically referred to as Low Voltage Cabling Systems. We will show how this person ultimately plays the role of “translator” across the various functions and tasks on the data center project team.

electronics-ethernet-lan-cables-2425567Photo Credit: Brett Sayles,

Who's Running the Meeting?

As with any building project, there are phases, the typical ones are Design, Construction and Operations & Maintenance. Each of the above phases require a lot of collaboration across project stakeholders with varied backgrounds, so let me paint a picture. The company has planned the construction of a new data center facility expected to commence in Q1. It’s your first day as a new member of the project team. You step into the executive conference room filled with your colleagues (architects, engineers, owner reps, landlord, stakeholders and an ITS designer).  You are a professional in the technology sector with 20 years of experience, which encompasses all aspects of technology from networking to the installation of layer-1 components. It is just another project and only a brand-new data center, how hard can it be?

From the onset of kick-off meeting, and shortly after introductions are completed, you hear what you think is a different language. What is everyone talking about? Why don’t you understand what the architect and engineers are discussing? The ITS designer begins to take control of the conversation and your alarm bells are going off. He begins to advise both the architect and engineer on their designs. How is it possible that they understand the ITS designer? Why is he acting as an interpreter between all the major players in this room? Why is EVERYONE listening to “cabling guy”? Doesn’t he just design telephone cables?

  1. Everchanging Landscape

In our industry, this scenario is becoming increasingly common. Technology advancements over the past decade escalate quicker than the industry can react, with no end in sight. The driving force behind such improvements are the connectivity requirements and bandwidth demand which must be considered not just for today but for years to come.

In today’s market, the ITS integrator assists other trade designers to ensure you receive the best connectivity and bandwidth designs for a solid infrastructure. Your infrastructure will not only comply, but also will exceed today’s demands ensuring that you are prepared for the inevitable technological advancements of the future.

  1. Bridge Gaps and Build Cooperation

Having an ITS designer that understands the required terminology, current and future trends, focal and pain points of both the Architects and Engineers is the key to a successful project. A competent ITS designer should perform the role of a “translator” for all, no matter their discipline. This person acts as the liaison for everyone, from the designers to the end user. The ITS designer will have a full understanding of the space to be designed, including the complexities associated with the facility, the difficulties the architects and engineers will face with the existing conditions. This specific skill set is imperative to meet the client’s design intent and to explain solutions to these difficulties in layman’s terms for all parties to understand and proceed.

  1. Like a Computer in Your Car

As a metaphor to simplify the ITS designer’s linguistic skills, imagine you are in a car and get ready to take a nice leisurely drive. Did you ever wonder how all the components within the car work so well together? Now imagine the designer acting like a cabling harness installed within your car. The harness connects all the electronic and electrical components to the main computer. Without this harness, your headlights, turning signals, fuel injection, sparkplug firing sequence will not work seamlessly. Without this harness supporting the components talking to each other, a simple drive is not so simple anymore.

Your ITS designer should act just like this wiring harness. They should make your project and communications between all the parties just as simple and pressing your ignition on your car to take a nice leisurely drive.

  1. Conclusion

It’s critical that this role is brought in as early as possible in the Design Phase, to mitigate any disruption and determine priorities during the construction phase when multiple trades get brought into the fold.

Data center cabling practices will only continue to get more complex. To assure clients’ operations are scalable, secure and built to suit, ITS cabling will continue to be a key competency for future projects.


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