I’ve asked my colleague Murat Sen to be with me today. I see that you’ve got a large number of plans lying in front of you. You’re part of the PCS team. What exactly do you do?
Murat Sen: I’m a Project Manager in the PCS team. My focus at present is on providing all-round support for school digitalization projects. It’s for this reason that I need all these plans at the moment because I’m currently in the verification phase. That is to say, at the cross-over between design planning and implementation planning. And even today, that’s something you still have to do using printed plans at the site.
I understand! That means that you’re now looking at plans that represent the data infrastructure? Or perhaps also plans relating to the electric cabling in the building?
Murat Sen: Both. Clearly the IT network structure is an important component in school digitalization. But despite this, the electric power supply is an even more important topic.
Of course! In schools, the future data infrastructure is still something waiting to be defined. By contrast, as far as the electrical cabling is concerned, there is already an established structure, which in some cases may be obsolete. And you have to shed light on many issues in order to ensure that the desired aims regarding the data infrastructure are also achieved.
Murat Sen: Yes – that is precisely the issue. Again and again at our on-site meetings, we discover that the electrical infrastructure is obsolete and already loaded to full capacity. That is exactly where our expertise kicks in and we advise our clients about how they can overhaul their electrical infrastructure. We often have to enlarge the individual distribution systems. Starting with the building connection and on through to the end consumer. Because the distribution systems must be able to cope with the new, additional loads resulting from the electronic boards.
So they have to be dimensioned accordingly?
Murat Sen: They have to be definitively dimensioned.
But how do you go about such a project? What are the first steps? What is the starting point?
Murat Sen: We always start with an on-site meeting. It is very important to arrange a meeting at the school premises involving all stakeholders. The party funding the material and the individual technical professions are also involved. That is to say the IT and electrical departments of the municipal education authority.
So you get everyone to sit down together around the table?
Murat Sen: Yes. We bring everyone together around a table and discuss how we are going to continue with the planning phase. And right here at this very early stage, we also involve the board manufacturer so that we can define the positions of the boards room-by-room in the school.
These digital boards that you see in schools today?
Murat Sen: Precisely! In the next step, we take the locations of the boards as our basis for positioning the network sockets, electric sockets and access points.
So after everyone has said how they envisage the project and explained what it is that they want or expect, what happens then? What happens in the individual project phases?
Murat Sen: After the on-site meeting, the aims are formulated and agreed on with the funding body. In other words, we again present what we have noted down at the school site and finalise the definition of the target situation. Then, once this definition of the target situation has been approved, the building planning can get underway. That is to say the layout planning. This involves a lot of other things such as scheduling or a performance catalogue, for example. The performance catalogue plays an important role in the costing process. In addition, we also produce an electrical and IT network diagram. That means that we launch the concrete planning phase quite early on and accompany the client transparently every step of the way.
All that sounds very complicated. And at this point, we haven’t even got as far as implementation. That doesn’t start until the planning has been completed. How do things continue once the planning activities are finished?
Once the implementation documentation has been drafted, a Request for Proposals is issued. The funding body decides whether this is a public or a limited RFP.
That is to say the municipal education authority?
Exactly. The municipal education authority or the local authority. Following the Request for Proposals, the contract is awarded to the best bidder. That is when the execution of the works actually starts. To ensure that high quality is maintained, we support the contracting authority with our expertise.
That means that we then monitor the installation work and the delivered quality?
Precisely! Every week, we inspect the quality on-site and pay particular attention to whether the quality demanded in the RFP is actually being delivered.