FCC’s $10M Tech Installation Overcomes COVID Delays Thanks to C3EL’s Impressive Project Planning and Offsite Pre-Configuration

FCC’s $10M Tech Installation Overcomes COVID Delays Thanks to C3EL’s Impressive Project Planning and Offsite Pre-Configuration

Command and Control Communications Engineering & Logistics, LLC (C3EL) is a Veteran-owned Small Business that specializes in building command centers worldwide. The company’s core capabilities are providing AV/VTC design-build and O&M services to Department of Defense (DoD) clients in support of global operations. C3EL is comprised of industry veteran engineers and logisticians who develop project plans and designs, procure and ship equipment and materials, and deploy to build and install projects all over the globe. Its senior staff is made up of prior military technicians and engineers, and its technical personnel all hold DoD security clearances to work in the most secure environments. The company also performs SCIF construction (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility) and all the system requirements to assist the government in that process. 

With qualifications like that, it’s no surprise that C3EL was chosen to perform turnkey services for the new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Headquarters facility at 45 L St. NW Washington, D.C. The FCC was looking for a detailed design validation, project management, procurement, engineering, installation, programming, and commissioning of the new facility’s 292 rooms. The spec included AV equipment, facility-wide IPTV, sound-masking, and paging systems. Although this was a government project, C3EL worked alongside and collaborated with the commercial general contractor that constructed the ten-story building. 

It was late August 2019 when we were approached by our prime contractor as one of many companies that were to bid on the project. The design was done by a consultant for the government. They gave us the high-level design, the list of materials, and scope of work, and asked us if we could bid on supporting the project from a full turnkey standpoint, including design validation, engineering programming, installation, integration, as well as commissioning and training,” says Lavar McDowell, Vice President, Business Development/Sales, C3EL. Lavar is also a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer in the US Army Reserves. 

How did C3EL win the bid? “Our company was in the process of moving offices when word came to us that the FCC needed services and had a short suspense timeline of fewer than two weeks in which they had to put a bid into the government,” says McDowell. “We hunkered down, also dealing with Hurricane Dorian over Labor Day weekend, and produced this proposal to be able to submit through our prime contractor for submission to the government. In five days, we turned around what would normally take several weeks, if not months, putting together a thorough quote and providing all the answers they needed.”

That intensive scramble to produce a thorough bid worked out for C3EL, putting them at the head of the pack. “They were impressed by our competitive bidding process and communication,” adds McDowell.

After winning the job and several iterations of reviews, McDowell and his team discovered that the initial documentation wasn’t fully complete, causing the team to have to make modifications to the proposal. At that point, they received an award and went into the design validation period, which took 45 days to complete. In the process, with the design being now two years old since the building was first designed, C3EL had to make sure all the equipment was still available and up to date and change out some of the materials to meet FCC’s requirements for the latest technology. 

C3EL did the design validation in December 2019 through January 2020, and once they got the design approved by the government, they started the procurement process and began receiving materials in February 2020 at their 6,000-square-foot secured warehouse facility in Tampa. 

“We took a unique approach to system design. We created a lab environment in our warehouse, preconfiguring the racks and testing them in the lab, then building custom crates and shipping the racks up to D.C.,” says McDowell. “The construction was not done at that time, so this approach allowed us to work remotely on our scope of the project without interrupting or waiting for the general contractor to finish their portion of the project. This expedited our progress on-site. When we got there, we just had to do the layer-one cabling and installation of room peripherals. The rest was a plug-and-play installation, testing, configuration adjustments for the room environments, sound-reinforcing improvements, and commissioning.”

In March of 2020, the term “work remotely” took on a new meaning as COVID hit the states. Because C3EL had carefully planned the project and preconfigured racks, their work was only minimally disrupted by the virus. “In February, we had no clue COVID was even a thing. We were already working remotely and were on a tight timeline as well,” says McDowell. When everyone went to quarantine, C3EL was able to keep minimal staff employed working in Tampa and had already deployed its first team to D.C. towards the end of February. Of course, there were some delays at the supply level and the general-contractor level due to the pandemic, which had a ripple effect through to subcontractors working on-site. 

“We had to really press into our suppliers and reach out to other suppliers to procure some of those materials that were affected,” says McDowell. “COVID was a layer that affected the entire world, but we were still able to keep a project scheduled and keep everyone employed and healthy. C3EL was able to trudge onward, adjusting for the schedule of materials, while getting used to wearing masks and social distancing across ten stories and hundreds of thousands of square feet.” 

A big piece of the puzzle that allowed C3EL to be so successful on the project was its use of D-Tools System Integrator software. “We outgrew the solution we were using prior to this opportunity and were in the midst of transferring over to the D-Tools platform. For a very large project like this, it’s frustrating for our design and sales staff to have to price out materials and wait for a PDF to print with 2,000 line items,” says McDowell. “We needed a software solution geared toward AV, and we fell in love with the concept of D-Tools.” Particularly, McDowell liked the ability to have his sales team, design team, and operations teams work out of the same system for increased efficiency. 

“Now, when we are working on a proposal, we can import pricing from different vendors or go off pricing pre-built into D-Tools software versus going back to an excel spreadsheet,” says McDowell. This saves him precious time, which is a resource that is even more valuable than ever.

“COVID has actually propelled our business forward, and we had to hire like crazy to keep up with the work that is coming in,” says McDowell. He notes that D-Tools online training has also been a boon to his business in this respect because he requires every employee to go through the training. 

Not only did C3EL win the project install and integration, but they also were awarded as a sub-contractor to provide the AV Support Services at FCC with several members now officially on-site. “Our past performance when doing the install and having the continuity was very attractive to them. After all, who better to maintain the systems than the team who designed and installed them?” 

McDowell is looking into using D-Tools software as part of the Service Level Agreement (SLA) and warranty support. The team will be developing all the FCC training materials, systems operations guides, quick-reference sheets, and will provide training to fifteen FCC resources.  As part of the AV installation project, C3EL will be the contractor that will manage all warranty actions and return merchandise authorizations (RMA) on behalf of the FCC during the first twelve months of systems operations.  

From the completing the bid in record time, through to innovative project pre-configuration and implementation during a time of crisis, C3EL expertly executed on the FCC’s new building at 45 L St. NW, proving that the company is, as McDowell says, “a small company doing big work.”

Expanded Capabilities of D-Tools Cloud Unveiled @ CEDIA EXPO Virtual 2020

Expanded Capabilities of D-Tools Cloud Unveiled @ CEDIA EXPO Virtual 2020

D-Tools extends its award-winning SaaS platform with integrated dealer-specific pricing from most industry manufacturers and distributors, intelligent visual quoting, and previews new project planning and execution capabilities at CEDIA Expo Virtual 2020

CONCORD, CA — September 9, 2020 — D-Tools, Inc., the worldwide leader in data-driven system integration software, today announced valuable new capabilities to its award-winning, D-Tools Cloud platform – a powerful, yet easy-to-implement multi-OS, web-based SaaS solution accessible from any web-enabled device. These new capabilities will be demonstrated in the D-Tools booth at CEDIA Expo Virtual, September 15 – 17, 2020.

D-Tools’ next-generation platform offers sales pipeline management; on-the-fly estimating from any mobile device; intelligent, interactive system design presentations, and product procurement using supplier-authorized dealer-specific pricing. 

“The exciting evolution of D-Tools Cloud continues, and the adoption rate has far exceeded our expectations. Early on, we focused on developing a best-of-breed solution for sales and procurement,” said Randy Stearns, CEO of D-Tools. “We then enhanced it by adding a more visual interface with click-to-add quoting using on-the-fly floorplan and image mark-ups. In the upcoming months, we will add a slew of project planning and execution features that move us closer to achieving our goal of providing a complete, end-to-end web-based solution for the industry.” 

D-Tools will demonstrate and preview critical new features at CEDIA Expo Virtual 2020:

  • Integrated, dealer-specific pricing with most industry manufacturers and distributors – D-Tools has partnered with hundreds of suppliers to provide direct and instantaneous access to product specifications and dealer-specific pricing from within the D-Tools Cloud environment, providing D-Tools Cloud users with a seamless proposal generation and purchase order creation experience. 
  • Visual Quoting and Multimedia Proposals – The click-to-add visual quoting interface allows users to add devices to floorplans and images right on their mobile device, hastening the design process. Once complete, add videos, testimonials, photos and more, share the multimedia presentation with clients for prompt e-sign approval and deposit, and close more sales.
  • Project Planning and Execution Capabilities – D-Tools will also preview a series of new project management features including item tracking, scheduling, project planning, and task and resource management that complement D-Tools Cloud’s other post-sale change order and purchasing capabilities.

The latest capabilities of D-Tools Cloud help system integrators estimate, present, and manage their system designs like never before, leading to improved operational efficiency and healthier bottom-line results.

CEDIA Expo Virtual 2020 attendees are encouraged to visit https://d-tools.cediaexpovirtual.com/ for an in-depth overview of D-Tools Cloud. CEDIA Expo Virtual runs September 15-17, 2020.

For additional information and pricing on D-Tools Cloud, and to sign up for a free trial, visit www.d-tools.com/cloud.

About D-Tools, Inc. 

D-Tools, Inc. is a worldwide leader in accessible, highly accurate business software that caters to the unique and diverse needs of systems design and installation firms. The company’s on-premises software, System Integrator™ (SI), and new cloud-based platform, D-Tools Cloud, are robust solutions that help manage all aspects of an integrator’s business, including sales, comprehensive system design, project documentation, procurement, and installation and service management. Today, nearly 7,000 companies in over 90 countries use D-Tools’ award-winning software to streamline business processes, leading to improved operational efficiencies and increased profitability. 

Find product updates and related information by following D-Tools on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

Media Contacts

Tim Bigoness, D-Tools, (925) 270-4102, timb@d-tools.com 

Katye (McGregor) Bennett, KMB Communications, (425) 328-8640, katye@kmbcomm.com 

All products, product names, trademarks, and registrations mentioned are the property of their respective owners, all rights reserved.

Major New Release of D-Tools System Integrator (SI) Software Now Available

Major New Release of D-Tools System Integrator (SI) Software Now Available

The latest award-winning release, SI version 14, greatly expands project planning and execution capabilities to enable more effective project delivery for system integrators and technology managers.

CONCORD, CA (August 14, 2020) — D-Tools, Inc., the worldwide leader in data-driven software for system integrators, today announced the availability of System Integrator version 14, which includes powerful new capabilities for its end-to-end estimation, design, project, and service management software solution. 

“Executives, sales teams, and project managers alike will appreciate the enhancements found in the latest release of System Integrator,” states Randy Stearns, D-Tools’ CEO. “Always looking to streamline workflows through a data-driven approach, SI v.14 starts with enabling users to create customized checklists. While some may use these checklists for one-off applications like project punch lists, others will use them for establishing standardized lists of tasks associated with completing specific project types. These lists of tasks and subtasks can then be used to auto-populate the all-new Gantt charts. In turn, the Gantt chart tasks can be pushed to install tasks for technicians in Mobile Install, creating a workflow process that is highly efficient and reduces the risk of oversights in the project management process. On the sales side, SI v.14 has added more CRM-like functionality, including the ability to track lead source and assign close probability to sales statuses, enabling sales forecasts and pipeline projections. Executives will relish the enhanced business intelligence (BI) engine that provides deeper analysis and more meaningful KPI reporting.”

D-Tools System Integrator (SI) is an end-to-end software solution that substantially improves operating efficiencies by streamlining the entire project workflow – from estimating, through system design and documentation, procurement, project management, installation, and on-going service, all through a data-driven process that leverages an extensive, integrated product library.

The latest release, SI version 14, provides new performance-enhancing features that include:

 

  • Gantt Charts
    A Gantt chart is the optimal tool for project planning and implementation. Create and view tasks and milestones by phase, system and/or location, assign responsible parties, set start and end dates, and identify dependencies. As a data-driven solution, Gantt chart tasks can be virtually instantaneously assigned to the appropriate resource and scheduled for completion.
  • Customizable Checklists

 

Create customized and reusable checklists that can be attached to projects, tasks, and service orders. Common use cases might include project punch lists, or creating a list of tasks and subtasks associated with the completion of specific project types. To expedite Gantt chart development, these templates comprised of tasks and subtasks may serve as inputs to a project Gantt chart. 

  • New Business Intelligence Reporting

New and expanded capabilities enable SI users to build queries across projects, clients, purchase orders, tasks, service orders, and service plans. Results, displayed in either list view or graphical form, enable deeper analysis and reporting on key performance indicators (KPIs).

  • Bulk Purchase Order Creation
    To save time, SI users have the ability to create purchase orders for multiple vendors and multiple projects in batch. Common use cases will include ordering items by phase, location and/or system.
  • Updated UI

New icons and re-designed ribbons improve the user experience throughout the application.

D-Tools will host a free, “What’s New in System Integrator v14” webinar taking place Thursday, August 20, from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Pacific. Those interested and seeing live demonstrations of the latest enhancements and capabilities to SI, followed by a Q&A session, can register here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/1649156799537490190.

After seeing a preview of SI v14 during InfoComm 2020 Connected last month, the solution was named a Sound & Video Contractor 2020 Best of InfoComm Winner, judged by a panel of CTS-certified judges, and won a Commercial Integrator 2020 BEST Award in the Project Management & Design Software category. Winners of the CI Awards were chosen by a panel of industry experts, integrators, and the editors of the publication based on criteria that included innovation, functionality, competitive advantages, and benefits to integrators and installers.

To see how D-Tools System Integrator can deliver profound visibility and results, sign up now for a free, personal online tour by visiting http://d-tools.com/live-demo-webinar/. A free 30-day trial of D-Tools can also be downloaded anytime at http://d-tools.com/hosted-free-trial-signup/.

 

About D-Tools, Inc.

D-Tools is a worldwide leader in accessible, highly accurate business software that caters to the unique and diverse needs of systems design and installation firms. The company’s on-premises software, System Integrator™ (SI), and cloud-based platform, D-Tools Cloud, are robust solutions that help manage all aspects of an integrator’s business, including sales, comprehensive system design, project documentation, procurement, and project management. Today, nearly 7,000 companies in over 90 countries use D-Tools’ award-winning software to streamline business processes, leading to improved operational efficiencies and increased profitability.

Find product updates and related information by following D-Tools on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

 

Media Contacts

Tim Bigoness, D-Tools, (925) 270-4102, timb@d-tools.com 

Katye (McGregor) Bennett, KMB Communications, (425) 328-8640, katye@kmbcomm.com 

All products, product names, trademarks, and registrations mentioned are the property of their respective owners, all rights reserved.

D-Tools Cloud Now Seamlessly Integrates with D-Tools System Integrator (SI), Enabling a Visual, Collaborative, Mobile-friendly Sales Process

D-Tools Cloud Now Seamlessly Integrates with D-Tools System Integrator (SI), Enabling a Visual, Collaborative, Mobile-friendly Sales Process

The integration between D-Tools’ two award-winning software platforms enables D-Tools Cloud users to push accepted quotes to SI for the generation of engineering drawings, project implementation, and service management, creating a best-of-both-worlds experience.

CONCORD, CA — July 13, 2020 — D-Tools, Inc., the worldwide leader in data-driven system integration software, today announced it has completed a direct integration between the multi-OS, mobile-friendly, web-based D-Tools Cloud, and on-premises flagship solution, System Integrator (SI). Now, salespeople can leverage D-Tools’ intuitive, next-gen, sales opportunity management and estimating platform, while downstream users responsible for project fulfillment continue to rely on the industry’s gold-standard software for system engineering, project management and on-going service.

“For salespeople who prefer to be in front of clients and working from a mobile device, D-Tools Cloud is a more approachable and flexible solution,” states Randy Stearns, D-Tools’ CEO. He concludes by emphasizing that “The combination of (a) CRM functionality, (b) a visual floorplan-based quoting (or takeoff) experience (c) the ability to take photos from a mobile device and mark them up on-the-fly, and (d) share system designs as a multimedia presentation transforms the sales process into one that is both collaborative and highly efficient.” 

The integration provides the following valuable benefits to integrators:

  • Allows salespeople to utilize D-Tools Cloud’s next-generation toolset for sales opportunity management, visual quoting, and multimedia proposals, accessible from any web-enabled device to quickly close the sale.

  • Upon proposal acceptance, users send the proposal and related project information to D-Tools’ robust, on-premises System Integrator solution.

  • Project details such as client information, locations, systems, products, and labor are seamlessly imported to SI for the completion of engineering drawings, change orders, procurement, scheduling, installation, and on-going service.

For more information on the D-Tools Cloud to System Integrator integration, visit https://d-tools.com/cloud-si-integration/.

To learn how D-Tools software can streamline business processes, and for free trials, visit www.d-tools.com.

About D-Tools, Inc.

D-Tools is a worldwide leader in accessible, highly accurate business software that caters to the unique and diverse needs of systems design and installation firms. The company’s on-premises software, System Integrator™ (SI), and cloud-based platform, D-Tools Cloud, are robust solutions that help manage all aspects of an integrator’s business, including sales, comprehensive system design, project documentation, procurement, and project management. Today, nearly 7,000 companies in over 90 countries use D-Tools’ award-winning software to streamline business processes, leading to improved operational efficiencies and increased profitability.

Find product updates and related information by following D-Tools on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

 

Media Contacts

Tim Bigoness, D-Tools, (925) 270-4102, timb@d-tools.com 

Katye (McGregor) Bennett, KMB Communications, (425) 328-8640, katye@kmbcomm.com 

All products, product names, trademarks, and registrations mentioned are the property of their respective owners, all rights reserved.

D-Tools to Demo Commercial-Focused Enhancements in Upcoming Major Release of System Integrator (SI) at InfoComm Connected 2020

D-Tools to Demo Commercial-Focused Enhancements in Upcoming Major Release of System Integrator (SI) at InfoComm Connected 2020

SI v14 delivers critical new features including Gantt management and enhancements to project management capabilities, drawings, and more.

CONCORD, CA (June 9, 2020) — D-Tools, Inc., the worldwide leader in data-driven system integration software, will preview powerful new capabilities of its forthcoming major release – System Integrator version 14 – during InfoComm Connected, June 16-18, 2020. The latest iteration of D-Tools’ award-winning estimation, design, project, and service management System Integrator (SI) software solution will debut this summer.

D-Tools System Integrator (SI) helps streamline the entire project workflow for integrators from estimation and budgeting, through system design, installation, back-office management, and on-going servicing, all through a data-driven process that leverages an extensive and integrated product library.

The forthcoming D-Tools SI v14 release provides beneficial new performance and productivity features and enhancements designed to further improve operational efficiency and increase profitability.

New Features Include: 

  • Gantt Charts – New implementation of Gantt charts allows SI users to better manage resources, leading to more successful installations. Linked to SI’s existing installation tasks and the addition of automation enables the scheduling of multiple tasks at one time.
  • Customizable Checklists – SI users can create customized checklists that can be attached to projects, tasks, and Service Orders. This feature allows more control over what is required to complete an item, and checklists can be saved for future use.
  • New Business Intelligence Reporting – New and expanded capabilities enable SI users to build queries across projects, clients, purchase orders, tasks, service orders, and service plans for creating their own Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and to view data that is specific to their role within the organization.
  • Bulk Purchase Order Creation – SI users now have the ability to create purchase orders for multiple vendors, for multiple projects, at one time, saving time and improving efficiency.
  • Points – New concept for adding connection information to I/Os enables accounting for specifically needed actions. Labor hours and labor items can be associated with Points and will automatically add to the product as a labor accessory. 
  • Updated UI – D-Tools has an improved user experience throughout the application with the addition of new icons and redesigned ribbons throughout SI.

The newest version of D-Tools SI helps system integration firms improve operational efficiency for increased profitability, while reducing time, cost, and errors for a streamlined business process.

Attendees of InfoComm Connected can book a demonstration with a member of the D-Tools team at sales@d-tools.com

To see how D-Tools System Integrator can deliver profound visibility and results, sign up now for a free, personal online tour by visiting http://d-tools.com/live-demo-webinar/. A free 30-day trial of D-Tools can also be downloaded anytime at http://d-tools.com/hosted-free-trial-signup/.

 

About D-Tools, Inc.

D-Tools is a worldwide leader in accessible, highly accurate business software that caters to the unique and diverse needs of systems design and installation firms. The company’s on-premises software, System Integrator™ (SI), and cloud-based platform, D-Tools Cloud, are robust solutions that help manage all aspects of an integrator’s business, including sales, comprehensive system design, project documentation, procurement, and project management. Today, nearly 7,000 companies in over 80 countries use D-Tools’ award-winning software to streamline business processes, leading to improved operational efficiencies and increased profitability.

Find product updates and related information by following D-Tools on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

 

Media Contacts

Tim Bigoness, D-Tools, (925) 270-4102, timb@d-tools.com 

Katye (McGregor) Bennett, KMB Communications, (425) 328-8640, katye@kmbcomm.com 

All products, product names, trademarks, and registrations mentioned are the property of their respective owners, all rights reserved.

D-Tools to Showcase Powerful New Capabilities to its Award-Winning System Integrator Software at Integrated Systems Europe

D-Tools to Showcase Powerful New Capabilities to its Award-Winning System Integrator Software at Integrated Systems Europe

D-Tools System Integrator version 13 delivers critical new features, including service plan sales and management, supplier pricing, and enhancements to project management capabilities, drawings, and more.          

CONCORD, CA (January 17, 2020)  — D-Tools, Inc. will demonstrate its award-winning business software at ISE 2020, Custom Home Europe stand #1-N80, February 11–14, in Amsterdam, NL. Powerful new features have been added to its flagship, on-premises System Integrator (SI) solution including service plan management, supplier pricing, and more. The newest version of SI, with its enhancements, helps system integration firms like never before—improving operational efficiency for increased profitability while reducing time, cost, and errors for a streamlined business process.

Major Release of D-Tools System Integrator, SI v13, Delivers Valuable New Features

D-Tools System Integrator is a robust, comprehensive software that guides users through the sales, estimation, system designs, project management, installation, and service aspects of their business. The latest release now features:

Service Plans – Define, create, sell, and manage service contracts

Supplier Pricing – Access to dealer-specific pricing from select partner brands

Allowance Packages – Substitute allowances for parts with no impact on price

Multi-Conductor Cable Documentation – Draw connections down to the individual conductor

Bundled Cables Support – Provides accurate labor calculation for bundled cables

Bar Code Scanning – Collect and validate product data, and sync with projects upon item receipt

Payment Processing – Integration with ProPay provides ability to accept initial deposit on projects through the D-Tools Customer Portal

ISE attendees are invited to see SI v13 at the show in D-Tools stand #1-N80. For additional information on the D-Tools’ System Integrator software, sign up for a free personal tour by visiting https://d-tools.com/live-demo-webinar/ or download a free trial by visiting https://d-tools.com/hosted-free-trial-signup/.

About D-Tools, Inc.

D-Tools, Inc. is a worldwide leader in accessible, highly accurate business software that caters to the unique and diverse needs of systems design and installation firms. The company’s on-premises software, System Integrator™ (SI), and cloud-based platform, D-Tools Cloud, are robust solutions that help manage all aspects of an integrator’s business, including sales, comprehensive system design, project documentation, procurement, and project management. Today, more than 6,000 companies in over 80 countries use D-Tools’ award-winning software to streamline business processes, leading to improved operational efficiencies and increased profitability. 

Find product updates and related information by following D-Tools on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

Media Contacts

Tim Bigoness, D-Tools, (925) 270-4102, timb@d-tools.com

Katye (McGregor) Bennett, KMB Communications, (425) 328-8640, katye@kmbcomm.com

All products, product names, trademarks, and registrations mentioned are the property of their respective owners, all rights reserved.