The National Systems Contractors Association (NSCA) is a not-for-profit organization that represents the professional and commercial electronic systems industry. The association’s 2,500-plus member base is comprised of leading professional and commercial systems contractors/integrators, product manufacturers, consultants, sales representatives, architects, specifying engineers, and other industry professionals.
The demand for highly advanced, networkable audio, visual, digital, and IP-based solutions leads to multiple choices of quality products and services from manufacturers and systems integrators. The trend is toward a network-based environment for all building systems. Not only do building professionals need to keep pace with rapid technological changes in individual systems, today’s business climate requires them to also monitor changes in multiple systems. Building owners are demanding network designs that integrate all systems into one “super-solution.”
Architects and designers should be educated on industry product offerings to determine which products and solutions will best serve the client. Whether three companies or 30 provide the new product solution, the expected result is the same: technologies that reflect an aesthetically impressive, reliable, and user-friendly solution. NSCA places great emphasis in providing its members with formal education and certifications, held nationwide throughout the year.
A recent NSCA Member Survey (Summer 2005) identified the top business concerns that affect all systems professionals. An overwhelming 47 percent of respondents ranked training and certification as their No. 1 concern, followed by improved research at 24 percent, workforce development at 18 percent, and better health plans at 12 percent.
“It’s very encouraging that our industry recognizes the need to develop job skills through training and establish technical expertise through certification,” says Brad Nelson, an NSCA board member and president of Sound Solutions Northwest Inc. “This demonstrates that our members are interested in performing higher quality work in the industry, and the NSCA EST Program provides the tools needed to do just that. EST focuses on the fundamentals of multiple systems necessary prior to specializing in a particular system. EST is also customized to various levels of experience, and provides unique hands-on verification.”
The NSCA University™ provides business and technical classes, online training courses, and monthly teleconferences. The association’s EST Training Series with apprenticeship and certification components prepare professionals with up to 4 years of hands-on training for the C-SI™, C-EST®, and R-ESI™ certifications. Education topics expand beyond highly technical certifications to include project management, business growth strategies, and sales techniques.
Tools of the Trade
A barrage of detailed forms, codes, specifications, and questionnaires are part of everyday life for building professionals. The NSCA, with member input, developed the Essentials of Systems Integration™, a comprehensive CD-based manual of practice for the electronic systems industry, providing members with more than 400 industry-standard forms and agreements.
NSCA’s A/E Toolkit™ is a CD-based resource to improve integrator relationships with architects and engineers. It covers networking and design guidelines, as well as specification marketing and business relationships.
Industry Trends and Government Legislation
NSCA provides members with information on trends impacting the commercial electronic systems industry and promotes legislation crucial to business success. It also informs members about law, articles, and issues addressed in Congress.
NSCA’s research efforts are consistent, aggressive, and valuable. NSCA’s 2005 Q4 Market Intelligence Briefing, for example, includes valuable insight from systems integrators and manufacturers on the evolving electronic systems industry. The report includes issues and trends affecting both groups. The research results have an impact: As trends and practices are realized, the industry takes action to answer demands/needs revealed in the research.
The Q4 survey revealed that the two most prominent challenges facing manufacturers are downward price pressures and commoditization and finding time and a budget to provide training on new technologies and products. The two key challenges faced by systems integrators are similar in that they also must cope with downward price pressures and commoditization and finding and keeping qualified installers.
The NSCA builds connections between the people, knowledge, and new ideas of the commercial electronic systems industry. Its Systems Integration Expo® brings leading systems contractors, integrators, product manufacturers, consultants, architects, and engineers under one roof. This event provides an opportunity to see the latest advancements in product technology and witness innovative concepts as they come to life. During the 5-day event, the NSCA offers more than 400 hours of training.
Its fall business conference offers practical and successful tactics for growing a business.
The NSCA Team
The NSCA team is comprised of industry-educated professionals along with elected volunteers that often own commercial electronics, AV, or independent consulting firms. Their commitment helps the industry by contributing to consistent business and product growth and development and maintaining and creating new job opportunities. .
Contact the NSCA for more information:
National Systems Contractors Association
625 First Street SE - Suite 420
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401
Phone: (800) 446-6722