In this episode of our Telecom 10 podcast, we’re speaking with Matrix-NDI Account Executive, Jason Cardwell, about how K-12 schools receive...
Matrix-NDI Telecom 10 Podcast 1: Interview with Frank Millo
In this, our very first Telecom 10 podcast, we speak with Frank Millo, Matrix-NDI’s VP of Sales. Frank discusses what we do at Matrix-NDI and the differentiators that set us apart from out competitors.
TANA: Hello and welcome to the first episode of the Telecom 10 with Matrix-NDI. My name is Tana and today I have our Vice President of Sales, Frank Millo with me. On this show we're going to be discussing everything and anything related to telecommunications and IT infrastructure. The episodes will be around 10 minutes long, give or take, but today we're just gonna give you a little overview of who we are, what Matrix-NDI is, and what we do.
So Frank, thanks for being our first guest. Would you give us a little elevator speech on Matrix-NDI? Pretend we're a customer of yours that's never heard of us before.
FRANK: Sure. Thanks, Tana. I guess my elevator speech is a little unorthodox. I always like to liken what we do to - most people listening to this may or may not have kids but you probably went out and bought a kite sometime in your life. And when you went to go buy that kite, you probably never looked at the handle or the kite string. You looked at what the design on the kite was, right? Because that's all the cool stuff, whether it's a toy or whatever. But have you ever tried to fly a kite without a kite string?
TANA: No. I mean it would be kind of impossible.
FRANK: So that's what we are. We're the kite string. So, we draw the people and the applications together. We're a technology infrastructure organization. So we do low-voltage cabling, fiber optics, the design and deployment, physical security systems, data network switching, carrier services, the UCaaS. Basically anything that's gonna connect a human being through to an application or another human being - we connect all of that.
TANA: OK, and so low-voltage, just so everyone understands, that's not the electrical outlet in your kitchen, right?
FRANK: Haha, great question, yeah. No, low-voltage is the, um, most people have plugged in a TV or a phone at their home. Low voltage is that copper cable that is running throughout a building, typically unseen, sometimes seen in the rafters or in the wall.
TANA: OK. So, I like to say, “If it connects to data, we do it.” Is that accurate?
FRANK: Yeah, everything is pretty much data now.
TANA: Yep. Alright, so as far as verticals; with what we do, you know we can pretty much serve anyone that uses data right? What would you say our main bread and butter verticals are?
FRANK: Yeah, you kind of hit the nail on the head. You know every business has some need for cabling and infrastructure, regardless of the vertical. Some different vertical markets are a little bit different, but we pretty much work in all of them. I would say that we do a lot in the health care and assisted living. We do a lot with manufacturing because of what they're doing with automation and smart building technology. But really, any organization that has a building or structure, we work in.
TANA: Yeah, and that's actually a really interesting topic, the smart building thing. We’ll obviously talk about that a little bit more moving forward, but could you just touch on what a smart building is a little bit?
FRANK: Yes. Smart building - it’s such a big word, right? It's kind of like when somebody says, “Well, I'm moving my stuff to the cloud.” There's a lot of definitions for cloud. There are some organizations - a couple of buildings actually over in Europe that are using greenhouse and have actual grass on the roof that is considered “smart building” for how they're able to filter water. So there's a lot of stuff that goes into smart building.
In the technology world, a lot of the smart building comes to automation, whether it's automating your AV to work with what - your lighting - because now you can actually get lights that run off of your Ethernet or your data switches. So, when you walk into a room, having that room sense who you are potentially by facial recognition, opening the doors, turning the lights to a specific dimness that you want for yourself, maybe turning the screens on and having a specific item that is customized just to you. So, it's really automating the business and using technology for that.
TANA: OK. Yeah, I just wanted to touch on that a little bit. Obviously, we'll have time to go into that in future episodes, but back to kind of who we are and what we do. Our facility here in Minneapolis is a little bit different than a lot of our competitors in the fact that we have a quite sizable warehouse and a staging area. A lot of people don't really understand what a staging area is or the benefit it brings. Could you kind of go over our process with our warehouse and our staging area and what that means for the customer?
FRANK: Yeah. What we've found - you know especially over the last couple of years for all of us going through this pandemic - is the workforce just being able to get people to be able to do the work for us. And what we did here with our office space was create a warehouse as you mentioned for staging because we've actually run into some of our larger clients that had purchased a lot of equipment - not through us - but they were actually sitting in the warehouse. And we were doing low voltage cabling for them and asked and you know, “What's all this gear here for?”
And the response we got was, “Well, we bought all of this, but we don't have enough people to deploy it around the country.” And we do national rollouts across the country for many organizations, and because of that we said, “Well, why don't we actually take this off your hands, and because we know how to program data switches (which is what these were), we can use our remote smart hands, get it all patched in and take that off of your IT staff’s plate?”
And so, they gave us how they wanted it programmed and we staged it all and got it all ready for them and were able to then get it all on palettes, shrink wrap it, and get it all to their locations throughout the country and install it for them. It saved them a tremendous amount of money because they were actually gonna start paying renewal software support on that equipment and they hadn't even got it installed. So, it saved them a tremendous amount of money.
So it's really helping organizations from a staff augmentation perspective, where we can help stage and set things up and actually get it rolled out for them.
TANA: OK cool. Thanks for explaining that a little bit. Again, we'll probably dive into that a little bit more and kind of what some of those things you just said you know mean in general for from a customer standpoint. But just for some simplicity things here, the last thing we'll go over today is going to be our PMO, or project management department, and our design team. So that's kind of another area here at Matrix-NDI that's a little bit unique as far as our competitors go. Can you go into that a little bit, Frank, how our PMO works, and especially with our design team?
FRANK: Absolutely. You know as technology continues to change - it used to be - back when, you know, before the pandemic and before cloud and IP and so forth, a lot of organizations would go out and hire a third-party consultant to come in. And some organizations still do that because it was very simplified. You know, it was, “Let's just focus on - we need a new phone system” and that was the focus or, “We need to focus on just our data network,” right? And it's changed a lot throughout the course of the last few years, where the customers want everything to work, but they don't necessarily understand how to make it work.
And so our design team - we have multiple RCDDs on staff and an RCDD is a BICSI certification that is a difficult test to go through. It's kind of like the doctorate in the low voltage world. And those are the people that can design an infrastructure from a cabling perspective. And then we have broadened that now to be able to actually put drawings together, help organizations understand what their building would look like with the new technology, and then have multiple project managers that can manage that project from beginning to end.
If you think about it, it's almost like the general contractor for IT, right? And a general contractors are very much looking at the building infrastructure; the concrete, the metal, the steel, the wood. But really what businesses are looking for with this, you know, most businesses are in hybrid model, people working from home sometimes, working in the office sometimes, they’re trying to figure out what their office space should look like - what should it look like when they come into the office?
The general contractors out there are very adept at figuring out how the structure should look. What we're able to help them with is what should their IT infrastructure look like in the same way?
TANA: That's great. Thank you for that. Yeah, so it's kind of like if you're gonna build a house, you're focused on what it looks like on the outside. But if you don't think about the foundation, it's not gonna be standing very long, right?
FRANK: Yup. Yeah, well said.
TANA: Awesome. Well, that's all the time we're going to have for today. We'll dive more into the nitty gritty of telecommunications, IT infrastructure in future episodes, obviously. Thanks for joining me today Frank. It was great to have you a little bit as far as explaining what we do. We'll probably have you on in the future for some more topics.
But anyways, thanks for tuning in to the first episode of the Telecom 10 with Matrix-NDI. My name is Tana. If you'd like to learn more about Matrix-NDI, you can find our website at www.matrix-ndi.com or you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the handle @matrix_NDI. That's N as in Nancy, D I. Thank you. Again, my name is Tana, and we'll see you next time!