As technology continues to advance, more companies are realizing the future is all about comprehensive and complete integration. Rather than operating a number of technology systems in parallel, the way to get the most from each system is to integrate them, which creates one powerful system that can achieve more than the sum of its individual parts ever could.
Miller Integrated Systems, a division of Jacksonville, Fla.-based Miller Electric Co., has grasped this concept and is running with it. Miller Electric has about 1,500 employees working in 14 offices in 11 states. Miller Integrated Systems, with about 150 employees, operates in eight of those offices and is expanding to the remaining six. Miller Integrated Systems accounts for about 15 percent of Miller Electric’s work.
Miller Integrated Systems offers expertise in security (including surveillance and access control), wireless systems, structured cabling, voice/data, mass notification and audio/video.
The division was formed around 1983, when Miller Electric found itself being asked by more of its customers to perform data center work.
“The company decided to formally add this to the services that it offered at the time, and I was hired in 1987 to manage and develop this division,” said David L. Stallings, vice president.
Currently, Miller Integrated Systems works with customers in most industries, especially commercial, healthcare and industrial.
“With security projects, in specific, we do a lot of work for government and education facilities,” Stallings said.
Miller Integrated Systems emphasizes the ability to integrate technologies and services, using the internet of things (IoT). In fact, the company’s website notes, “Devices can now communicate intelligently to each other or us, in real time, processing data in the cloud or at the node, deciding autonomously or presenting the most up-to-date information to us so we can make the best decisions.”
These days, the company emphasizes the theme of integration. One of its strongest competitive advantages is that it performs all of the physical work as well as all of the software integration on its projects. Many other low-voltage contractors, according to Stallings, outsource the physical installation work to other contractors.
“We do everything ourselves so that clients only need to work with one provider—us,” he said.
The company also focuses on integration when working with other trades on a project.
“To succeed, we need to fully understand the scope of our work and how it fits in with the overall construction of the building and then doing what we promised either on time or even ahead of schedule if possible,” Stallings said.
Customers also see the value of total systems integration. For example, few other low-voltage contractors offer a license plate recognition system.
“This initially grew out of the security side of our business, but it is now being used primarily for parking and traffic control,” Stallings said. “In fact, having it available is getting us into a lot of customer sites that we weren’t in before.”
On the security side, departments in client organizations are beginning to use security technology to improve their operations. Recently, Miller Integrated Systems completed a project for a client’s intermodal facility, which is being used primarily from an inventory and production management standpoint.
“While the client’s security department has access to the system, it was the production department that wanted a security system as a way to be able to track equipment being taken off and put onto trains as part of its management control system,” Stallings said.
The company sees even more integration opportunities in its future, including power over ethernet lighting, which combines LED technology with IT. Such lighting systems can then participate in the IoT. Integration opportunities also are available with building management controls.
“These are the areas we plan to focus on in terms of growing our business [in the next one to three years],” he said. “Beyond three years, they will probably be our biggest growth areas.”
To maintain its competitive edge in technology and system integration, Miller Integrated Systems continues to focus on two important keys to success: staying abreast of the latest technology and attracting the best and brightest employees to the workforce.
The company has a strong commitment to training, which it conducts in-house as well as sources from outside organizations and manufacturers. The training helps the company maintain its technological leadership and encourages its employees to remain with the company.
“There are always opportunities for change and growth,” Stallings said. “I’m the type of person who likes change. I don’t like doing the same things over and over.”
In terms of attracting new talent, the company has a strong commitment to getting the word out to local high schools about career opportunities. Company representatives emphasize that the organization offers a wide variety of career opportunities.
“We don’t just do construction,” Stallings said. “We have software engineers, application engineers, design people and more.”