| Pete Baker in RTI's Advanced Control University training room|
I recently enjoyed a visit to my home state of Minnesota to take a tour of the Shakopee-based Remote Technologies Incorporated (RTI). It was great to be on familiar turf with a company that clearly exhibits a healthy amount of "Minnesota Nice". During my trip to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, my colleague, Residential Systems editor Jeremy Glowacki, and I were treated to a tour of the RTI headquarters, which features a great number of employee-centric benefits including a game room, weekly catered lunches, several "chill out" seating areas and meeting spaces, and my personal favorite amenity: a cappuccino machine.
But beyond the Minnesota Nice resides a vigorous sense of entrepreneurial leadership. More than a year ago, RTI moved to a new facility three times the size of their previous home, which was their headquarters for the two years prior. Founded in 1992, RTI's fast-paced growth is further evinced by the doubling of personnel in the last year.
As the company looks to expand its presence in the commercial market, they are planning for future growth. A search for a commercial market sales manager has begun, and commercial dealers are being sought. "We are focusing very heavily on commercial market. We had a wonderful debut at InfoComm 08. Dealers were very open and excited about RTI," commented RTI vice president of marketing Pete Baker.
On the training front, RTI opened the doors to its on-site Advanced Control University last month. RTI's online education is growing as well. The manufacturer has plans to create more than 50 online videos that drill down into the specifics of products.
Internationally, RTI is well established in the commercial market, as the manufacturer aligned itself with partners that have experience with control integration in that sector. The CPB-1 Control Port Connecting Block, which adds RS-232 capability to any RTI controller without the need for a separate RTI control processor, is particularly popular among commercial installers internationally. "We expect it to be popular in the U.S. as well," Baker said, indicating its usefulness in classroom and boardroom applications.
Baker said that RTI is well equipped for the mission critical aspects of commercial projects ranging from classrooms and boardrooms to stadiums. "We always go into the control market knowing how critical our products are," Baker said. "The control system is the key to the entire system. As far as most customers are concerned, that is the system."
As such, RTI places significant emphasis on "really solid automation processing," as Baker put it. Macros are stored in the central processor for more reliable command execution. Additionally, with the imminent addition of ZigBee-enabled two-way communication for RTI's in-wall and handheld touch screen control systems, drivers will also be stored in the processor. Starting with RTI's T2-C, T3-V, and T4 handheld controllers and the RK3 and K4 in-wall controllers, RTI's two-way enabled devices began shipping this month. RTI also has plans for its Integration Designer software to allow programmers to write their own drivers for two-way enabled control products.
Whether integrators have a limited amount of control programming experience or they are well-versed in the complexities of code writing, RTI's Integration Designer software has been designed to be accommodating to all who use it. The programming software is a point of pride for the company. "Anyone can make a controller, but the intuitiveness of the software is key," Baker said. Integration Designer software "is equally great for novices as well as advanced programmers -- it offers plenty of functionality."
RTI also has plans for the Integration Designer software to allow programmers to write their own drivers for the two-way enabled control products.
At InfoComm June 16-19, RTI will be introducing the new two-way functionality, along with a bevy of other new products and ZigBee-enabled devices, at Booth 5713.