ConEst Software Systems (www.conest.com) has reached an agreement to acquire RapidBOM, a telecommunications-network estimating system from Catalyst Data Inc. Financial terms of the deal had not been disclosed at press time.
ConEst, as well as Mainstay Software (www.mainstay.com), will sell and market RapidBOM. Through the deal, RapidBOM becomes the newest product in ConEst’s line of estimating programs, and continues to be a part of Mainstay’s suite of proposal pricing, analysis, and estimating software. Mainstay is responsible for ongoing software development and enhancements, as well as user training and support programs related to the estimating package.
RapidBOM is a telecommunication-network estimating system that creates Bills of Materials (BOM), including both material and labor costs, which help design an end-to-end network. The estimating software package includes a regularly updated, electronically-enhanced product catalog containing more than 100,000 products from more than 130 manufacturers. It joins the IntelliBid system in ConEst’s stable of estimating tools.
“The two products are quite distinct,” according to ConEst president and chief executive officer George Hague. “While IntelliBid is an estimating system with a database containing over 80,000 electrical, low-voltage, and cabling products, RapidBOM is strictly a VDV [voice-data-video] design and estimating system. RaidBOM’s entire design and hierarchy are structured for the data networking and cabling contractor.
“RapidBOM’s database is updated regularly, and includes cut sheets with product descriptions and images,” Hague continues. “Users can add products to the database and only view user-defined items as ‘preferred.’ RapidBOM validates the final design against BICSI, TIA, and EIA standards, thus limiting errors in the design process by preventing an estimator from creating a substandard or incomplete design. These features are unique to the data cabling market and are important reasons why ConEst purchased RapidBOM.”
The package will continue to be sold as a standalone product, he notes, adding it “is ideal for VDV contractors who aren’t doing power-related work. Electrical contractors doing VDV work may be interested in adding RapidBOM in addition to IntelliBid or other electrical estimating package.”
When asked if the acquisition was at least in part motivated by feedback from ConEst’s electrical-contractor customers requesting VDV-specific capabilities, Hague replied, “We have certainly been seeing an increased interest in datacom work by electrical contractors. That’s why a few years ago we hired several RCDD [Registered Communications Distribution Designer] contractors to help us build a datacom database for the IntelliBid product. That database was recently incorporated as a standard part of IntelliBid in release version 5.1. There are many opportunities for electrical contractors who want to do low-voltage work, including data and voice networking, security-system installations, and audio-systems installations.
“One of the challenges for electrical contractors in the VDV world is the extensive variety of products needed to complete the installation. RapidBOM’s extensive database makes it easy to identify and specify the correct products. The other challenge that electrical contractors face is getting up to speed on all of the industry standards, like TIA, EIA, and BICSI. Since RapidBOM addresses these standards through their validation tools, RapidBOM can be a great solution for those electrical contractors who are just entering the VDV world.”