Data, Trends, and Predictions

Data, Trends, and Predictions
Master Planning vs. Strategic Master Facility Planning Perhaps no other industry has undergone as many recent fundamental changes as health care. Matched with advances in medical science and technology, are changes in the design, composition, and location of buildings. Historically, medical services were delivered either in hospitals or doctor’s offices. Now there is an array of building types – specialty group practices, community-based ambulatory care clinics, large research centers, small specialty hospitals, and even shopping mall locations and mobile units. And increasingly, large health systems own and operate these networks that reach across counties and states. What has triggered this geographic dispersion of facilities? Continue Reading →

Safe, Sound, and Backed-up

Safe, Sound, and Backed-up
With few exceptions, every medical and financial institution, governmental body, multi-location company, and educational facility of a substantial size considers data one of its most valuable assets. By extension, data centers, the places that house an organization’s high-speed, high-demand computers and communications equipment, top the list of mission critical spaces. The consequences of lost or damaged data or interruption of services can be catastrophic. Because of the absolute mechanical, electrical, and structural requirements of data centers, planning and designing them has become a specialty within the A/E industry – and one at which SSOE excels. The layout of the environment itself is subject to specific ways that servers can be racked, cabling can be run, and other equipment can be stored. To avoid the crisis of a malfunction, data centers must be highly controlled in terms of humidity, temperature, electrical power, flooding, fire, and physical security. Continue Reading →

Evaluating Suppliers: Part Two – Creative Thinking

Evaluating Suppliers: Part Two - Creative Thinking
In the last issue of Dimensions we introduced the characteristics of an “A-Team” supplier and focused on their ability to challenge assumptions. This is the second part of the series, in which we discuss the ability of a supplier to think creatively. Textbook solutions are fine for textbook projects. But if you need something out of the ordinary or if you’re looking for better-than-average results, an A-Team supplier will think creatively to help you accomplish your goals. Before offering creative perspectives, a supplier should dig deep to find out as much as possible about a project, even when the parameters seem straightforward. A client in the glass industry engaged SSOE to do preliminary work on a project where the solution was predetermined – build a new batch plant at a cost of millions of dollars. Continue Reading →

China’s New Middle Class: A Moving Target

China’s New Middle Class: A Moving Target
China’s explosive economic growth has fostered the development of an urban upper class whose new-found wealth has opened a significant market in luxury goods. But trend-savvy companies are recognizing another consumer group in China: an emerging middle class that presents opportunities and challenges. However you define the Chinese middle class — by income, occupation, or Western spending habits — the economics of China’s population will change dramatically in the coming decades: Continued growth will see the incomes of most Chinese citizens rising, with fewer people living in poverty. More people will move from rural areas to cities in search of higher paying jobs. As a result, experts predict that in 20 years the urban middle class in China will become one of the world’s largest consumer markets. Continue Reading →

A New Year in China

A New Year in China
Many Americans were still finishing off Valentine chocolates wrapped in red foil on February 18. But if you were in China, the color red would be associated with money, clothing, and a PIG. February 18th was the Chinese Lunar New Year of 4704—the year of the Red Pig and the first day of a 15-day festival. Recent events have left many wondering what the Red Pig year holds for China. Analysts cite many possible reasons for the biggest downturn in China’s stock market in a decade including: the pressure for profit-taking days after the market hit a record high, growing concerns that China’s government will seek to slow its tremendous growth, and even comments by former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to a business conference in Hong Kong that the US may be nearing the end of its prosperous economic cycle—proof that we are truly in a global economy. What does all this mean for firms looking to enter the China market? Continue Reading →