Innovators of the EIC is an interview series featuring innovators who work in or on the Energy Innovation Center. These short interviews will ask our innovators to share what they do, how they innovate and what they’re excited to be working on. This month, we interviewed Bob Dagostino, president and founder of Dagostino Electronic Services. Dagostino Electronic Services is a technology integrator that connects businesses with advanced technology solutions.


What is the focus of your organization?
Dagostino Electronic Services (DES) is a complete technology integrator providing advanced solutions that support business in the current times and for industry 4.0. Our focus is integrating and designing solutions that unify technology to create a user-friendly, intelligent and efficient experience. As the world rapidly embraces smart technology, I want DES solutions to set the foundations for smart buildings.


What is a typical workday like for you within your organization?
We have five divisions here within the company. They are structured cabling, security, networks, voice and multimedia. Our latest addition to our portfolio is artificial intelligence. We have a team of data science experts who can custom-build AI software. Aside for running the company, my position is to keep my eye on future technologies, see how they are evolving, and validate them for commercial utilization.

My typical day is never typical. You might first find me ideating with the AI team or talking with the guy that runs the warehouse or out in the field meeting clients. My work is part of my everyday life, looking for everyday solutions and how they apply to business. No two days are the same.


What do you enjoy about being at the Energy Innovation Center?
The greatest satisfaction of being a part of the EIC is appreciating that in 1972 I was a student at the EIC’s predecessor – the Connelley Trade School. I received my technical education in electronics in this building. It’s incredible to see the transformation of that vocational-technical school to this business incubator. As a technology integrator, I’m always thinking about the user and their experience. As a partner of EIC’s Innovation Hall, I want to consider both the users of the building – the tenants – as well as the visitors and their experience.


How have you had to innovate to accomplish your goals? Can you talk about the role innovation plays in your work?
Innovation is another way of understanding the human experience. Innovative solutions will always actualize a customer-centric experience. That’s what we strive for.  Take, for example, the current pandemic. While it’s clearly a crisis, it has also been a tremendous opportunity to understand the human relationship with technology and to push a digital reality in new ways. We have been motivated to imagine a world that is connected. We are realizing that that is not an option anymore, but it is, in fact, critical. As a society we’ve jumped forward a decade in a matter of months for the purpose of connectivity, remote working, remote religious services, distance learning, telemedicine and even maintaining relationships.

Within my business, we are taking this digital perspective into our solution offerings. We are increasingly unifying our vision for our clients and designing solutions where the technology encompasses the entire operation – from cloud communications to smart lighting and everything between!


What are you most excited about that you are doing right now?
My biggest passion right now is free space optics. Over the past century, we’ve learned how to transmit data through radio waves and over copper and fiber optics. Yet, the new frontier of data transmission is through light waves. Case in point, NASA is doing a space expedition where the data from space is being relayed back to earth through lasers. There’s just so much data to be transmitted, and the latency of getting that transmitted via radio signals does not lend itself to optimizing that channel. Harnessing light beyond illumination is the most exciting revolution I have witnessed in recent years. Here on earth, this medium is Li-Fi and we are adopting this technology within our office right now. I intend for DES to be regional thought leaders in innovative telecommunications and technology solutions.


What is something you do when you’re not working?
I love restoring old things, old structures, and automobiles. As a matter of fact, our office was once a Pittsburgh public school, the old Hays Public School built in 1907 and shuttered in 1973. We bought it in 2003 to renovate it and make it our office and lab space. I own a 1909 Victorian home that I bought and restored. It was built before craftsmen had power tools.

My most relaxing pastime is working on automobiles. A group of friends and I call it our ‘wellness activity,’ and on Thursday nights, we get together and restore old vehicles. One that we’ve worked on is a 1957 Divco milk truck. We’ve refurbished it and taken it out on cruises. My other favorite vehicle is my 1936 Ford sedan delivery vehicle. I like to get my hands dirty, no doubt about it. It keeps your mind and body working.