In 2006, we said goodbye to a
well-respected and wonderful friend. Joe
or www.belden.com )
will be fondly remembered.
BICSI got a new Captain to
steer the ship. We wish David Cranmer
success as he puts BICSI on the right course.
We also welcome back Dick Dunfee to the BICSI team. www.bicsi.org
Congratulations to Bruce
Nardone, who recently joined the Leviton team. Their new program sounds
exciting. Visit their booth at BICSI and
get the full story. (www.leviton.com)
The Connectivity Firm has
added Preformed Line Products to their already impressive line card of valuable
products. (www.preformed.com, www.theconnectivityfirm.com) Also, look for some new products at the SMP
Data booth at BICSI. (www.smpdata.com) with a
renewed focus on improved cabling products, pick up the new catalog from Hitachi. (http://www.hcm.hitachi.com/)
What’s ahead in 2007?
In order to appreciate what
is coming in the world of cabling infrastructure, we must look back at the year
behind us. We recently interviewed
Michael Shannahan, VP Communication Planning Corporation (www.communicationplanning.com)
and Brian Chancey President, Area Communications (www.areacom.com) about their significant
developments during 2006. Both of these
regional communications installation firms agreed on two areas.
First, they both felt the
squeeze on costs. Gas and copper were at
the top of the list. These problem areas
are not likely to go away. So how do we
find revenue opportunities to offset the profit squeeze?
Mike Shannahan told us that
Communication Planning Corporation had opened new revenue streams as a result
of several powerful articles in the Electrical Contractor Magazine. “The security arena is filled with new
opportunities for the cabling contractor.
Video surveillance is HOT.”
Shannahan added, “Our fiber optic training from Light Brigade (www.lightbrigade.com) gave us the
capability of tackling these new revenue generators.” Brian Chancey also said they had captured new
ideas from trade publications like Electrical Contractor Magazine (www.ecmag.com), Cabling Business Magazine (www.cablingbusiness.com), and
Cabling Installation and Maintenance Magazine (www.cable-install.com). We also placed a premium on training. “That’s why we support BICSI.”
Many leading trade
associations have powerful training programs.
And many other specialized
associations. For my money, light brigade is the premier training
source for fiber optics in the communications world. There are many new challenges and revenue
opportunities ahead, and fiber optics looks like the “top dog”
If you are going to BICSI, be
prepared to work. Digging out the latest
and greatest is the challenge.
“limited combustible cable is
still being pushed! Why? This product isn’t just stupid, it’s
wrong.” Commented Art Padgett (CATZ –
Communications A to Z) Padgett suggested that the readers might wish to do a
Google search for “Toxic Teflon” and follow the link to:
Teflon offgases toxic particulates at 446°F. At 680°F
Teflon pans release at least six toxic gases, including two
carcinogens, two global pollutants, ...
www.tuberose.com/Teflon.html - 45k - Cached
pages - Note
a review of the toxic gas output from this key component to LCC cable, we
6 cables continue to gather market acceptance and 10Gig configurations are
gaining acceptance. These high
performance-cabling systems demand the best testing systems to ensure
performance and integrity. Fluke
Networks leads the pack by a large margin with their advanced DTX 1800
tester. Be sure to visit their booth at
BICSI. You will find many more powerful
cool tools for your business. www.flukenetworks.com
at BICSI, check out the booths of:
Unique Fire Stop
Rhino (DYMO) http://global.dymo.com
We look forward to sharing “ALL THE NEWS
YOU CAN USE” in 2007 with you.
But that’s just my opinion,
"Heard On The Street" Monthly Column
4949 Sunbeam Rd, Suite 16
Jacksonville, FL 32257
(904) 645-9077 office
(904) 645-9058 fax
(904) 237-0365 cell
10 Gig Screened Cable Demand Is High
manufacturer Hitachi HCM says that it has noticed a "strong" upward
trend in the adoption of 10 Gig screened (F/UTP) copper cabling systems,
particularly in markets where UTP has traditionally been the most popular
Manchester sees it as a market-driven response to the limitations of UTP
cabling in 10Gb/s applications.
The inclusion of
strict alien crosstalk parameters in the 10Gb/s standards posed major issues
for UTP systems. Although most major cabling manufacturers were able to meet
the 10GBASE-T performance requirements and limit alien crosstalk in a UTP
configuration, the resulting designs relied on increased cable diameters and
restrictive installation practices.
limitations significantly raised the profile of Screened 10Gb/s products, which
by virtue of their design, defeat alien crosstalk without major design or
installation changes. www.hcm.hitachi.com
"20-Year-Old Concept of Measuring a Building’s IQ
Comes Full Circle,"
Seminar to be given at the
BICSI Winter Conference Orlando, FL
January 2007 by James Carlini.
What "intelligent amenities" should a building have? What building is
right for a tenant comparing connectivity, reliability, automation and other
elements? Marketing a building or campus becomes totally different once you
ask, "How smart a building do you need?" instead of "How much
space do you want to lease?"
from James Carlini, who pioneered the whole concept in 1985 and how his test
was used to compare downtown buildings and perform infrastructure assessments
in places like Century
City. With his insights,
he became the Mayor’s Consultant in planning the Chicago 911 Center, which is
rated #1 in the country by the Homeland Security Agency. What impact does
measuring building intelligence have today?
are more real estate organizations becoming aware of this concept as
competition heats up to attract the right tenant base. Economic development is becoming critical
with many municipalities as well. They
need to attract and maintain new businesses.
old real estate adage of “Location, Location, Location” has to be updated to
“Location, Location ,Connectivity” as more municipalities find out that
Economic Development equals Broadband Connectivity. And, Broadband Connectivity equals good jobs.
General Cable Announces Brian J. Robinson As Chief Financial Officer
General Cable Corporation
(NYSE:BGC - News) announced that Brian J.
Robinson has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
and Treasurer of the Company effective January 1, 2007. Robinson will report to
Gregory B. Kenny, President and Chief Executive Officer of General Cable. He
replaces Christopher F. Virgulak, who previously announced his decision to
leave the Company at the end of 2006. Virgulak will continue in an advisory
role for up to six weeks to ensure an orderly transition of the Company's
"As a leader with an
extraordinary reputation for integrity, teamwork and high professional
standards, Brian is well deserving of this recognition," said Gregory B.
Kenny, President and Chief Executive Officer of General Cable. "Brian has
led our Corporate Financial Accounting and Reporting Team and has been
instrumental in driving improved controls and best practices in our global
finance organization. He has also played an instrumental role in our Company's
major financing transactions, which have significantly strengthened the
Company's balance sheet, lowered our borrowing costs and improved our operating
Robinson became the
Controller for General Cable in 2000 and assumed the additional responsibility
of Senior Vice President and Treasurer in March 2006. He began his career at
Deloitte & Touche LLP in 1991, and in 1997 moved from Cincinnati,
Ohio to London,
he served as Audit Manager focused on accounting services for global companies.
In 1999, Robinson joined General Cable as Assistant Controller.
Robinson holds a Bachelor of
Science degree in Accounting from the University of Dayton
and received his CPA certification in 1993.
Kenny continued, "For
over 20 years, Chris Virgulak has been a key contributor to the overall
strength of the Company and a great business partner to me. He leaves General
Cable having built a highly capable global finance organization and, for that,
I thank him on behalf of all our associates and our shareholders, and I wish
him all the best in the future."
"I have had many
opportunities to contribute and grow professionally at General Cable and I
leave knowing that the Company has a deeper finance organization, a stronger
balance sheet, and is well positioned for the future," said Christopher F.
Virgulak. "I am certain Brian is the right person to lead General Cable's
financial team, and partner with Greg and other members of the Company's
Leadership Team to continue on their quest to profitably grow the Company on a
With $3.5 billion of
annualized revenues and 7,700 employees, General Cable is a global leader in
the development, design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of copper,
aluminum and fiber optic wire and cable products for the energy, industrial,
and communications markets. Visit our website at www.generalcable.com.
Hitachi America Appoints Industry Veterans To The Embedded Business Group Marketing Team
Ltd., a subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd. (NYSE:HIT - News) announced that Steven King
has been named vice president of marketing and sales and deputy general
manager, and Collin Bruce as director of marketing for the Hitachi America,
Ltd., Embedded Business Group.
Mr. King will be responsible for all
marketing and sales efforts for the Embedded Business Group in North America, including sales, business development,
analyst and public relations, and promotion of Entier products. The Embedded
Business Group announced Entier, its application-optimized RDBMS for embedded
devices, in September 2006. Mr. King was formerly the executive account manager
with this division. Prior to joining Hitachi,
King spent three years developing sales infrastructure and methodology with
early-stage and established companies such as Green Hills and Huthwaite. Prior
to that assignment, King spent eight years with Wind River Systems. He holds
degrees in computer science and business from the University of Oregon.
"Steven brings to this position a
true passion for embedded devices as well as a wealth of experience in both the
design and engineering of these systems," said Hiroshi Nakamura, vice
president and general manager of the Hitachi America Embedded Business Group.
"His knowledge of the market and ability to envision new devices will help
not only Hitachi
but our partners and customers as well."
Mr. Bruce, in his new role as director of
marketing, will be responsible for all marketing programs for Entier. He joins Hitachi from Solid
Information Technology where he was director of strategic alliances and
business development. With more than 25 years of experience in the industry, he
has also held executive marketing positions at companies such as Chordiant,
Amdahl, SCO, and Memorex. He holds a degree in math and applied physics from Brunel University
"Collin brings a great deal of
experience to the table," said Mr. King. "With his broad industry
experience and most recent embedded experience, we expect to rapidly ramp up
our partnerships and design wins." www.hitachi.com.
Steady Growth Expected For North American Home
awareness and robust new construction activity have helped propel the growth of
the home automation market.
A recent study from Frost & Sullivan found that it earned revenues of
US$1.2 billion in 2005 and the research firm estimates this number will reach
US$2.4 billion by 2012.
"The ever increasing awareness among homeowners about the benefits offered
by the home automation market has driven the growth of this market," says
Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst David Lee.
"This increase in awareness is mainly due to the entertainment aspect. The
manufacturers, to some extent, have been able to educate the homeowners and
make an offering as a package along with the entertainment."
The lack of proper training for installers affects the sales of home automation
systems. Proper installation is essential for a system to function effectively.
Hence, training for installers about the products becomes imperative.
"A properly installed system can further improve the potential of the home
automation market," explains Lee.
"Word of mouth publicity about the benefits of the system can certainly
help in driving the sales. This can effectively occur only when the system
performs efficiently which is dependent on its installation.
"Therefore, this challenge needs to be addressed immediately in order to
further increase the market potential of home automation systems."
Industry associations and conglomerations must arrange for necessary resources
to train the system integrators, contractors and installers, he added.
Although manufacturers do train individual dealers, training under one roof
would definitely benefit the home automation system sales, Lee said.
Earthquake Exposes Worldwide Telecommunications Vulnerabilities
Wednesday's earthquake and aftershocks jolted Asia for hours but the telecommunication disruptions may
reverberate for weeks. When transpacific fiber optic cables were damaged,
Internet and phone call volume plummeted by half and Web browsing slowed to a
According to the Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC), the disaster
highlights the vulnerability of international telecommunications in a global
economy that has grown dependent on real-time communications.
It also raises the stakes for US$500 million in planned investments in new
transpacific undersea cables.
"Natural disasters can expose weaknesses in global communications,"
said Ken Zita, who served as a telecommunications advisor to the U.S.
Government following the Asian tsunami. Zita, conference chairman of PTC'07: Beyond
Telecom, will host telecommunications executives from over 60 countries at
PTC'07 next month where emergency communications and disaster management will
"Despite the latest network management technologies, traffic concentration
remain susceptible to strong natural hazards."
David Lassner, President and Chairman of the Board of Governors for PTC and CIO
at the University
of Hawaii, added that
global telecommunications cannot be underestimated.
"Everything from billions of dollars in international trade to personal
communication with family is silently carried by our industry … When we go
dead, the world goes dead."
Speed is Good: Consumers Shouldn’t Accept Second-Rate Network Solutions
Carlini’s Comments, MidwestBusiness.com’s oldest
column, runs every Wednesday. Its mission is to offer the common man’s
view on business and technology issues while questioning the leadership and
visions of “pseudo” experts.
CHICAGO – Wake up and smell the fiber. Craving
speed and creating the best is very American and we are not behaving like
Americans, writes James Carlini.
people should be outraged at getting a second-rate solution for something as
critical as its network infrastructure. It goes against what average consumers
demand in almost every other product and service arena.
Speed is the
common measurement that cuts across many products and services as the general
metric for assessing whether or not a product is good, bad or world-class.
Speed is Good
Gekko’s “greed is good” line from the movie “Wall Street,” “speed is good”.
People want speed in everyday processes and should be demanding efficiency
rather than bureaucracy in the regulation of the network.
Who wants a
slower car? Who wants to spend more time on a commuter train going to and from
work? Who wants to wait in a grocery checkout lane or in this season’s
favorite: the post office? Who wants to wait 10 to 15 seconds for downloading a
file if they can get it instantaneously?
What about things
you can’t have today?
downloading a first-run movie in 10 seconds to watch on its opening day? Is
that too slow? Make that less than a second. What do most people do when going
to a far-away vacation destination? Take a train, a plane with two intermediate
stops or a non-stop plane?
People take the
fastest route. They want to get to their destination as fast as possible. Most
people wouldn’t want to spend time waiting or traveling at a slower rate. The
same should hold true for their network infrastructure.
Go on any trading
floor and tell the traders their line will be 250 milliseconds slower than the
person next to them for the session and see if you walk away alive. Go to those
same traders and say you’re installing a faster network connection for them and
they will be 250 milliseconds faster than anyone else on the floor.
take the “wait” out of everything. That’s what people want in everyday life.
While there are many reasons we could list, all you have to do is look around
you and see what people are doing.
A long time ago,
I came up with four universal network truths for viable organizations. This was
long before DSL, the “triple play” and Wi-Fi. Some things are always true and
are accepted as the basic framework for any type of viable network:
Networks never get slower. When was the last time you heard someone say they are
Networks never get smaller. You are always adding to networks by adding users
through acquisitions, new applications, etc.
Networks never stay the same. Organizations are always adding on or changing
network configurations due to acquisitions, mergers, downsizing and other
Networks never work all the time. All networks can fail. You may have 99.999 percent
uptime – even 99.9995 percent or maybe even 99.9999 percent – but no one
has 100 percent. No one.
universal laws of networks are still relevant, we still have many people who
are clueless about them. Once you understand them, you realize you’re going to
have to spend some money to have the best network infrastructure and you’re not
going to tolerate anything that’s inferior.
Second best is
not acceptable. It shouldn’t be sold in the U.S. as “the next generation of
network solutions”. Americans want the best. Trying to sell us something else
doesn’t work. Eventually, those companies are found out and paid back by
consumers voting with their pocket books.
Need an example?
Just check the stock prices of Ford, GM and Toyota. What do you drive?
If there was real
competition within the network infrastructure area, we would be using the Toyota fiber network or
some other quality network with data, video and voice screaming down on gigabit
Why Are We
Accepting Second Best?
Today, we should
be looking at rolling out fiber to the premise (FTTP) or a wireless
equivalent that can provide gigabit capability. Anything in the planning stages
at this point should be looking at gigabit if not multi-gigabit speeds.
California has had a broadband initiative of “1
gigabit or bust by 2010”. There, everyone is supposed to have 1 gigabit access
by 2010. This is a very good objective. Hopefully, that state will attain that
goal in the time frame they have designated.
Just like “best
practices” are a moving target, goals for bandwidth speeds are also a moving
target that have to be carefully understood. What target speed should be the
national goal? Is California’s
1 gigabit the speed goal? This decision is critical because it would put some
pressure on the traditional phone company (AT&T) to get its act together.
by AT&T – Project Lightspeed or U-verse – fall dismally short of putting America back on
top. The top speed offered is 6 Mbps and the future speeds are touted at 25
Mbps to 30 Mbps. There are intelligent industrial campuses that are looking at
implementing 40 Gbps speeds today. Project Lightspeed looks more like “Project
countries looking at gigabit speeds and universal coverage, our traditional
phone companies have tried to put the bureaucratic brakes on innovation and
global competition to milk another couple years of profits on copper-based
infrastructure that should all be replaced today.
What was cutting
edge in American network infrastructure is now cutting corners to squeeze
another couple years of profits instead of making the investment to leapfrog
everyone. You haven’t sold me.
Carlinism: Don’t sell me a painted-up stagecoach and
tell me it’s NASCAR.
James Carlini will present how he
pioneered measuring building intelligence at the annual BICSI
winter conference in Orlando on Jan. 22, 2007. Also, check out his blog at CarlinisComments.com.
is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University. He is also
president of Carlini & Associates. Carlini can be
reached at email@example.com or
Click here for
Carlini’s full biography.
Dataline and Telco Surge Protection: the Why’s And
How’s In Commercial Environments
in a commercial or campus environment? By that we mean a multi-building or even single
building facility. A typical campus installation could be like the following
example - two facilities consisting of buildings approximately 50 feet from
each other and connected by two 100-pair along with many UTP cables. As is common, these cables carry both voice
and data. The telco switch along with the computer network closet is located in
one building while dozens of telephones and PC’s are installed in the other. You may also be facing the demands of
installing and servicing some of the latest technologies in the networking
world such as CAT 6 and wireless Power over Ethernet (PoE) environments.
happen in this type of environment? Time
and time again, the same story is heard "During a thunderstorm the remote
building might lose communications with the main building. We would trace the problem to some hardware
failures and the vendor would repair the damage by replacing expensive
hardware. We have suffered downtime and
costs over and over again.” Does this
sound familiar? Stories like this come from everywhere such as the network manager
in Atlanta whose file server blows up every time lightning strikes nearby; or,
the IT manager in Kansas that reported multiple computer port failures during
storms; or, the computer and telecommunications manager at a state university
in Oklahoma who lost mother boards and communication ports during a major
lightning strike. These reports are similar to those of the school district in South Carolina that had
its phone and public address system incapacitated during a lightning storm. One last story comes from a chain of
MacDonald’s in Florida
who had their POS registers taken out repeatedly and actually had to give away
food to hungry customers.
sounds to you like these people are not having much fun during storms, you’re
right. The commercial environment, particularly a multi-building site, is the
single most vulnerable type of facility during a lightning storm. But lightning is not the only evil force lurking out there. There are also utility power faults where power is shorted to ground. Also, there are the more mundane culprits
such as normal utility switching operations, or even the effects of large
electrical loads inside the buildings themselves.
is an easy culprit to understand. Lightning can happen anywhere in the US. The Southeast and the Midwest are more known
for their frequent storms but the fact is that no portion of the United States
is immune from lightning’s deadly effects. Lightning is known to rise in
current from zero to 20,000 to 200,000 amperes in 50 to 200 nanoseconds. This
is a tremendous amount of energy in a very short period of time. The expanding
magnetic field from a cloud-to-cloud discharge can easily induce voltages in
data lines in excess of the capacity of line driver chips and other logic
Let’s talk for a moment about a multi-building campus
environment. The campus setting makes
the effects of lightning worse. There are three different ways a remote
building might get electrical power, and remember all of the computer and phone
equipment, as well as the data cable or telephone line, in these facilities is
tied to utility power. First, it is
possible for one building to receive power from the other. Another possibility
is that both buildings receive power from the electrical utility and both have
their own service entrance. The third possibility, like the second, is that
both have their own service entrances but utility power comes from two
different utility sources. In other words, one building is fed from one
utility substation and the other from a different substation.
to be made about this has to do with ground. Grounding, is a very misunderstood
concept, but for our purposes let’s think of ground the way a PC, router, or
PBX has to deal with ground. All communication has a signal or logic level that
can be measured with respect to ground or between wire pairs. The PC or other
equipment doing the communicating only understands the signal with respect to
this ground. If ground starts to move with respect to data, then that reference
may be lost. If the shift is large enough, then the device, which is connected
to both power ground and data will be damaged or destroyed. The term for this is "electrical
overstress." In a campus
environment, the ground reference of various buildings is constantly moving
with respect to other buildings. When lightning strikes, this shift will usually damage or destroy equipment.
When Lightning Strikes The Campus Or Commercial Building Environment
assume for a moment that we have two buildings that are separated by 75 feet
and that one building is struck by lightning.
In just a few hundred nanoseconds tens of thousands of amps will be
flowing in the grounding system of the remote building. For an instant, this
current flow will raise the ground reference of the remote building several
thousand or even hundreds of thousands of volts with respect to the first building. At that instant,
a computer or phone switch looking down that cable will see the cable move
those thousands of volts with respect to its power ground. Of course this huge
ground potential difference will cause surge currents to flow in anything connected
between the buildings. So if the electrical overstress of the ground rise does
not kill the ports, there is always the surge current that can burn up chips,
motherboards and anything else along the path.
As we described earlier, there are
several ways that commercial buildings and campus environments can get
power. Most commonly, power directly
from the same utility substation some distance away and is fed to the buildings
through their own separate service entrances. During lightning events, this
additional power ground length creates even more substantial ground differences
between buildings. The third case, where power is fed from different utility
sources, is the worst case of all. Now we have more distance between grounds
and the buildings will almost never be at exactly the same ground
potential. In any of these cases, ground
shifts between buildings will constantly cause the data line level to appear to
move with respect to ground. This can cause high error rates and retries in its
mildest form and outright damage in its worst form.
Lightning is not the only
phenomena to cause these problems. Anything that shifts one building with
respect to another can cause similar if not more severe problems. If buildings
are fed from two utility sources, then utility switching can cause enough of a
ground shift to blow up ports. But even a large motor, like an air conditioning
system, can cause a shift that can be damaging or disruptive. Of course, any
construction or earth moving that might cut through utility lines causing a
short could cause a similar effect. Even downed power lines from high
winds can have a damaging effect. The
simple fact is that the communication port is extremely vulnerable to the
effects of the outside world, especially in a campus setting.
At this point it may seem reasonable to look for some type of protective device
that would equalize this shift from the data to the power ground. There are any
number of devices called dataline protectors on the market for this purpose.
Most of them are designed to do two things. First, they divert surge energy to
ground. Second, they are installed where the cable enters the building. Let's
look at these two design considerations and see if they solve the problem.
Many of the data line protectors were developed by
manufacturers who began as power line protector suppliers. Most of us
understand how a power line surge protector works. When the voltage on one
line goes high, the surge suppressor diverts the surge energy from the line to
ground. Most of the data line protectors on the market work at the building
entrance by diverting surge energy to ground.
have already occurred to you that if a protection device is pumping current
into the ground system as far away as the building entrance that we will create
much the same scenario that ~-as just described as happening between two
buildings. One part of the grounding system will be shifted or raised with
respect to the other. In fact, service entrance protectors do just that. When
hundreds of amps of diverted current flow through the ground conductor, a
communications port at the other end of the line will see the line suddenly
raised with respect to its ground reference. If this difference is large
enough, the chip will be destroyed.
The Cylix Solution
The Cylix Corporation has the
answer to this dilemma. The protector is mounted directly on the device to be
protected. Now if the data line moves with respect to the chassis of the
protected device, the protector will fire and equalize any differential,
thereby protecting the port. Cylix dataline surge protectors clamp all lines to
ground when any of the lines go high. In other words, all of the lines are
balanced with respect to one another. This action ensures that no large voltage
will ever be presented across the port, unlike those that work like power line
protectors. An additional feature of the
Cylix protectors are that they also block any voltage rises from coming from
earth ground. (It should be noted that in the case of a
campus setting, a dataline protector must be on both ends of the data or
telephone cable. Inside each building, all devices connected to the cable should be similarly
The Cylix Corporation is the
leading developer and manufacturer of dataline surge suppression devices. Cylix devices are found worldwide protecting
almost any device that sends data over copper.
Founded in 1987, the company’s corporate headquarters are located in Westlake Village, CA. Cylix has 7 standard product lines that
protect both data and telecom protection applications. Additionally, Cylix designs, develops, and
markets custom solutions to meet specific requirements of customers.
Asef Baddar Joins The Leviton Voice & Data Team
Engineer / Applications Engineer Supervisor
Leviton Voice & Data, a
division of Leviton Manufacturing Company, Inc., is pleased to announce that
Asef Baddar will lead its Applications Engineering Department as Principal
Application Engineer / Applications Engineer Supervisor.
Already a strong part of the
division, Leviton’s Applications Engineering Department is committed to
customer support excellence. Asef will lead the AE team as it focuses on the
continued improvement of customer facing deliverables such as phone support,
customer complaint resolution, web content, training, technical publications,
and general technical customer support services.
Asef brings thirteen years of
structured cabling experience from General Cabling Company where he was a
senior Applications Engineer. He is well respected in the industry for his
knowledge and for being a problem solver. Leviton is proud to add Asef to its
long list of industry experts. www.leviton.com
Electrical Distributor Employee Compensation Grows Sharply with Economy, NAED Survey Reports
A period of strong, sustained sales
growth has led to sharp increases in electrical distributor employee
compensation between 2003 and 2005, according to the 2006 Employee Compensation
Report from the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED).
Conducted bi-annually in conjunction with 40 other distribution trade
organizations, the survey provides detailed information on compensation and
benefits among both NAED-member companies and among distributors in a broad
range of industries. Survey results are based on data gathered in early 2006.
During the two years from 2003 to 2005, CEO compensation at electrical
distributors increased by 15 percent after being flat between 2001 and 2003,
the report said. Bonuses account for an average of 35 percent of CEO
compensation. Other top management received increases averaging 12 percent.
The largest beneficiary of the booming economy was the outside sales force,
whose compensation is tied to sales. Their compensation grew by an average of
25 percent. Operating employees’ compensation rose by 7 to 10 percent.
The report also offers good news in the area of health-insurance costs, where
the rate of cost increases slowed considerably. Costs of the typical insurance
plan rose by 10 percent from 2003 to 2005, compared to a 25-percent hike
between 2001 and 2003. The slower rate reflects a general leveling in
health-insurance costs along with shifting of some costs to the employee.
NAED’s Employee Compensation Survey offers comprehensive results in two
- Vol. 1—Contains compensation
data specific to NAED members, including benchmarks in executive and
employee compensation, sales commission plans, outside sales policies,
benefit programs and more. This is presented in printed form.
- Vol. II—Compiles data on
thousands of distributors from 40 trade associations, reported by sales
volume and geographic area, presented in a CD-ROM format. This report
supplies the latest data on salaries and bonuses, as well as health,
retirement, vacation and other benefits.
2006 NAED Employee Compensation Report is available for $95 for survey
participants and $295 for non-participants. For more information or to purchase
a report, contact NAED Customer Service at (888) 791-2512 or
2006 NAED Employee Compensation Report Highlights
Distributor Trends – 2003 to 2005
Executive & Employee
compensation has increased by 15% from 2003 to 2005. Bonuses account for
35% of total CEO compensation. Increases average 12% for other top management.
salespersons’ compensation rose by an average of 25%, largely reflecting
commissions on higher sales.
for operating employees grew by 7- 10%.
vast majority (93%) of distributors fund some type of retirement program,
with the 401(k) being by far the most popular.
employee turnover rate was 17% in 2005, up from 13% in 2003.
the first time in recent memory, health-insurance costs are not spiraling
out of control. Between 2003 and 2005, costs for the typical plan
increased by about 10%. This compares very favorably to the 25% increase
from 2001 to 2003. The slower rate reflects a general slowdown in the rate
of health-care cost escalation along with shifting of some costs to the employee.
employer-paid percentage of premium, on average, dropped from about 80% in
2003, to 75% in 2005.
co-pays across a wide range of services increased by $5.
Impact of Scale of
firms have a significant advantage in attracting highly qualified
employees in many management positions since the same dollar commitment
simply represents a much smaller percentage of total sales for the larger
difference in compensation is especially pronounced in some of the key skill
positions where distributors are looking for both cost savings and
operational efficiencies, and in some instances the very largest firms
(over $100 million) are paying two times the total compensation as smaller
firms (under $20 million).
differences in compensation levels for key positions may make it more
difficult for smaller firms to compete for the talent necessary to
maintain efficiencies in a rapidly changing environment.
The above results are
based on an NAED compensation survey conducted in April 2006 and reflects
compensation in place through December 31, 2005.
Contact Sonia Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org to access
print resolution graphics.
To sign up for NAED's weekly newsletter, go to www.naed.org and click on
"News Room" and then "Subscribe Newsletters." Or click on
NAED is the trade association for the $70+ billion
electrical distribution industry. Through networking, education, research and
benchmarking, NAED helps electrical distributors increase profitability and
improve the channel. NAED’s membership represents approximately 4,100 locations
NAED Online Press Room: www.naed.org/naed/news_main.asp? showtype=naed
Web site: www.naed.org
Graybar Continues Trend of Double-Digit Growth Through
Third Quarter of 2006
Organic growth is fueled
by increases in electrical and telecom markets and
capabilities that provide greater business visibility
Graybar, one of the
nation's leading distributors of electrical and communications products and
related supply chain management and logistics services, reported $3.78 billion
in sales through the first three quarters of 2006, an increase of 18.9 percent
over the same period last year. The company also posted a 70.1 percent increase
in operating income over the first three quarters of 2005.
"Our strategy is one of
organic growth focused on our core business," said Robert A. Reynolds Jr.,
chairman, president and chief executive officer of Graybar. "Although
favorable economic conditions are contributing to our growth, it is our ability
to anticipate and respond to customer’s' needs that ultimately drives our
business. Our ERP system provides real-time access to valuable business data,
which helps us increase our productivity and improve our ability to react to
market conditions. Graybar's leading-edge information technology and
logistics capabilities are continuing to raise the bar on performance and value
for our customers."
According to Reynolds, it is
the company's ability to leverage its infrastructure combined with the
dedication of its employee-owners that is producing solid bottom-line
results. Graybar's net income of
$46.7 million for the first three quarters is more than triple last year's
performance for the same period.
This year, the company opened
several new locations and expanded its security product line, adding value for
current customers and providing solutions for new customers, such as security
dealers and installers. Graybar also secured five contract renewals with the
Department of Defense valued at more than $220 million.
Graybar looks forward to
continued business growth by meeting customer’s' needs with its extensive
product and service solutions, national capabilities and advanced technology.
a Fortune 500 corporation and one of the largest employee-owned companies in North America, is a leader in the distribution of high
quality electrical, telecommunications and networking products, and specializes
in related supply chain management and logistics services. Through its network of more than 250 North American
distribution facilities, it stocks and sells products from thousands of
manufacturers, serving as the vital link to hundreds of thousands of
customers. For more information, visit
BOMA International And U.S. Green Building Council Sign Memorandum Of Intent
Commercial Real Estate Industry to Benefit from BOMA and USGBC
Collaborations to Promote Environmentally Responsible Building Practices
The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA)
International and the U.S. Green
Building Council (USGBC) announced the signing of a Memorandum of
Intent (MOI) to work cooperatively to promote energy efficiency and
environmentally responsible building operations and maintenance practices to
the BOMA community of building owners, operators and property managers who
collectively represent 9 billion square feet of commercial real estate. The
announcement was made at the recent Greenbuild Conference and Expo held Nov.
15-17 in Denver.
Among the initiatives outlined in the MOI
are joint promotional activities including collaboration at BOMA's North
American Commercial Real Estate Congress® and The Office Building Show in New
York City in July 2007 and USGBC's Greenbuild Conference and Expo in Los
Angeles in October 2007, as well as joint educational offerings including
Web-based seminars on energy efficiency and green building practices. BOMA will
be working with USGBC as a Top-Tier partner, one of a very exclusive group of
organizations including the Urban Land Institute and the American Institute of Architects
that recognizes the tremendous need for moving real estate to a more
sustainable approach. As a Top-Tier Partner, BOMA will be working directly with
USGBC on program development for Greenbuild 2007 and beyond.
"This collaboration with USGBC reflects
the commercial real estate industry's continued and growing commitment to
promoting energy efficient and environmentally responsible buildings,"
said BOMA International Chairman and Chief Elected Officer Kurt R. Padavano,
RPA, CPM, FMA, SMA, and chief operating officer of Advance Realty Group of Bedminster, NJ.
"Working together to promote sustainable practices not only provides a
healthier and more productive workplace environment, but also creates a
tremendous potential for energy savings and reduced emissions."
and sharing best practices are the keys to success," said Rick Fedrizzi,
president, CEO & founding chair, U.S. Green Building Council. "BOMA is
one of the most respected and influential organizations in the building industry,
and we are proud to be partnering with them to help further green building
practices in the commercial real estate sector."
The Building Owners and Managers
Association (BOMA) International is an international federation of more than 90
local associations and affiliated organizations. BOMA's 16,500-plus members own
or manage more than 9 billion square feet of commercial properties in North America and throughout the world. The mission of
BOMA International is to enhance the human, intellectual and physical assets of
the commercial real estate industry through advocacy, education, research,
standards and information. Founded in 1907, BOMA International celebrates 100
years of commercial real estate in 2007. Learn more at www.boma.org.
The U.S. Green Building Council is the
nation's leading coalition of corporations, builders, universities, government
agencies and nonprofit organizations working together to promote buildings that
are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and
work. Since its founding in 1993, the Council has grown to over 7,200 member
companies and organizations; an 80-person professional staff; a broad portfolio
of LEED® programs and services; an extensive educational offering; the
industry's popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo; and a network
of more than 60 local chapters, affiliates and organizing groups. For more
information visit: www.usgbc.org.
VoiceCon Spring Delivers On The Issues That Matter Most
The VoiceCon Spring 2007
Conference -- www.voicecon.com/spring
-- will be our biggest and best ever. Registration is open and you can save up
to $500 by taking advantage of our "Early Bird" and "Team"
Register today at
In addition to presenting
leading executives from the industry like Louis J.
D'Ambrosio, President and
Chief Executive Officer, Avaya; Mike Zafirovski, President and Chief Executive
Officer, Nortel; and Charles Giancarlo, Senior VP and Chief Development
Officer, Cisco, and President, Cisco-Linksys LLC, VoiceCon is proud to present
IT executives who'll share the lessons learned from leading their companies in
migrating to IP Telephony, Converged Networks and Unified Communication. People
like Johan Krebbers, Group IT Architect, Royal Dutch Shell, and Alok Kapoor,
Managing Director, Merrill Lynch Global Private Client Technology.
VoiceCon Spring 2007 also
will present a special Conference-Within-a-Conference on Next-Gen Contact
Centers. This two-day program, running March 5-6, will focus on the technical,
market and organizational realities that accompany the migration of your Contact Center to IP-based systems and services.
The full conference program
is available for viewing at
and there are plenty of other reasons why you need to be at VoiceCon Spring
2007. For example:
* An Exhibition with ALL
the Major Players: VoiceCon Spring is the ONLY industry event where you'll find
all the major system vendors and service providers gathered in one location.
You can find the complete list of sponsors and exhibitors at
* Your time is respected:
The VoiceCon Spring program is designed to meet one fundamental goal: To
present high-level, forward-thinking, relevant and reliable information that
will help you make the best possible decision for your network, your company and
* VoiceCon cuts through the
hype: VoiceCon doesn't advocate one solution over another. Instead, VoiceCon
presents the facts--how products have tested in the labs, how they've worked in
real-life deployments, and the realistic prospects for technology evolution.
* VoiceCon Tutorials:
You'll receive objective, reliable information that you can use to plan your
network evolution. Topics include the VoiceCon IP-PBX RFP session, IP Telephony
Security, Integrating Microsoft's Live Communications Server and IBM's Unified
Communications & Collaboration into IP Telephony, SIP, Security, the Basics
of IP Telephony and updates on the major product announcements.
* Assess the impact on your
organization: VoiceCon's in-depth sessions will include analysis of how the new
technology changes business and organizational relationships. Learn how
enterprise IT organizations are bringing voice, data and applications staff
together to plan, deploy and manage converged, IP Telephony networks and
In short, VoiceCon Spring
has one overriding objective: Answering your questions about building the IP
Telephony platform that will power your enterprise in the future. It will help
you decide why, when and how to invest in this new technology, and how to get
the most from your investment.
REGISTER NOW AND SAVE UP TO
Register today to take
advantage of the $300 early payment discount off the full event registration
fee. If you register as part of at team of two or more you can save an
additional $200 for a total savings of $500 per person!
To ensure that you receive
your discount please use Priority Code MLNEVF01 when you call 1-800-470-5417 or
register online at https://secure.voiceconspring.com/2007/portal/registration/MLNEVF01.
I look forward to seeing
you in Orlando at VoiceCon Spring 2007.
Fred S. Knight
General Manager, VoiceCon
Publisher, Business Communications Review
General Cable Appoints New CFO
General Cable Corp. has
announced that Brian Robinson has been promoted to the position of chief
financial officer effective Jan. 1, 2007.
Robinson, who replaces Christopher Virgulak, will report directly to president
and CEO Greg Kenny.
He became the controller for General Cable in 2000 and assumed the additional
responsibility of senior vice president and treasurer this past March. www.generalcable.com
ZigBee To Find Traction In Commercial Building Automation In 2008, Says ABI Research
networking technology ZigBee should start finding significant adoption in
commercial building applications in 2008, according to a new study published by
ABI says there are three major markets for sensor networking: the home,
commercial buildings, and industrial facilities, and ZigBee aims to cover them
all. In the home, there are alternatives to ZigBee, and in industry there are
some questions about its suitability.
But according to senior analyst Sam Lucero, commercial building automation is a
market where ZigBee is competitively positioned against other wireless sensor
"Commercial buildings represent a huge addressable market of field
equipment currently using wired field buses to connect sensors and actuators
with lighting, heating, ventilation, access control, and safety systems,"
"ZigBee's features and functionality are very well suited to commercial
Of the five top vendors of building automation systems, which together control
about 70% of the market, four -- Johnson Controls, Siemens, TAC, and Trane --
have introduced wireless products based on ZigBee in the past year, and the
fifth -- Honeywell -- is moving toward doing so.
Over the next five years, up to 20% of commercial building automation system
field equipment may "go wireless," seeking the lower costs, better
control, and greater flexibility that such systems deliver, ABI said.
Wireless Data Network Market Booming: In-Stat
are starting to focus on more sophisticated and valuable applications of
wireless data networks, In-Stat reports.
In addition, the number of users in 2006 having at least one wireless data
application in the field has increased significantly, the high-tech market
research firm says.
Most organizations start with basic applications such as wireless e-mail and
virtual private networks (VPNs), but the larger and more experienced organizations
have plans for more sophisticated solutions.
"The widespread adoption of wireless data technology, which has been
forecast as expanding quickly 'two years from now' since the late 1970s, is
finally here," says Bill Hughes, In-Stat analyst.
"The nature of the productivity benefits vary by vertical market, but the
value is universal."
for wireless multimedia networking to exceed 50 million units by 2010: Park
adoption of next-generation specifications will provide a substantial boost to
the market for wireless multimedia networking, prompting growth in excess of 50
million wireless network devices by 2010, according to The Wireless Multimedia
LAN: Requirements and Outlook.
The new report from Parks Associates predicts that annual sales and shipments
of wireless multimedia-capable devices, including home networking gears,
personal computers, and fixed and mobile consumer electronics, will grow from
2.5 million units in 2006 to nearly 52 million units by year-end 2010, due in
large part to standardization in the market.
"Multiple factors are driving the move by both manufacturers and service
providers in embracing wireless connectivity," said Kurt Scherf, vice
president and principal analyst with Parks Associates.
"Service providers are looking for greater ownership in developing home
networking solutions, operators need to reduce CAPEX costs in deploying home
networking equipment, new content services are on the rise, and consumers are
invariably in favor of eliminating cables. These are all positive signs that
the 802.11n and WiMedia solutions -- among the many home networking options --
will continue to drive growth in new home networking applications."
wireless systems deployments to grow by 20% annually
dependence on wireless communications and their adoption of high-bandwidth 3G
cellular services are the primary drivers of the global growth of in-building
wireless systems that extend and create wireless coverage indoors.
According to a new study from ABI Research, deployments of these systems are
expected to result in revenues in excess of US$3.6 billion and a growth rate of
20% annually by 2011.
"People spend a significant amount of time indoors and not surprisingly
they also expect indoor access from their outdoor wireless service," said
ABI research analyst Dan Shey.
"As a result, commercial buildings will be a major focus of the
in-building wireless systems industry, affecting carriers, businesses, building
owners, equipment manufacturers and solutions providers."
Further information on the study is available at www.abiresearch.com .
Small World, Big Opportunities
With an ever-increasing
number of businesses involved in cross-border trade and the trend toward
international harmonization of technology accelerating, the distances between
countries and cultures becomes shorter every day. As the world grows smaller,
the National Electrical Contractors Association’s global outreach expands in
direct proportion, with help from some powerful partners.
For just about a year now,
the independent research organization that NECA established in 1989 has been
operating under a revised name. “ELECTRI International—The Foundation for
Electrical Construction” better fits its mission to offer electrical
contractors the opportunity to learn about and grow with the new world economy.
Last month, a major
conference held in Melbourne, Australia, focused on just what this new economic
order means for our industry. It was the annual conference of the Federation of
Asian & Pacific Electrical Contractors Associations (FAPECA), and the theme
was “Business Opportunities Across International Borders.” Discussions centered
on topics such as meeting technical standards in other nations, labor mobility,
dealing with regulatory barriers, dealing with language and cultural barriers,
and, of course, the benefits of international networking among electrical
NECA is affiliated with
FAPECA—as well as the International Association of Electrical Contractors
(AIE), which represents National Electrical Contractor Associations throughout
Europe—through our membership in the International Forum of Electrical Contractors.
NECA, FAPECA and AIE jointly established the forum in 1996. However, our
involvement with international exchange goes back further.
For one thing, NECA has been
sponsoring International Study Missions for years. These organized annual trips
bring U.S. contractors into direct contact with the management and work force
of electrical contracting firms in other countries to encourage the interchange
of ideas, technologies and best practices. The most recent trip was to Russia
and Finland this summer.
After welcoming firms from
around the globe as individual members for years, NECA began establishing
International Chapters about two decades ago. Now, there are 12 of these
groups, each of which is a national or provincial trade association for
electrical contractors within its own country. These International Chapters
extend NECA’s reach throughout Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and now
Honduras and El Salvador.
In fact, one of the purposes
of this column is to welcome our newest international affiliates. And, while I
can’t help showing off how proud I am of all of NECA’s international ventures,
I must say I am particularly pleased with what my association is doing to
support Spanish-speaking contractors and electrical workers—and the U.S.
contractors that work with them.
It’s becoming clear that
businesses today must be multilingual and culturally sensitive. NECA is meeting
the need by translating our key publications and reference materials for our
members and affiliates south of the border. These include an insightful
foundation study on “New Business Opportunities for Mexico and U.S. Electrical
In addition, we have provided
management education to more than 1,500 of our Latin counterparts thus far.
Thanks to seed money from ELECTRI International and the continuing support from
NECA’s three chapters in Mexico, our industry has established the Electrical
Technology Institute to offer courses for Mexican electricians and managers and
for U.S. contractors who are considering Mexico as a potential new market.
And that, in the final
analysis, is what NECA’s involvement in international affairs is all about.
It’s not just an intellectual pursuit. Rather, it reflects the pursuit of new
opportunities for our industry in a brave, new world.
Printed with full permission of Electrical Contractor
S+LSS Panel Discussion Uses Key Issues To Open The Door To IBS
By: Milner Irvin - President,
Major security product
manufacturers explored the electrical contractor’s growing role in integrated
building systems (IBS) during Security+Life Safety Systems magazine’s first
panel discussion at the 2006 International Security Conference & Exposition
(ISC East) Oct. 23 in New York. Leaders from Bosch Security Systems Inc.,
Honeywell Power Products (HPP) and Extreme CCTV Inc. discussed the “paradigm
shift” as more electrical contractors enter IBS, driven by the increasing
demand for a clean, uninterruptible power supply with communication—especially
with increasingly complex systems.
“When you talk about IBS, you
can’t talk about the parts and pieces—that’s the whole concept—it’s a holistic
approach to building,” said Leon Chlimper, vice president, systems, Bosch
Security Systems Inc.
With 46 percent of electrical
contractors now specifying, designing and installing security and life safety
systems, the debut session raised key issues among the attending security
integrators on how they can effectively work together and what was the need for
“We’re seeing the electrical
contractor more and more becoming that one-stop solution,” said David
Pieklowski, regional business development manager, Extreme CCTV Inc. “The
electrical contractor is now becoming a spec writer. So how do you become a
good spec writer? The difference is knowledge.”
Security+Life Safety Systems
Publisher John Maisel said a recent research study conducted by the magazine
shows that about 80 percent of all electrical contractors surveyed are involved
in design/build, making up about 43 percent of their gross revenue.
“The introduction of the IBS
contractor is really being driven by the increasing demand for total
integration of traditional electrical power with low-voltage communication
systems,” said Maisel, who is also publisher of Electrical Contractor magazine.
Honeywell Power Products
General Manager Gene Pecora said that two “megatrends” in power are tying
systems together and using video.
“There is small-C convergence
when you see fire systems, access control systems and software tied together
but still fully functional, and big-C convergence tying in building controls,
energy and fire controls on the same system,” said Pecora, whose background is
in the fire industry. “Seventy percent of my R&D is in power over
Ethernet,” he added. “I’ve seen a lot of this integration in the fire category.
It’s highly controlled by code, which brings some standardization and
“More owners are suggesting
they’d prefer not to have five or six subcontractors when they can narrow down
the number,” said Maisel. “What has happened with electrical contractors and
IBS is that the demand for single-source responsibility has really caused a
growing number of electrical contractors to expand their sphere of activity to
include integration, maintenance and installation.”
Security+Life Safety Systems
was the only attending trade publication to offer an educational session at ISC
ITCO Fiber Optics Again Named to "Top 100"
Military Training Technology List
KITCO Fiber Optics has been
named again to the Military Training Technology "Top 100" List for
2006. The Top 100 is compiled by
Kerrigan Media International and Military Training Technology magazine, and
provides a listing of companies that have made a significant impact in the
military training industry during the past year.
Technology approached more than 600 candidates to provide information for the
awards and also invited any interested companies to apply. Based on submissions
and additional information, the publication's editorial board and a panel of
independent experts involved in the simulation and training community then
selected 100 winners. Companies were selected based on various criteria, which,
in part, included total military sales, end-user feedback, innovations and need
for the solution.
KITCO Fiber Optics is a
leading provider of fiber optic connectorization products, training and
consulting services to the military and commercial communications
industry. We specialize in the design
and fabrication of fiber optic tools, tool kits and custom cable assemblies;
producing private label kits for a number of major connector manufacturers and
selling our own broad line of commercial and military products. We develop curriculum and provide commercial
and military training worldwide, and serve as the U.S.
Navy's sole shipboard fiber
optic trainer. Our highly skilled field
services team can respond to your fiber optic requirements anytime, anywhere - rapidly providing the
best solutions for overcoming system problems or delays.
Integrating Lighting, Security, And Fire And Life Safety Systems
By Darlene Bremer
Integrated Building Systems
(IBS)—which merge together all of a building’s systems, including lighting,
security and fire and life safety—represent tremendous opportunities for
electrical contractors. It is a market that will eventually out-grow the
traditional electrical market. Success will depend on the electrical contractor
being able to provide value to the customer and demonstrate that the final
integrated product will fulfill its needs.
There are various ways that a
building’s systems can be integrated, but they all rely on communications
protocols, such as BACnet, LonWorks, Modbus and, for lighting, Digital
Addressable Lighting Interface (DALI).
BACnet is a U.S. national
standard, a European prestandard and an ISO global standard; it was developed
under the sponsorship of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and
Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). It is a data communication protocol for
building automation and controls networks, and its governing set of rules cover
everything from what kind of cable to use to how to perform a particular
request or command in a standard way.
LonWorks, developed by
Echelon Corp., San Jose, Calif., is a flexible and expandable standards-based
control networking platform upon which manufacturers can build products and
applications. Once called LonTalk, the LonWorks platform is an international
standard, alternatively known as ANSI/EIA709.1, SEMI E56.5, IEEE 1493-L and
EN14908, among others. As an open technology, LonWorks allows devices from one
manufacturer to communicate directly with products from another manufacturer.
Designed by Modicon for use
with its programmable logic controllers (PLC), Modbus is a communications
protocol that has almost become a de facto standard in industry, since it
represents the most commonly available means of connecting almost any
industrial electronic device. Modbus is used in master-slave applications to
monitor and program devices, to communicate between intelligent devices and
sensors and to monitor field devices. It is also used in applications where
wireless communication is required.
On the other hand, DALI is a
dedicated protocol purely for lighting control. However, it is effective for
setting scenes and for getting feedback concerning faulty light sources.
According to DALI-AG, this makes the technology useful to tie into building
automation systems where remote supervising and service reports are required.
According to Chris Hollinger
and Heath Klein, systems integration product managers for Siemens Building
Technologies, Buffalo Grove, Ill., the choice of a communications protocol when
designing an integrated building depends on the systems being considered.
“Each building system must be
examined separately to determine what integration solution works best,”
However, at the most basic
level, building systems are integrated through sensors and controls that allow
individuals to program specific lighting and environmental scenarios for their
spaces, according to Barry Haaser, senior business director, LonWorks
Infrastructure, for Echelon Corp.
“The goal is to provide a
building and its users with connectivity between all systems and devices,” he said.
There are two fundamental
methods of building integration; native takes parts from different suppliers
and integrates them to make a single homogenous system, while system-level
means building separate, discrete and fully functioning systems, such as
lighting, security, etc., and then tying them together at the system level.
“Trying to integrate a
building using the native method is difficult because the components come from
different manufacturers, and even though they are supposed to communicate, they
rarely do so well,” said Ian Rowbottom, principle application engineer for
Lutron Electronics Inc., Coopersburg, Pa. However, using the system-level
approach to building integration means that the fully functional system from
each manufacturer can then use the correct communication protocol to tie the
True integration, agreed Jack
McGowan, president of Energy Control Inc., Albuquerque, N.M., means finding
commonalities between building systems and using the appropriate communication protocols
to program them to provide cooperative sequences of operations that offer
increased value to the building owner.
“Integration is a continuum
from mere communication to interoperability and interchangeability that
provides the building owner with a value proposition,” he said.
However, it is estimated that
less than half of completed IBS systems use the full potential of integration.
“A building’s integrated
system is more likely to be separate systems that share the same network or
platform, but aren’t actually programmed to interact with each other fully,”
said Bob Riel, vice president of Dynalectric Co., San Diego, Calif.
Then again, as the IBS market
grows and matures, more and more smart devices are being developed that are
Internet protocol (IP) enabled and not proprietary, which allow building owners
to integrate similar systems into the building management network for the
purpose of having centralized oversight and operation of the building’s
“Smart devices include lighting
sensors, occupancy sensors, and HVAC equipment that communicate with each other
over the building’s Ethernet and provide sophisticated programming that
automates the interoperability of different systems,” said Ross Holly, project
manager at Rosendin Electric Inc., San Jose, Calif.
Similarities and differences
While there are differences
between all of the widely used communication protocols, they are the same:
their primary purpose is to facilitate communication between devices, according
to Klein. Another common thread between BACnet, LonWorks and Modbus is that
they all conform to the European Open System Interconnection standards and
provide a migration path for data to be communicated to higher level devices.
Furthermore BACnet and LonWorks are similar in that they are open architectures
originally designed for the native integration method.
“Both of these protocols,
however, are being used today for intersystem communication as part of the
natural evolution of IBS,” Rowbottom said. Even DALI is the same as the other
protocols in that it allows the building’s lighting control system to
communicate with individual fixtures, although it is not really used, Rowbottom
added, for building-wide integration purposes.
The differences among the
protocols, however, is what electrical contractors need to be most concerned
about when providing customers with an integrated building solution. According
to Hollinger, BACnet is a system-level protocol designed specifically for
building automation, while LonWorks is more useful for device-to-device
“Modbus has its roots in
industrial processing control, while DALI is specific for use in lighting
applications,” he said. In addition, according to Rowbottom, BACnet and
LonWorks are more complicated to program than Modbus and DALI and require
formal training and software from ASHRAE or the manufacturer, respectively.
It is important to realize
that each of these protocols is also different in the way it communicates, in
its functions and features, how it is installed and configured, and in the way
it is managed.
“But they were all developed
to provide building owners with a way to expand, extend and enhance their
building automation systems without being confined to any one particular
manufacturer,” McGowan said.
A large percentage of
building automation systems being installed today use system-level solutions,
such as BACnet or LonWorks, rather than proprietary protocols.
“I think most solutions
providers can provide these system protocols but not necessarily support them,”
This fact requires that those
electrical contractors who want to take advantage of the opportunities this
market provides need to understand the protocols as well as the actual media
cabling involved. For example, LonWorks requires specific wiring be used to
enable devices to talk to each other, while BACnet has five network types that
“To succeed, contractors need
to understand more than the electrical system of the building but also its
automation, HVAC, information technology and security systems,” McGowan said.
They need to know how these other systems operate and interact so that they can
provide an integration plan for the owner that fits its needs. In the future,
McGowan said, contractors need to be aware of technological migrations toward
the use of Ethernet communication and XML language protocols as buildings
become smarter and operate as individual microcosms.
“To survive and prosper in
the future building construction industry and to provide owners with the
intelligent building systems that they will demand, contractors need to become
full building integrators rather than providers of electrical systems.”
It is also advised that
contractors have people on staff with knowledge about the various other
building systems involved in a complete IBS because the operation of HVAC, life
safety or security systems are not a normal part of the electrician’s
established skill set, Riel said.
“It is not difficult for the
electricians to learn how these other systems operate and are controlled, but
experts in other systems can train field personnel on exactly how to install
and connect them properly,” Riel said.
Of course this means
contractors need to make an investment in examining the market and in providing
“As integration becomes more
vital, it also provides a great opportunity for contractors to add value to
their offerings and to differentiate themselves from the completion,” Haaser
Contractors can start the
learning process on the Internet by visiting nonmanufacturer sites that provide
information about the various communication protocols.
“Contractors can also talk to
system vendors, attend their training, and develop relationships with them,”
Hollinger said. According to Holly, manufacturers are the key to success in
“Manufacturers are working
with architects to get their products specified into jobs. Working with them
allows contractors to learn and adapt to technological advancements,” he said.
When entering the field of
integrated buildings, Riel suggested starting with smaller jobs to begin
exposing field personnel to the installation and programming requirements of
“You can then start sending
those electricians and low-voltage technicians that demonstrate an aptitude for
either the programming or start-up and commissioning aspects of integration to
specialized training,” he said. EC
BREMER, a freelance writer
based in Solomons, Md., contributes frequently to ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. She
can be reached at 410.394.6966 or by e-mail at email@example.com
Printed with full permission of
Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com
How Accurate Is That Measurement? - And Why Should You Care?
By Jim Hayes
When making a measurement on
a newly installed fiber optic cable, do you ever wonder when you make a
measurement, just how accurate that measurement is? Just what does accurate
A measurement is accurate if
the value we measure is close to the real or actual value. The other important
issue for measurements is their “precision,” or how repeatedly we can take
measurements of the same quantity. In order to have accuracy, you must first
have precision. Precision comes from standardizing the measurement process to
reduce the variation among tests.
Now that you know the
difference between precision and accuracy, we can analyze just how accurate the
fiber optic measurements you make are. Since most measurements are of cable
plant loss, let’s consider them.
Measuring insertion loss with
a light source and power meter or optical loss test set requires you also use
reference test cables on each instrument and mating adapters to connect up to
the cables under test. There are several factors associated with these test
tools that affect the precision and accuracy of the measurement, some of which
are controllable by the user. The user has little control over the wavelength
of the source or the linearity of the power meter, but the instruments’ battery
charge status and condition of the reference cables and mating adapters, which
are critical to reduce measurement errors, are under the control of the user.
Reference cables should be of
high quality, determined by testing then against each other for insertion loss.
The mating adapters should have metal or ceramic alignment bushings and be
rated for use with single-mode fiber, even if multimode is being tested. Some
standards, like TIA-568-B, require the addition of a mode conditioner to the
launch cable attached to the source, usually done by wrapping the reference
cable around a mandrel of a certain size for each fiber type. And needless to
say, everything must be kept spotlessly clean.
Careful control of all these
conditions should allow making measurements with a precision of about +/-0.1
dB. You can test this yourself. Set up your instruments, set your references
and test a single cable, preferably a short one with no connectors, according
to OFSTP-14. Record the loss to 0.01 dB resolution if possible. Then disconnect
the cable you are testing and retest ten or more times. Calculate the average
of the readings and see how much each individual reading differs from the
average. It should be within 0.1 dB if you control your process well.
Once we know how to make a
repeatable measurement—a precise measurement—we want to know how accurate it
is. In order to know how accurate a measurement is, we must know what the
“real” value is for comparison. And here, I’m afraid, we are encounter a
The issue is not just the
source and power meter. We can send them to calibration labs that will check
conformance to their specifications and actual performance—the source
wavelength, meter linearity and power calibration to NIST standards—but when we
measure the loss of a cable with these instruments, the measurement depends on
the test conditions controlled by our reference cables and mating adapters.
Testing a single fiber optic
connector requires mating it to a reference connector, as we define connector
loss as the loss of a mated pair of connectors— sensible since a single
connector has no loss, per se, if it is designed to connect two fibers. The
loss we measure with different reference connectors may vary considerably.
Prove it to yourself. Test the same cable we tested above with several
different sets of reference cables. I’ll bet the individual measurements vary
by as much as +/–0.25 dB. On a typical cable plant with several connections, it
can be +/–0.5 dB. Any connector you mate to a higher loss connector will most
likely have higher loss, so it is to your advantage to make sure that your
reference cables are all in good condition with low loss connectors.
Why is this such a big deal?
When you contract to install a fiber optic cable plant, you agree to meet
certain specifications for component losses and the total cable plant loss.
Getting your payment will probably depend on meeting those specifications. The
more accurate your measurements are, the less likely you are to reject good
cables or accept bad ones. Either case can be expensive because you may fix a
cable that was really acceptable or be called back later to fix one that tested
acceptable earlier. Learning how to use and maintain your test equipment
properly can be financially rewarding. EC
HAYES is a VDV writer and
trainer and the president of The Fiber Optic Association. Find him at www.jimhayes.com.
Printed with full permission of Electrical Contractor
Belden Plant In Pointe-Claire To Close Next April
Belden has announced
it will shut down activities at its Pointe-Claire, Que. facility, a decision
which it says is necessary because of production over capacity worldwide. The
closing, which takes effect next April, will affect some 200 employees.
The company will continue research and development, product development and
marketing activities in Pointe-Claire as well as a centre of excellence that
focuses on enterprise communication technology.
Going forward, the company will have approximately 100 employees in the area.
"It is with regret that we announce today the reduction of some of our
activities," said Guylaine Branchaud, Belden's human resources manager in
"We are fully aware of the impact of this decision on our employees and
their families. In this difficult time, an employee assistance service is
available at all times."
Breaking Into The Security Business
Home security can open doors
for residential work
By Jeff Gavin
For electrical contractors,
the world of wiring basic light and power is evolving. The phrase “electric
architect” aptly describes what consumers’ demand of contractors today. It
might involve designing an electrical closet, wiring touchpads or installing complete
home automation. Consumers are using home security systems as that first step
to lead or drive home electronic integration. It is a prime opportunity for
contractors willing to tackle this growing residential amenity.
Security systems evolve
A simple home security system
typically features a keypad or wall console homeowners use to set their alarms.
Sensors are placed above entry doors and sometimes windows. If an alarmed home
is breached, a security company and the police are immediately notified through
a customer’s phone line. Security system sophistication grows based on what a
customer needs and wants to spend.
Toledo, Ohio-based Transtar
Electric Inc., a full-service electrical contracting business, has offered home
security systems for the last 29 of its 30 years in business. Often
subcontracting with builders, its success in home security led to Transtar
Security and Technologies. Dan Bollin serves as president for Transtar.
“What’s being done today in
home security is incredible,” said Bollin. “You can install cameras and monitor
them away from home through the Internet. You can integrate your lights so a
microprocessor remembers your lighting habits over two weeks time and
replicates them when you leave for vacation. Your lights can flash if there’s a
The systems that Transtar
installs provide up to 32 different zones in a home that can be monitored
through motion detection. His systems typically incorporate smoke detectors and
carbon monoxide sensors as well.
“In the security field, it
seems there are no limits to a developer’s imagination,” Bollin said. “We can
install a panic button for a customer so they can instantly summon police in
case of an emergency. We can provide the elderly with a pendant that with the
simple press of a button delivers a medical alert for family and medical
Transtar Security and
Technologies has become its own security company. It offers monitoring of its
intrusion and perimeter security protection.
“We have a private monitoring
station that can alert us to malfunctions or other necessary service calls,”
said Bollin. “The staff is specially trained.”
Emergency calls go through
what Bollin calls a central station that responds and alerts police or the fire
department personnel. Security systems are increasingly tied into a complete
home automation structure.
Security systems help drive home automation
A 2006 ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR
research report, “Electrical Contactors’ Roles in the Residential Market,”
conducted by Renaissance Research and Consulting, highlighted this changing
industry. Nearly three-quarters of the surveyed respondents indicated they
perform whole house automation, which can include fire/life safety and
security, home theater and audio installation and other controls. Transtar does
all of those. Contractors often handle this work without subcontracting and use
their existing staff rather than creating a separate division or department;
Transtar is an exception.
While Transtar does it all,
other electrical contractors subcontract with electronic systems professionals
or “integrators” as Ken Smith calls them. Smith is the president of the Custom
Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA). He is also the
president and owner of Custom Electronics Inc., a home integration specialist
firm headquartered in Falmouth, Maine. His firm works with electrical
contractors, builders and architects.
“There are so many ways we
can work with an electrical contractor,” Smith said. “Security systems and
integrating them into our home automation work is becoming increasingly
Like Bollin, Smith sees some
amazing creativity and endless potential in home security.
“I’ve seen systems where
doors can be locked remotely,” Smith said. “You can even alarm your system or
disarm it from your cell phone. Cameras and closed-circuit television [CCTV]
capture just about anything outside the home and can save images on a hard
drive to be easily downloaded for police. It seems, the more someone uses their
imagination, the better and more practical security integration becomes.”
Such integrated work largely
skews toward upper income clients. It’s a growing segment with increasing
opportunity. The Electrical Contractor research report reveals that in 2005
one-quarter of electrical contractors worked on a home valued at $1.5 million
or more and many often worked on custom or luxury housing.
“I estimate almost 90 percent
of my business is new construction, though new products are coming out to
support retrofitting. Integrators need to work in concert with the other trades
so everything works together. The more an electrician knows, the more helpful
they can be when they subcontract with someone like me,” Smith said.
Training your employees
“We’re a union contractor,”
Bollin said. “Our employees go through the formal JATC [Joint Apprenticeship
and Training Committee] training including voice, data and video apprentice
work. We also take advantage of appropriate courses offered through NECA’s
Management Education Institute [MEI] including such topics as structured
CEDIA provides custom
electronic design and installation training and certification aimed at the
residential market. The National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA)
offers its National Training School (NTS) that provides online schooling for
installation certification and accreditation. Workshops and other continuing
education are often available through local chapters of NBFAA. The association
also recently developed its “Fire/Life Safety and Electronic Security Apprenticeship”
standards recently approved by the U.S. Department of Labor.
“Now that NBFAA has taken the
next step by establishing a federally approved apprenticeship program, our goal
will be to work through our National Training School (NTS) and our state
chapters to create the administrative and delivery systems to make
apprenticeship accessible to technicians in every state,” said NBFAA president
George P. Gunning. “The fundamental components, including curriculum, work
experience processes, and defining the responsibilities of the employer,
apprentice and program sponsor are already in place.”
Gunning added that the
apprentice program provides a mechanism to introduce and train technicians on
the latest products, technologies and applications.
Paying attention to licensing
Contractors need to be aware
that some cities and/or states require security system licensing. Such
licensing may take the form of training and/or testing requirements for all
electronic life safety, security and systems professionals. NBFAA offers a
state-by-state licensing guide through its Web site. Membership may be
Meanwhile, leading security
associations are working to address a lack of uniform standards and
regulations. The Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC) is composed of
representatives of the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), NBFAA, the
Security Industry Association (SIA) and major alarm companies and
manufacturers. It provides coordination in a variety of areas between the alarm
industry and the Federal Communications Commission, other regulatory agencies
and members of Congress.
In the end, it’s the intrepid
electrical contractor who can make home security a winning residential
opportunity. It may take some training and possible partnering with other
contractors, but it’s a growing market ripe for development.
GAVIN is the owner of Gavo
Communications, a marketing services firm serving the construction and the
landscaping industries. He writes trend, design and other business articles for
Printed with full permission of
Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com
Feel The Heat Of Convergence
By Claire Swedberg
Convergence among security,
lighting, energy management and other disciplines is growing in a host of
financial and retail institutions. As more security integrators appear on the
scene to solve retailer and banking problems—both from the physical security
and information technology (IT) side—contractors have the choice to step back
or jump in.
That means going beyond
low-voltage installations to the maintenance and service contracts that follow.
Many contractors already offer services such as alarm monitoring and troubleshooting
after the installation is complete, but service, maintenance and other routine
follow-ups will continue to play a critical role in the business function,
especially as convergence comes on strong.
“If I were an electrical
contractor, I would look at the disposable items,” said Severin Sorensen,
chairman of the Physical Security Council for the American Society for
Industrial Security (ASIS), Alexandria, Va. Those items include providing data
collection, remote ‘reads’, even knowing and being able to alert a retailer or
bank when the lights are turned on.
Security companies, systems
integrators and technology vendors are scrambling to provide retailers and
banks with more services, designed to meet our mobile, global consumer and
economy. As this trend continues, providing installation alone might not keep a
contractor in the low-voltage business.
Access control is a market
segment that continues to rise. And, the federal government is expected to
release a uniform access control standard for businesses that would require a
large percentage of those businesses to replace their access control readers
and other hardware. This is an opportunity for some of them to integrate their
access control with other security technologies, such as closed-circuit
television surveillance or other network-based systems.
“Maintenance agreements and
alarm services will be the life blood of a business,” Sorensen predicted. At
the same time, integrators are coming onto the scene with their own computer
design experience along with understanding of the networks, installation and
the handling of logical security from the IP side. Low-voltage contractors
stand poised to either lose business or gain it, as retailers and banks look
for contractors that can provide one solution.
“A wise contractor will
increase his education and awareness of convergence technology,” Sorensen said.
“The creative contractors are the ones who are going to stay in the game.”
Some security vendors are
extending their own services as well. Diebold Global Security is one example.
“Diebold customers in both
the retail and financial markets are deploying open-market products to leverage
installation and service providers for best of breed in both technology and
service,” said Vince Lupe, director of Product Management and Planning for
Diebold Global Security, North Canton, Ohio. “Diebold has a national footprint
with more than 4,000 service professionals, which enables us to respond to and
satisfy nearly any customer requirement.”
Like banks, the retail world
is using security technology prominently to capture images both in front of the
store and inside.
“What’s really hot in retail
is digital camera usage and the ability to monitor lots of sites from one
location,” said Daniel Butler, vice president of merchandising and retail
operations for the National Retail Federation Foundation (NRF), Washington,
According to the National
Retail Security Survey, the majority of shrinkage comes from the store’s
employees and other employees across the supply chain. Stores are looking for
security all the way from the manufacturing site, and the manufacturers are
cooperating in that effort. Increasingly, trucks are being monitored and
tracked, Butler said, using GPS tracking and radio frequency identification
technology with readers and antennas installed at distribution centers,
warehouses and storerooms.
Biometrics still interest
retailers, but the technology has not evolved to the economies of scale
necessary to make it affordable or realistic for most stores, Butler said.
It’s not just the threat of
shrinkage that is fueling the retail and banking security industry.
“So many businesses have
security systems today because of the threat of terrorism,” said Bill Lozon,
vice president of Sales and Marketing, UltraVision Security Systems Inc.,
Salem, N.H. That and the fear of domestic crimes have led businesses especially
in retail and banking to go one step further into fortifying the perimeters.
“We’re seeing more and more defensive
perimeters and first alert alarms,” Lozon said.
Shipments of wireless
products, including sensors and alarm panels will double in volume in the next
five years. Wireless PIR sensors are expected to dominate the wireless
intrusion industry by 2009, according to SAIC, a San Diego-based systems,
solutions and technical services company, with 80 percent of products being the
wireless PIRs designed to speed installation for security and alarm dealers.
Wireless glass break sensors are also expected to be popular.
Astute contractors are
already working with retailers and financial institutions to install and
maintain security systems, many of which have converged with various types of
technology. As technology evolves, maintenance and service opportunities will
continue on the upswing.
Digital signs display content
and messages on a screen and can be changed electronically. Retailers typically
change thousands of prices in a day, for example, and it can be done in a
matter of minutes usually via an Internet connection.
Digital signs also can be
scrolling message boards, LCD or plasma display panels, electronic billboards
or projection screens. Digital signage screens can offer a wide range of text
or images or even full-motion video with or without sound. Retailers often use
these signs as if they were television channels displaying entertainment,
advertising or product information.
Expect to see all these
changes slowly applied to your next retail or financial project.
SWEDBERG is a freelance
writer based in western Washington. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Printed with full permission of
Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com
By Jennifer Leah Stong-Michas
Using a single interface for
voice, e-mail, faxes and more
The initial hype surrounding
unified messaging (UM) when it was introduced around 1994 has kept up. Not only
has the technology evolved, but so has the name. UM has evolved into unified
communications (UC) and, as the name implies, this latest generation offering
helps unify different aspects of communication: voice, video, fax, e-mail, IM,
conferencing, mobility, etc.
“There is an increase in demand in response to
the recent market flurry around unified communications,” said Diane Shariff,
director of Communications Applications, Avaya.
People use so many types of
communication in their daily lives—multiple phone numbers, mobile devices,
PDAs, e-mail—and unified communication helps meld together various forms. In
addition, as Shariff said, “The technology has improved and standards have
evolved, plus the fact that users are simply overwhelmed has increased overall
acceptance. A simple feature such as ‘one number’ where I can set my cell phone
to ring at the same time as my office phone helps in responsiveness to
communications, users essentially have one inbox for all of their communication
needs. A single interface—Microsoft Outlook is popular—accesses and manages
e-mail, faxes and voice mail. The interface allows users to read, print and
forward faxes and voice mail. Recent trends include “click to talk” or “click
to conference” from an instant message.
Speech access is an
intriguing advance in unified communications. One dials into the unified
mailbox and, following voice prompts, asks the interactive personal assistant
questions in an almost Disney-like session. You can tell the system to read
e-mail for you and even respond in various ways. Though futuristic sounding,
the technology is there, readily available and accessible.
Contractors take note
From the contractor’s stance,
getting customers primed and ready for unified communications offerings is like
any other communication application. There is a heavy reliance on the
infrastructure, which is an absolute necessity in order for things to work
Since most voice traffic
rides on an Internet protocol (IP) network, one of the primary considerations
when contemplating taking on unified communications—or any other application—is
making sure that the network can handle the traffic.
This is important because, as
Shariff said, “Customers are just not forgiving when it comes to delays in a
voice network. It is somewhat OK when data chugs along, but people will hang up
if there is a voice delay.”
“It is also important to make
sure that the network’s configuration can meet the changes associated with adding
on unified communications,” Shariff said. That falls into a sweet spot known by
most contractors as network analysis. Having customers interested in adopting a
UC solution could potentially lead to more work since, from a systems
standpoint, additional servers are generally required for support. More servers
mean more cabling must be run.
Today’s ever-changing world
also makes new technologies useful in ways that many may not even realize.
“Speech access is also
becoming instrumental in areas such as airports. Speech access and unified
communications allows for users to access their e-mail from anywhere,” Shariff
adds. In addition, as road rules change for cell phone usage, people may find
that having something as handy as speech access tied into the main network can
be a time saver, and, potentially, a traffic violation saver.
Though not all customers will
choose unified communications, contractors may be surprised at the number of
current clients that have interest in this area. This is especially important
for contractors who have established firm relationships with companies that
offer UC solutions, as this small niche offering may prove to be more popular
as time goes by. Hey, even the most tech-savvy road warrior and constantly
connected individual needs a little help. EC
STONG-MICHAS, a freelance
writer, lives in central Pennsylvania. She can be reached via e-mail at JenLeahS@msn.com.
Printed with full permission of
Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com
Little Red School Houses Get Wired And Turn Green
By Dr. Thomas E. Glavinich
facilities focus on technological advancements and efficiency
School construction and
renovation is on the rise across the United States. It’s a process needed to accommodate a
growing student population and provide the up-to-date educational facilities to
prepare students for life and work in the 21st century. Even though educational
facilities have specific requirements, the public and private entities that
own, operate and maintain them face many of the same challenges as their
counterparts that deal with other types of commercial and institutional
facilities. These challenges include providing a safe, healthy and
state-of-the-art learning environment for students while dealing with shrinking
budgets, rising energy and material costs, and a shortage of teachers. As a
result, the current trend toward integrated building systems is beginning to
find its way into educational facility construction and renovation, which is
improving the efficiency and effectiveness of both building operation and the
The building systems in an
educational facility are generally similar to those that make up any commercial
or industrial building. From an operational standpoint, these systems can be
categorized as environmental, life safety and security, and production systems.
The environmental systems include the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP)
systems that establish the physical environment in which building occupants
live, work and play. Life safety and security systems include those that are in
place to protect building occupants from physical harm. The environmental and
life safety and security systems in educational facilities are very similar to
those found in other commercial and institutional facilities.
Production systems, on the
other hand, support the human activity that is carried out within the building
and are unique for educational facilities. For an educational facility,
production systems include all the technology necessary for modern education.
Just like an office building or a factory, educational facilities can benefit
greatly from the integration and interoperability of all these diverse systems.
Building a learning environment
The physical environment
within a school must promote learning by providing a comfortable and healthy
environment for students and teachers. Bad lighting and poor indoor air quality
(IAQ), thermal control and acoustics all adversely impact students’ abilities
to learn. The school’s environmental systems that include artificial and
daylighting; heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC); and acoustics
all have a significant impact on students and their learning productivity. In
addition, the lighting and HVAC systems are responsible for almost all of the
energy used by an educational facility.
Lighting quality is very
important in schools and it is not just about light quantity. Most of what
students do is visual, and poor lighting quality can affect their ability to
learn effectively. Lighting and lighting control systems that are installed in
schools today need to support modern instructional media such as whiteboards,
video projectors, computer displays and other visual technologies. Wherever
possible, daylighting should be integrated into the school. It has a positive
affect on student moods and attitudes and reduces energy use when coupled with
an effective control system.
Similarly, thermal comfort in
the form of an effective HVAC system is important to ensure occupants’
well-being and indoor air quality. In order to optimize the learning
environment, the HVAC system must be capable of not only controlling the
temperature and humidity of classrooms but also air quality. This means that
HVAC systems must have sensors that not only monitor temperature but also
carbon dioxide to bring additional fresh air into the space when needed.
As in other commercial and
institutional buildings, the environmental systems in educational facilities
have been designed, installed and operated as independent, stand-alone systems.
System integration can optimize the overall operation of the building and
provide a healthier and more productive environment for students as well as
increase the efficiency of building operations.
Division 25 of the
Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) MasterFormat is entitled
“Integrated Automation” and covers building system integration. Environmental
system integration can be accomplished with either a traditional proprietary
building automation system (BAS) or by the electrical contracting firm using an
open-architecture control system such as LonWorks.
Security in educational
facilities from preschools to universities is a major concern. Safety is a
basic need and schools must provide a secure environment where students feel
safe. Technology plays a large role in making schools secure.
Access control in some
schools is nearly equal to that found at airport gates and includes personal
identification, metal detectors and the X-ray of book bags as the student
enters the facility. In addition, access to restricted areas that are open only
to teachers, staff and administrators is often controlled with card readers and
keypads. Student movement and activity is monitored in buildings using security
closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems. Students get access to restricted
areas such as laboratories and dormitories using card keys and keypads.
Emergency call stations are located throughout buildings and around school
property in case of an emergency.
Student photo identification
cards with magnetic strips and bar codes are used to quickly identify students
for access to buildings as well as to school functions and sporting events.
These ID cards are also being used to check out library books, purchase lunch
on campus like a credit card or gain access to an examination. In the future,
student ID cards with built-in passive radio frequency identification (RFID)
chips or biometrics will be used to speed-up identification and improve
Today’s schools are high-tech
facilities that incorporate the latest in communications and information
technology. Information technology not only enhances education, but it also
prepares students for the world that they will live and work in tomorrow.
Modern schools use a variety of technologies to enhance the students’ learning
experience. Liquid crystal display projectors coupled with computers, document
cameras and DVD players are rapidly replacing overhead projectors and VCRs in
classrooms. Smart boards replace blackboards and white boards and not only
record everything written on them but also can serve as a touchscreen for
interactive computer use.
Wired and wireless local area
networks (LAN) are common in schools today. Wi-Fi allows students to bring
their own laptops and tie into the school’s network. Wireless networks in
schools also provide greater flexibility as to where and how desktop computers
are used in the classroom. These networks were originally installed to allow
students and teachers access to software and other network resources residing
on the school or school district’s server as well as the Internet. However,
schools are finding additional uses for their internal networks such as voice
over Internet protocol (VoIP), telephony and streaming video. Some schools have
found that VoIP is an economical way of putting a telephone in each teacher’s
room with their own voice mail and extension that facilitates interaction with
parents. In addition, CCTV systems are being used for internal school
communications, and cable/satellite television systems are being used to
introduce students to world news and events.
The little red school house turns green
The green building movement
is an important trend that is driving system integration in educational
facilities. Public and private educational facility owners are requiring that
new schools be environmentally sustainable and energy efficient. Many
educational facilities are being certified using the U.S. Green Building
Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green
building rating system. Meeting the LEED requirements forces building environmental
systems to be integrated in order to provide a healthy, comfortable and
resource-efficient environment for students.
Green educational facilities
serve an educational purpose for both students and the general public as well
as to conserve resources throughout the building’s life. Sustainable and
energy-efficient school buildings introduce the next generation to
environmental issues and their importance, which is a valuable lesson. In
addition, a green educational facility shows the public that sustainable
construction is more than a demonstration of social responsibility but good
business because increased operating efficiency and reduced maintenance over
the life of a building pays off.
The growing school
construction market coupled with the increasing use of information technology
in the classroom and the trend toward integrated systems to improve facility
efficiency provide good reasons for the full-service electrical contracting
firm to “go back to school.” If your firm has design/build capability, you
should be aware that an increasing number of both private and public school
projects are using design/build as their delivery system. Even with competitive
bid school construction projects, there are owners experimenting with awarding
work based on best value rather than selecting solely on low price. In addition
to new construction work, there are still many older educational facilities
that need their power, communications and control systems upgraded, which can
provide a lot of opportunity for service work or small project work for the
electrical contracting firm. EC
This article is the result of
a research project that is sponsored by ELECTRI International and investigating
future markets for electrical contracting firms.
Glavinich is an associate
professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural
Engineering at The University of Kansas. He can be reached at 785.864.3435 or email@example.com.
Printed with full permission of Electrical
Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com
The World According to Wireless
Wow your customers with Wi-Fi expertise
By Deborah L. O’Mara
If you don’t know about the
continued surge of wireless access technology or Wi-Fi, you might want to come
out from under that rock. It’s everywhere: airports, libraries, coffee shops,
orthodontists’ offices. Even whole cities, such as Philadelphia and San
Francisco, have debuted citywide wireless access. Your portable Internet and
mobile connectivity solution is ready when you are.
Wi-Fi, or detailed wireless
fidelity network, is any type of 802.11 or dual-band access network. The Wi-Fi
Alliance, Austin, Texas, awards a “Wi-Fi Certified” mark after products are
tested and declared interoperable with one another.
In free Wi-Fi locations—hot
spots—you can fire up the laptop or portable computing device, PDA or
Blackberry to send and receive messages throughout a normal day.
What’s most interesting is
Wi-Fi is not even close to its saturation level. Two markets in particular are
growing, said Karen Hanley, senior marketing director, Wi-Fi Alliance.
New content and mobile
computing continue to drive the market. In the business environment, wireless
networking has to be safe and secure. Concerns for large-scale enterprise users
continues to center on the security of the network, but those fears have been
allayed through standards and manufacturer-designed products that incorporate
encryption and other means of authentication and control.
The most current proposed
standard in Wi-Fi LAN networking is 802.11n, and products certified under its
requirements will soon emerge from the drawing tables. The Wi-Fi Alliance plans
to begin certifying next-generation products starting in 2007, before the
802.11n standard is fully complete. This decision, according to Frank Hanzlik,
managing director of the Wi-Fi Alliance, “is important for the group to keep
the industry moving toward a new Wi-Fi standard that promises increased speeds
and new applications, such as video distribution.”
It’s all about faster data
transfer speeds, both in the distribution and the backhaul, or getting the
signal or information back to the network.
The Wi-Fi Alliance has
certified products for all the preceding 802.11 standards, including 802.11a,
802.11b and 802.11g. In March 2007, when the Institute of Electrical and
Electronics Engineers general membership accepts the new draft proposal for
802.11n, the Wi-Fi Alliance will update its certification process to comply
with the standard. The group hopes to make certain the standard products will
also interoperate with previously certified products. A final standard most
likely won’t be completed until 2008. The Institute of Electrical and
Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.11 committee establishes standards for
wireless Ethernet networks that define the over-the-air interface between
wireless clients and a base station or access point that is physically
connected to the wired network.
Beside general public
connectivity, Wi-Fi extends traditional pipe, wire and cable, and fiber optic
applications and encourages convergence of facility operations and
It’s quite common for a large
enterprise to integrate a wireless and hardwired network. Based on a wired
backbone, Wi-Fi networks may work off the Ethernet and wireless to connect a
wide range of computers, portable electronics, controls and other devices.
Wi-Fi extends the network to remote areas where digging and trenching is not
possible or is cost-prohibitive. Corporate users and campuses can use wireless
access points to extend the Wi-Fi network into areas that are difficult to
reach and they can also use it to provide easy Internet access for off-site
employees and visitors. Instead of an Ethernet connection and cable, they can
simply log onto the corporate network using Wi-Fi. Physical security in access
control and video surveillance is where Wi-Fi will provide opportunities for
electrical contractors now and in the future.
For example, BlueWave
Security, San Diego and INTELLIKEY, West Melbourne, Fla., recently announced
the ability of its system bundle to convert centrally managed access control
locks, using the customer’s existing Wi-Fi or Ethernet network. The Wi-Fi
controller uses the IEEE 802.11 standard for wireless communications and
supports both the WEP and WPA wireless security standards.
A traditional biometrics
solution provider is also offering a Wi-Fi based product. Silex Technology’s
NetGuard Wi-Fi LAN access control with fingerprint reader is biometrics-based
access control for enterprise networks, according to Gary Bradt, vice
president, biometric division, Silex Technology America Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah.
“For security of Wi-Fi networks, the user must first use the fingerprint
biometric device to verify identification and gain access. Before a user can
connect to the Wi-Fi LAN, their fingerprint must be authenticated.”
The combination of wired and
wireless and Wi-Fi access provides countless additional opportunities for
enterprise-wide networking, convergence, safety and security.
Santa Clara, Calif., uses radio links to interconnect buildings as an alternative
to running fiber-optic cabling between the sites when construction costs or
delays make the deployment of fiber unsuitable, said Gregg Levin, senior vice
president of product operations.
“Our products are also used
to create high-speed wireless backbones to connect outdoor Wi-Fi or WiMax hubs
back into core data networks. A third application, that is quickly growing in
popularity, is to backhaul video traffic from IP security cameras back to
security monitoring centers.”
BridgeWave products are designed
to provide full-rate gigabit Ethernet data rates, with the reliability and
security of fiber optic cabling.
“While these links can be
viewed as a replacement for fiber, it is often better to look at them as a
complementary extension for fiber. These products enable contractors who
install fiber networks to economically reach locations that are beyond a local
building, without sacrificing performance.”
Levin said the emphasis on
wireless has turned to higher capacity applications.
“Most Ethernet backbones have
increased to gigabit speeds now, and new Wi-Fi and WiMax access points require
backhaul connections of 100 Mbps or more,” Levin said. “As a result, users who
previously used 10–50 Mbps wireless links as an alternative to installing
copper cabling are now moving to gigabit wireless links as an alternative to
installing fiber. Beyond the higher data rates, the very low latency of these
links makes them ideal for real-time applications, such as the remote control
of high-resolution pan-tilt-zoom IP security cameras.”
The Rockford, Ill., Housing
Authority (RHA) improved public safety with wireless security monitoring of a
crime-prone area. The RHA chose a solution from Montel Technologies, a provider
of wired and wireless networking solutions for voice, video, data and security
applications. The new monitoring system is based on IP video cameras and
wireless mesh network from Firetide Inc., Los Gatos, Calif. The RHA Firetide
mesh network wirelessly connects outdoor video surveillance cameras to a
central location for live monitoring and recording of video feeds. A digital
video recorder in the central location captures video from all of the cameras
and enables staff to view any camera from any location over the Internet.
Mesh nodes automatically connect
to each other to form multiple wireless links to each
node. These redundant paths
increase the network’s coverage and reliability even around tall buildings or
large vehicles. The Firetide mesh is designed to support multiple concurrent
“Cities and enterprises alike
are now looking for wireless networks that can support video surveillance,
voice over IP, Wi-Fi access and first responder communications,” said Mike
Downes, vice president of marketing communications, Firetide.
“Wi-Fi is extremely popular
and provides an access point. But you need wires in the background, and there
still needs to be connectivity to the computer. That’s the wireless paradox. A
mesh network can replace the network cabling where it’s not feasible to install
it, like a portable wireless network for electronic ticketing and point-of-sale
Encryption, mesh networks,
nodes and backhauling are important terminology you will continue to hear as
Wi-Fi extends into more safety and security applications. U.S. Wireless Online,
an Internet broadband network provider, recently selected Trango Broadband
Wireless, San Diego, to power the backhaul for Pittsburgh’s downtown Wi-Fi
network. The Pittsburgh network is designed to provide free outdoor wireless
access in its central business district. In addition, the Wi-Fi network will
provide nearby municipalities with secure service for critical public safety
Wi-Fi access provides a realm
of new possibilities of connectivity. Being able to deploy a network that can
handle the rapidly escalating data rates is also critical as wireless moves
into mainstream. Electrical contractors can get a piece of this growing market
as it moves the convergence of physical and information technologies even
O’MARA is the president of
DLO Communications in Park Ridge, Ill., specializing in low-voltage. She can be
reached at 847.384.1916 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Printed with full permission of Electrical Contractor
Change Of Plans
By Mark C. Ode
Code considerations for the
The price of copper has been
increasing at an incredible rate over the past few years. The reasons for the
increase is not an issue that will be discussed here, but the resulting price
escalation affects the electrical industry since many of the electrical
conductors used in construction are copper. Many contractors have inserted
price-escalation clauses in their contracts to help defray the differences in
the cost of copper between the time the contractor bids the job, the bid is
accepted and the purchase of the copper conductors. In some cases, aluminum
conductors are being substituted for copper conductors resulting in redesign of
the service and feeder conductors after the bid is accepted. In other cases,
the contractor or engineer is using different ampacity tables permitting higher
ampacity of the same size conductor (See related story, pg. 118).
To analyze the conversion
from copper to aluminum or to use a conductor at a greater than normal
ampacity, various sections of the National Electrical Code (NEC) must be
studied to ensure proper compliance. Article 310 is an extremely important
article for conductor ampacity and contains the building blocks necessary to
determine the ampacity of conductors to be used for general construction
wiring. Article 310 covers general requirements for conductors, their type designations,
insulations, markings, mechanical strengths, ampacity ratings and the uses of
conductors. It does not apply to conductors that form an integral part of
equipment, such as motors, motor controllers and similar equipment. For
example, the internal wiring of a dishwasher would not be covered, but the
branch circuit wiring would be.
310.15(A)(1) in Article 310 permits conductor ampacity to be determined by
ampacity tables provided in Section 310.15(B) or under engineering supervision,
as provided in Section 310.15(C) using the Neher/McGrath formula. The formula
uses a series of calculations, taking into account all heat sources and any
thermal resistances between the heat sources and free air to calculate heat
transfer. Section 310.15(B) covers ampacities for conductors rated 0 to 2,000
volts, as specified in Table 310.16 through Table 310.19, Allowable Ampacity,
and Tables 310.20 and 310.21, Ampacity, as modified by (B)(1) through (B)(6)
for various correction factors.
Moreover, Tables 310.16 and
310.17 seem to be causing some confusion based on their usage within the
industry. Table 310.16 covers allowable ampacities of insulated conductors of
not more than three current-carrying conductors in a raceway, cable or directly
buried in earth based on an ambient temperature of 30°C (86°F). Table 310.17
covers allowable ampacities of single-insulated conductors in free air based on
an ambient air temperature of 30°C (86°F).
The decision to use Table
310.16 or Table 310.17 is usually based on the method of installation. If you
install the conductors in a raceway, base the ampacity of the conductors on
Table 310.16. If you install single conductor cables in a single layer with one
cable space between cables in an uncovered cable tray, use Table 310.17.
Between these tables, the difference in permitted ampacity for the same size
conductors is very apparent. For example, using the 75°C column in Table 310.16
for 500 Kcmil XHHW copper, the allowable ampacity would be 380 amperes in a raceway.
When using the same cable in a cable tray, the allowable ampacity would be 620
amperes, or 240 amperes higher than the conductor installed in a raceway.
The problem occurs where the
higher ampacity for a cable is used based on Table 310.17, and the conductor is
then terminated to electrical equipment. Equipment terminations are usually
based on the ampacity of Table 310.16, as 110.14(C)(1) states, and unless the
equipment is listed and marked otherwise, conductor ampacities for equipment
termination provisions should be based on Table 310.16. This creates a dilemma
since the 500 Kcmil termination lug within the equipment is based on a Table
310.16 ampacity of 380 amps, but the cable is being used at an ampacity of 620
amps as permitted by 392.11(B)(3).
However, Section 310.15(A)(2)
exception states “where two different ampacities apply to adjacent portions of
a circuit, the higher ampacity shall be permitted to be used beyond the point
of transition, a distance equal to 10 feet or 10 percent of the circuit length
figured at the higher ampacity, whichever is less.” However, this exception
only applies to conductors and not to the termination. The answer to the
problem this raises seems to be the connection of a splicing device, in our
example where one 500-Kcmil conductor at 620 amps could be converted to two 350
Kcmil conductors at 310 amps each for a total of 620 amps.
A thorough understanding is
necessary since misuse of any aspects of the
NEC can be extremely costly and potentially dangerous. It is essential to
understand the concepts whenever contemplating
a change. EC
ODE is a staff engineering
associate at Underwriters Laboratories Inc., in Research Triangle Park, N.C. He
can be reached at 919.549.1726 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Printed with full permission of Electrical Contractor
Getting Started In Security
By Wayne D. Moore
Bill yourself as
code-compliant and follow the rules
Electronic security systems
forecasts show continued industry growth. In fact, some studies indicate this
$16 billion market will grow at an annual rate approaching 7 percent. Sales and
installation of security and fire alarm systems, especially in residential,
offer a relatively easy way for an electrical contractor to get into the
The wise contractor can also
monitor alarm systems using an Underwriters Laboratories (UL)-listed monitoring
company, referred to in the industry as a central station. Members of the
Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), Vienna, Va., offer UL listed and
other credentialed monitoring services (www.csaaul.org).
Installing security systems
allows you to place your company label on the control panel and decals on the
windows, which help to expand your image and develop name recognition in the
security and fire alarm business. In turn, this will help generate more sales from
the neighbors of your initial customer.
With any venture into a new
market comes new responsibilities. You will need to determine what security and
fire alarm equipment offers the most reliable service. You will need to
determine whether the manufacturer of that equipment offers acceptable training
and technical service to support the products.
To set yourself apart from
other people in the security market, you can promote “code-compliant” fire
alarm and security systems. The National Fire Protection Association’s NFPA
72-2007, National Fire Alarm Code, will serve as your principal guideline for
the fire alarm portion.
Most contractors in the
security business do not even know NFPA has begun to establish itself as a code
and standards developer for the security industry. NFPA recently published NFPA
731-2006, the Standard for the Installation of Electronic Premises Security
Systems. While no building code currently requires the use of this standard,
the fact that a nationally recognized standard now exists will motivate the
professional contractor to follow it as a “standard of care.”
The standard “covers the
application, location, installation, performance, testing and maintenance of
electronic premises security systems and their components.” Its stated purpose
“is to define the means of signal initiation, transmission, notification, and
annunciation; the levels of performance; and the reliability of electronic
premises security systems.”
NFPA 731-2006 also can assist
the contractor in understanding the features associated with security systems
as well as the procedures necessary to modify or upgrade existing security
systems to meet a customer’s application needs. Those familiar with electrical
installations can easily obtain the skills required to install security and
life safety systems.
According to the standard,
“electronic premises security systems can include one or more of the following
system types: intrusion detection; access control; video surveillance; asset
protection; environmental detection; holdup and duress; and integrated
The standard also recommends
“the installers of electronic premises security systems should become familiar
with the equipment they intend to install.”
equipment and its application provides the first means of success. The second comes from understanding
the market and its issues. False alarms continue to plague the security market.
These annoying unnecessary signals have prompted the law-enforcement community
to institute a “no response” policy and fines in many locales.
NFPA 731-2006 addresses this
by instructing the professional contractor to know the limits of the devices
and appliances for a particular design. In addition, “the installer should have
an understanding of the causes of false alarms and methods that can be taken to
decrease the possibility of their occurrence.” Studies point to user error as a
primary cause of false alarms, so in-depth training of those deploying the
system on a regular basis is critical.
Develop an understanding of
local and state licensing laws. Although hairdressers and barbers must be
licensed in every state, alarm contractors might not carry this requirement.
Many states that have licensed security and fire alarm contractors will
recognize the electrician’s license without the contractor applying for a
separate license or taking additional tests. However, you may need to obtain a
Homeowners will rely on your
expertise to provide them with a security and fire alarm system installation
that will keep them safe and secure. This reliance opens up certain additional
liability issues your insurance program must address.
Join a local alarm
association and find out what “standard of practices” the other contractors
follow. This will help ensure you have the right contracts and understand the
obligations you will encounter.
Security systems can offer a
significantly profitable addition to your electrical contracting business.
Understand your responsibilities before you jump in. EC
Moore, a licensed fire
protection engineer, frequent speaker and an expert in the life safety field,
is a co-editor of the current National Fire Alarm Code Handbook. Moore is a
principal with Hughes Associates Inc. and is located at the Warwick, R.I., office.
Printed with full permission of Electrical Contractor
By Russell Munyan
A recent visit with my
daughter to her doctor got me wondering. When he walked in carrying a notebook
computer to access her recent test results, I wondered about how secure the
network was. Other organizations, such as financial institutions and retail
businesses, may certainly be at risk from outsiders. Could a hacker really sit
outside of a bank branch or retailer (or my doctor’s office) and access or
manipulate financial, credit card or client information?
There’s a lot to know about
wireless network security and it needs to be taken seriously. Granted, network
safeguards against wireless security threats primarily use software and
encryption and special hardware in devices that are typically installed and
managed by network management or information technology (IT) personnel. But as
convergence continues in all forms of connectivity, and technologies overlap
and support each other, electrical and cabling contractors need a working
knowledge of wireless security and its issues to effectively and responsibly
serve their clients.
Say you install a wireless
access point for a small- to mid-sized retailer who accepts credit and debit
cards for payment. You should raise the question of network security,
especially if the staff appears to be self-managing their network without much
sophistication or input from an IT professional. In this way, you are elevating
your company to the role of educator, providing another service.
Data encryption is a widely
deployed method of security for wireless access points. There are basically
three levels of encryption: unsecured, minimally secured and secured.
Let’s say that your client
buys an access point off the shelf, installs it himself and then tinkers with
his notebook computer to get it to communicate with others. Before long, he
could successfully and, (probably) unknowingly, open wide an unsecured port
into his network. At that point, a hacker utilizing tools readily downloaded
from the Web for free (Google: “wireless hacking”) can sit with a notebook
computer outside of your client’s walls (parked in his lot, sitting in the
mall, in the space next door, etc.) and access his network. The access point
service set identifier (SSID), which is a 32-character unique identifier that
acts as a password when a mobile device tries to connect to it, will remain at
its manufacturer’s default SSID. The hacker’s software will only need to try a
relatively short list of manufacturer’s default SSIDs to get into his network.
An unencrypted SSID can still
be “sniffed,” so even if your client changes his SSID, it may still be
unsecured. He needs to go to at least the next level of security, which
utilizes wired equivalent privacy (WEP), a security protocol for wireless local
area networks that encrypts data as it transmits it from one end point to
another. This level of encryption is already available on many existing
off-the-shelf AP’s and wireless devices. However, WEP uses a static, or
unchanging, encryption code on each device; therefore, once a hacker cracks that
code for one of your client’s devices, then the encryption no longer provides a
The latest encryption
utilizes Wi-Fi Protected Access and Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA and WPA2).
These provide stronger data protection and network access control than WEP by
automatically using random encryption code keys during wireless connections.
WPA and WPA2 provide users with a high level of assurance that only authorized
users can access their wireless networks. WPA2, which provides government-grade
security, is available WPA2-Personal and WPA2-Enterprise. However, these are
only available on the most recent AP’s and wireless devices, and may require
manufacturers’ upgrades on older devices, which are often downloadable for
There are many sources for
more information, including four free no-frills video tutorials by Todd Logan
at www.wireless-network-tutorial.com. Sources for white papers on security
encryption and how it fits into a larger network security strategy include
www.cwnp.com/learning_center and www.wi-fi.org/white_papers.php.
Consider this: wireless
network security offers another potential income opportunity for electrical and
cabling contractors. If nothing else, contractors can partner with networking
and IT firms to whom they can refer clients. Potentially, everyone wins in
those situations: end users get secured networks, IT firms get new customers
and electrical and cabling contractors get referral fees. EC
MUNYAN is a freelance writer
in the Kansas City area, specializing in business writing and
telecommunications. He can be reached at www.russwrites.com.
Printed with full permission of Electrical Contractor
Cabling America – Team 2000 Presents
CCTV – Video Surveillance
complete CCTV installation manual on CD-ROM from
coaxial cable to unshielded twisted pair!
company assets has become the number one reason to install surveillance
cameras. With the new, less expensive and easier to handle digital cameras are
extensions of management, that extra pair of eyes. Watching employees, monitoring production
processes, tracking project movements or surveying customer traffic, using a
structured cabling system turns this process into a digital technology
Start from the ground floor:
We start our manual from the
basics of analog over coaxial cable and work up to the network and digital
cameras and the network.
We will show you where the work is and
This is an installation CD that is
unique in this industry.
Take a look at what’s covered!
- Types of CCTV systems
- What’s in a Design
- Basic CCTV Components
- Camera Switcher Devices
- Coax Cable
- Tools for Cable Connectorization
- Coax Cable Repair - Weatherproofing
- Drilling and Anchoring
- Knowledge of Building Construction
- Mounting Hardware “step by step”
- Ceiling Cameral Installation – Dome
- Roof Camera Installation
- Pan and Tilt and the zoom procedures
- The Balun
- Video over Unshielded Twisted Pair
- 25 pair UTP cabling – Running cameras in the
- Patch Panel and Patch Cords
- UTP Termination for CCTV cameras
- Power Sources and power up the cameras
- Recording Video
and analog - compression
- IP – Surveillance – Video Network
- TCP/IP – LAN Adapter Cards
- Ethernet Networking
- Installation of the server to the network
- Hub and Switcher
- Surge Protection
And much, much more! All this is
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For more information about
ordering this exciting training and installation opportunity for only $159.00–
please call Cabling America – Team 2000 at 214-328-1717, or log on to our Web
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Don’t Miss Out!
Scolink Selected To Serve On U.S. National Committee’s IEC Council
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) today
announced that Alvin B. Scolnik, vice president of Technical Services, has been
elected to serve a one-year term on the USNC IEC Council, which guides U.S.
policy and participation in the International Electrotechnical Commission, the
predominant international standards development organization for electrical
products based in Geneva, Switzerland.
The U.S. National Committee is the focal point for U.S. parties
interested in the development, promulgation, and use of globally relevant
standards for the electrical industry. As a committee of the American Standards
Institute, its mission is to help ensure that the U.S. industry participates
effectively in the development of IEC standards to facilitate international
trade. The USNC IEC Council coordinates the U.S. involvement in the IEC and
other electrotechnical bodies associated with the IEC. The main focus of the
council is to manage policy and strategic issues and to improve the overall
effectiveness of the USNC’s involvement in the IEC. It also coordinates USNC
activities with appropriate standards boards to promote consistency between
those international and national activities that fall within the scope of the
“We are pleased that Al Scolnik has been chosen to serve on a committee
so important to the return on the considerable U.S. investment in international
standards for electrical products,“ says NEMA President Evan Gaddis. “He will
serve with distinction as the USNC works to promote U.S. positions on important
international standards issues.”
NEMA is the trade association of choice for the electrical
manufacturing industry. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington,
D.C., its approximately 450 member companies manufacture products used in the
generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end-use of electricity.
These products are used in utility, medical imaging, industrial, commercial,
institutional, and residential applications. Domestic production of electrical
products sold worldwide exceeds $120 billion. In addition to its headquarters
in Rosslyn, Virginia, NEMA also has offices in Beijing, São Paulo, and Mexico
With AT&T, BellSouth Merger Approved, Bell ‘Revestiture’ Continues
Carlini’s Comments, MidwestBusiness.com’s oldest
column, runs every Wednesday. Its mission is to offer the common man’s
view on business and technology issues while questioning the leadership and
visions of “pseudo” experts.
in 1984 was not such a good idea.
We are almost
back to square one as another regional Bell operating company merges back into
AT&T. The executives and lobbyists from AT&T and BellSouth must be on a
mission from god because they are putting the band back together. It seems no
one can stop them.
They waited until
the last week of the year to pull off the largest telecom merger in U.S.
history. I always thought the old Bell system was better as one big company.
They are another step closer to proving I was right by continuing what I coined
as the “revestiture of AT&T” in a column in May
2005. I stated:
For all the
noise generated by small Wi-Fi prophesies and shrill catalysts for change in
the telecom and network industries, you still hear the clear booming sounds of
Ma Bell’s old Victrola playing louder than anyone and setting the rhythms for
regulation and rewrites.
We have come
about full circle with the telecom industry. Unfortunately, that means we are
back where we started.
played at the FCC again when it merged BellSouth with AT&T. They now cover
22 states with about 300,000 employees and about 70 million subscribers.
Paralysis on Net Neutrality
There is so much
blog analysis on the recent approval of the AT&T and BellSouth merger that
the true issue has been overshadowed. As some blogs have ascertained, this is
not a Democratic or Republican victory or defeat.
The fighters and
crusaders for Net neutrality better take a second look at what they really won.
To me, it doesn’t look like they really got much. Some of the analysts got it
right by saying AT&T didn’t give up much to get the merger approved. Parts
of Jeff Pulver’s blog
statement summed it up succinctly:
I … do fear
that – in the long run – AT&T might have given up nothing to the FCC,
nothing to the Internet application providers [and] nothing to the users of the
Internet and broadband networks.
offer on Net neutrality sounds good and might be a model to countries like
Japan that are considering Net neutrality rules. AT&T agreed “not to
provide … any service that privileges, degrades or prioritizes any packet
transmitted over AT&T/BellSouth’s wireline broadband Internet access
service based on its source, ownership or destination”.
innocuous later sentence effectively makes that almost meaningless: “This
commitment also does not apply to AT&T/BellSouth’s Internet protocol
television (IPTV) service.” AT&T has always intended to give paying
customers priority by routing them over the IPTV part of [its] network with
Alcatel routers and Microsoft software designed for [quality of service].
This is another perspective:
this concession is not sufficient to protect the public interest if this
monopoly-enhancing merger is allowed:
AT&T’s IPTV is exempted from the neutrality
provision. It is the TV “pipes” that AT&T CEO Ed Whitacre thinks are
his. The trouble is there are no separate pipes on an IP network. AT&T has
left itself full flexibility to favor its own Internet video offers over all
challengers or to charge others a premium for equal treatment.
Very carefully, the access network is defined
as the part of the AT&T-supplied network between the customer premises and
the nearest Internet peering point. AT&T owns huge stretches of Internet backbone
– the part of the Internet between peering points – [and] there is absolutely
no promise of neutrality here.
Even this very weak concession sunsets in two years
rather than the [3.5] years AT&T has offered for [its] other concessions.
It would be a
step backward if AT&T succeeds in having this definition of Net neutrality
become a standard.
Once they become
a huge monopoly again, Net neutrality will fade into insignificance like the
Versailles Treaty did after World War I.
Democrat, Republican Issue
If you are
looking at the merger as a Republican victory or at the mention of adhering to
weak Net neutrality verbiage as a Democratic victory, you just don’t get it.
Having the best network infrastructure transcends any political party and is
more of national strategic importance. Some of the self-proclaimed telecom and
network analysts have missed this.
We have become
too polarized and simplistic on siding with a party and its views versus
understanding there are some things that are more important and shouldn’t be
tagged with a party affiliation.
should be given to AT&T if they are going to build and maintain the best
infrastructure in the world. That is fair. That was in effect with what they
had in the pre-divestiture, monopoly days. Still, those were simpler times
because we were not talking about a convergence of voice, data and video on one
broadband line coming into your house.
Comcast was not
around with an alternative approach. Many third-world countries were not at a
point of understanding that the network infrastructure of their country was a
key component for global economic development.
Today, we are far
behind the network infrastructure deployments in some other countries. If
AT&T isn’t going to make ours the best network, they should not be given
anything in concessions and they should shutter if the competition in the
market overruns them. One post on BroadbandReports.com said:
a robust network through and through or go out of business, get out of the way
and let someone who is willing to build the network build already!
capitalism? Does this merger get us any closer to building a superior
infrastructure? Does it merely create a “circling of the wagons” for old
incumbent telephone companies to hold their last stand on profitability from an
Build the best or
get out of the way. Is this telling the incumbents too strong a message? Some
people have asked me where I stand on this issue. It is very simple. I am for
building the best network infrastructure as a platform that America can compete
with globally for economic development.
If there is any
rhetoric or lobbying that focuses on “we’ll do what we can with copper” or
“this is the best we can do” and it’s a second-rate effort, there should be no
protective legislation or restrictive covenants that protect the incumbents.
As for “naked
DSL” or selling DSL without having to tie in phone service, I fail to see the
great significance there. Slow DSL is slow DSL whether or not you tie it with
another service. Nothing was mentioned about getting really fast DSL or any
data service to consumers.
mouths are watering because we are going to get 6 Mbps with Project Lightspeed
when other countries are looking at delivering 100 Mbps in the same timeframe.
We are behind. DSL stands for damn slow lines when you compare it with
So Who Really
Even though some people for Net neutrality are very passionate about their
position as they fight AT&T, they don’t understand who they are going up
against, the prior regulations and guarantees set in the Telecom Act of 1996
and what resources the incumbents really have.
Some have made
clamoring for Net neutrality like it was some type of modern-day crusade. Some
of these people thought they won a victory by seeing some concessions. Others –
who were more astute – learned that they simply brought a knife to a gun fight.
No concessions of
consequence were won and the bigger issue of ensuring that a No. 1 network will
be built was never even put on the table.
Carlinism: Never underestimate an opponent. Let them
James Carlini will present how he
pioneered measuring building intelligence at the annual BICSI
winter conference in Orlando on Jan. 22, 2007. Also, check out his blog at CarlinisComments.com.
is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University. He is also
president of Carlini & Associates. Carlini can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Click here for
Carlini’s full biography.
ACUTA’S Winter Seminars Focus On Convergence Issues,
Communications Network Best Practices
The infrastructure issues in
a converged voice and data network, along with the best practices for a variety
of communications technologies, will be the focus of the 2007 Winter Seminars of
ACUTA, the Association for Communications Technology Professionals in Higher
The seminars are January
21-24, 2007, in Austin, Texas, at the Hilton Austin. They will feature
presentations by representatives from a broad range of colleges and universities.
Speakers from Cornell, Notre Dame, the University of Texas, Oklahoma State
University, the University of Toronto, North Carolina State University, and
many others will share their insight, experiences, and successes with their
peers. The seminars will also feature a products and services exhibition area.
Educational sessions will
address topics such as best practices in business continuity, emergency
response, mobility, and procurement. On the convergence and infrastructure
side, sessions will cover power and cooling needs, wireless communications
management, cross-training of telecom and IT staff, and more.
ACUTA is the only national
association dedicated to serving the needs of higher education communications
technology professionals, representing nearly 2,000 individuals at more than
“This first ACUTA event of
2007 provides a great opportunity for members and others to learn more about
what their peers are doing right, both in their migrations to converged
networks and in a variety of other infrastructure and management issues, “ said
Jeri Semer, executive director of ACUTA. “Our educational sessions, of course,
are only part of the value of our seminars. Communications professionals can
network with their peers and learn from each other, providing tremendous
benefits to them and to their institutions.”
For more information or to
register, visit the ACUTA website at www. acuta.org or call the organization’s
office at 859-278-3338.
ACUTA, the Association for Communications Technology Professionals in Higher
Education, is an international non-profit educational association serving
colleges and universities. Its core purpose is to support higher education
communications technology professionals in contributing to the achievement of
the strategic mission of their institutions. ACUTA represents nearly 2000
individuals at more than 800 institutions of higher education, with members
ranging from small schools and community colleges to the 50 largest U.S.
institutions. ACUTA’s Corporate Affiliate members represent all categories of
communications technology vendors serving the college/university market. For
more information, visit www.acuta.org
Webcast: Shielded Twisted-Pair Cabling
January 17, 2007 – 1:00 p.m. EST
Before the first 10GBase-T
switch has even hit the market, vendors and users at the network’s physical
layer are talking about the possibility of using shielded rather than
unshielded twisted-pair cabling as the medium upon which to run the protocol.
While UTP has long been the king of horizontal cabling in North America, today
many are taking a harder look at the price, performance, and practicality issues
that have brought shielded cabling back into the mix as a real option. This
webcast examines shielded cabling as its own medium, and also puts it into
perspective alongside UTP and fiber-optic cabling.
Presentation 1: The Current State of Category 6A UTP
This presentation will cover
the “good, bad, and ugly” of Cat 6A UTP. It will discuss what Cat 6A can do, including 10GBase-T support and
the associated alien-crosstalk performance. It will also delve into the
shortcomings of Cat 6A UTP—issues such as cable size and its impact on pathways
and spaces fill; ease/difficulty of pulling Cat 6A UTP; and current
networking-industry pressure for a smaller cable to meet 6A requirements.
Overall, this presentation is intended to be an honest, straight-up assessment of
Cat 6A UTP and why it gives rise to the possible re-emergence of shielded
cabling in North America.
Presentation 2: Shielded Cabling Past & Present
A history lesson paired with
current events, this presentation will explain the different constructions of
shielded cable (PiMF, FTP, etc.) and explain their historical use in parts of
Europe. It also discusses the ISO Class F/Category 7 standard and the fully
shielded cable specified within it. The presentation then turns its attention
to TIA Cat 6A and IEEE 10GBase-T support, answering the question: What
type/size/shape of shielded cable could meet the performance requirements of
10GBase-T? And how would such a shielded cable be an answer to the “bad/ugly”
issues with Cat 6A UTP that are discussed in Presentation 1?
Presentation 3: Terminating and Grounding/Bonding
The biggest apprehension
among potential users of shielded cabling systems is the necessity to properly
ground these systems. Often asked by potential users is, “If the system is not
properly grounded, will the shield really act as an antenna, attracting the
outside interference it is supposed to prevent?” This presentation answers that
question and more by explaining in detail the procedures necessary to properly
ground a shielded system, as well as how (if at all) the termination procedures
for shielded cable to shielded connectors varies from that of unshielded
Presentation 4: Media Price Comparisons
With the technical
considerations covered, this presentation addresses the bottom-line topic of
price. It describes the cost-per-port of 10-GbE-capable unshielded twisted
pair, shielded twisted pair, and multimode fiber—taking into consideration
factors including cable, connectors, labor, networking equipment, and “space” costs
such as the necessity to add pathways for larger cables.
January 17 Webcast seminar on shielded cable. And here is a link that will bring anyone directly to the web page where they can sign up to attend.
Tension relievers: Ever-faithful Cable Pullers
A sampling of everything from
complete pulling and labeling systems, to traditional fish poles for
hard-to-reach installations, to mini-lubricants for your tool belt.
STEVE SMITH is executive
editor for Cabling Installation &
“The more things change, the
more they stay the same” is a saying well-suited to cable-pulling and its
equipment. But while some tools of the trade have remained as popular and
effective now as they were when introduced years ago, advanced cabling
technologies are placing renewed importance on the role and effectiveness of
cable-pulling products ranging from complex systems that separate cables as
they’re pulled, to reliable fish poles that can do big things in small places.
“With advanced network
speeds, proper material handling is more critical than ever to ensure network
performance, flexibility, and life span,” notes Greg Bramham, vice president of
cable-pulling technology innovator Beast Cabling Systems. The company’s Beast
III is billed as an all-in-one portable system that separates, organizes,
meters, and labels cable off the reel or out of the box. The technology is
designed to enable time-saving cable pulling, and is built to ensure uniform
installation practices at any premises or outside plant jobsite.
Dealing with points of
“In traditional installation
methods, makeshift entry points that support cables as they enter the pathway
can become points of friction that can stress or even damage the cable,” adds
Bramham. “Furthermore, while cables are being pulled, most of the tension is
placed on the outside cables of the bundle, which can further stress those
cables. Consider that the alien near-end-crosstalk (ANEXT) parameter that
limits 10-Gigabit Ethernet performance over a 100-meter copper channel is
increased by the tendency of cables to absorb signals from neighboring cables
in close proximity.”
Bramham says the Beast III
system, including a Wirewolf pathway guide and patch panel organizer as well as
The Claw anti-twist and tensile pressure equalizer, helps maintain a natural
separation in the pathway to help reduce ANEXT and provide more headroom in
“The Beast is not just a set
of components—it’s a CIS (cabling installation system) for pulling cable that
results in better network performance and manageability while reducing labor,
improving accuracy, and reducing waste,” Bramham says.
“Because CIS maintains
natural separation of cables in the pathway, it’s easier to identify and remove
specific cables, if needed,” Bramham adds. “This reduces the tendency to leave
possibly hazardous abandoned cables sitting in the pathway.”
While employing a more basic
cable-pulling task, ensuring cable separation and reducing friction are also
key benefits of Greenlee’s new FP12 12-foot fish pole--a traditional
cable-pulling tool made especially for maneuvering in cramped spaces,
especially over suspended ceilings.
“We developed the new FP12 to
complement the current line of 18-foot and 24-foot poles,” says Greenlee
product manager Jim Eisele, adding that the smaller pole’s size and light
weight “make it an excellent tool for pushing and pulling wires in residential
and light commercial buildings.”
Weighing in at less than 1.5
pounds, the fiberglass FP12 also features a proprietary hook that can help
maneuver or adjust hanger wires used in suspended ceilings. It collapses to 26
x 1 ¼ inches, and offers added control with its friction locking system.
Greenlee’s FP18 and FP24 fish
poles, meanwhile, feature an enhanced gripping section, while the FP24 has
snap-lock buttons to maintain extended reach capabilities.
Some cable-pulling products’
efficiency simply stands the test of time. Cable Joe, introduced eight years
ago and now manufactured by Polygon Wire Management, still serves as a popular
stand-alone “third hand” for cable pulling.
The unit, which can be attached
to a tray or joist, features a steel C-clamp support arm topped by a cable
pass-through ring lined with six rollers, and can be suspended and swiveled
into any position to support up to 20 cables at once.
“I’ll set up four to six
Cable Joes along the run and pull the cables through the building on my own,”
says Steve McIvor, Pro Cable Installations, of the device’s one-person
operation. The six-roller system forms a 3-inch square opening for the up to 20
network cables to be safely pulled around corners and over beams, without the
need of an installer hand-feeding the cables.
“We have supplied Cable Joe
to installation companies around the world,” says co-inventor Ian MacDonald.
“Installers will have four or five in their trucks ready to go for the next
Easing tension, or not?
lubricants, such as IDEAL’s ClearGuide, are now as portable as some of the
technologies it supports. ClearGuide four-ounce six-packs are designed
especially for installers working on small jobs or retrofits, and are small
enough to fit into a tool belt, bag, or pocket.
A polymer-based formula,
which the manufacturer claims is safe for all types of cable, gives ClearGuide
is consistent cable-pull lubricity. It is designed to remain stable over a
temperature range of 30º F to 180º F, and when it dries, the non-toxic,
non-flammable lubricant won’t clog conduit.
Installers should be aware
that all cable-pulling lubricants are currently in the eye of a storm
concerning their impact on attenuation, return-loss, and insertion-loss on
higher-performance UTP cabling, such as Category 6 and 6A. Signal loss can
result from radio-frequency-induced heating of residual water found in the
lubricant before it dries. (See “Ask Donna,” October 2006, page 10.)
Reprinted with full Permission of CI&M Magazine Dec. 2006
Outside-plant System Design Is An Ageless Art And Science
From its beginnings in the
Bell System to its applications today, the outside plant has always required
specialized skill and expertise.
Patrick McLaughlin is chief
editor of Cabling Installation & Maintenance.
The set of knowledge and
skills required to accurately design a customer-owned outside-plant cabling
system has roots that date back more than one-and-a-half centuries, to the
first telegraph system. Lessons learned and best-practices implemented in the
150-year history of long-distance wired communication are being applied today
perhaps more than ever, as building-to-building campus connections carry
ever-increasing amounts of voice, data, and video.
Obviously, much has taken
place over such a long period of time; the past couple decades in particular
have witnessed dramatic change in communications systems. Yet the cumulative
effects of outside plant’s storied past very much impact today’s design
processes, and for that reason they are worth reviewing to place today’s
happenings in an appropriate context. Specifically, the training and guidelines
under which OSP designers have worked has a long and winding history that to
this day has not stopped evolving.
“In 1967, AT&T felt the
existing architects and builders program was not effective,” recalls Vic Phillips,
RCDD/OSP Specialist, a BICSI (www.bicsi.org) master instructor and career OSP
designer. “They partnered with Bell Canada and developed a new program within
the Bell System. It was called the Building Industry Consulting Service [BICS].
Over the next 10 years it was implemented within the Bell Operating Companies
with differing degrees of success. The program migrated into the GTE system,
which adopted and implemented it within their corporate structure.
“The BICS organizations were
charged with the responsibility of designing and implementing a CREDFAX—cable,
riser, equipment, distribution, facilities—design. As an example, Southern Bell
implemented the program during the mid-1970s, with full implementation in the
It is no coincidence that the
word BICS strongly resembles the name of the cabling industry’s educational
association, BICSI. The group was originally founded as Building Industry
Consulting Services International, as a resource and educational group for BICS
organizations and the individuals within them—building industry consultants or
BICs. Today the association goes by what was originally an acronym—BICSI.
“BICs were charged with the
responsibility of working with architects, consulting engineers, and
contractors to design and construct the pathways and spaces that would allow
the regulated telcos to implement their cabling infrastructure and equipment in
a cost-effective manner,” Phillips continues. “They were responsible for the
entrance facilities all the way to the work-area location, including the
equipment. This continued until 1984 when the modified final judgment issued by
Judge Howard Green broke up the Bell System.”
Baby Bells and an infant industry
That famous judgment
irreversibly changed the course of the entire telecommunications industry, and
is viewed by many as the very birth of the structured cabling industry we know
today. In addition to a number of competitive issues concerning the Regional
Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs), the ruling gave ownership of the telecommunications
cabling systems within customer premises to those customers. Prior to that
time, the service provider owned all equipment, including hardware and cabling.
AT&T was split into seven
RBOCs, which then formed deregulated companies that provided competitive market
products and services behind the point of demarcation (demarc), also commonly
known as the network interface device (NID). These companies are still in
business today, though many of them not bearing their original names. As Phillips
explains, RBOCs were relegated to providing dial tone to the premises, and
their non-regulated subsidiaries would provide the premises infrastructure and
From a user’s perspective,
what really happened beginning in 1984, when homeowners and businesses took
ownership of and responsibility for the systems that had previously been owned
and operated by the monopoly utility?
“Taking possession of the
embedded outside plant was essentially a Trojan Horse for the end users as I
see it,” remarks John Adams, RCDD/OSP Specialist. Like Phillips, Adams is a
master instructor for BICSI; he has four decades of experience in OSP design.
Of end users in 1984, he says, “Yes, it gave them complete control of their
destiny as to moves, adds, and changes and it was free. But it also carried the
intriguing tag ‘as is’ attached to it.
“Inside the Trojan Horse lie
the task of, how do we maintain this cable now that we own it? Some of it was
under air pressure, which generated the questions, ‘Who knows how to do air-pressure
maintenance?’ and ‘Is it necessary to maintain pressure?’
“All these uncertainties led
to the creation of the BTL—below-the-line—telco groups that were certain to
rescue their client. The BTL groups—BICS and GTE—targeted customers that didn’t
want or didn’t know how to take care of nor design their own networks with
respect to OSP. The same approach applied to ISP as well.”
Reflecting on the levels of
responsibility in the earliest days of deregulation, Phillips recalls, “I was
one of the BICs that went to the deregulated side of the business and was
initially charged with supporting the deregulated efforts in four states. My
counterpart in South Central Bell Advanced Systems was responsible for five
states. Needless to say, this situation evolved into a different organization
that was staffed to properly support the deregulated companies’ efforts.”
The impetus for standards
He also notes that what
happened in the early years of deregulation gave rise to the modern set of
structured cabling standards. In 1988, representatives of the computer industry
approached the EIA (Electronics Industries Association at the time, now the
Electronics Industries Alliance), requesting that some standards be written to
structure systems within the premises market. The need for this request arose,
he says, because of confusion in the market caused when AT&T, Northern
Telecom, and other companies initiated proprietary designs for the premises
based on their own brand-name systems. As these proprietary designs were being
implemented, other companies began developing products to compete with the
in-house brands of the telcos. Having multiple options resulted in confusion
among the buying marketplace, and underscored the need for open-architecture
Work on what would become the
TIA/EIA-568 standard for telecommunications cabling in commercial buildings
began in 1985. Yet it was 1999 when the TIA produced a finalized outside-plant
cabling standard, the TIA/EIA-758 Customer-Owned Outside Plant
Telecommunications Cabling Standard. Without ANSI standards to guide them for
approximately 15 years before the publication of TIA-758, what did OSP
designers use as the basis for their work?
divestiture, the deregulated companies began offering CO-OSP using their
individual practices,” says Phillips. “They found that their regulated
practices had to be altered to facilitate the implementation of digital PBXs,
as digital stations would not work on OSP cable plant designed with bridge tap
and multiple appearances of plant. Southern Bell Advanced Systems, the
deregulated entity formed by Southern Bell, found they needed to incorporate
new OSP designs into their practices and began using the BICSI Manual and the
BSPs issued by AT&T to support customer-premises equipment. As the BICSI
Manual changed over the years to become the Telecommunications Distribution
Methods Manual, it became the accepted design criteria for this organization.”
Adams adds that the
free-enterprise aspect of deregulated telecommunications design could cause
grief for end-user organizations, in much the same way that having multiple
brand choices caused confusion. “The customer was faced with advice from the
BICS groups, and advice from 100 other so-called cabling experts. Confused for
years, the end users needed some unbiased direction on how OSP should be
designed. Hence the development of the ANSI standard.”
Structured OSP learning
Around the same time the
TIA’s CO-OSP standard was published, BICSI published the premier edition of its
Customer-Owned Outside Plant Design Manual. The fourth edition of that manual
will be released soon; Adams is subject matter expert-team leader (SME-TL) for
the publication. He relates that the manual is based on a variety of reference
documents that represent best-practice design approaches. Among those reference
documents are BICSI’s TDMM, the TIA-758-A standard, AT&T’s OSP Manual,
GTEPs, other ANSI standards, ISO/IEC documents, the National Electrical Safety
Code, the National Electrical Code, OSHA documents, RUS (now RSUP documents),
the Canadian Electrical Code, documents from the Insulated Cable Engineers
Association, NFPA 780 Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection
Systems, and many others. In addition to those documents, the manual includes
input generated from the practical experiences of the individuals who
volunteered to put it together.
Along with BICSI’s CO-OSP
Manual is the professional designation OSP Specialist, which individuals who
already possess BICSI’s Registered Communications Distribution Designer
designation can obtain by passing a test based on the CO-OSP manual. Typically
intensive studying and classroom-style courses are required to obtain the OSP
“The main goal of BICSI
establishing the OSP courses in 2000 was to pass on knowledge from one
generation to the next,” Adams notes. “It was a known fact that the OSP skilled
workforce was beginning to retire and with that retirement went
knowledge—knowledge that couldn’t be taught in a one-week course or even in a
year. To answer that need, BICSI developed the OSP101 Site Survey and Media
Selection; OSP102 Direct Buried and Underground; and OSP103 Aerial Cabling
[courses]. Soon after came the need for a specialty designation. BICSI created
the OSP200 Review class to prepare students to take the OSP Specialty exam.”
Has the effort to educate a
next generation about OSP design worked? “I’d say yes for the most part,” says
Adams. “However, OSP is inherently dangerous, confusing, and sometimes seen as
‘grunt work’ by designers. Therefore, many designers will steer clear of OSP
and refer it to nationally established installation and design companies that
were used by the telcos to install some, if not most, of their OSP. Costs to
buy OSP equipment is extremely high, as is insurance, due to liability, which
is also a factor contributing to avoidance by many designer/installers. BICSI
courses in CO-OSP have enlightened many and scared off many others,” he
Reprinted with full Permission of CI&M Magazine Dec.
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CABA To Hold Intelligent Building Designs Seminar With Building Intelligence Group At AHR
Buildings provide improved comfort and productivity while reducing energy and
operating expenses. This seminar is focused on the design and implementation of
these projects. As an owner, contractor, supplier or design professional, you
will find this to be a valuable day spent learning details on the key elements
that make up an Intelligent Building. Nationally recognized industry leaders
will present, show case studies, and conduct workshops that will help you
develop the skills needed to make your next project intelligent.
The seminar will
be held on January 31, 2007 from 8:30 - 3:00 PM in Room D-167. There is an
admission fee for this event. Go to http://www.buildingintelligencetour.com
for more information and to register. Brought to you by CABA in cooperation
with Building Intelligence Group.
CABA is the only industry association to offer industry
intelligence to stakeholders in all areas of home & building automation.
CABA's resources cover areas such as HVAC, lighting, security, A/V,
communications technologies, energy management and controls. A number of
resources are available through the association including iHomes &
Buildings magazine, CABA's Summits and Conferences, CABA's monthly eBulletin,
Information Series reports, Event Reports and the CABA web site. Please visit www.caba.org for
CABA Unveils Intelligent Building Ranking Tool
CABA is pleased to unveil its
intelligent building ranking tool: the Building Intelligence Quotient (BIQ).
The BIQ ranking tool has
three functions. It serves as: i) a means to evaluate and measure the
"value" of intelligent building performance; ii) a design guide for
integration of building intelligence in new building projects; and iii) a
building automation retrofit action plan tool.
Intelligence Quotient is designed to paint a clear picture of your building intelligence
performance against best practices for design, installation and
operation," states Ronald J. Zimmer, CABA President & CEO. "It
gives practical advice for improvements, offers resources for making the
upgrades, and provides additional information on relevant strategies and
The tool allows property
owners and managers to rate a building's intelligence and provides design
guidance to ensure that all relevant issues are considered when making a choice
of subsystems and their level of integration. Owners and developers with
multiple properties can also use the BIQ tool to assess and compare the
building intelligence systems in their portfolio.
In addition, as more and more
buildings are BIQ verified, point scores will be aggregated in an anonymous
database, enabling users to analyze how their building intelligence design
performs in relation both to the median and to buildings that are similar in
terms, type and region.
Because the assessment is
completely online, owners and managers have the ability to change input up to a
year, with an option to extend. This allows users to keep their assessment
up-to-date as the building intelligence changes through the project delivery
stages as buildings are retrofitted.
Building intelligence results
in higher building value, improved comfort, security, flexibility and
reliability while reducing costs and increasing productivity. Lower costs and
higher property and lease values can result in aggressive return on investments
and clear justifications for making buildings more intelligent.
The modular assessment will
initially generate a report that will provide benchmark rankings as well as
recommendations for improvements in the following categories: communication
systems; building automation; annunciation, security and control systems;
facility management applications; and building structure and systems.
The ranking tool is available at www.caba.org/biq.
CABA is the only industry
association to offer industry intelligence to stakeholders in all areas of home
& building automation. CABA's resources cover areas such as HVAC, lighting,
security, A/V, communications technologies, energy management and controls. A number
of resources are available through the association including iHomes &
Buildings magazine, CABA's Summits and Conferences, CABA's monthly eBulletin,
Information Series reports, Event Reports and the CABA web site. Please visit www.caba.org for
Whirlpool Corporation Joins CABA Board Of Directors
The Continental Automated
Buildings Association (CABA) announced today the addition of Whirlpool
Corporation to its Board of Directors. CABA is a trade association that
promotes advanced technologies for integrated systems and the automation of
homes and buildings.
"I am gratified that
Whirlpool has joined CABA's Board of Directors," stated Ronald J. Zimmer,
CABA President & CEO. "With the firm's addition, CABA continues its
long tradition of representation from premier household appliance
Carol Priefert, Senior
Product Development Manager, will represent Whirlpool on CABA's board. She has
more than 10 years of experience with the company and has been closely involved
with educating consumers about the benefits of Internet technologies.
Priefert is author of the
book Home and Family Internet Resource Guide and lectures on the topic.
She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska with a BS degree in Family and
Consumer Science and has taken MBA classes at Michigan State. She has worked
for companies such as ED & F Mann, GE, and Merillat.
She has also played a leading
role in CABA's Internet Home Alliance Research Council, a cross-industry
network of leading companies engaged in collaborative research to advance the
connected home space. The Alliance's research projects enables participating
companies to gain important insights into the connected home space and leverage
those insights into viable new business opportunities.
Recently, the Internet Home
Alliance, under the lead of Whirlpool, completed its collaborative Laundry Time
Pilot. Conducted in three Atlanta homes from May 30 through September 7, 2006,
the study examined how Internet-connected laundry facilities could benefit
"Laundry Time is a great
tangible example of the benefit of CABA membership," states Priefert.
"Through collaborative research opportunities, CABA members can evaluate
their latest products and services in a highly-controlled and realistic
CABA is the only industry
association to offer industry intelligence to stakeholders in all areas of home
& building automation. CABA's resources cover areas such as HVAC, lighting,
security, A/V, communications technologies, energy management and controls. A
number of resources are available through the association including iHomes
& Buildings magazine, CABA's Summits and Conferences, CABA's monthly
eBulletin, Information Series reports, Event Reports and the CABA web site.
Please visit www.caba.org
for further information.--
CABA Promotes Building Life-Cycle Cost Analysis:
Organization to Introduce Assessment Tool in 2007
Life cycle cost analysis
plays a significant role as property owners and operators address the long-term
use of building products, construction processes and infrastructure costs. Life
cycle costs analysis calculates the cost of a system over its entire life span.
Often known as
"cradle-to-grave" analysis, life cycle costing is important for cost
accounting purposes. It helps building owners and operators determine what
costs need to be allocated to a building system so that they can recover their
investment outlay over time.
Life cycle cost analysis has
been described by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as
a method for assessing the total cost of facility ownership because it takes
into account all costs of acquiring, owning and disposing of a building or
building systems. It is an economic evaluation method that determines the
effects of alternative designs of buildings and building systems and quantifies
these effects in dollar amounts.(1)
The Continental Automated
Buildings Association (CABA) has been actively involved in developing life
cycle costs analysis models for the industry.
In 2004, the organization
undertook an industry-wide survey to aid in the development of a parametric
model that would analyze the life-cycle costs of buildings. CABA develop the
survey based upon a white paper that argued that by utilizing life cycle
costing methodology, owners and operators could estimate the total cost benefit
of deploying integrated and intelligent building technologies over the lifespan
of an entire building. (2)
Driven by CABA's Intelligent
& Integrated Buildings Council, industry initiatives continued through 2005
to develop methods to evaluate intelligent and integrated building systems in
order to actually monitor operating and maintenance costs and verify holistic
CABA contracted with Reed
Construction Data/RSMeans to develop an in-depth assessment of best practices
for buildings with full or partial building control integration. (3)
The purpose of the study was to apply best practices information for new
buildings to define life cycle costs. Office buildings were chosen as the
primary building type for the assessment. The assessment found that owners were
primarily concerned with first costs and building appearance as well as
operating costs. The reality however is that over a 30-year period, initial building
costs account for only two percent of total building costs, while operations
and maintenance costs equal six percent and personnel costs equal 92 percent
(4). CABA's study conclusively found that office buildings of 50,000 to 100,000
square feet demonstrated the best return-on-investment for integrated systems,
but that there was a lack of tools to evaluate the overall life cycle costs of
implementation. As a consequence, CABA undertook the development of a life
cycle analysis tool.
Cycle Analysis Tool is a set of online cost calculators that will be accessible
on the CABA Web site, hosted and updated by Reed Construction Data/RSMeans. It
will be designed to provide detailed cost models and associated life cycle
costs for three building types: commercial offices, educational and
governmental buildings. The life cycle analysis tool will address first-time
and second-time costs of capital construction and maintenance respectively, as
well as longer range operating and replacement costs.
The cost models will be
determined through the proprietary RSMeans Construction Cost Index (CCI), which
defines the cost models' specific geographic location factors for installed
costs. It is expected that the tool will also draw upon standards determined by
the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) Subcommittee E06.81 on
Building Economics for determining building life cycle costs.
CABA's Life Cycle Analysis
Tool is expected to debut in the first quarter of 2007. Both Industry Canada
and the U.S. Department of Energy have provided substantive financial
assistance to the project. For more information about the tool, please go to: http://www.caba.org/lifecycle.
About the Author
Rawlson O'Neil King is CABA's
Communications Director. CABA is a not-for-profit industry association that
promotes advanced technologies for the automation of homes and buildings in
North America. More information about CABA can be found at its Web site: http://www.caba.org.
Hitachi Cable Manchester To Introduce New Premise Catalog At BICSI
Hitachi Cable Manchester
(HCM) has finished developing its new premise catalog and will be releasing it
at the upcoming BICSI show in Orlando, FL.
The new catalog will feature new products such as the Supra 10G Category
6A cable, the high performance Premium Category 6 cable, higher fiber count
indoor/outdoor fiber optic cables and armored indoor plenum rated fiber optic
cables. Also incorporated into the new
catalog is a conduit fill chart and metric/English conversion table. Visit
booth #921 in the expo area to pick up your copy.
To learn more about other HCM
products, you can also visit the corporate website at http://www.hcm.hitachi.com/.
Corning Cable Systems Introduces Secure Keyed LC
Corning Cable Systems, part
of Corning Incorporated’s (NYSE:GLW) Telecommunication’s segment, introduces
its secure Keyed LC Connector solution. The Keyed LC Solution provides network
security in optical fiber cabling, utilizing the small-form-factor LC Connector
The Keyed LC Connector was
designed for organizations with a need to segregate networks due to privacy or
security concerns, including secure government facilities and research labs.
Based on the standard LC single-fiber connector, the Keyed LC Connector
provides physical separation for up to four networks, applications or
Four color-coded key combinations prevent inadvertent
or unauthorized access to networks and provide fast and easy network
identification. On the front and back of the patch panel, keyed connectors and
adapters are used to match access rights to the proper network. The key
features in the connector and adapter cannot be duplicated with standard LC
components, preventing violation of network security.
The small-form-factor Keyed LC Connector allows
high-density deployments and supports up to 288 fibers in a 4U rack-mountable
housing. A full solution is available, including factory-installed Keyed LC
Connectors for assemblies and Plug & Play™ Universal System
modules, field-installable UniCam® Connectors and anaerobic keyed LC
connectors, and adapters loaded into standard LANscape® Solutions
panels and modules.
The connectors are available in single-mode, 62.5 micron
multimode (OM1), standard 50 micron (OM2) and laser-optimized 50 micron (OM3)
multimode. The Keyed LC Connectors are also available in two installation
types: no-epoxy, no-polish and anaerobic quick-polish.
Corning Cable Systems’ no-epoxy, no-polish UniCam®
Connectors install quickly and easily in the field with a single no-consumables
tool kit, with a typical installation time of less than one minute per
connector. This reliable, proven technology has led to the sale of more than 40
million UniCam Connectors since 1993, demonstrating Corning’s unparalleled
leadership position in the no-epoxy, no-polish field-installable connector
Corning Cable Systems’ anaerobic connectors feature a
fast-cure anaerobic adhesive and do not require electrical power for lamps or
ovens. The connectors are hand polished and do not require a polishing machine.
A single-strike crimp solution allows an assembly and polish time of less than
four minutes per connector.
For additional information on
Corning Cable Systems products or services, contact a customer service
representative at 1-800-743-2675, toll free in the United States, or (+1)
828-901-5000, international, or visit the Web site at www.corning.com/cablesystems. (www.corning.com)
TIA Announces Staff Additions James Maday, Terry Lane And Michael Nunes
In his first week as President
of the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), Grant Seiffert announced
that the association has bolstered its collective expertise as the leading
advocate for the global information, communications and entertainment
technology industry in Washington, DC, through the hiring of James Maday, Terry
Lane and Michael Nunes.
“Adding James Maday, Terry
Lane and Michael Nunes to TIA’s staff enhances and complements our current
team,” Seiffert said. “With these
additions, TIA can help our member companies advance global communications in
the rapidly evolving information, communications and entertainment technology
James Maday joined TIA on
December 13 as manager of government affairs.
Maday will help TIA coordinate the projects, programs and policy
activities being undertaken by the Policy Department in its advocacy for the
association’s member companies. Maday
comes to TIA from Capitol Hill, having worked as a legislative assistant for
Congressman Michael Oxley from 2003 to 2006.
Terry Lane served on the
staff of the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House of Representatives for
two years as deputy communications director.
Prior to that, Terry covered the telecommunications industry for
Communications Daily as a reporter for more than four years. He joined TIA’s Communications Department as
its communications manager on December 27 and, among other assignments, will
assist TIA on public policy communications efforts and research projects on
trends affecting the industry.
Michael Nunes arrived at TIA
today as its new director of international and government affairs; Nunes brings
more than 10 years of international relations and trade experience to TIA, most
notably and recently in the capacity of economic advisor to Jennifer Hillman, a
commissioner with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). Nunes has worked extensively on telecom
issues, first as an analyst with the Gartner Group in Mountain View, Ca., and
later as telecom services analyst for the ITC.
Maday, Lane and Nunes will
join TIA Manager of Government and Regulatory Affairs Rebecca Schwartz, a
recent association hire who monitors FCC actions, rulemaking and regulations
affecting TIA member companies.
Schwartz, who holds a degree from Catholic University’s School of Law
and a certificate from the Communications Law Institute, interned at TIA and
Alcatel before joining the association in the fall of 2006.
Industry Association is the leading trade association for the information,
communications and entertainment technology (ICET) industry. TIA serves ICET
suppliers to global markets through its leadership in standards development,
domestic and international policy advocacy, and facilitating member business
opportunities. TIA represents the communications sector of the Electronic
Industries Alliance (EIA). For more information, go to www.tiaonline.org.
Minuteman® Endeavor On-line Uninterruptible Power Supply Sets A New Standard For Flexibility, Capacity And Value
Para System, Inc., a leader
in power technology with its line of Minuteman® Uninterruptible
Power Supply (UPS) systems, announces its Minuteman® Endeavor™
On-line UPS Series combining double-conversion technology and industry-leading
features. Its unique design and flexibility allows the units to be installed
in one of several configurations
depending on the situation:
Rack/cabinet configuration (19-inch rack kit included, 23-inch rack kit
Tower configuration (installation kit included)
Wallmount configuration (installation kit optional)
is designed so that the inverter is always connected to the output of the UPS.
When utility line power is present, the inverter operates to charge the
battery. Because the inverter is always connected to the load, this design
provides better filtering and a more stable output voltage than typical standby
or line interactive technologies.
Models in the Endeavor Series
ED1000RM2U - 1000VA / 800W
ED1500RM2U - 1500VA / 1200W
ED2000RM2U - 2000VA / 1600W
ED3000RM2U - 3000VA / 2100W
Key features for the Endeavor
runtime using external battery packs
Maximum 8 hour rapid
recharge time of batteries, no matter
how many battery packs are installed, through the use of independent battery
chargers in each external battery pack
Output receptacle control through two independently controlled output circuits,
allows users the ability to shutdown or reset specific connected devices
without having to shutdown the entire output of the UPS
Compact design at only 3.5 inches (89mm) high, Endeavor Series units
can be installed in a rack or cabinet using only 2U of rack space and still
provide the most battery runtime using the least amount of rack space
The Endeavor Series features
a front panel display that provides information about battery status, connected
load capacity, multiple alarms and warning indicators. It also serves a testing
In addition to the various
mounting/rack kits, the Endeavor UPS may be ordered with stand-alone
Ethernet/SNMP communication an environmental sensor and/or a dry contact
closure card for additional control and power management capabilities.
Detailed information can be
accessed and control of the UPS via the new Minuteman SentryPlus™ software
included, free with each Endeavor unit.
It can be installed and accessed concurrently over USB, RS-232 and
Ethernet connections when used with the Endeavor Series.
Para Systems offers a
$200,000 Minuteman Platinum Protection Plan™ for equipment connected to the
Endeavor Series UPS systems. In addition, a standard, non-prorated, three-year
warranty is provided on the UPS units including the batteries.
Recognizing the benefit of
being environmentally conscious, Para Systems has developed the Endeavor Series
to comply with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive as
established and defined by the European Union. The Endeavor Series UPS systems
are certified to the following standards: UL 1778, CSA, and CE. The 500VA,
2000VA, and 3000VA units are FCC Class A certified) and the 1000
VA unit is FCC Class B certified.
Lower costs, with more
features, makes the Minuteman® Endeavor Series UPS the value leader
in the UPS industry, with MSRPs between $599 and $1,399. The Minuteman®
Endeavor Series UPS is in stock and ready for immediate delivery.
220V versions of the Endeavor
Series will be available for distribution during the first quarter of
Fiber Optics 1-2-3 and Advanced Hands-on Fiber Optic
Training in Puerto Rico
The Light Brigade announces a
combination of the company’s two most popular courses — Fiber Optics 1-2-3
Design, Installation, and Maintenance and Advanced Hands-on Modules on the Road
— to be held successively in San Juan, Puerto Rico in February, 2007
Fiber Optics 1-2-3 Design,
Installation and Maintenance focuses on how to design, install, test, and maintain
fiber-optic communication systems for voice, video, and data applications. The course includes two days of classroom
(theory) training and two days of hands-on exercises. It is eligible for 32
BICSI RCDD credits as well as optional ETA Fiber Optic Installer certification.
The Advanced Hands-on Modules
“On The Road” course is designed for those who will be working with singlemode
fiber for voice, video or data communications. The materials focuses includes
optical return loss testing; OTDRs; how to avoid the incorrect handling and
installation at 1310 nm, 1550 nm and 1625 nm; and how to enhance
troubleshooting, maintenance and restoration response techniques. This course
features one day of classroom (theory) instruction and three days of hands-on exercises.
It is eligible for 28 BICSI RCDD credits as well as optional ETA Fiber Optic
Technician–Outside Plant certification.
Fiber Optics 1-2-3 February 20-23, 2007
Advanced Hands-on February 26 - March 1, 2007
Students who enroll in both
courses receive a price reduction for both courses.
For more information or to
register for a course, contact Ignacio Diaz of Glenn International at (787) 701‑7103 or Pam Wooten of The Light Brigade at (206)
Over 30,000 attendees have
participated in The Light Brigade’s instructor-led fiber-optic training courses
worldwide. In addition, The Light Brigade has a wide variety of fiber optic
training DVDs, videotapes, CD-ROMs and computer-based training available. www.lightbrigade.com
Graybar Opens In Panama City, Fla.
leader expands its Florida presence with 22nd location
Graybar, a leading distributor of
electrical and communications products and related supply chain management and
logistics services, has opened a 19,000-sq.-ft. distribution facility in Panama
City, Fla. An open house and trade show,
featuring more than 30 suppliers of electrical, comm/data and security
solutions, will be held on Dec. 7 to mark the official opening.
Although Graybar is new in town, the
137-year-old employee-owned company has a
70-year history serving Florida
customers. With the addition of its
Panama City facility, the company now has 22 locations throughout Florida,
including a 240,000-sq.-ft. regional distribution center in Tampa.
Located at 3513 Transmitter Rd. and
Highway 231, Graybar Panama City stocks more than $700,000 of inventory, with
$25-30 million of inventory available next-day from the Tampa distribution
center. Graybar Panama City offers counter/will-call service and local truck
deliveries Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., with
after-normal-business-hours emergency service as needed. The phone number is (850) 767-2600.
Leading Graybar Panama City is Branch Manager Dale
Strothman. He and Manager of Customer
Service Robert Miller have more than 20 combined years with the company and
30-plus years of industry experience.
“With the opening of our new Panama City location, Graybar
can better serve the growing Panhandle community,” said Branch Manager Dale
Strothman. “We are ready to help our
customers power and network their facilities, offices and housing with speed,
intelligence and efficiency.”
Graybar, a Fortune 500
corporation and one of the largest employee-owned companies in North America,
is a leader in the distribution of high-quality electrical, telecommunications
and networking products, and specializes in related supply chain management and
logistics services. Through its network
of more than 250 North American distribution facilities, it stocks and sells
products from thousands of manufacturers, serving as the vital link to hundreds
of thousands of customers. For more
information, visit http://graybar.com/
Graybar Names New National Market Manager/Service
Hire supports company’s growth initiative to address
Graybar, a leading distributor of
electrical and communications products and related supply chain management and
logistics services, has named Scott Jackson national market manager – service
In this role, Jackson will be
responsible for guiding the company’s nationwide Service Provider marketing
team. Previously, Jackson worked in
accounting for SoTel Systems, and in sales for CORE Telecom Systems and
Phillips Communications and Equipment Company. He holds a Bachelor of Science
degree in management from Missouri State University.
"Convergence of technologies is
leading to a convergence of markets in the Service Provider sector,” said Mike
Dumas, vice president, comm/data business, Graybar. “By adding Scott to our team, Graybar is
stepping up its commitment to helping our Service Provider customers
successfully compete in an increasingly competitive marketplace. We will ensure they have the best-of-class
broadband, wireless, cable television, outside plant and power solutions
coupled with value-added distribution services tailored to their unique needs.”
Graybar, a Fortune 500 corporation and one of the largest
employee-owned companies in North America, is a leader in the distribution of
high quality electrical, telecommunications and networking products, and
specializes in related supply chain management and logistics services. Through its network of more than 250 North
American distribution facilities, it stocks and sells products from thousands
of manufacturers, serving as the vital link to hundreds of thousands of
customers. For more information, visit http://graybar.com/ or call
Beast Cabling Systems Adds Business Development
Beast Cabling Systems, Inc, a
leading provider of advanced cabling installation system (CIS) components,
today announced the appointment of Mark Vida as vice president of sales and
business development. Vida is
responsible for helping the company expand recognition and sales of Beast Cabling
Systems CIS for contractors.
With over 20 years experience
in senior positions in sales, business development and general management for
global communications equipment suppliers and leading edge technology
companies, Vida immediately recognized the potential for next generation CIS to
change the way contractors bid, install and maintain cabling.
“Beast Cabling Systems has
the right solution at a very key time in the low-voltage cabling marketplace,”
said Vida, citing the emergence of higher frequency copper cabling and
increased use of fiber cabling across local area networks, outside plant,
storage area networks and data centers. “The CIS by Beast Cabling Systems
revolutionizes best practices for installation and creates a better work
environment for technicians. It also enables contractors to recognize enormous
savings. By eliminating errors and cable damage while keeping crews operating
with less fatigue and fewer hours per project, the whole performance of the
contractor moves up a notch,” according to Vida. “We have customers right now who
are realizing over a hundred thousand dollars of increased profits annually.
They are also winning more contracts by positioning Beast CIS best practices in
bid responses,” he said.
CIS is a category of
components and practices that bring control and consistency to the
installation, organization and testing of cabling infrastructures. These
systems have a significant impact on contractor operation and profitability.
Beast Cabling Systems CIS is a portable system that separates, organizes,
meters, and labels cable off the reel or out of the box and into cable
pathways, conserving time and materials, reducing errors and damage, and
ensuring safe, uniform installation practices for any crew on any job.
About Beast Cabling
Headquartered in Arlington,
VA, privately-held Beast Cabling Systems provides patented cabling installation
system (CIS) components and services to the voice and data cabling markets.
Contractors using Beast CIS achieve a competitive advantage by improving
practices, reducing workplace fatigue, and improving profitability on every
job. For more information, visit www.beastcablingsystems.com.
BICSI APPOINTS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
BICSI Executive Director David C. Cranmer, RCDD®, today announces the appointment of Richard E. Dunfee, RCDD/OSP Specialist as the organization's new Director of Professional Development.
Dunfee's appointment directly correlates with BICSI's strategic direction to advance the technical expertise, knowledge and success of BICSI's membership, their customers and the information transport systems (ITS) industry.
"Richard's vast knowledge and experience in the telecommunications industry will be invaluable as BICSI looks to bring the technical aspects of the association back into focus," says Cranmer. "To guide us in this direction, it was important to find an individual with exceptional leadership skills. In Richard, I believe we've found this and much more."
Dunfee is a familiar face to the BICSI membership, having served as the Training Program Manager for BICSI's Department of Professional Development and Credentialing. He returns after working as an ITS Consultant and in various project management functions for Verizon over the last two years.
Says BICSI President John Bakowski, RCDD/NTS/OSP/WD Specialist, "We most certainly welcome Richard back into the BICSI family, and will look forward to utilizing his knowledge base to grow our expertise and collectively continue to make BICSI the preeminent source of information and training for the ITS industry."
Dunfee holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Kent State University and has been a member of BICSI since 1989. He states, "I'm very excited to be returning to BICSI. This association continues to lead and support the industry, and I am eager to be part of the team that will promote BICSI's future growth."
# # #
BICSI is a professional association supporting the information transport systems (ITS) industry with information, education and knowledge assessment for individuals and companies. BICSI serves more than 24,000 ITS professionals, including designers, installers and technicians. These individuals provide the fundamental infrastructure for telecommunications, audio/video, life safety and automation systems. Through courses, conferences, publications and professional registration programs, BICSI staff and volunteers assist ITS professionals in delivering critical products and services, and offer opportunities for continual improvement and enhanced professional stature.
Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, BICSI membership spans nearly 100 countries. www.bicsi.org
SMP and PLP Showcase New Products at BICSI Orlando
SMP Data Communications, a leading developer and manufacturer of high-speed cross-connect products for communication networks, will be launching several new products at the BICSI Winter Conference, January 22-25 in Orlando, Florida. . Included in this launch will be SMP's Limited Axcess™ product line, Dual Axcess™ residential solution, a "spider" zone distribution bracket ideal for the data center market and a new NEMA Type 3 complaint fiber box for smaller OSP applications.
SMP's new Limited Axcess product line does exactly what the name implies, limits the access to your network. Limited Axcess technology provides an enhanced layer of network security to isolate access to different networks within the same facility, and to protect network infrastructure in public access areas. This is done by incorporating two layers of keying, one in the jack/plug connection and the other with color-coded keyed bezels and patch cord boots. The Limited Axcess patent pending technology provides enhanced system performance exceeding proposed Category 6a requirements.
SMP's new Dual Axcess™ System is on the leading edge of residential structured wiring solutions. The Dual Axcess System features an innovative design allowing individual cable runs to be selected as either a full gigabit channel or a hybrid 10/100 and voice solution. This unique approach saves installers time and money by reducing required cable runs by 50%, while at the same time keeping the home owner a step ahead of evolving technologies by incorporating a selectable configuration. The Dual Axcess System offers installers a complete residential system that is fully testable as a Category 5e TIA compliant channel using standard field test equipment and an easily upgradeable solution for future home owner needs. "This solution offers an effective schematic for residential installers looking for guaranteed performance and easier system integration" explained Steve Funderud, Product Manager for the Dual Axcess System.
SMP's new "spider" zone distribution cable tray mounting solutions provide a convenient means to access copper or fiber network cross connect points, and are ideal for data center applications. Utilizing a unique snap fit leg design, the bracket mounts easily on top of any 12" to 18" cable tray and allows for additional cables to be installed without disruption of zone connection or other cables, by simply pivoting the bracket out of the way. These modules reduce cabling and installation costs by reducing the number of cables and congestion in the cable tray, allowing a single multi-conductor cable to the distribution point... SMP's "spider" zone distribution solutions can accept either SMP 6 pack fiber adapter plates or MT fiber cassette modules, or Plug-and-Play gigabit copper modules, depending on the application.
Lastly, SMP's new NEMA Type 3 compliant enclosure is an ideal solution for smaller OSP and small inside premise applications. The OCO6N provides a mounting bracket to accept any of the SMP adapter plates for 6 up to 24 ports. The unit comes standard with a tamper resistant fastening system and if additional security is required the enclosure can accept a customer-supplied padlock.
"The overwhelming positive response to the launch of these new products has verified that our eyes and ears in the marketplace are very much in touch with customer needs and confirms SMP as a true pioneer in the industry" stated Brad Everette, Marketing Manager for SMP Data Communications. SMP will be showcasing all of these products at the upcoming BICSI Winter Conference in Orlando, where all will be available for preview and demonstration at the SMP/PLP booth # 300.
SMP Data Communications, headquartered in Swannanoa, North Carolina, is internationally recognized for its role in establishing the world's data/communications standards, through its innovative-patented technologies. SMP, founded in 1990, manufactures and develops copper and fiber passive connectivity hardware components for use in commercial and residential applications. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Preformed Line Products (PLPC) of Cleveland, Ohio. For more information about SMP's complete product line visit our website at www.smpdata.com. www.preformed.com
REMEMBER TO RECYCLE, REDUCE AND REUSE