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Wireville.com

Issue: January 2008
By: Frank Bisbee


Datacom/Telecom Glossary
In This Issue

Bits N' Pieces


BISBEE’S BUZZ

What is going to happen in the year ahead?

2008 will include:

  • Housing market’s outlook is still bleak. The sale of existing homes grew slightly at the end of 2007, but prices continued to fall. The spill over effect of this decline in the construction sector will be felt in many other sectors.
  • This year is the beginning of the end for analog TV. The nation’s broadcasters will turn off analog TV signals at the stroke of midnight on Feb. 17, 2009. Cable TV customers probably don’t need to worry, but about 13 - 21 million viewers rely on the free over-the-air television service. If you bought your TV before 1998, it is probably analog. The new all digital TV transmission will free up a great deal on transmission bandwidth for other services. Whooppee!
  • More thieves target construction to steal copper wiring. Lawmakers are trying to make selling the valuable metal tougher. The theft of copper wiring from some areas has reached epidemic proportions. Thieves are selling expensive high performance copper cables for only scrap value.  Earlier in 2007,Mike Rice, Cabling Project Manager for Communication Planning Corporation (Jacksonville, FL) said there are some new aspects to their project work that are more important than expected. “First of all, the copper cable has become the focus of jobsite thieves. Last year, a major electrical contractor in North Florida reported a copper cable theft of more than $20,000. Now their jobsite trailers have security cameras. The problem has generated jokes like ‘We are hiring a tail gunner for the cable delivery truck.’ We think this security issue will not go away anytime soon.”
  • Abandoned cable removal requirement gaining enforcement. 2008 promises much stronger enforcement of this section of the NEC (first adopted in 2002). Remember: replace the fire stopping as required after the cable is removed (http://www.uniquefirestop.com/). Last year, Abandoned Cable Removal services seems to be more stimulated by the “recycled copper” dollars than the NEC (National Electrical Code). There are many important issues before the National Fire Protection Association in this code cycle and upcoming cycles. You can LEAD, FOLLOW, or GET OUT OF THE WAY, but you must join the NFPA www.nfpa.org, if want to be part of the process. We recommend it highly.
  • Cabling without labeling isn’t just stupid. It’s insane. What you need is an affordable, tough, portable labeling tool with one-touch "hot keys" to save time and money. Plus the highest quality labels, so they stick and stay stuck.  www.rhinolabeling.com How do you sign your work? Cabling infrastructure is a valuable asset. To maximize the value: select smart, install properly www.beastcablingsystems.com, label, test (certify performance www.flukenetworks.com) and document the cabling system.
  • Green is good. Environmental friendly designs and products are finally getting a much stronger support from the consumers. Cabling is no exception. RoHS compliant cabling products are available in most manufacturers’ product lines. Hitachi HCM even has a 100% recyclable cable box also. www.hcm.hitachi.com
  • SMP's Dual Axcess product line has recently been recognized as green building initiative by the Western North Carolina Green Building Council and will be featured at the upcoming BICSI Winter Conference in Orlando, Florida.   Interested parties can hear more about the benefits of Dual Axcess and how it can be used for green building efforts at the BICSI Winter Conference's Product Forum on Tuesday, January 15th at 5:35.  In addition, the Dual Axcess product line will be featured at the SMP Data Communications/ Preformed Line Products booth #1104.  Come by and see what green building can do for you. www.smpdata.com www.preformed.com
  • SMP was recently recognized as a proud sponsor of the Duke/Home Depot Smart Home in Durham, North Carolina.  The Duke Smart Home features innovative products that offer environmentally conscious and smart living solutions.   SMP donated several products including the workstation outlets and jacks for the project. www.smpdata.com The Smart Home will be a working dormitory for engineering students to live, work and study the benefits to green initiatives.  More information can be found on the Duke Smart Home website at www.smarthome.duke.edu
  • Most damage to electronic and telephone systems comes from “commercial power (spikes, brown-outs, & surges). Protect your investment with UPS. Here is the best website tool for buying right: http://www.sizemyups.com/
  • Infrastructure cabling support hardware pays big dividends downstream. Besides making your installation perform better and meet the codes and standards, a well-designed support system for the cable allows the proper administration of future installs and cable removal with minimal disruption and at a lower cost. Infrastructure cabling support hardware is more than an asset. It is a “buried treasure”. www.erico.com
  • 2008 started off with oil hitting $100/barrel. This growing cost is going to reverberate into the cabling business in many ways. Obviously, the price at the gas pump is going to hit budget immediately. The cost of other materials will also feel profit pinch. Raise your service call rates today. Could gas prices top $4 per gallon by the 3rd quarter of 2008?
  • Smart practices in the field: Scot Hancock, Sr. Telephone Technician - CPC www.communicationplanning.com added the importance of a well-planned infrastructure for 2008, “We know that a smart cabling system is one of the most important barriers to downstream costs for MACs (Moves, Additions, &Changes) and repairs.” He added the properly documented infrastructure that is fully labeled cuts many hours of hunting for the problem. “All our trucks carry the DYMO Rhino labelers and a Fluke Networks DTX cable analyzer, and we save the test records for the customers. We have more than ample data to show how much cost is eliminated by ‘doing it the right way’. The craft intensive installation requirement for Cat 6 copper is too delicate to go it alone. We are using the Beast Cabling System to insure the cable installs are delivering maximum performance with minimum loss due to cable stress during the installation. We have used this system for the past two years and it helps the project flow smoothly.”  Michael Shannahan, VP-Operations said stay focused on safety and code compliance as well, like fire stops. “The job must be performed in a proper and professional manner to insure the safety of the installers and the customer.”  We use Unique Fire Stop Products (http://www.uniquefirestop.com/) that we get through CSC (www.gocsc.com). Never cut corners on safety. The only real problem associated with this growth in business is lack of well-trained technicians to fill the expanding job market. We are always looking for cabling and telephone technicians.”
  • Mike Heisler of ANIXTER www.anixter.com told us the shortage of trained technicians is being felt all over the Southeast. We checked with Barry Simons (ADS Telecom), Brian Chancey (Area Communications), Steve Strumlauf (AIC – American International Communications), and Michael Lohr (Ensource.net). All of these companies have reported outstanding business growth, but a real shortage in trained technicians to meet their increased needs. However, we found the fiber optic installer technician resource growing as more talent passes through the outstanding training programs of The Light Brigade www.lightbrigade.com, the Fiber Optic Association www.thefoa.org, and BICSI www.bicsi.org. Will fiber eventually replace copper as the primary type of cabling? There will be many factors driving the outcome, but perhaps the ever-increasing appetite for bandwidth will give fiber optics the edge.
  • SMP's Annual Sales & Marketing Summit will be held this year at the Mystic Dunes Resort and Golf Club during the BICSI Winter Conference.  Festivities will be kicked off with a Reception and Dinner on Saturday, January 12th, 2008.  Bill Reynolds, VP and General Manager of SMP will also present awards, for superior achievement to the SMP Sales and Marketing staff.  This year, SMP will be honoring its sales rep firms from the North East, South Central and Western regions with an award and recognition for exceptional performance.   In addition, SMP will be presenting and offering training to its sales staff on many of its new products and pending innovations. www.smpdata.com
  • In 2008 some of our cabling comrades may die. We just received news that Jim Alexander, past President of BICSI has died. He certainly left his mark on Cabling Industry. Ray Gendron, Joe Flynt, Mike Rice, & Joe O’Brien passed away in 2007. These men gave of themselves in many ways to make the industry better.

REMEMBER: SAFETY IS TOO IMPORTANT TO IGNORE

But that’s just my opinion,

Frank Bisbee
"Heard On The Street" Monthly Column
www.wireville.com
4949 Sunbeam Rd, Suite 16
Jacksonville, FL 32257
(904) 645-9077 office
(904) 645-9058 fax
frank@wireville.com


Women In Transport Systems Industry

(WITSI)

Initial meeting

January 14, 2008
BICSI Winter Conference, Orlando
Hemmingway Room
7:45 - 8:30 pm

After more than 100 years, the communications cabling industry is finally getting a real positive shot in the arm. We are referring to the steady increase of women entering into this important technology sector.  It seems that each year we see a stronger role for the women in our industry.  This is a good thing.

The vision of a strong community of women within BICSI bringing with them knowledge and leadership capabilities expand their contributions to the ITS industry.  It is the right time.

A meeting has been organized in order to discuss the formation of a women’s professional networking committee to:

§         Develop goals and strategies for WITSI members involved in the communications industry

§         To help raise awareness of Women’s valuable contributions within the Communications industry.

§         Identify needs or opportunities within the communications industry for WITSI members

§         To give WITSI members within the Communications industry an outlet  that supports them through every phase of their career; RCDD’s, executives, business owners, vendor representatives, associations’ representatives, students just entering into the Communications industry

Please come join the formation meeting of this important group – WITSI.

For further information:

Laura Jirus  - laura@wireville.com

       or

Cathy Dunn, RCDD - cathy.dunn@kitcofo.com


2008 BICSI Winter Conference

WHEN:  January 14-17, 2008

WHERE:  Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center, Kissimmee, Fla.

WHO:  BICSI® is a professional association supporting the information transport systems (ITS) industry with information, education and knowledge assessment for individuals and companies. Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., BICSI serves more than 23,000 industry professionals in nearly 100 countries.

HIGHLIGHTS

q       "Future Trends of the Industry" Panel Discussion─ Thursday, January 17, 8:30 a.m., Osceola Ballroom
Unlike any BICSI conference session before, John Adams, Tony Whaley, Chris Diminico and moderator Don Nelson comprise the panel of industry experts who will address current trends in the key ITS areas of outside plant, networks and wireless. The forum will be open so that all conference attendees will have the opportunity for questions and answers after each expert has spoken about an area and its current trends.

q       Annual Awards Banquet─ Wednesday, January 16, 7:30 p.m., Osceola Ballroom                                        BICSI’s annual awards program and banquet honors outstanding contributions to the ITS industry with entertainment by Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood of the hit television series, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”.

q       Keynote speakers─ Various dates and times, Osceola Ballroom                                                                            Nicholas Carr─ Recently named by eWeek as one of the 100 most influential people in IT.                                        Simon T. Bailey─ Internationally known speaker, author, consultant and founder of the Imagination Institute, Inc.            Kevin Carroll Former executive at Nike and the founder of The Katalyst Consultancy.

q       Audience consists of more than 3000 conference attendees and 500 additional exhibit hall visitors, including RCDDs (Registered Communications Distribution Designers), ITS design consultants, ITS contractors, facility owners and managers, outside plant (OSP) engineers, communications resellers and VARs, corporate and government communications managers, network designers and administrators, cabling infrastructure installers and technicians, and architects and consultants.

q       More than 200 exhibit spaces filled with the latest ITS products and solutions.

Hope to see you there!

www.bicsi.org


2008 BICSI Winter Conference Happenings

BICSI Cares

BICSI Cares, Inc. is the charity arm of BICSI, which collects donations at each BICSI conference and gives 100 percent of the contributions to a local children’s charity. All funds raised from donations during the 2008 BICSI Winter Conference will benefit Healing the Children of Florida/Georgia Inc. Additional monies will be raised from players at the Ray Gendron Memorial Charity Golf Tournament, which begins with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. on Monday, January 14 at the Eagle Creek Golf Course in Orlando.

Dedicated to providing healthcare to children in need, this exceptional charity serves children from all over the world, with the vast majority living in the Central Florida area. Visit www.YouCanHeal.org for more information on Healing the Children of Florida/Georgia Inc.

This is your opportunity to take part in fulfilling Healing the Children's mission of providing donated healthcare to children in need. The organization envisions a world where every child has access to medical care, regardless of ability to pay, insurance status and physical location. Donations will also be accepted at the BICSI Cares Booth during the Conference.

BICSI Region Breakfast Meetings

(U.S. Southeast Region, U.S. Northeast Region, U.S. South-Central Region, U.S. North-Central Region, U.S. Western Region, Canadian Region and International Regions)

Wednesday, January 16, 7:30-8:45 a.m.

An excellent networking opportunity for anyone to fuel up with a great meal and chat with fellow BICSI members who live and work near each other, as well as hear directly from the BICSI Region Directors about ongoing news and events that affect the information transport systems industry. For details on specific meeting locations at the Gaylord Palms Convention Center, visit the 2008 BICSI Winter Conference page.


BICSI Mourns The Passing Of Irving "Jim" Alexander, Past President

Irving "Jim" Alexander, BICSI’s seventh President (1984-1985), sadly has passed away recently after a long illness. He was 82.

A WWII Navy Veteran and 38-year employee with Illinois Bell Telephone, Alexander, of Diamond, Illinois, is remembered by many BICSI members and telecommunications professionals as the driving force behind the establishment of BICSI’s Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD®) program.

“Jim saw a need within the industry and pushed BICSI to fill it with the development of the RCDD designation,” said David Cranmer, RCDD, BICSI Executive Director. Professionals who attain this designation have demonstrated their knowledge in the design, integration and implementation of information transport systems (ITS) and related infrastructure components.

“Very few people believed that BICSI could sustain the 1984 break-up that ended the Bell System of affiliated telephone companies,” said Dunn G. Harvey, RCDD, BICSI Past President (1981). “Yet through Jim’s leadership, the organization held strong and maintained positive relations with those newly separated companies.”

Alexander was a beloved husband of Bernadine; loving father of Barbara (James) Bruno, Diane (Richard) Warburton, James (Beth) Alexander and Richard (Leah) Alexander; dear brother of Marion Robinson and Jeanne Maggio; cherished grandfather of 12; great-grandfather of six.

BICSI extends its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Alexander. A donation to the Alzheimer's Association in memory of him is appreciated by his family.


Will Technicians ‘Bend’ the Rules of Fiber Management with New Fibers?

By Trevor Smith, ADC and Larry Johnson, The Light Brigade

Fiber that bends around pencils and sharp corners without a significant increase in attenuation has captured the collective imaginations of fiber pundits everywhere. In discussions on conference floors, in meeting rooms and even around the proverbial water cooler, these fibers are touted as virtually indestructible – and therein lie many potential issues.

The new breed of reduced bend radius fibers can reduce minimum bend radius requirements from the traditional 10 times the outside diameter of the jacketed cable (about 38 mm) to as low as 5 to 10 mm without increasing attenuation. This capability is a monumental breakthrough in the fiber community and conjures up all kinds of possibilities for technicians and installers, particularly in fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) applications.

Uses for reduced bend radius fibers have existed for many years, beginning in the 1990s with specialized applications in optical subassemblies and dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) systems, including oceanic repeaters where reduced space is critical. Today the greatest need for these fibers is in high-density cable management products for FTTP applications. They will also be used in new and legacy wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) installations, which are also gaining traction within the access segments of the network, including WDM passive optical networks (WDM-PONs).

What's new today is the progression from a controlled laboratory and manufacturing environment, which use only coated optical fibers, to outside plant, central office, headend and premises locations where installers and technicians work with cabled fibers. It is now possible to use reduced bend radius fibers in these settings because cable structures have evolved to provide physical protection for the internal fibers and also to maintain their optical performance characteristics for high signal quality.

It’s Still Glass

The danger is that technicians may believe these new fibers are impervious to the forces that increase attenuation or cause optical links to fail. Even the names given to some of these fibers – bend insensitive, bend resistant, bend optimized – can lead technicians to make false assumptions about the fiber’s durability and performance capabilities – assumptions that could have serious impacts on long-term network performance.

The fact that a fiber can be bent beyond traditional limits does not mean that it cannot be damaged. It’s still fiber and, in the end, still glass – subject to fracturing and even breaking with improper handling or due to a variety of outside forces. Not all types of cables ensure against kinking, although advances are being made in cable structures as well. Some new cable designs will actually provide built-in bend limits to protect the glass within.

What is most exciting about these fibers is that they will make installation, particularly routing of cables inside structures, much easier. For example, in a multiple dwelling unit it will be much easier to route and conceal the fiber cable between rooms and around sharper corners. However, even with simplified fiber cable management techniques, it is necessary to plan carefully for a robust, reliable network. The way fiber cables are connected, terminated, routed, spliced, stored and handled will still have a direct and substantial impact on network performance and, more importantly, profitability.

There are four elements of good fiber cable management: bend radius protection, cable routing paths, accessibility and physical protection. Each element should be considered in light of the capabilities of the latest reduced bend radius fibers.

Bend Radius Protection

In the past, bend radius protection was arguably the most important aspect of good fiber management because it prevented the macrobends that drastically reduce the network’s long-term performance. Reduced bend radius fiber and improved jacketing techniques now allow much sharper bends without attenuation penalties. However, bend radius protection is far from a thing of the past.

Although the new fibers enable less stringent parameters, there still remains a minimum bend radius that technicians must consider. Proper slack storage is still a critical step in alleviating potential problem areas on frames and along cable pathways.

Technicians must understand that these new fibers do not diminish the need for solid fiber cable management practices. Rather, the increase in the number of fibers being added to optical access networks to accommodate broadband upgrades makes bend radius protection as important as ever. This in turn requires good cable routing, since improper fiber routing is a major cause of bend radius violations.

Cable Routing Paths

Technicians may believe neatness is no longer required because new fibers make bend radius protection obsolete. Nothing could be further from the truth. First, as we’ve discussed above, bend radius protection is far from obsolete. Second, good cable routing is needed for more than simply reducing bend radius violations. Technicians are still required to perform rapid circuit routing, cable tracing, and reconfigurations.

Good cable routing permits clearly defined and easy-to-follow pathways. On the other hand, cable routing that is left to the technician’s imagination leads to an inconsistent, difficult-to-manage network. Cable routing quality makes all the difference between congested chaos and neatly placed, easily accessible patch cords. Well-defined routing paths also reduce the proficiency training time required for technicians.

Reduced bend radius fibers will magnify the benefits of good cable routing. While defined routing paths make it easier to access individual fibers, the new fibers will enable technicians to actually put their hands into a fiber bundle to physically trace a particular fiber. This will make cable tracing much easier and reduce the time required for reconfigurations. However, any benefit provided by reduced bend radius fibers will depend on how well the cables were routed in the first place.

Cable/Connector Access

Cable access, the third element of good fiber cable management, refers to the accessibility of the installed fibers and connectors. If technicians assume that bending fibers to gain access is no longer a problem with reduced bend radius fibers, they can actually make cable access more difficult.

In FTTP architectures, connectors are closely packed together, making the possibility of accidentally disconnecting a wrong cable much more likely. Whatever type of fiber is used, connector access is critical for reconfigurations, rapid service turn-up, testing, troubleshooting and dealing with customer churn.

In the past, an active equipment rack might have had 50 fibers exiting it, so the management of individual fibers was much less of an issue. But as that same rack is fitted for broadcast services, the number of fibers increases to upwards of 500, making proper management and accessibility techniques critically important. The bottom line is that reduced bend radius fibers will have little effect on reducing the need for ensuring good cable and connector access for technicians.

Physical Fiber Protection

The physical protection of fiber cannot be stressed enough to technicians and installers. The tighter bending capabilities of new fiber products do not diminish the need to protect fibers from outside forces. Optical fiber is still glass, and damaged or even broken fibers are still a possibility if the fiber is handled roughly or improperly.

Whether or not fibers bend around corners, they will always have the physical limitations imposed by their cladding and cover materials, which are still covering a glass core. They are still subject to serious damage from nails, screws, staples and external pressure or mishandling that causes pinching, binding or bending the fiber beyond its capabilities. Therefore, all fibers traversing from one piece of equipment to another must be physically protected, for example by raceway systems.

Technical Skill Levels

Service providers have asked whether they can employ less-skilled technicians to deploy these new fibers, since sensitivity to the special handling of these cables is less of an issue. But the issue isn’t really whether reduced bend radius fibers should be handled differently from other fibers – they should not. Rather, the issue is the installer’s experience. Even though copper cable is simpler to handle, very few people prefer having it installed by an inexperienced technician. They prefer to have the job done correctly and in accordance with building codes, standards and specifications.

This leads us to the issue of standards. Although some standards have emerged for the fibers themselves, standards concerning installation techniques are lacking. This leaves technicians and installers at the mercy of the manufacturer’s specifications. Technicians cannot, and should not, make assumptions about fiber, since the fiber and cabling could come from different manufacturers. Therefore, until standards are written for proper installation and handling of these new fibers, the potential exists for confusion about what is acceptable and what is not – and erring on the side of caution should be the rule.

Even technicians with many years of experience in fiber installation face the challenge of proper fiber handling and cable management techniques for all types of fiber. There is currently no way to identify which optical cables contain reduced bend radius fibers and which do not. Therefore, technicians and installers should always use prudence with good cable installation disciplines regardless of the fiber and cable types installed. If this point is minimized, long-term performance is jeopardized. Problems could occur in many legacy fiber installations that are not designed with these new fibers and, that are therefore not as bend resistant.

Today’s users already have difficulties in identifying fiber optic cable types and characteristics. As densities continue to increase with a mix of older and newer cable plants installed, it will become even more difficult for technicians to determine which fibers may be more bend resistant. Therefore, the safest practice would logically be to apply traditional fiber management techniques across the board regarding bend radius, securing and routing of optical cables, jumpers and fibers.  

In fact, some new fibers call for special attention or knowledge on the part of technicians. For example, some types of reduced bend radius fibers, known as “holey fiber,” are manufactured with nanostructures, or small airholes around the core of the fiber. These airholes can actually wick water or alcohol on the endface while they are being cleaned in preparation for splicing or connectorization. If the technician is aware of these fibers, he or she will know to cut the fiber back a bit before immediately splicing it. Similarly, in field connectorizations, there are some new techniques required for the new reduced bend radius fibers. Technicians must be aware of any special requirements associated with different types of fiber.

Educating Technicians

Reduced bend radius fiber is not a completely new phenomenon – some types have been on the market for several years. However, these fibers are steadily being improved to enable technicians to install them faster, more easily, and with the same or better reliability. But, as with all their predecessors, these new fibers have limits that technicians must understand and adhere to.

Reducing the traditional bending radius allows many benefits to installers. New jacket materials will likely improve these fibers even more. With each improvement, however, comes the responsibility to ensure that technicians are aware – not only of the benefits of a new fiber but, more importantly, of its limitations. Good fiber and cable management techniques, along with the use of quality cable management products designed with the long-term viability of network performance, will become even more critical in the days ahead as fiber densities reach an all-time high.

New reduced bend radius fibers, together with all the elements of good fiber cable management, will significantly enhance long-term performance and efficiency for optical access networks. If technicians “bend” the rules and practices of managing the fiber because they believe new fibers allow them to do it, network efficiency and performance is jeopardized in the process. It all starts with education – and ensuring that the network designer, installers, and technicians are acutely aware of the capabilities of the products placed into their hands.

About the Authors

Trevor Smith is the program manager for FTTX solutions at ADC (www.adc.com), headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Larry Johnson is founder and president of The Light Brigade (www.lightbrigade.com), a fiber optic training organization headquartered in Tukwila, Washington.


Lake Coulson Joins NECA Staff As Government Affairs Executive Director

The National Electrical Contractors Association is pleased to announce that Lake Coulson will assume leadership of NECA’s government affairs program beginning January 1, 2008. Coulson will succeed long-time Executive Director of Government Affairs Robert L. White upon White’s retirement from NECA.

Coulson comes to NECA from the national office of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association, where he has served as Vice President, Government Relations, since 2000. He has extensive experience in lobbying Congressional leaders on behalf of the specialty contracting industry and has worked closely with NECA on issues including repeal of the 3% withholding law, immigration reform, estate tax repeal, and unfair utility competition.

Coulson will also assume responsibility for ECPAC, NECA’s $1 million-plus political action committee for the electrical construction industry.

 “NECA’s government affairs activities have grown considerably in the last three years, and I’m excited that Lake will be joining us,” said John Grau, NECA CEO. “He has the experience and knowledge about the business and labor issues that are currently affecting our members, as well as the construction industry as a whole.”

NECA also has a growing constituent action program that links a member of the association directly with one of the elected representatives. These NECA Key Contacts provide Congressional leaders with critical information from a constituent’s point of view and have proven essential in moving key legislation forward.

ECPAC and the Key Contact program were both established through the efforts of outgoing NECA Executive Director of Government Affairs Bob White. White was recently honored with NECA’s Association Executive Distinguished Service Award for his 37 years of service to NECA and the electrical construction industry.

At PHCC’s National Association, Coulson was instrumental in securing legislation that ensures a competitive environment for small business contractors. He coordinated bi-partisan effort to amend energy bill to ensure separation of utilities and affiliates and was elected to serve as President of National Alliance for Fair Competition.

“I am looking forward to joining the NECA staff and continuing in the storied tradition of advocating for the electrical contractor industry,” Coulson said. “During my tenure at PHCC, I worked frequently with NECA staff on a variety of contractor-related issues, and I am thrilled for the chance to work with such a terrific organization.”

Prior to joining PHCC’s national staff, Coulson served as Director, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute and as Manager, Government Affairs for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. He earned his bachelors degree in economics from the University of Delaware and his master’s degree in public policy from the University of Maryland.

The National Electrical Contractors Association is the voice of the $100 billion industry responsible for bringing power and communication systems to buildings and communities. NECA’s national office and 120 local chapters advance the electrical contracting industry through advocacy, education, research and standards development. NECA celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2001. For more information, visit www.necanet.org.


Berk-Tek Redesigns Category 6 UTP For Better Electrical Performance

Berk-Tek, a Nexans Company, a leading copper and fiber optic cabling manufacturer, announced today that improvements in design and manufacturing of the LANmark-1000 cable has resulted in a best-in-class Category 6 UTP cable.  Through this redesign, the LANmark-1000 has increased all crosstalk parameters by 4 dB over the old design, which was already exceeding component performance as specified by TIA/EIA-568-B.2-1 Category 6.

The improved LANmark-1000 is a result of both the re-engineering of the cable core design combined with investment in manufacturing equipment and new processes at the New Holland, PA, facility.  “Included in across-the-board crosstalk performance is an 85% improvement in the PS-ACR, which means much more signal integrity and strength which greatly reduces vulnerability to noise interference,” states Jim Frey, Berk-Tek Copper Product Manager.  “All the improvements have not changed the outside diameter (.226”) or the price,” he emphasizes.

LANmark-1000 is part of the NetClear GT2 Enhanced Category 6 channel solution from Berk-Tek and Ortronics/Legrand.  “Enhanced electrical properties of the LANmark-1000 will also deliver superior performance of any application specified to run on Category 6 systems,” states Todd Harpel, Director of Marketing, Berk-Tek.  www.berktek.com.  www.nexans.com


BOMA's Winter Business Meeting is Next Month
Register Today Before Time Runs Out

Are you ready for the BOMA International 2008 Winter Business Meeting in Miami on January 25–28? If you haven’t yet registered or booked your hotel reservation, you should do so quickly. The BOMA room block at the Doral Resort is filling up fast and is expected to sell out before next week’s cut-off date of December 27.

This is your ideal opportunity to learn, network and participate in provocative discussions on the hottest topics in commercial real estate.

Register Today for the BOMA International Winter Business Meeting.

Meeting Highlights

Share Your Interests
Come together in interactive discussions with other attendees who share your responsibilities, challenges and perspectives. BOMA International committees and special interest groups share and dispense information on topics such as . . .

  • Energy efficiency and sustainability
  • Building security and emergency preparedness
  • Building codes and standards
  • Mixed-use developments
  • New technologies in property management
  • and much more!

Get Ready for the Best 20 Years of Real Estate
The opening luncheon features a presentation by industry expert Christopher Lee, president of CEL & Associates, Los Angeles.  With more than 30 years of experience in strategic and long-range planning within the real estate industry, Chris Lee will share insights on how global dynamics are dramatically transforming the commercial real estate industry in a lively session called Get Ready for the Best 20 Years of Real Estate.

Bring Your Spouse or Guest
Your registered spouse or guest will enjoy a first hand look at the South Florida good life on a Home of the Stars Cruise. The 90-minute narrated cruise passes by the waterfront mansions of the rich and famous, followed by shopping and lunch at the Bayside Marketplace overlooking the magnificent Biscayne Bay. The spouse/guest registration fee also includes continental breakfasts, the Welcome Reception and Closing Party.

Challenge the Blue Monster
Arrive early to participate in a fabulous golf tournament hosted by BOMA/Miami-Dade on Thursday, January 24 at the Doral’s famous Blue Monster Course, where the prestigious PGA Tour event has been held annually for more than 40 years. A separate registration fee applies and proceeds from the tournament will be donated to BOMA International’s political action committee, BOMAPAC.

Registration Information
Conference registration fees are $595 for BOMA members and $295 for spouses/guests. Rooms at the Doral Resort are discounted for BOMA attendees at $250/night. Visit the 2008 Winter Business Meeting page for complete conference information including the schedule of events, registration procedures, and hotel reservation information. Or, if you prefer, call 202-326-6331. www.boma.org


Government Pensions? Better Pray For Residents to Get Good Jobs

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 – With tens of billions of dollars in unfunded pension and benefit liabilities, some states including Illinois have gotten way beyond the ability of the taxpayer to pay the tab.  

In recapping 2007 in this year-end column, I was going to point out some of the critical issues that were spotlighted during the year. Instead, there’s a great study you should be reading to understand how all these issues I pointed out throughout the year are going to impact state’s pension funds and their ability to pay what they promised.  

In May, I addressed the Illinois House of Representatives’ Computer Technology Committee.

I spoke about the three most critical issues facing Illinois: network infrastructure, job erosion and education. The dramatic rise in foreclosures was also spotlighted in several articles throughout 2007. Foreclosures are now becoming a national issue even though the critical warnings were here more than a year ago.

Everything is Related

It’s funny how all these things add up to something else that I have pointed out: the “ability to pay” factor when it comes to state and municipal pension and benefits plans. A Pew report that just came out focuses on that very issue:

States have promised at least $2.73 trillion in pension, health care and other retirement benefits for public employees over the next three decades, according to a report released [on Dec. 18, 2007] by the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Center on the States.

“Promises with a Price” – the first 50-state analysis of its kind – finds that states have saved enough to cover about 85 percent of their long-term pension costs but only 3 percent of the funds [are] needed for promised retiree health care and other non-pension benefits.

All told, states already have set aside about $2 trillion to meet their long-term obligations. They still need to come up with about $731 billion: a conservative figure that does not include all costs for teachers and local government employees.

Average taxpayers are starting to protest their property taxes more and more. The idea that taxes can just be raised and raised to cover pensions is falling on more and more deaf ears as job erosion in Illinois has hit many homes in many areas.

Underemployment translates to tightening family budgets and realizing that the $90,000-a-year job has been replaced with a $35,000 job.  

All those dependent on that household to pay hefty property taxes for state and municipal pension funds have to wake up and realize that the party is over. Automatic 5 percent yearly raises, all-paid-for benefits and tacking on more to the pension plan should explained as a thing of the past.  

Politicians Have Promised, But Who’s Left to Pay?

Just like corporations are looking at defined pension plans as a thing of the past because they can’t pay what they promised, state governments have to look at trimming some of the fat out of plans that can’t be kept funded. Some of the key findings in the Pew study reveal:

1.     Only six states (Arizona, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin) were on track at the end of fiscal-year 2006 to have fully funded their non-pension promises for the next 30 years.

2.     Half of the states account for almost 94 percent of the non-pension liabilities.

3.     None of the five largest states (California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois) had put aside money for non-pension benefits as of fiscal-year 2006.

4.     Per-capita costs for retiree health care and other benefits range from less than $200 in North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming to more than $5,000 in Delaware, Hawaii and Connecticut. Note that per-capita statistics don’t tell the whole story because they don’t take into account state differences in wealth or the ability to pay the bill.

5.     Eleven states face long-term liabilities in excess of $10 billion. These include New York at $50 billion, California at $48 billion and Connecticut and New Jersey at nearly $22 billion each. Illinois has $41 billion in pension shortfall and $48 billion in non-pension benefits.

How’s Your State Rating?

There is a report for each individual state. Check out the study and read how well – or in the case of Illinois how poorly – your state is funded.

Illinois – as well as other states that aren’t keeping up with their financial obligations – better begin to curb increases and get more fiscally responsible in limiting benefits instead of “promising the world” when they can’t deliver. The Pew study also points out:

1.     An increasing number of states are both setting aside money and restructuring benefits to reduce costs.

2.     At least five states (including Ohio, Washington and Oregon) offer hybrid pension plans that combine elements of both defined benefit and defined contribution plans.

3.     Some states are raising the retirement age and closing loopholes within pension systems that allow employees to inflate the amount they collect after retirement.

4.     For non-pension benefits, states are increasing premiums and co-pays and raising the number of years of employment required for lifetime or fully subsidized benefits.

5.     At least 13 states have set up irrevocable trusts to pay for retiree health care in the years to come.

6.     As of 2006, Illinois was using a 40-year amortization period that doesn’t conform to accounting standards. The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) establishes the time used to amortize pension benefits as 30 years or less.

7.     The three largest funds in Illinois assume 8.5 percent interest on pension investments as compared to a 50-state median of 8 percent. This means Illinois is counting on great returns. In recent times, this is as likely as a 76-degree day in January in Chicago.

In comparison, Wisconsin assumes a 7.8 percent interest on pension investments and a smoothing of five years on its amortization. This is well within GAO standards. Wisconsin has one of the best-managed pension funds in the country that is fully funded.

Reality For State Government Employees

Just like many of the taxpayers who pay into your pensions, the grim reality of having to get something less than what you thought you were going to get is becoming a big reality. Perhaps Illinois has to get more creative like other states in making sure pension abuse is curtailed. Other states have adopted several measures:

1.     Allow unused sick leave of departing employees to be converted to health care accounts (rather than just a “big pay day” of one-year paid leave before retiring).

2.     Another would be to cut out accrued sick leave and be like most private sector corporations: If you don’t use it, you can’t carry it over and accrue it. It’s not vacation. Even vacation has very limited rollover in most corporations. Some policies say if you don’t use it, you lose it.

3.     Pass “spiking” controls to curtail the ability to inflate employee salaries in the last years of service to increase pension benefits. Not only is this rampant but there are even contracts with this built in for school superintendents. Most taxpayers think this is ludicrous.

The reality in Illinois is that many private-sector corporate jobs are being uprooted to other states or just being dissolved. This creates a need to really attract and maintain new corporate facilities.

With the loss of corporate headquarters through buyouts and mergers, the job market stagnates and then gets into a tailspin of fewer jobs. This has happened in Illinois and other states and has to be reversed. Underemployment is a real crisis and quoting good unemployment figures for the quarter doesn’t reflect this problem. 

Carlinism: Pensions can’t be the same as hitting the lotto.

Carlini will be the keynote speaker at a Jan. 9 network infrastructure seminar at the Madison Marriott West in Middleton, Wis. Learn more here. Also, Carlini will lead a half-day seminar on the same topic at the Building Industry Consulting Services International’s winter conference from Jan. 14 to 17, 2008 in Orlando.

Check out Carlini’s blog at CarlinisComments.com.

James Carlini is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University. He is also president of Carlini & Associates. Carlini can be reached at james.carlini@sbcglobal.net or 773-370-1888.

Click here for Carlini’s full biography.

Copyright 2007 Jim Carlini


Reality on Real Estate: Housing Foreclosures Finally Making News

Published on 12/19/2007 at www.MidwestBusiness.com where you always read REAL perspectives

Carlini’s Comments, MidwestBusiness.com’s oldest column, runs every Wednesday. Its mission is to offer the common mans view on business and technology issues while questioning the leadership and visions of pseudo experts.


CHICAGO – There is finally national concern in the news today about rising foreclosures in the housing market. Unfortunately, this is last year’s news.

I wrote about the rise in residential foreclosures in Dec. 2006 and touched upon it again in Jan. 2007. Crain’s Chicago Business finally wrote something about it in July 2007. Most of the national business news channels hadn’t really featured this until late in 2007. Why’s this suddenly an issue? It has been an issue for more than a year for many people.

One of my former students is now in real estate. He says it’s busy even though there are so many problems in the mortgage market. He says there are several factors worth investigating:

What happens when the bank takes all the escrow money to cover the shortfall and nobody else gets paid?

Trying to get rich by buying foreclosures is nonsense. Most homes in foreclosure haven’t been maintained for years. Plus, most are sold without inspection or a guaranty of clean title.

What happens to the tax income the government gets when property values go down? Do developers who can’t unload the condo glut get government bailouts?

He is right about buying foreclosures. Forget the midnight real estate programs on TV that hype buying foreclosures. If you think you’re going to get a pristine house that has been in foreclosure, guess again. Sure, there might be a few exceptions, but don’t hold your breath.

What’s Next? Smaller Property Taxes?

What about new assessments of houses? Every government agency figures it’s going to get an increase due to the larger assessment they always get from property taxes.

Newsflash to all government agencies and school districts: start looking at trimming your budgets by 10 percent to 20 percent for the next couple years. Can’t do it? I guess your degrees in administration are not as good as you profess. Just like there is profit and loss, budgets can go up and down. They don’t just go up and up.

Don’t say there’s no room for cuts. A recent article on school districts said some superintendents are making more than $300,000. Does that sound reasonable to those who have lost jobs at major corporations in the last five years? I don’t think so (especially when you see the extra car allowance for these people at $12,000 a year). What are they leasing? Maserati Quattroportes?

There’s a lot of fat in those budgets. Start cutting – and don’t start with the music courses. Start with administrative perks that have gotten bloated over the years as well as the multiple superintendent positions.

Compare yourself with executive management at a corporation to justify your perks. Many corporations have cut back. Have you? What about those that crank out mediocre products? They are either bought out by a competitor or go out of business. They don’t keep getting funded every year by a tax levy. They are out the door.

Many districts are mismanaged and administrators are going to find out the well has run dry in their districts. Properties are losing the values that overzealous tax assessors have assigned to them.

There is one house north of Racine, Wis. in a small suburb called Wind Point on Lake Michigan that was foreclosed. The bank or the real estate agent thought they could get a huge return on it.

They put it on the market for $595,000 more than a year ago. Though it wasn’t worth it, they thought it would command that price because it was in an affluent neighborhood.

The taxes on the property just went up several thousand dollars. The assessor thinks it’s worth a lot. That house is now $410,000 without one serious offer on it. Looking at it more than a year ago, I said it should sell close to what the mortgage is on it. That would be somewhere in the upper $300,000s. It’s time to adjust the taxes down.

There are still a lot of houses getting into the foreclosure process. Most Chicago-area suburbs that were looked at a year ago still have many houses going into the foreclosure market.

Reality on Real Estate

In comparison to about a year ago when I wrote the first column about foreclosures increasing, look how things have progressed.

No Fire Sales on Quality

Junk is going to be discounted while quality items are going to remain high priced. With cars, you don’t see 0 percent financing on a Lexus, Infinity or other vehicles in demand. Maseratis that sell for $120,000 are going out the door faster than they are coming into the dealers.

Will there be a lot of new houses and condos for sale at bargain-basement prices? Don’t count on that. Builders will take less money, sure, but they won’t give houses away. As for condos, some buildings will become apartments until the market bounces back. This is happening already.

Many are hyping real estate courses to take and books to buy that discuss foreclosures.

Most foreclosure properties will be trashed before they get to the market. While you might get them inexpensively, what are the costs to fix them up? Who’s going to pay a premium once they are put back on the weak market? It sounds like the formula for success has a couple flaws.

To recap 2007, the housing market, new-car market and the general consumer economy have reflected what we have been pointing out here for several years. The economy may be a bull market for some, but for many, it has been a bear market since Sept. 11, 2001.

Carlinism: Quality is quality. There never is a fire sale on quality.


Carlini will be the keynote speaker at a Jan. 9 network infrastructure seminar at the
Madison Marriott West in Middleton, Wis. Learn more here.

Also, Carlini will lead a half-day seminar on the same topic at the Building Industry
Consulting Services International’s winter conference from Jan. 14 to 17, 2008 in Orlando.


Check out Carlini’s blog at CarlinisComments.com.


James Carlini is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University. He is also president of Carlini & Associates. Carlini can be reached at james.carlini@sbcglobal.net or 773-370-1888.
Click here for Carlini’s full biography.

Copyright 2007 Jim Carlini


Look Ahead 2008

Bandwidth demands fuel continued movement to more capable cabling and security remains a concern. Smart businesses save money and the planet simultaneously and integrate communications with an eye on both cost and strategy.

By Grant Buckler

In 2008, most enterprises will push more and new kinds of traffic through their networks, requiring increased performance. They will scramble to balance those demands against security, cost and increased focus on environmental issues.

Higher-bandwidth cabling will proliferate, and smart businesses will look carefully at how wireless and mobile technologies can advance their strategies.

Consulting firm Deloitte named the environment a top IT issue in 2007. That will not change in 2008.

Server virtualization is a key green initiative because fewer servers means lower power consumption. "The fewer power supplies that you can have in the data centre ... the more efficient it is," says Rob Aldrich, senior manager of data centre solutions at Cisco Systems Inc. That applies to routers and other network gear too. So, says Aldrich, planning networks to minimize unused ports -- and thus the number of devices needed -- is one way to save energy.

In the data centre, cooling requirements essentially double power consumption. Cables under raised floor blocking airflow do not help, Aldrich says. Solutions include moving the cable to trays above the equipment and using higher-capacity cabling.

Frank Murawski, president and founder of structured cabling research firm FTM Consulting Inc. in Hummelstown, Penn., says fiber is one good way to cut the bulk.

Toronto Hydro Telecom has another solution. In a new Toronto data centre, the utility telco has installed two layers of raised floor. Directly below the floor on which its servers sit is an 18-inch-high cabling space. Below that is a second, steel floor with rubber seals to make it airtight. The 18-inch space below that interstitial floor is pressurized with cold air.

"Anywhere we want air to escape that sealed plenum on the bottom we install a chimney," says Dave Dobbin, the company's president. With no cables to impede air flow and pressurization to ensure more even distribution, Toronto Hydro needs about 25% less air conditioning capacity for the same floor space.

Luc Adriaenssens, senior vice president of R&D and technology at cable maker CommScope Inc., in Hickory, N.C., says environmental concerns should also encourage long-range planning. "If you can put in better cabling," he says, "you can avoid having to upgrade in five to 10 years down the road and all that cable having to be pulled out."

Many green measures also save money. Whether they are saving the planet or cash, network installers will pay more attention to energy consumption.

GETTING THE PICTURE: First data and voice combined. Now video is joining the party. More enterprises are adding video subnets to IP networks, says Murawski, primarily for surveillance.

Private companies use surveillance for building security and sometimes employee monitoring, and a growing number of municipalities put cameras in public places - for instance, Toronto has installed cameras in its downtown nightclub district, observes Jon Arnold, Toronto telecommunications consultant and principal of J. Arnold & Associates. "If you've got the broadband capability to do it and the tools in terms of the software applications to run it, it just opens up all kind of possibilities."

However, other video applications are proliferating, says Michael Khalilian, chairman and president of the IMS Forum, an industry group that promotes IP Multimedia Subsystems (IMS). IMS is a framework designed to help telecommunications carriers offer more IP-based services, including video, to home and business customers.

Video is increasingly used for distance education and telemedicine, Khalilian says. Businesses use it to link locations for communication and training. Khalilian points out that IMS is making videoconferencing more practical than it was in the days of the H.323 standard, which complicated connections and limited bandwidth.

New forms of videoconferencing are gaining attention too such as Microsoft Corp.'s Roundtable, a videoconferencing unit that sits in the middle of a table. Cisco's TelePresence, a pricey room videoconferencing system that creates an experience almost like being there, found its first Canadian customer this year in Rogers Communications Inc.

Older technology "didn't create a lifelike experience like you experience with TelePresence," says Mike Adams, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Rogers Cable and Telecom.

All this will increase the demand for network bandwidth, says Arnold, and require further improvements in quality of service to ensure video as well as voice packets get the priority they need.

INTEGRATION DOES NOT STOP WITH VIDEO: Interest is growing in incorporating other functions like access controls, alarm systems and control of systems like lighting, heating and air conditioning into a single network. Some call this the intelligent building. "It all just makes sense to converge those onto one network," says Adriaenssens.

Video surveillance is usually first to be added to the IP-based data and voice network, says Jim Sinopoli, principal of consulting firm Smart Buildings in Spicewood, Tex., followed by alarm systems, access and HVAC controls. The move might happen faster, but there are still no standards for building automation and technology vendors haven't actively promoted the idea, Sinopoli says.

As intelligent buildings proliferate, network reliability will become more critical. "In the past, if the LAN crashed every three weeks or so that was OK," Adriaenssens says. But if that crash means the entire building is down -- including the phone system so you can't call anyone -- that's going to be serious. And as building owners put all their communications eggs in one network basket, bandwidth demands will continue growing.

COMMUNICATIONS AND BUSINESS STRATEGY: Unified communications became hot in late 2007, largely because Microsoft Corp. launched its Office Communications Server 2007 software, promoting the concept as if it was a breakthrough. "I don't think it's actually so new," observes Mario Belanger, president of Avaya Canada Inc. Having e-mail read to you on your cellphone or voice messages delivered in e-mail, clicking to dial a phone number from a PC screen -- these are not new capabilities, though they're gaining attention.

Belanger says the goal is communication-enabled business processes, or CEBP. For example, say a critical delivery is delayed. In the past, an automated system might have sent an e-mail alert or paged someone. A response might have taken an hour or two. CEBP means the system might track down several people, using information about where they can be reached at any given time, and automatically set up a teleconference so they can address the problem instantly.

"Communication by itself is nice," Belanger says, "but it really needs to be embedded in the fabric of your business processes." With IP now widely deployed, he expects to see growing adoption of CEBP in 2008.

ON THE ROAD - STRATEGICALLY: A recent International Data Corp. (Canada) Ltd. study, commissioned by Telus Corp., argues Canadian businesses have mostly been taking a tactical approach to mobile data communications, using it primarily for e-mail and to extend existing applications to mobile workers. That is fine, says Tony Olvet, vice president of IDC Canada's communications practice, but businesses should think more strategically.

That would mean more emphasis on mobile applications that promise a lot of value and have not been as widely adopted. One example is replacing paper forms, says Olvet -- "it doesn't sound very sexy, but it's kind of embedded in the processes that most organizations do." Emergency preparedness and remote monitoring are other examples cited in the study.

Olvet says a strategic approach also means mobile services should be managed more centrally for better integration with the corporate network and applications. Today, IDC says, mobile services spending is growing with too little attention to total cost of ownership and business benefits.

Businesses should focus more on how mobile technology can advance their strategies, adds Jeff Lowe, vice president of marketing at Telus Business Solutions, noting that only about a third of Canadian enterprises have a mobile strategy today.

Wi-Max, the longer-range evolution of the Wi-Fi wireless standard in 2008 might eventually extend hotspot-like services to wider areas and offer an alternative to digital cellular networks for voice services. Olvet expects it to play a role in 2008, but not to be a major factor until chip sets appear that support mobile as well as fixed wireless connections. "We're still in what's called pre-Wi-Max adoption mode where the standards still are not 100% ready and the endpoints are not widely used," says Arnold

SECURITY WORRIES CONTINUE: The Canadian Security Readiness Intelligence Report, commissioned by Ottawa-based IT channel management company CMI Inc. and distributed by the Canadian Advanced Technology Association (CATA), reported the unnerving statistic that one in three organizations has recently suffered a security breach. Many breaches could be minor incidents such as an employee receiving a virus by e-mail, notes Kevin Wennekes, vice president of research at CATA, but security clearly remains a major issue.

While viruses and spam remain the top concern, security issues arising from increasing use of wireless networks and remote access to corporate systems are high on the list. Those concerns lead some organizations to restrict remote access to information, Wennekes says. Some also eschew installing wireless networks -- but the survey found even those without wireless infrastructure worry about security risks, because it is too easy for employees to install unauthorized access points.

While increased use of video and the convergence of more services onto a single network put upward pressure on bandwidth requirements, security issues could be pushing the other way. Like security lineups in airports, firewalls and other security provisions can slow the flow of data. "The more buffers and things you put in there, the more it's going to slow down the network," Arnold warns.

What it means is that network administrators and designers will face a balancing act as they try to handle growing traffic demands and increased security worries at the same time.

CAT 6A AND LASER-OPTIMIZED GROW: You would expect growing bandwidth demands to fuel a move toward more capable cabling, and you'd be right. CommScope reports installations of Category 5e cabling accounted for only 9% of the total in 2006, down from 17% the year before, while Category 6a rose from 17% to 25% and Category 6 remained the most popular choice with 56% in 2005 and 53% in 2006. "We're seeing very rapid migration toward 6a," says Adriaenssens.

While Cat 6a cable can theoretically support 10-Gigabit Etheret over modest distances, Murawski thinks fiber is a better answer. "I don't think you're ever going to use unshielded twisted pair to support 10-gig in a real environment," he says. Even if some can get 10-Gigabit to work over copper, Murawski adds, 100-Gigabit networking will be a reality in a few years and that will certainly use fiber.

In the fiber world, the shift is toward laser-optimized multimode. CommScope says higher-bandwidth OM-3 is the big winner, rising from 28% to 43% of installations in 2006, while OM-1, OM-2 and single-mode fiber installations all declined. As demand for bandwidth grows, Adriaenssens says, "it's clear that some day single mode will be the only answer," but for the time being the cheaper multimode electronics are carrying the day.

OPEN SOURCE CANNOT BE IGNORED: Finally, open source software continues spreading into new areas. Already widely used in the infrastructure of the Internet, it is making inroads in voice over IP. The Asterisk open-source IP telephony software runs on around 2.5 million servers around the world, estimates Danny Windham, chief executive of Digium Inc., the Huntsville, Ala., company that co-ordinates Asterisk development.

Open-source routing also offers an alternative to major router suppliers like Cisco and Juniper. Vyatta Inc. of Belmont, Calif., offers commercially supported open-source routing, firewall and virtual private network (VPN) software. Dave Roberts, Vyatta's vice president of strategy and marketing, says both the price and the flexibility of the software attract customers. "Open source is penetrating just about every segment that's out there," he says.

"If you're comfortable with open source and used to using it, you could get pretty much everything you need for next to nothing," says Arnold. "This is definitely a trend you'll see more of."

Grant Buckler is a Kingston, Ont. freelance writer who specializes in IT and telecommunications issues. He can be reached at gbuckler@cogeco.ca.

Reprinted with permission of  Cabling Networking Systems Magazine – 2007  www.cnsmagazine.com


Preview The New Fiber GoKIT At BICSI Winter Conference 2008

Visit us in Booth 1608 to preview the new fiber GoKIT.

KITCO Fiber Optics is a leading provider of fiber optic connectorization products, training and field 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. KITCO also produces private label kits for a number of major connector manufacturers. Our field services team provides on-site termination, splicing, troubleshooting and testing support, and hands-on training and certification programs. We are recognized by the defense industry as fiber optic connectivity experts and for over 10 years we have customized our products and services to meet strict military standards. KITCO offers hands-on training and advanced certifications in both commercial and military fiber optics. KITCO is the sole provider of shipboard fiber optic training to the U.S. Navy, and we also offer aviation and TFOCA training programs. Training is available at our Virginia Beach or San Diego locations, or we can come to your location.


Fluke Networks to Shows Installers How to Expand Business at BICSI Winter Conference

Fiber Certification, Copper Punchdown and Best Practices for 1-10 Gig Networks highlighted at exhibits, lunch presentation

EVERETT, Washington – Fluke Networks, provider of innovative Network SuperVision Solutions™ for the testing, monitoring and analysis of enterprise and telecommunications networks, will show installers several ways to expand their business at the upcoming BICSI Winter Conference, January 12-17 in Orlando, Florida.

Several new products will be on display at Fluke Networks’ booth in the exhibit hall.  The new Compact OTDR Module for the DTX CableAnalyzer provides an affordable, easy-to-learn solution for installers who wish to expand their business into fiber certification.  The Compact OTDR Module has won several industry awards since coming to market in the second half of 2007.

The JackRapid Termination Tool, with interchangeable heads for different styles of jacks, will be on displayd for sample use.  The JackRapid can help installers complete termination jobs 8 times faster than with conventional tools.

On Tuesday, January 15, from noon to 1:15, Fluke Networks will host a luncheon presentation on “Best Practices for 1-10 Gig Networks.”  Hugo Draye, a frequent speaker at BICSI functions and a recognized expert on high-speed data transmission, will present the latest developments in cabling certification.  Attendees will also have the chance to win one of five fiber inspection and cleaning toolkits to be given away after the presentation. 

About Fluke Networks

Fluke Networks provides innovative solutions for the installation and certification, testing, monitoring and analysis of copper, fiber and wireless networks used by enterprises and telecommunications carriers. The company's comprehensive line of Network SuperVision™ Solutions provide network installers, owners, and maintainers with superior vision, combining speed, accuracy and ease of use to optimize network performance. Headquartered in Everett, Washington, the company distributes its products in more than 50 countries. Fluke Networks is part of the Danaher (NYSE:DHR) family of companies. www.flukenetworks.com


Coleman Cable Introduces New Long-Life LED Work Lights

Coleman Cable, Inc. (Nasdaq: CCIX) announces the addition of two long-life LED work lights to its professional work light line: a 30-bulb LED Work Light and a 30-bulb LED Work Light Bonus Pack with flashlight.

The 30-bulb LED unit comes with 30 long-life LED lights that provide 10,000 hours of efficient illumination and cool operation. The new unit also includes a swivel hook for hanging that can rotate 360°, an ergonomically designed handle, and a conveniently located on/off switch. The work light operates on 6 AA batteries that are included with unit.

The 30-bulb LED Work Light Bonus Pack with flashlight includes an added bonus of a three-bulb LED flashlight, packaged with the unit. The flashlight operates on 2 AA batteries.

About Coleman Cable Inc.

Coleman Cable, Inc. is a leading manufacturer and innovator of electrical and electronic wire and cable products for the security, sound, telecommunications, electrical, commercial, industrial, and automotive industries. With extensive design and production capabilities and a long-standing dedication to customer service, Coleman Cable, Inc. is the preferred choice of cable and wire users throughout the United States. www.colemancable.com


CommScope Completes $2.65 Billion Acquisition of Andrew

CommScope, Inc. (NYSE: CTV) announced that it has completed its acquisition of Andrew Corporation (Nasdaq: ANDW) for a total purchase price of approximately $2.65 billion. As of today, Andrew will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of CommScope.

    "We are delighted with the closing of the Andrew transaction, which marks a new chapter in the history of our company," said Frank M. Drendel, chairman and chief executive officer of CommScope. "We believe this combination will further enhance CommScope's position as a worldwide leader in 'last mile' solutions. Combining our innovative technologies, premier brands and a top-tier customer base, we expect to expand our global service model and create an enhanced offering of communications infrastructure solutions that addresses a broader spectrum of customer needs. With this acquisition, we are advancing CommScope's stated global 'last mile' strategy while creating important cost reduction and growth opportunities that we believe will drive increased shareholder value.

    "We look forward to working with Andrew's talented team to quickly and smoothly integrate their operations into CommScope. As we continue to invest in the combined business for profitable growth, the talented and dedicated employees of both Andrew and CommScope will continue to play a critical role in the success of the combined company. CommScope is a proven and successful integrator of strategic transactions and we expect to begin realizing the benefits of this combination immediately and enjoy them fully over the next few years," added Mr. Drendel.

    Andrew stockholders will receive, for each Andrew share, $13.50 in cash and 0.031543 shares of CommScope common stock. This fractional share of CommScope common stock was calculated according to the terms of the merger agreement by dividing $1.50 by $47.554, which was the volume weighted average of the closing sale prices for a share of CommScope common stock over the ten consecutive trading days ending on December 24, 2007.

    Financing and Interest Rate Swap

    CommScope funded the transaction through a combination of senior secured credit facilities and available cash on hand. The $2.5 billion senior secured credit facilities consist of a $1.35 billion seven-year senior secured term loan facility with an interest rate of LIBOR plus 250 basis points, a $750 million six-year senior secured term loan facility with an initial interest rate of LIBOR plus 225 basis points and a $400 million six-year senior secured revolving credit facility with an initial interest rate of LIBOR plus 225 basis points. These debt commitments provide for a weighted average initial, variable interest rate of LIBOR plus approximately 241 basis points on the senior secured term loans. At closing, no funds had been borrowed from the revolving credit facility.

    CommScope also announced that it has entered into an interest rate swap in order to fix the LIBOR interest rate for an initial $1.5 billion of the overall credit facility. Through this swap CommScope fixed the following amounts at a LIBOR rate of 4.07750%:

     $1.5 billion from December 27, 2007 through December 31, 2008

     $1.3 billion from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009

     $1.0 billion from January 2, 2010 through December 31, 2010

     $400 million from January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011

    Advisors

    Banc of America Securities LLC acted as financial advisor to CommScope in connection with this acquisition and Duff & Phelps LLC provided a fairness opinion to CommScope.  Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, Baker & McKenzie LLP and Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, P.A. acted as CommScope's outside legal counsel. Citi acted as the primary financial advisor to Andrew, and Merrill Lynch provided a fairness opinion. Mayer Brown LLP acted as Andrew's primary outside legal counsel. Banc of America Securities LLC and Wachovia Capital Markets, LLC acted as Joint Lead Arrangers and Joint Bookrunners in connection with the credit facilities.

    About CommScope

    CommScope, Inc. (NYSE: CTV - www.commscope.com) is a world leader in infrastructure solutions for communication networks. Through its Andrew Wireless Solutions(R) brand, it is a global leader in radio frequency subsystem solutions for wireless networks. Through its SYSTIMAX(R) Solutions(TM) and Uniprise(R) Solutions brands CommScope is the global leader in structured cabling systems for business enterprise applications. It is also the premier manufacturer of coaxial cable for broadband cable television networks and one of the leading North American providers of environmentally secure cabinets for DSL and FTTN applications.


Contractor Productivity And Profits Get Big Boost From Ruff-In™ Pre-Fab Electrical Product Line From Cooper B-Line

Electrical contractors reduce man hours by up to 30% on the rough-in portion of commercial projects using new factory assembled pre-fab rough-in line.    

Cooper B-Line, a subsidiary of Cooper Industries, today announced the availability of the new Ruff-In™ Pre-Fab product line as a major extension to the company’s broad line of commercial electrical fastening and box positioning products.

“The Ruff-In™ Pre-Fab product line is an extension of our complete line of fastening and box positioning products,” explained George Dowse, vice president of marketing for Cooper
B-Line. “The Cooper B-Line Ruff-In offering combines products from multiple Cooper businesses, including outlet boxes from Cooper Crouse-Hinds and wiring devices from Cooper Wiring Devices, and offers factory preassembled solutions that arrive at the job site ready to be installed. By eliminating most of the on-site measuring, cutting and drilling, Ruff-In™ delivers great labor-savings.”

 “On larger commercial projects the developers and building owners benefit greatly by completing a new building sooner,” pointed out Jim Knapik, vice president of marketing for Cooper Wiring Devices. “By completing construction ahead of schedule, tenants occupy the new space sooner and the building generates income quicker.”

“For this reason, many developers actually incentivize suppliers to bring their projects in ahead of schedule,” said Knapik. “This can bring a significant cash bonus to the electrical contractor, so this is one of the big benefits for utilizing pre-fab products.”

“Contractors can actually see for themselves the savings they can expect on a particular project,” said Kathy Neville, Ruff-In product manager for Cooper B-Line. “Our website offers a Ruff-In™ Pre-Fab Labor Savings Calculator (www.cooperbline.com/Ruff-In/index.asp) that can help a contractor determine how much time they can save doing rough in on their next project by ordering our pre-fab products.”

New pre-fab electrical products reduce installation time, increase contractor productivity, and improve competitive bidding

In the electrical trade the rough-in phase that occurs before the drywall has gone up is typically a time consuming labor-intensive portion of any commercial construction project. Rough-in refers to the rough installation of the electrical wiring, boxes, fixture mounts, breaker panels, and sub panels.

During this stage when access to the space between the studs, floor joists, and ceiling joists is most easily accessed, the electrical contractor must install the basic electrical foundation for all of the wiring devices for the project. After the rough-in phase, the installation of switches, receptacles, fixtures and so on is completed during the finish phase as the construction work nears completion.

Electrical contractors devote a significant portion of their project man hours preparing the rough-in for the structure supports and fastening conveyances used to attach the electrical wiring devices to the building structure.

It’s a time-consuming job to select, measure, cut, drill, and attach the myriad of metal struts, braces, footings, boxes, and plaster rings required to establish a sturdy and well-constructed electrical infrastructure that is accurately and rigidly connected to the building’s wall studs and framing.

Despite how time consuming this rough-in work is, it is also critical to a well-installed code-compliant electrical wiring system. Of course, the rough-in work must meet the National Electrical Code requirements, as well as local community standards, which mandate how high to mount the outlet and switch boxes, how to fasten the wire near the boxes, and where to drill the holes to run the wiring or cable.

But in today’s commercial construction market, several powerful forces have combined to pressure electrical contractors to complete every phase of a project – including rough-in -- faster and with reduced labor costs.

In addition to the financial pressures coming from the building construction team, there is also the fact that in many regional markets there is a real and growing shortage of skilled, experienced contractors. With the average age of electrical contractors now hitting 50 years of age, the contracting industry is facing a critical need for increased installation speed using labor-saving solutions in order to help workers handle project loads.

In order to handle more projects with their current size labor force, many contractors are increasingly turning to the use of pre-fabricated electrical products, especially on commercial projects like schools, office buildings, hotels, and retail chains, as well as large Multi-Dwelling Unit residential projects such as condos, apartment buildings and retirement communities. One such contracting firm is Sprig Electric, the fourth largest electrical contractor in California.

Ruff-In™ Pre-Fab line reduces construction costs on Multi-Dwelling Units

San Jose, California-based Sprig Electric has 350 IBEW electricians and technicians and expects to generate $115 million to $120 million in 2007 revenue. Of that figure, at least 60% represents commercial projects, including Multi-Dwelling Unit construction.

“About three years ago, the residential MDU market drove us more into pre-fab because of the sheer number of units that came to market,” said Darrell Clingerman, leader for the pre-fab department for Sprig Electric. “Pre-fab products are now used in approximately 85% of our commercial projects, and my pre-fab department has up to 12 electricians solely dedicated to preparing pre-fab construction solutions.”

“When we began doing hi-density residential MDU work our pre-fabing accelerated by 60% to 70% above the earlier period,” added Clingerman.

“We started using Cooper B-Line’s Ruff-In™ products early in 2007 and we did some feasibility studies and found out that the Cooper B-Line product line provided even further installation time savings than our previous rough-in methods,” said Clingerman. 

“By using Cooper B-Line pre-fab solutions we saved an additional 10% to 20% of the rough-in portion on a typical project,” explained Rick Clinton, vice president marketing for Sprig Electric. “Applying Cooper B-Line’s Ruff-In™ products in our in-house rough-in shop allows the journeyman to do a project in the field without spending time checking every detail.”

“We can offer the value of the cost savings back to our customers,” said Clinton. “We’ve built in this saved time into our estimating process. With pre-fab construction in our shop using Ruff-In™ products, we find there are far fewer problems at the job site. It increases accuracy, provides a more consistent job, tightens schedules, reduces the number of people needed per project, and shortens project turnaround.”

 

Actual Pre-Fab Labor Cost Savings Using
Cooper B-Line Ruff-In™ Products for a
Multiple Dwelling Unit Residential Project

 

Normal rough-in not using pre-fab products per unit:

30 man hours @ $60/hr = $1800

Using Cooper B-Line Ruff-In™ per unit: 25 man hours @ $60/hr = $1500 ($300 less per unit)

$300 Cost Savings per Unit X 500 units in project =
$150,000 Project Labor Savings

Ruff-In™ Pre-fab products also available with pre-installed wiring devices

Another electrical contractor that has benefited from using the Ruff-In™ products is Kaiser Electric, a $32 million firm with 150 electricians and twelve project managers located in Fenton, Missouri.

Kaiser Electric tends to single source projects with an electrical distributor, but when they had difficulty getting all of the Cooper brand products they wanted from one distributor, they started talking with Cooper marketing representatives about alternatives.

“We already had used Cooper B-Line products including cable tray, strut, and fasteners, so we used these pre-fab products from Cooper B-Line even before they were available as a standard product,” admitted Tony Rose, director of purchasing for Kaiser Electric. “The first Ruff-In™ order with pre-wired devices actually came out of our conversations about The Cooper Connection. If I had to pick out one major partner among the companies we buy from, I’d have to say Cooper is one of our most important manufacturing partners. They’ve bent over backward to solve our biggest problems.”

“I try to take purchasing to the next level by sticking with companies that give us products that help cut down our project labor time; that’s where we benefit big-time,” said Rose. “About 50% to 60% of the projects Kaiser does each year are commercial, and on these projects I believe we save as much as five minutes per assembled electrical box by using Cooper B-Lines’ Ruff-In™ line. It’s perfect for new construction.”

“Our cost is $1 per minute per electrician on the job which really adds up when you’re doing box assembly and wiring devices trimout,” pointed out Rose. “By turning to factory-assembled pre-fab units that come as boxes already attached to support hardware, suddenly you are ahead on the project, and that provides a better value to our customers.”  

“I recall our first job using Ruff-In™ products,” recalled Rose. “I checked with the foreman and he reported that the project was “a week up”, or a week ahead of schedule, so we could send two electricians on to complete other projects. The trimout also went a lot faster because we had ordered the devices already on the boxes which saved an additional three to five minutes per box.”

When asked if there’s a downside to using pre-fab solutions, Rose pointed to the need to change worker’s habits to accept the pre-fab approach. “Our biggest problem is convincing the older electricians to change the way they’re doing things. Some tradesmen feel threatened by losing the fabrication work, when in reality, by using pre-fab products we are able to secure more projects by being more competitive,” said Rose.

“The market is already responding favorably to the Ruff-In™ line, and I think it will continue to respond favorably,” said Kathy Neville, Ruff-IN™ product manager for Cooper B-Line.

Cooper B-Line’s Ruff-In™ Pre-Fab Product Line
Choose from this wide selection of adjustable box support products available as separates with a choice of plaster rings, or as ready-to-install pre-assembled units including a wide choice of pre-attached box styles:

Ø       Floor Mount Box Supports

Ø       Floor Mount Slider Combo

Ø       Uni-Mount Box Support

Ø       Telescoping Slider Bracket

Ø       Open Box Support Bracket

Ø       Double Sided Box Supports

Ø       Single Sided Box Support Brackets

Ø       Multiple Box Mounting Bracket

Ø       Electrical Box T-Bar Fasteners

www.cooperbline.com


Corning Cable Systems Receives Brocade Data Center Ready Status For End-to-End Storage Networking Interoperability

Corning Cable Systems LLC, part of Corning Incorporated’s (NYSE:GLW) Telecommunications segment, has been verified by Brocade as interoperable with Brocade-based storage area networking (SAN) infrastructure, according to the testing requirements of Brocade’s Data Center Ready Program.

The Brocade Data Center Ready Certification program offers companies complete certification of their products in Brocade fabric environments.  Certification included comprehensive and rigorous testing of Corning Cable Systems’ optical connectivity products for compatibility with Brocade director products.

Brocade is a leader in networked storage solutions that help enterprises connect and manage their information.  By combining the company’s expertise with Corning Cable Systems’ expertise in innovative structured cabling products for the data center, the two companies are providing the industry with proven and interoperable SAN director solutions.

Corning Cable Systems Plug & Play System products have been Data Center Ready certified by Brocade.  Plug & Play Systems are preterminated optical fiber cabling systems that dramatically streamline the process of deploying an optical network infrastructure in the premises environment.  The high-density, modular components that comprise Plug & Play Systems are optimized for networking high-port-count SAN directors such as the Brocade 48000.

Featuring an industry-leading standard maximum insertion loss of 0.75 dB and a low-loss system with a maximum loss of 0.5 dB, Corning Cable Systems Plug & Play Systems allow customers to meet the strict budgets demanded by today’s systems.

 www.corning.com/cablesystems.


DAIKIN AMERICA Appoints Dr. Rich Straff As Vice President Of Sales & Marketing

Daikin America announces the appointment of Rich Straff as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Dr. Straff joined Daikin America in 2001, most recently served as Director of Marketing & Strategy, and holds a Ph.D. from MIT.

Daikin America, Inc., headquartered in Orangeburg, NY is the second largest fluoropolymer supplier in the US.  Daikin America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Daikin Industries of Osaka, Japan. Daikin is Japan’s leading manufacturer of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment, and Japan’s largest producer of fluorochemical products.

www.daikin-america.com


Economy + Construction ’08: Data & Forecast Resource

The EleBlog

www.electricalcontractor.com

The electrical industry’s blog – The EleBlog – recently added links to a number of 2008 construction forecasts and updated economic data series from sources within and without the construction industry.

The reason: “While I certainly have a specific idea of what’s coming for our economy and the electrical construction industry, I’m always just a bit suspicious of people who are absolutely certain they know what’s going to happen – including, right now, myself,” said Joe Salimando, proprietor of The EleBlog.

Instead of presenting his own forecast, Salimando has provided visitors with more than 33 links to places to find up-to-date forecasts and information, ranging from NEMA economist Don Leavens to Nouriel Roubini – and including Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the American Institute of Architects, McGraw-Hill Construction, and many more.

To access this timely resource, go to www.electricalcontractor.com and click on the “December 2007” archive at right. Or use this link: http://tinyurl.com/23u433. See the seven items posted Dec. 5-6.

About The EleBlog

Established in 2005, The EleBlog in the past six months has hosted roughly 300 posts about electrical contracting, datacom, construction data, intelligent buildings, and more.

Salimando ALSO writes for TED magazine, Engineering Inc., Power Outlet, and other publications. He’s worked an editor, writer, speaker, consultant, and blogger in and around the electrical industry for most of the years since 1979.

contact: Joe Salimando

703-255-1428

jsalimando@electricalcontractor.com


CADDY® Fasteners Provides Reliable Security Equipment Installation

Utilizing time-saving solutions and innovative designs, CADDY® Fasteners from ERICO® make installing security equipment and high-performance cable easier than ever.

From ceiling supports to wall brackets, ERICO has a wide variety of quality security solutions to choose from:

·         The CADDY® SPEED LINK Universal Support System is the definitive choice for installing security cameras, sensors, warning lights, speakers and other audio/video emergency alert systems.

·         Independent support of these devices below the T-grid is achieved with IDS or 512HD clips.

·         To install wall brackets for touch pads, the MP series is ideal for retrofit or new construction. Options include one- to four-gang low-voltage mounting plates.

·         For dependable support of high-performance alarm cables, choose 3/4- to 4-in CADDY® CABLECAT J-hooks or the new CADDY® CAT CR50.

CADDY products are UL® Listed where applicable and help ensure proper installation conforming to industry codes, standards and best practices.  www.erico.com


Graybar Awarded New Communities Program Electrical Contract

Graybar, a leading distributor of communications and electrical products and related supply chain management and logistics services, has been awarded a new, three-year U.S. Communities Program contract effective Jan. 1, 2008. 

Graybar will be the exclusive distributor of electrical products in the program, which provides cooperative purchasing agreements for U.S. Communities-registered agencies nationally. The program provides competitively solicited pricing and streamlines purchasing by eliminating the traditional three-bid buying process.  State, county and local governments, dependent and independent special districts, public and private K-12 schools and universities, and non-profit institutions are eligible for the program. Graybar’s three-year electrical contract #229796 includes two, one-year renewal options.

"Graybar understands the challenges our government customers face, and we are committed to helping them improve their operational efficiencies,” said Graybar Senior Vice President – Sales and Distribution Dennis DeSousa. “Graybar provides breadth and depth of product, specialized sales and service, and advanced e-business capabilities to ensure their success. This new contract award is a testament to the quality service our company has been providing to the program since 1998, and we are proud to be named U.S. Communities’ exclusive electrical products distributor.”

DeSousa said the company forecasts net sales of more than $100 million through the program in 2008.  In addition to electrical products, Graybar provides communications and data products through U.S. Communities telecommunications contract #42374.  All products are available from Graybar’s network of 230 U.S. stocking locations. www.graybar.com


Graybar Adds GE Security Products To Provide Customers With End-to-end Solutions

Graybar, one of the nation’s leading distributors of electrical and communications products and related supply chain management and logistics services, is now working with GE Security to distribute its security solutions.  

Graybar will carry GE Security video surveillance, intrusion, access control and fiber optic systems. These solutions are designed to work together to simplify installation for integrators and contractors, and to provide a complete, end-to-end system for commercial, industrial and institutional end-users. In addition, Graybar carries GE lighting solutions, signaling products from the GE division of Edwards and fiber optic systems from the GE division of IFS.

According to Graybar Vice President – Comm/Data Business Mike Dumas, the addition of GE Security is one of the most significant enhancements Graybar has made to its expanding portfolio of security solutions since entering the security market in 2004. Graybar stocks security solutions throughout its distribution network of more than 250 North American locations.

“We are proud to offer our customers GE Security solutions,” said Mike Dumas. “Being able to install an integrated security solution is a priority for our customers, and it’s the primary reason we sought out a business relationship with GE Security. Now, our employee-owners are offering our customers even more choice and convenience when we help them evaluate, select and implement their security solutions.”

The business relationship between Graybar and GE dates back to 1896 when the supply division of Western Electric began distributing GE lamps.  When it was spun off from Western Electric in 1925, the supply division was renamed Graybar after Western Electric founders Elisha Gray and Enos Barton. Graybar employees purchased their company in 1929.

“Our relationship is built on a history of trust and dedication to providing excellent customer service,” said Dean Seavers, president and CEO, GE Security. “We look forward to continuing that tradition as we expand our relationship and work collaboratively to bring ever more innovative integrated security solutions to our mutual customers.”

# # #

About Graybar

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, networking and security 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 1-800-GRAYBAR.


HCM Unveils New Tradeshow Booth At BICSI, Orlando

In 2007, HCM continued to expand its selection of fiber optic and copper communication cables by introducing numerous new products.  Along those lines, HCM has designed a larger, uniquely designed tradeshow booth that it will unveil at the upcoming BICSI show in Orlando, FL.  “The new 10’x20’ booth better reflects HCM’s cutting edge technology and our desire to be unique in the cable industry,” said Steven Kenney, Marketing Manager for HCM.  “The new booth will accommodate more guests and will be a natural draw due to the visual impact it offers,” he added.  HCM’s booth can be seen at location 1728 at the upcoming show. http://www.hcm.hitachi.com/


LEVITON’S Video Monitoring System Provides An Easy Way To Keep An Eye On Home And Property

Leviton’s new IP Quad Module lets homeowners view high-quality color output from their Leviton Video Monitoring System on any TV in their home or over the Internet. The Video Monitoring System consists of an indoor and outdoor camera that connects through a Leviton Structured Media® Center (SMC) to offer a convenient, cost-effective way for homeowners to monitor their home and external grounds.

Leviton’s Indoor Camera is available with both clear and tinted lens covers for mounting in a Decora® wallplate. The Outdoor Camera and included wallplate assembly are available in white and can be painted to match any exterior trim. They mount easily to a single-gang exterior box.

The Video Monitoring System operates over Cat 5e UTP cables, which interconnect with a compact Camera Hub in the Leviton SMC. The Camera Hub provides power to up to four cameras and outputs composite video from the cameras to the IP/Quad Module and/or Video Modulators. Indoor and Outdoor Camera assemblies and the Camera Hub incorporate precision video baluns to ensure clear video output over the UTP cable. The Outdoor Camera also includes a separate power supply for applications where cable runs exceed 328 feet (100 meters). This feature facilitates local powering of cameras at entrance gates and other structures that are located a long distance from the SMC.

The new IP/Quad Module mounts in the SMC and connects to the composite video ports on the Camera Hub and an Ethernet Switch or Residential Gateway in the SMC. The Module includes a password protection feature to prevent unauthorized access. It also sends an email alert, FTP JPEGs to a network drive, or TTL output signal to an external device when motion occurs in one or more camera views. Homeowners can then investigate the source of the alert.

The IP/Quad provides an easy-to-use interface that lets users configure their browser or monitor to provide a full-screen, single camera view or up to four separate camera views in a single “quad” view. The system is easy to set up, including camera names, sensitivity settings and brightness, contrast, and saturation settings.

The system provides an ideal solution for keeping a watchful eye on newborns, toddlers, children or elderly parents. It also offers an easy way to see who is ringing the doorbell after dark. With the IP/Quad Module, homeowners have the convenience of monitoring their home’s interior and external grounds while they are away at work or when they are out of town.  www.leviton.com.


NAED Launches Recruitment Website And Marketing Campaign For Careers In Electrical Distribution

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) is launching a special Website and marketing campaign to attract young adults to careers in electrical distribution. Carrying the theme "Power Up Your CareerSM," the campaign highlights advantages of electrical distribution employment, including competitive salary and benefits, growth opportunities and positive working conditions.

The main feature of the recruiting campaign is a new industry career Website, PowerUpYourCareer.com. Targeting people ages 17-34, the site introduces viewers to the industry and describes careers in sales, warehouse operations and the business office. Links are provided to participating NAED distributor companies' Websites for information and job openings.

NAED will build awareness of the site through Internet marketing as well as outreach to high schools, technical schools and community colleges. Elements of the campaign will target parents and school counselors.

Development of the industry career recruiting campaign is being spearheaded by NAED's Western Region Council under the leadership of Tom Isenberg, NAED Western Region vice president and president of Western Extralite Co.

"Recruiting is a critical issue for electrical distribution. As the pre-Boomers and Baby Boomers retire, forecasts call for the United States to have over 10 million more jobs than workers to fill them by the end of the decade," Isenberg said. "In developing this campaign, we have researched the lifestyles and expectations of young adults in the workplace. We believe we have a good plan to reach them and demonstrate the benefits of working in our industry."

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 internationally.  www.naed.org


NAHB Highlights Green Products, Servoces At The International Builders' Show

In recognition of the phenomenal growth of green building, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) will celebrate "Green Day" on Thursday, Feb. 14, at the International Builders' Show® in Orlando, Fla.

On Green Day, the association will officially launch the NAHB National Green Building Program and will unveil the new Certified Green Professional educational designation for home builders, remodelers and other industry professionals.

A dedicated green building display will allow participants to try out a new online scoring tool which is an important component of the NAHB National Green Building Program. The scoring tool shows how green building techniques and materials will affect a new home and allows builders and consumers to select the measures and materials that are most cost effective and best meet their needs. Builders can also test the tool at www.nahbgreen.org.

Also on the docket: a full day of green educational seminars on topics from market trends and consumer research to innovative design and new products.  Information about the 10th annual NAHB National Green Building Conference will also be available. Noted green architect and educator William McDonough is the featured speaker Thursday morning and will also conduct an in-depth session on "Cradle to Cradle" environmentally and ecologically efficient building practices.

Four press conferences will highlight the new NAHB National Green Building Program, the National Green Building Standard and green trends, and also will offer a detailed look at The New American Home.® NAHB's official showcase home is the first show home certified by the NAHB National Green Building Program.

IBS attendees also will learn more about the upcoming introduction of the National Green Building Standard. The first-ever consensus-based green standard for single- and multifamily housing, residential remodeling, and lot and site development, the standard will open again for public comment Dec. 21 and is expected to be approved by the American National Standards Institute and unveiled in March.

NAHB volunteer leaders and staff members plan to join the celebration as well, donning green golf shirts provided by Green Day sponsors Whirlpool and Kohler.  And at last count, more than 170 companies have added their products and services to the new "green" category for IBS exhibitors.

Last year, the International Builders' Show attracted more than 100,000 attendees during four days of seminars and other special presentations. They walked 11 miles of aisles through two million square feet of gross exhibit space, enough to cover 35 football fields. More than 1,900 exhibitors displayed the latest in housing products and services.

"We're very proud that NAHB and the International Builders' Show have long been ahead of the curve in introducing innovative products and technologies to our members," said NAHB President Brian Catalde, a home builder in Southern California. "Our Green Day celebration honors these pioneering industry leaders as it launches the next steps for home builders in the United States." www.buildersshow.com.


Light Brigade to Coordinate FTTx Resource Center at OFC/NFOEC 2008

The Light Brigade, Inc., the world’s leading provider of fiber-optic training and training resources, has announced that they will again coordinate the FTTx Resource and Demonstration Center at the upcoming Optical Fiber Conference/National Fiber Optic Engineers Conference. OFC/NFOEC 2008 will take place from February 24-28, 2008 at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California.

The FTTx Resource Center will feature live demonstrations, displays, and educational mini-sessions from a wide variety of organizations and manufacturers involved with every aspect of FTTx from components to systems. Visitors can meet with industry experts and manufacturers, attend live demonstrations, view products, or browse through related literature.

The Light Brigade will be on-site to demonstrate the company's world-class line of fiber optic training options, FTTx/passive optical networks computer-based training (CBT) module and training DVDs. Staff members will be available to discuss FTTx products, applications, standards and technology.

In September 2007, The Light Brigade partnered with Nexus Media Communications, Ltd. to provide the second annual FTTx Resource Centre at the European Conference on Optical Communications (ECOC), held in Berlin, Germany. The Centre featured 45 participating companies and nine live FTTx demonstrations.

Company Information

Since 1987 The Light Brigade has instructed over 30,000 attendees in its public and custom classes. The company offers courses nationwide covering basic fiber optic design, maintenance and testing plus advanced courses such as FTTx, DWDM, SONET/SDH, and fiber characterization (PMD/CD), and ITS. The Light Brigade produces educational DVDs, videos, CDs, and a self-paced FTTx computerized training module. The Light Brigade's training materials are non-vendor specific.


Fluke Networks open registration Certified Cabling Test Technician (CCTT) class on January 14th 2008

Fluke Networks will offer the popular Certified Cabling Test Technician (CCTT) Course for the DTX Series Cable Analyzer in the Orlando area on Monday, January 14th, 2008.

Typically offered only as a "corporate" group event for $3,500 per day, this rare "open enrollment" class is being offered for only $350.00 USD per person.  This class qualifies for 7 BiCSi CECs.

CCTT (Certified Cabling Test Technician) Course Highlights:

The CCTT course is a powerful one day course which covers the TIA cable test and certification standards with an emphasis on how networks are impacted by inferior cabling.  Several hours of hands-on testing utilizing factory supplied DTX-1800 cable analyzers is provided to maximize the learning experience.

Who should attend:  The course is designed for contractors and enterprise network owners who currently own or anticipate purchasing DTX series cable certification equipment.

Why attend:  The CCTT course provides "expert" level training on the DTX cable analyzer series.  Investing in the Fluke Networks Certified Cabling Test Technician program will not only improve installation skills, but also your effectiveness and productivity on the job testing, certifying and troubleshooting cabling systems.

About the course:  The class covers the TIA standards up through the current TIA 568-B, including the challenges of certifying Augmented Category 6, and then focuses on maximizing productivity with the DTX series cable analyzer.  Two-thirds of the class is spent on copper testing and certification, with the balance spent on multimode fiber testing and certification.  There is extensive hands-on with the DTX throughout the class with units provided from the factory.  After successful completion of the class, Fluke Networks will mail certificates to the attendees.  These certificates qualify for 7 BiCSi continuing education credits.

Time

Monday, January 14, 2008

8:00am to 5:30pm      Continental breakfast starts at 7:30am.  Lunch will also be provided.

Location

Radisson Resort Orlando - Celebration

2900 Parkway Blvd

Kissimmee,   34747

(407) 396-7000

Cost

$350.00 USD per person is due prior to the class.  Acceptable forms of payment are credit card or check (other forms of payment by prior approval only).  Payment information will be collected after completing the on-line registration.

REGISTER TODAY!

Don't delay!  This class is limited to only 16 students ...  Register for this class on-line at www.flukenetworks.com/ccttregistration. 

Please contact training@flukenetworks.com if you have any questions regarding this special training event.

Certified Cabling Test Technician
DTX Cable Analyzer Course Outline
Copper Testing and Certification

TIA Copper Standards

    Fiber Testing and Certification

    Networks and Fiber Basics

    TIA Fiber Standards

    TIA 568-B.3 and TSB-140 Tier1 and Tier 2 Certification

    Common Fiber Tests

    TIA 568-B Horizontal MM

    TIA 568-B Backbone MM

    IEEE 1000Base-SX MM

    Fiber Hands-on Testing and Certifying

    Proper Setup and Configuration

    Cable Testing – Passing an Autotest

    Interpreting Results

    Labeling and Saving Tests

    TSB67 to TIA 568-B.2.1

    Test Configurations and Link Models

    The Permanent Link

    DTX Series Product Overview

    Copper Hands-on Testing and Certifying

    Proper Setup and Configuration

    Cable Testing – Passing an Autotest

    Interpreting Results

    Labeling and Saving Tests

    Cable Testing – Failing an Autotest

    Basic Diagnostics – Fault Info

    Advanced Diagnostics – HDTDR + HDTDX


Futurest Glen Hiemstra To Deliver Keynote Address At SCTE’S ET 2008

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) is pleased to announce today that Glen Hiemstra, who is respected worldwide for his proficiency as a futurist, will present the keynote address at SCTE Conference on Emerging Technologies® (ET) 2008 in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning, Jan. 15. ET is set for Jan. 14–16 at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel and Suites.

Hiemstra is the founder and owner of Futurist.com, a company that focuses on the dissemination of information to help clients achieve a better future for themselves.

“If you listen carefully, you can learn what the future is telling you,” says Hiemstra, who has advised professional, business, and governmental organizations for two decades. The popular speaker hones in on emerging trends in a number of arenas, including science, technology, and economics, well suited for ET’s high-tech audience of movers and shakers in the cable telecommunications industry.

An expert in preferred future planning, Hiemstra reaches beyond simple trend analysis to discuss opportunities to shape the future. He is appearing weekly in an online video production called FutureTalks.com for a series exploring the future of media and content.

Hiemstra, who resides in Kirkland, Wash., has advised numerous organizations, among them Microsoft, Northern Telecom, and Hewlett-Packard. He is the author of Turning the Future into Revenue: What Businesses and Individuals Need to Know to Shape Their Futures, from John Wiley & Sons, 2006. Previously, he co-authored Strategic Leadership: Achieving Your Preferred Future.

In addition to the Hiemstra keynote address, ET will feature four high-tech sessions that will focus three-to-five years into the future of cable telecommunications. The sessions will be centered upon the theme, “Integrator or Pipeline? Transcending Transport in a Hyperconnected World.” Additionally, ET 2008 will offer its attendees a pair of technical preconference events as well as a variety of valuable networking opportunities.

Details of the full schedule and registration for SCTE’s ET 2008 are available at www.scte.org.


TPMA Expands Project Management Certification Programs

The Telecommunications Project Management Association (TPMA) has expanded the Telecommunications Project Management (TPM) Certification Program adding specific Information Transport Industry areas, and semester long part-time Study programs.

New Certification programs include:

  • Information Technology/Global Networks Project Management
  • Wireless Project Management
  • Outside Plant Project Management
  • Security & Access Control Project Management
  • Data Center Project Management

Each program includes three elements:

  • Formal training – 40 class hours which can be completed in

           2 day, 3 day, 5 day, or 10 week modules (including some home study).

  • On the job training – Internships and work experience.
  • Certification Exam – an “Open book/Hands on” Exam which includes technical questions in the subject area, Project Management fundamentals, and a “case study” based on a typical project in that subject area.

The TPMA program looks at nine areas of Project Management:

ü       Project Quality Management

ü       Project Risk Management

ü       Project Scope Management

ü       Project Integration Management

ü       Project Communications Management

ü       Project Human Resource Management

ü       Project Procurement Management

ü       Project Cost Management

ü       Project Time Management

What students are saying about the program:

"I just wanted to tell you what a great job I now have thanks to your program. I have now moved over to the Information Technology Project Management Team at the University. It is a great opportunity for me"    SR

"As a professional Project Manager for 20 years I still learned, and was refreshed on some very useful and fundamental methods" SB

"Very good class, I will recommend to others in my company" EZ

"Finally, an Instructor who doesn't just read the slides!" SL

"This is by far the best class I've been to since finger painting in kindergarten!

Our Instructor kept our attention, made learning fun, and his knowledge base is amazing! I will be able to apply this at work, and also in my private life" CT

"The experience of the Instructor is really what made him shine" I would highly recommend the class to my peers." KG

The TPMA is also recruiting Instructors who are available for the part-time sessions which will be held at Community Colleges and Industry Sites. “Sponsor Companies” are also being sought.

More details including dates and locations for the program can be found on the www.telpm.org web site. The program is also being offered to BICSI members,

And is listed in the education section of the www.bicsi.org web. TPMA developed and delivers all of the BICSI Project Management classes.

Questions should be directed to Don Nelson at the TPMA. He can be reached at

(518) 330-5941 or email captdenelson@aol.com.


January Highlights For Environmental Building News

BuildingGreen provides information outlets such as Environmental Building News (EBN) and BuildingGreen Suite that cover the most pressing issues in environmental design and construction with a clear approach to all sides of an issue, keeping our readers informed on building for sustainability. This email brings you, as a news editor or website owner interested in sustainable design, an excerpt from our top story for the month, as well as links to other stories currently posted in the free area of www.BuildingGreen.com

January Feature Article

Behind the Logos: Understanding Green Product Certifications

Jennifer Atlee and Tristan Korthals Altes

The more self-evident a product's attributes are, the less they need to be verified with certification. Lumber doesn't need certification of its wood content, for example, but certification is helpful for distinguishing forest products that were sustainably harvested in responsibly managed forests, since their origin isn't immediately evident. Similarly, a manufacturer of furniture that doesn't emit formaldehyde benefits when an accredited third party verifies its product's performance and gives it a seal of approval. When green products are visually indistinguishable from their conventional cousins, "the only way you're going to peel away the onion is by certification," says Brandon Tinianov, Ph.D., P.E., of Serious Materials, a manufacturer.

Recently, the environmental movement has created a new market for certifications. The success of major certification programs like Energy Star or the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which are responsible for some of the best-known green building product certifications today, has required growing public awareness of ecological problems, interest from buyers in purchasing environmentally friendly products, and the willingness of manufacturers to comply with a standard, among other things.

The most robust standards are generally considered to be those developed through a formal voluntary consensus process characterized by openness and due process, such as defined by ISO and ANSI. Consensus standards have built-in buy-in, government support, and international clout. For example, federal agencies are required by law to adopt existing private-sector voluntary consensus standards in lieu of creating proprietary, non-consensus standards. The World Trade Organization has decreed that purchasing criteria developed in accordance with internationally accepted principles of standardization are not considered technical barriers to trade.

To see the full feature article:

http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm?fileName=170101a.xml

The full article is freely available to the public. You may post this excerpt, with the attribution cited below. If you would like to read other articles, and do not have a log-in, please contact Jerelyn Wilson at Jerelyn@BuildingGreen.com.

You are welcome to post the summaries and links from this email on your website(s), provided that you make it clear that the stories are coming from Environmental Building News and that the full article is available at www.BuildingGreen.com. Please include this byline: From Environmental Building News, www.BuildingGreen.com.

BuildingGreen, Inc. owns the copyrights to all material contained in this email and to the full written articles. All rights are reserved except those explicitly granted herein. Contact Jim Newman at BuildingGreen, Inc., Jim@BuildingGreen.com with questions or for additional information.

Other Current Stories from Environmental Building News:

High Perceived Cost of Green Persists, Says Survey

Nadav Malin

Many observers want to know where the green building market is heading, but if anyone is studying it in a truly scientific way, they're keeping the results to themselves. Online surveys are a common way of gathering data on the cheap, and results from three such surveys were released at Greenbuild 2007 in Chicago in November. Despite small sample sizes and some vague questions, the results offer a reality check for the green building market.

To read the full article:

http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm?fileName=170102a.xml

 Solar Reflectance Index and Cool Roofs

Backpage Primer from Environmental Building News

For a roof surface to stay cool, it needs two key attributes: reflectivity and emissivity. Reflectivity measures how well a material bounces back radiation. But since all surfaces absorb some heat, we also need to consider emissivity, or how good a surface is at radiating heat back out into space. The Energy Star label for roofing requires initial reflectivity of at least 0.65 (on a 0-to-1 scale). The "solar reflectance index" (SRI), defined by ASTM E 1980, incorporates both reflectivity and emissivity.

To read the full article:

http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm?fileName=170120a.xml

PlybooPure is Formaldehyde Free

Nadav Malin

Most bamboo flooring and panel products are made with urea-formaldehyde (UF) glue. Citing tests based on European standards (none have yet been certified to the Greenguard or FloorScore standards in the U.S.), most bamboo manufacturers claim that their products have very low formaldehyde emissions, but few can honestly claim zero added urea-formaldehyde.

To read the full article:

http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm?fileName=170108a.xml

BuildingGreen, Inc. is publisher of the nation's oldest publication on sustainable design and construction and the leading national directory of green building products. For more information on BuildingGreen and its resources on environmentally responsible design and construction, visit www.BuildingGreen.com , email Info@buildinggreen.com, or call 800-861-0954 (outside the U.S. and Canada, call 802-257-7300). BuildingGreen is an independent, socially responsible, company based in Brattleboro, Vermont.


The Light Brigade’s February 2008 Training Schedule

Fiber Optics 1-2-3

This course focuses on how to design, install, test and maintain fiber optic communication systems for voice, video and data applications. The course consists of two days of classroom content and two optional days of hands-on practices. Course material and techniques taught are based on ITU, TIA/EIA, IEEE, Telcordia and ANSI standards. Class participants will learn to understand and effectively use any manufacturer's equipment or product designed to conform to these widely accepted standards.

 

 

 

 

 

February 4-7

Philadelphia, PA

 

February 19-22

Seattle, WA

 

Milwaukee, WI

 

 

Dallas/Fort Worth, TX

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 11-14

Reno, NV

 

February 25-28

Cincinnati, OH

 

New York, NY

 

 

Chicago, IL

 

 

 

 

 

FTTx for Installers and Planners

This course focuses on how to design, install, test and maintain fiber optic communication systems for voice, video and data applications. The course consists of two days of classroom content and two optional days of hands-on practices. Course material and techniques taught are based on ITU, TIA/EIA, IEEE, Telcordia and ANSI standards. Class participants will learn to understand and effectively use any manufacturer's equipment or product designed to conform to these widely accepted standards.

 

 

February 4-7

Seattle, WA

 

 

 

 

Fiber Optics for Intelligent Transportation Systems

This new course offers a practical understanding of how fiber-optic technology is integrated into modern intelligent transportation systems. The content covers basic optical theory, the outside plant, system design, the impact of component choices on your system, optical loss and bandwidth budgets, video transmission, real-time video, compressed video over IP, FM and digitally encoded video, FDM, TDM, multi-channel and high-density video, control systems, traffic controllers, fiber architectures, and next generation systems.

 

 

February 11-14

Seattle, WA

 

 

 

 

For more information on the Light Brigade’s courses or to register, call (800) 451-7128 or visit lightbrigade.com




Intelligent Building Task Force Reports To CABA Board Of Directors

CABA's Intelligent Buildings Task Force has reported its recommendations to the CABA Board of Directors concerning methods to strengthen the intelligent building industry. The Task Force based its recommendations on a commissioned business plan it oversaw. The plan provided guidelines on how CABA can successfully adopt new strategies to accelerate market acceptance of intelligent building technologies.

The business plan, drawing heavily upon CABA's Intelligent Buildings Roadmap, identified strategies for industry to develop intelligent buildings that have the greatest potential to drive broad acceptance.

"We've narrowed the Roadmap to focus on high-priority activities, but the real challenge lies ahead," said Roy Kolasa, Integration Manager at Honeywell Building Solutions and Chair of the CABA Intelligent Building Task Force. "We need to make sure that today's intelligent building technology is properly applied to meet the industry's energy management and sustainability requirements."

Strategies recommended to the CABA Board of Directors included: development of an education program; creation of an intelligent building definition; establishment of an intelligent building brand; development of industry-wide marketing programs; and strengthening ties with other industry associations.

"We are grateful to the Intelligent Buildings Task Force for their dedication to advancing a vision of sustainable and high-performance commercial buildings using cutting-edge technology and integrated systems," stated Ronald J. Zimmer, CABA President & CEO. "It is our hope that the recommendations posed by the Task Force will ultimately result in greater market opportunities for our membership."

Under the direction of CABA's Intelligent & Integrated Buildings Council, recommendations will be examined through a series of industry working groups. The working groups will specifically review opportunities, strategize, and determine the best means of achieving Task Force recommendations. All CABA members in good standing will be able to participate in the proceedings of the industry working groups.

"We are extremely pleased that CABA is advancing our industry through substantive action," said Thomas J. Lohner, P.E., Vice President, TENG Solutions and Chair of the CABA Intelligent and Integrated Buildings Council. "The Intelligent Buildings Council now looks forward to assembling and marshaling all the resources necessary to move the industry towards critical mass."

Next steps toward substantive action will be discussed at the upcoming Intelligent & Integrated Buildings Council meeting, scheduled to be held January 22, 2008 between 4-6 pm at ASHRAE/AHR Expo in New York City. The Council will formulate working groups, as well as review initiatives such as the Building Intelligence Quotient (BiQ), Life Cycle Costs Analysis Tool and ongoing green building research.

About CABA
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, research, CABA's forums, CABA's monthly eBulletin, Information Series reports, Event Reports and the CABA web site. Please visit www.caba.org for further information.


JACK K. MERROW Of Leviton Appointed To CABA Board

Dr. Jack K. Merrow has accepted an appointment to the Continental Automated Buildings Association's Board of Directors. Dr. Merrow currently directs the marketing, product management, and business development for the home solutions vertical in the residential business unit of Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc. Dr. Merrow replaces Bob Becker, Vice President and General Manager of Leviton, who recently retired from the CABA Board.

Over the course of his career, Dr. Merrow has held key systems engineering, software development, consulting, and management positions with such companies as Union Carbide, Northwest Digital Systems, Boeing Electronics, Boeing Computer Services, Teltone Corporation, Technekron Communications Systems, and Schweitzer Engineering Labs (SEL).

"CABA is pleased that Dr. Merrow has joined our Board," stated Ronald J. Zimmer, CABA President & CEO. "His vast amount of experience and knowledge will ensure strong representation from an active manufacturer of high-quality home controls and other integrated products."

Dr. Merrow joined Leviton in 1994 as Director of Marketing and Customer Service for what was then the Leviton Telcom (now Network Solutions) business unit. In 2000, he helped launch the Leviton Integrated Networks business.

He has been active in market research, training, certification, and creating installation manuals and other documentation for residential structured wiring. As part of the Strategic Technology Group at Leviton, Dr. Merrow focused on integrating systems and developing graphical user interfaces for residential energy management and lighting control and helped form alliances with Schneider Electric - Square D and various other companies.

He also focused on defining and developing no-new-wires retrofit strategies and technology and has led several residential builder/contractor technology demonstration projects including both networking and home control systems.

"I am looking forward to working with CABA to contribute to the development and application of technology and automation solutions that will improve the comfort, productivity and efficiency of today's homes buildings," stated Merrow. "CABA contributes an important perspective to our industry, bringing a unique mix of companies, individuals and organizations together to advance the adoption of home and building automation solutions."

Dr. Merrow obtained both his Bachelor of Science and Ph.D. in Ceramic Engineering from the University of Washington.

About CABA
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, research, CABA's forums, CABA's monthly eBulletin, Information Series reports, Event Reports and the CABA web site. Please visit www.caba.org for further information.


SHALABH GOEL Of CISCO Systems Appointed To CABA Board Of Directors

CABA is pleased to announce the appointment of Shalabh Goel of Cisco Systems to the CABA Board of Directors. Goal replaces Jeff Dean, Global Practice Lead of Rich Media Services at Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG).

"While we are sad to see Mr. Dean leave our Board, we are very pleased that Mr. Goel will assume his place," stated Ronald J. Zimmer, CABA President & CEO. "Mr. Goel has had a notable career promoting advanced connected home technologies and we look forward to him bringing his masterful marketing skills to our organization."

By joining CABA's Board, Goel has joined an elite group of industry leaders who promote advanced technologies for the automation of homes and buildings in North America and throughout the world. Goel will also concurrently serve as Chair of the CABA Connected Home Council.

Shalabh Goel is a Solutions Manager in the Cisco Global Service Provider Marketing Group responsible for marketing end-to-end connected home solutions. In this role, he brings together various entities of Cisco and contributes to the overall vision, strategy, and execution of developing and marketing an integrated platform for the digital home that enables new levels of interactivity for consumers and their devices, information, and content.

A 10-year Cisco veteran, Shalabh brings strong high-technology experience to his role. He has extensive experience in open standard telecommunication switches, networking and routing technologies, broadband cable access systems, and advanced services over IP (data, voice, video). His knowledge-base and interests include IPv6, mobile IP, and wireless technologies.

With over 13 years of industry experience, Shalabh has held a variety of senior positions in product development, systems engineering, standards specifications development, product, technology and solutions marketing, early field trials and commercial deployments of technology, as well as customer advocacy and support.

Shalabh holds a Bachelor's degree in Electrical & Electronics Engineering, a Master's degree in Mathematics, and a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering. He resides in Sunnyvale, CA with his wife and twin children.

About CABA
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, research, CABA's forums, CABA's monthly eBulletin, Information Series reports, Event Reports and the CABA web site. Please visit www.caba.org


TIA backs rural broadband legislation Urges bi-partisan support to help bridge digital divide

by Jim Barthold

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), tired of hearing excuses of why rural America is not equipped with broadband capabilities, has sent letters to a bipartisan list of Congressional committee leadership supporting pro- broadband legislation, including a 2007 farm bill reauthorization measure that would enhance rural broadband deployment through improved data mapping, tax incentives and an expanded broadband loan program.

While hardly politically volatile, the organization’s action does signal that manufacturers within the telecom industry want more from carriers and other service providers than they’re currently delivering.

“While TIA (which represents 600 member companies in the manufacturing, software, design and fabrication spaces) is technology neutral, we’d like to see that whatever our customers want to employ they’re not given any excuses,” said Grant Seiffert, the industry association’s president. “This legislation puts a spotlight on areas that aren’t getting and haven’t gotten attention.”

Rural America is frequently left in the broadband wake because service providers claim it is too expensive to build networks to serve scattered customer bases that can sometimes be miles apart. Legislation and tax incentives, Seiffert said, could push carriers—both wireline and wireless— to invest in new technologies to serve these outlying areas.

“TIA is for taking away the excuses and bringing in this technology that our companies deliver to provide broadband service for America,” said Seiffert. “There are lots of reasons why our Congress and FCC should be concerned about the gap between the haves and have nots. There’s a great opportunity if rural communities could be connected to this technology to prosper and be part of the digital age.”

There’s also a great cost that has been holding back construction of a bridge across the divide. Funding from the Rural Utilities System (RUS), overseen by the Department of Agriculture, provides loans for carriers and communities. While this funding is there and being used, Seiffert said the new farm bill legislation being considered in Congress could do more.

“It can bring to light some of the current business barriers as to why they (rural communities) don’t have access to the technology,” he said. “Rural America has a lot to look forward to and if Congress can help and the FCC can help, the TIA would certainly support that.”


REMEMBER TO RECYCLE, REDUCE AND REUSE

   
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