Print Media VS Internet
was a blog before there were blogs. The Heard On The Street (HOTS) Monthly Column is complimentary
to the PRINT
Truth is, traditional print will continue to be the medium of
choice for most professional audience markets for the foreseeable future. To abandon or
deny the viability of PRINT MEDIA is folly (or much worse). To deny
print's legitimate and dominate place in the information stream is
business suicide. (Didn't we have a “dot com” bust recently?) Hasn't the
WSJ highlighted the fact that the highly touted "blogs" even on
Google etc are having real trouble gaining revenue traction??
is great and will continue to grow in importance in the overall information and
revenue stream. It has allowed publishers to broaden their market,
exposure to it and their audience...but notice that among all the hype...they
still talk in increases in % rather than in real dollars vis a vis their total
revenue stream???. ie: You can go from $1. to $3. and claim a 300%
increase. But where's the bottom line that will pay the bills?? If
we go in print from $8M to $8.6M, guess the 11.6% seems
comparatively puny...As a publisher, which would you rather have???
Truth is, you need to sustain, grow and invest in that which "brung you to
the dance"...and not ignore the obvious profitable partner just waiting for
the next dance.
I believe will (needs to) happen is that various electronic info sources will
continue to proliferate, grow in sophistication and breadth of
offering...unique to their growing capabilities (beyond trying to
replicate what is already in print). They will become economically viable
as a true partner with print in delivering a complete menu of critical,
and unique information as well as reliably measurable advertising results to
their audience. Today, except in rare circumstances, the electronic media
sites simply are not profitable, and increasingly, not well
measurable. Lot of hype,
mixed with hope. If used and measured properly, traditional print
will ultimately work synergistically with electronic media to help drive
more traffic, more quickly (sales starts...not just traditional
"leads") to legitimate advertiser web sites and direct
contact than any other current vehicle.
real need is to establish a marketing synergism between what print
uniquely offers and the additional unique contribution of enhanced web
efforts. Too many people become enamored with "the latest" in
technology, assigning it an out of proportion influence...way too early in the
overall education process...and probably more damaging long
term...promulgating the latest as the ultimate "savior" for a medium
that up to now is not in need of a "savior". What is really needed is
intelligent dissemination of critical information to a well-defined audience
using print where appropriate, and electronic where applicable, and delineating
the differences, and utilizing the potential synergy. They are
we continue to develop methods to deliver our information package based on
providing the most complete, diverse, and appropriate to the specific medium
capabilities possible. Our goal is to insure that our readers...using whatever
single or combination (most likely) of media resources comfortable to them, can
use PRINT MEDIA as their primary source of information critical to their
success. Jumping on current "bandwagons" and effectively
"changing horses in mid stream" is in my opinion, very risky
business. Sometimes they get "flat tires in the middle of the stream
or the parade". Not good.
why PRINT MEDIA is taking time to develop the most comprehensive, easy to
use, most responsive web site to offer their customers as much
information...sometimes like...sometimes quite different from the print product
as possible based on their needs, The PRINT MEDIA’s ability to deliver whatever
is pertinent in the most efficacious way and continue to update and expand its
content to keep it viable...and profitable.
MEDIA continues to invest serious monies and people resources to
maintain., improve and grow their market leading print products.
is no single answer to supplying credible, incisive, and current
information to this ever so rapidly changing $130B market. Granted,
there are cheaper ways to do it...but then, that's just not the PRINT MEDIA
as I often say...at least that's just my opinion.
"Heard On The Street" Monthly Column
4949 Sunbeam Rd, Suite 16
Jacksonville, FL 32257
(904) 645-9077 office
(904) 645-9058 fax
The Craig Consulting Services Training Center Is Now OPEN
The Craig Consulting Services
training center, in Dallas,
Texas is up and
operational. Attached are our training schedules for both BICSI and
Belden for the first half of 2008. I have conducted classes for the BICSI
Technician certification as a night class for Able Communications of Dallas and for individuals from the Fort Worth Independent
School District this
month. In addition we have a PM125 TPMA class scheduled for March 17 –
I have received a tremendous amount
of support from Distribution and Manufacturers in getting the facility equipped
with the required materials and products. We have as a result been able
to incorporate several real world scenarios for the students such as wall
mounted workstations for 66, 110, BIX, Krone, GIGABIX and S210 blocks as well
as multiple rack configurations for horizontal and backbone cabling of both
copper and optical fiber with the appropriate testing.
With the upcoming changes BICSI
plans in the Installation Program upon release of the new 5th
Edition of the Installation Transport System Installation Methods Manual
(ITSIMM) we feel that we are well positioned to provide quality training in the
ever changing ITS Industry to individuals within the South Central Region.
Utilizing our facility students can obtain BICSI Certification without
incurring expensive travel and lodging expenses. We have within walking
distance of our facility four hotels (with special rates for our students), restaurants
and easy access to major thoroughfares of North Dallas.
March – July, 2008
3/10 – 3/14 ITS
4/7 – 4/11 ITS
4/14 – 4/25 Technician (Night Class)
4/21 -4/22 DD
100 Intro to Voice/Data
5/5 – 5/9 ITS
5/19 – 5/23 ITS
6/2 -6/13 ITS
Installer 2 (Night Class)
6/16 – 6/20 Technician
7/7 – 7/18 Technician (Night Class)
7/28 – 8/1 ITS
schedule is subject to change based upon Customer requests.
March – July, 2008
3/25 – 3/26 303
3/27 – 3/28 700
Installation Dallas, TX
4/1- 4/2 303 Design Little
4/3 -4/4 700
Installation ` Little
5/27 – 5/28 303
Design Springdale AR
5/29 – 5/30 700
Installation Springdale AR
6/24- 6/25 727
6/26 - 6/27 747
7/22 – 7/23 303
Design Kansas City, MO
7/24 – 7/25 700
Installation Kansas City, MO
schedule is subject to change based upon Customer requests.
(Ray) Craig RCDD/NTS Specialist
Craig Consulting Services
520 Lynn Court
ADC To Introduce New FTTX Solutions At OFC/NFOEC 2008
ADC (NASDAQ: ADCT) (www.adc.com)
announced that it will unveil its expanded line of OmniReach fiber-to-the-x
(FTTX) solutions at the 2008 Optical Fiber Communication/National Fiber Optic
Engineers Conference & Exposition (OFC/NFOEC), held February 26-28 at the
San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, Calif.
ADC will introduce the OmniReach(R)
4x3 configuration MultiPort Service Terminal (MST) and the OmniReach
plug-and-play WDM modules at the conference. These new FTTX solutions, along
with the company's extended portfolio of fiber optic network equipment, will be
featured at booth #3538.
"Our new OmniReach 4x3 MST and
plug-and-play WDM modules are the latest innovations in our comprehensive line
of FTTX solutions," said Jaxon Lang, vice president of Global Connectivity
Solutions Americas for ADC. "As with all of our OmniReach FTTX solutions,
these new products are designed to help simplify FTTP network installation,
maintenance and management, and to provide increased flexibility to transition
to new technologies in the future."
The new OmniReach 4x3 MST continues
ADC's innovations in fiber access terminals. In providing a compact, yet
technician friendly terminal, carriers can optimize installation and customer
turn up expenses in the deployment of FTTP services. ADC's family of MST
products incorporate hardened connector technology, providing a durable,
reliable, and cost effective plug-and-play service connection in the outside
plant/drop segment of the network.
The OmniReach plug-and-play WDM
modules are designed to allow providers to deliver higher data rates and
additional services to customers. CWDM and DWDM devices in ADC's plug-and-play
package enable such applications as WDM-PON, dedicated gigabit Ethernet, fiber
to the cell site, FTTN node splitting and remote DSL applications.
Plug-and-play WDM modules can co-exist in traditional G-PON/B-PON networks to
expand services provided. The modules are easy to insert and remove without
affecting existing customers, and their rugged package is designed to protect
delicate WDM devices from mishandling and extreme outside plant environments.
Industry professionals are invited
to attend two presentations from ADC's featured speakers to learn about the
latest network solutions for multiple dwelling unit (MDU) applications:
-- Tom LeBlanc, FTTX Product
Manager: Deploying Reduced bend Radius Fiber into MDUs. LeBlanc will explain
how to deploy reduced bend radius fiber into multi-dwelling units, providing
tips for efficient network reconfigurations, troubleshooting and maintenance.
-- Robert Bachtell, ADC Principal
Systems Engineer: Multiple Solutions for Connecting MDUs. Bachtell will detail
the special considerations required when installing FTTP networks within MDU
structures. His presentation will discuss fiber cable interconnection to
terminal equipment, and the diverse structures and conditions found throughout
the country. www.adc.com
Anixter International Inc. Announces Retirement of CEO Robert W. Grubbs and Appointment of Robert J. Eck as New President and Chief Executive Officer
International Inc. (NYSE: AXE - News) announced that Robert W.
Grubbs will retire as President and Chief Executive Officer at the end of June
2008, following a 30-year career with the company. Mr. Grubbs, who has held
those posts since 1998, will continue to serve on the company's Board of
Effective July 1, 2008,
Robert J. Eck will become President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Eck, age
49, has served as the company's Executive Vice President and Chief Operating
Officer since September 2007. During the last 17 years, Mr. Eck has served in a
variety of senior management positions with Anixter Inc., the company's
operating subsidiary, most recently as Executive Vice President -- Enterprise
Cabling and Security Solutions (2004-2007) and Senior Vice President --
Physical Security Products and Integrated Supply (2003).
Commenting on the
transition, Sam Zell, Chairman of the Board, said, "During Bob Grubbs'
tenure the company has seen tremendous growth in sales, profitability and
shareholder returns. Under his leadership, the company has successfully evolved
into one of the world's truly global distribution businesses. We are especially
pleased that Bob will continue to serve on our Board of Directors, allowing
Anixter to continue benefiting from his many years of company and industry
In discussing his
upcoming retirement, Mr. Grubbs said, "During my 30 years at Anixter the
company has gone through an incredible amount of change and I have a real sense
of pride in what the company's leadership team has accomplished during my
tenure as CEO. The company is well positioned for the future and I look forward
to continuing to contribute to the future success of the company as a member of
the Board of Directors."
Mr. Zell continued,
"The company has worked hard over the years to successfully develop future
leaders who could continue to drive the ongoing growth and success of our
business. Bob Eck brings many years of increasing responsibilities and
successful leadership to his new role at Anixter. The Board of Directors has
confidence that, under Bob Eck's leadership, the company can continue its consistent
track record of driving strong growth and shareholder returns."
"I am honored to
have the opportunity to lead the company and further build on its past
successes," commented Eck. "Our priorities as a company will continue
to center around building on our strategic initiatives of growing our customer
base, expanding our product and service offerings and enlarging the geographic
presence of our electrical wire & cable and OEM supply businesses. I am
very excited about the future and the opportunities that lie ahead for
Anixter International is
the world's leading distributor of communication products, electrical and
electronic wire & cable and a leading distributor of fasteners and other
small parts ("C" Class inventory components) to Original Equipment
Manufacturers. The company adds value to the distribution process by providing
its customers access to 1) innovative inventory management programs, 2) more
than 400,000 products and over $1 billion in inventory, 3) 220 warehouses with
more than 6 million square feet of space, and 4) locations in 249 cities in 49
countries. Founded in 1957 and headquartered near Chicago, Anixter trades on The New York Stock
Exchange under the symbol AXE.
about Anixter is available on the Internet at http://www.anixter.com
Belden Appoints Judy Brown, CFO Of Perrigo Company, To Board of Directors
Board of Directors of Belden (NYSE: BDC - News) has appointed Judy Brown
as a Director and member of the Audit Committee of the board. Ms. Brown, age
39, is Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Accounting
Officer of Perrigo Company, a post she has held since July 2006. She joined
Perrigo in September 2004 as Vice President and Corporate Controller. Perrigo
(NASDAQ: PRGO; TASE) is a leading global healthcare supplier that develops,
manufactures and distributes over-the-counter and prescription pharmaceuticals,
nutritional products, active pharmaceutical ingredients and consumer products
for the store brand market. Before joining Perrigo, Ms. Brown held various
senior positions in finance and operations at Whirlpool Corporation (1998 to
August 2004) in Italy and the US and at Ernst & Young (1990-1998) in both
the US and Germany. She received a B.S. degree from the University
of Illinois and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.
John Stroup, President
and Chief Executive Officer of Belden, said, "We are delighted to welcome
Judy Brown to Belden's Board of Directors and the Audit Committee of the board.
Her financial expertise and her background in European operations make her a
valuable addition to our board."
Belden is a leader in
the design, manufacture, and marketing of signal transmission solutions for
data networking and a wide range of specialty electronics markets including
entertainment, industrial, security and aerospace applications. To obtain
additional information contact Investor Relations at 314-854-8054, or visit our
website at http://www.belden.com.
Blueprint For Big Broadband’ Not Big Enough For Future
Published on 2/13/2008 at
www.MidwestBusiness.com where you always read REAL perspectives
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 – EDUCAUSE’s latest white paper on America’s lack
of broadband doesn’t shed light on the real issues.
speaking about broadband connectivity at 1 gigabit or more at several
conferences in January, one of the other speakers sent me an EDUCAUSE white
paper entitled “A Blueprint For Big Broadband,” which was written by John
EDUCAUSE group is made up of about 2,200 colleges and universities. Its white
paper goes into detail on how the United States has failed to keep up
with other parts of the world. While it’s a good attempt at providing a
warning, their solution doesn’t get us close to where we need to be.
Setting Up a Blueprint
One of the
highlights of the report deals with issues that U.S. policymakers should be
addressing. This is from the white paper:
1. Leadership and goals: The executives of
almost every successful government initiative began by announcing a broadband
plan and setting specific broadband goals.
2. Public funding: Almost every successful
government program has included significant government funding.
3. Open broadband networks: One of the most
popular models has been to require that big broadband network providers provide
service on a wholesale basis to multiple retailers.
4. Public/Private partnerships: Another
consistently successful theme is government/private sector cooperation in
building broadband networks.
5. Unbundling: The policy of unbundling local
copper networks has been used successfully to stimulate broadband. The
application of unbundling to fiber facilities is still under consideration.
6. Fiber: Except for Japan and South Korea, which are well ahead
of the rest of the world in deploying fiber, municipalities are taking the lead
on fiber deployment.
7. States focus on low-speed broadband: Most
of the state government initiatives have focused on expanding low-speed
broadband services to unserved areas [rather than] big broadband.
the majority of state programs don’t address the need to promote big broadband
capability that will be necessary in the next few years. While these state
initiatives are certainly well intentioned, the question is whether the
low-speed services used to fill the gaps today will become the dial-up of the
programs are largely designed to expand the reach of DSL and make cellular
broadband access more widely available. There remains a need for the federal
government to address the need for big broadband. The white paper goes on to
make a summary of building a blueprint for big broadband connectivity and ends
U.S. broadband policy should focus on
the future. Cable modem, DSL and wireless technologies are unlikely to meet our
future needs. The United States
needs to set its sights toward the 100 Mbps speeds that are commonplace in Japan and
increasingly the focus of European countries.
discount wireless and DSL as not a solution, which has been discussed in this
column for several years. There’s no earth-shattering discovery there. The 100
Mbps speed, though, is not the right goal. They have set the bar too low.
100 Mbps is Already Obsolete
focuses on getting U.S.
broadband to a higher speed, which in a way is stating the obvious. The author
says 100 Mbps is a good goal. In reality, they are still aiming too low.
If you have
ever planned a large-scale network, you have to have a very high objective
because going from planning to implementation takes a good several years. Ask
the engineers at the phone companies. They don’t plan for the next two to five
years. They look at 20 to 30 years (at least they used to). Also, if you’re
trying to plan for the future, you can’t assume the network traffic that’s here
the recommendations in this EDUCAUSE white paper will still put the U.S. behind
other countries. Some would still argue that 100 Mbps is too much bandwidth for
users. Those people don’t have a clue about new applications flooding the
Internet including social networks as well as video applications like YouTube
and its imitators. What’s on the horizon?
paper started to focus on the importance of going beyond servicing the digital
divide, they don’t discuss it enough.
aren’t the only areas of interest for broadband. Keeping up with a global market
means setting metropolitan areas into multiple gigabit network infrastructures.
Gigabit speeds are already a requirement if you want to attract corporate
facilities in intelligent business campuses. With 100 Mbps, you will be passed
over to the next municipality.
Incumbent Phone Companies Don’t Have
arguments by government affairs people at the incumbent network carriers that
we don’t need that much bandwidth reminds me of the same government affairs
people saying we didn’t need fiber running to the Chicago 911 center back in
1995. Now those same entities take credit for what they tried to block 16 years
ago when the planning was taking place in 1992.
leave it up to network carrier government affairs people, we will be further
behind than we are now. I always thought the incumbents would be encouraging
new services and “blinding speed” network offerings. Instead, they are playing
a protection game and choose to promote antiquated services. They’re trying to
ring the last buck out of old, copper-based technology instead of upgrading to
want to stifle any entity wanting to build new network infrastructure. This is
incongruent with the way the market is headed. Either you lead, follow or get
out of the way. While the incumbents don’t want to lead, they also want to get
in the way because they don’t want to follow competition and lose market share.
In terms of
their rhetoric and arguments, any network carrier’s government affairs person
who doesn’t know the difference between gigabit and gigabytes when he’s talking
shouldn’t be listened to.
marketing classes that discussed buying technology and network services from
vendors, my general rule of thumb was how can they be trusted with complex
infrastructure issues if they don’t have the basic definitions right in their
own industry? It would be like a general manager from GM not knowing the
difference between a Chevy Cobalt and a Cadillac Escalade.
the person from the industry to know the industry’s basic terms and
definitions. As for this blueprint for big broadband white paper, there are
some good points but the speed is already obsolete on paper. Potential
corporate sites have to offer multiple gigabit speeds today. For many, this
means going back to the drawing boards.
Broadband should be viewed as 1 gigabit or more today if planning a network for
Carlini interviewed by the Strassman Report out of California.
30-minute video discusses the need for planning gigabit network
today in order to be globally competitive tomorrow.
Carlini’s blog at CarlinisComments.com.
Carlini is an adjunct professor at Northwestern
University. He is also
president of Carlini & Associates. Carlini can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 773-370-1888.
for Carlini’s full biography.
2008 Jim Carlini
Coleman Cable Introduces 12 Gauge, ‘Cord Runner’ 3-Outlet Extension Cord
Coleman Cable, Inc. (Nasdaq: CCIX) introduces the Cord Runner™ extension
cord now in a heavy-duty 12 gauge STW 600V cord. Featuring three evenly spaced
outlets instead of just one outlet at the end, the new 12-gauge cord is UL
Listed and is ideal for workshops and job-sites that demand added flexibility
with multiple tasks running in different areas.
Each of the Cord Runner’s evenly spaced outlets has a power indicator light to
let you know when the power is on. Outlet covers keep water and dust out, while
the outdoor-rated cord is durable, reliable and flexible even in the coldest
weather. The 12 gauge Cord Runner is available in 6ft. and 50ft. lengths
with yellow jacket for safety and visibility.
“The Cord Runner makes it easier and safer to power multiple tasks using just
one extension cord,” said Blaine Ballard, Coleman Cable product manager. “The
new 12-gauge cord has been added to the product line to provide customers with
a wider choice of power solutions in delivering ‘power where you need it.’”
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.
The company is located at 1530
Shields Drive, Waukegan, IL 60085.
For more information, visit: www.colemancable.com.
CommScope Unit Lands Wireless Contract
Wireless Solutions, a division of CommScope Inc., has been awarded a contract
to design and install an infrastructure system for wireless communications in Sydney, Australia.
will be performed at the headquarters of Optus, an Australian
the new campus serving more than 6,000 Optus staff, it's key for the facility
to have an effective and efficient wireless system for seamless
communications," says Jon Wilkie, director of corporate services at
Singtel Optus, parent company of Optus.
equipment will allow workers "to communicate, interact and work anywhere
within the campus," he adds.
terms of the agreement weren't disclosed. Hickory-based CommScope (NYSE:CTV - News) completed its $2.65
billion purchase of Andrew in December. Illinois-based Andrew makes
communications equipment and systems. The company has facilities in 35
is the world's largest manufacturer of coaxial cable.
January 31, 2008 by the Charlotte
CommScope Unit Sells Satellite Business
Corp., a division of CommScope Inc., has sold its satellite-communications
business to Resilience Capital Partners.
Capital is a private-equity firm based in Cleveland.
satellite business will operate as an independent company based in Wake County
called ASC Signal Corp.
own a 17.9 percent share of ASC Signal and provide certain transition-support
services to the new company.
Andrew received $8.5 million in cash and a $2.5 million note from ASC Signal
that will mature in 39 months. In addition, Andrew expects to receive $2.5
million note upon completion of manufacturing-asset transfers. The company also
may receive up to an additional $25 million in cash after three years, based
upon ASC Signal's achievement of certain financial targets.
CommScope (NYSE:CTV - News) completed its $2.65
billion purchase of Andrew in December. Illinois-based Andrew makes
communications equipment and systems. The company has facilities in 35
says it is the world's largest manufacturer of coaxial cable.
February 1, 2008 by the Charlotte
Verizon Purchases Corning® ClearCurve™ Cable Solution Following Successful Field Trials
Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) announced that Verizon Communications Inc. has
purchased Corning’s ClearCurve™ rugged drop cable solution as part of
the telecommunications company’s effort to roll out its FiOS services.
ClearCurve product suite helps overcome the installation challenges in
multiple-dwelling units (MDUs) by providing a bend-resistant fiber optimized
for the strenuous deployment conditions in apartment buildings and condominium
complexes. Verizon qualified the ClearCurve
technology as an optimal solution for MDU applications following a successful
series of field trials.
the year that Verizon moves into high gear in deploying FiOS TV and FiOS
Internet to apartment buildings, condos and similar multiple dwelling units,”
said Claire Beth Nogay, senior vice president and chief network officer for
Verizon Telecom. “Corning’s bendable optical fiber cable is
particularly valuable in the tight spaces typical of these sorts of
buildings. ClearCurve rugged drop cable
is an initial product in what promises to be a family of specialized bendable
fiber products we expect to use across our network going forward.”
ClearCurve fiber solution is hundreds of times more bendable than standard
breakthrough nanoStructures™ technology, ClearCurve optical fiber can be bent
around very tight corners with virtually no signal loss while maintaining
backward compatibility. The robust
design of ClearCurve rugged drop cable enables it to be handled in any
way that copper communication cables are handled, such as pulling through wall
studs and stapling to wood. For detailed Corning product information, visit www.corning.com/clearcurve.
“With more than 25 million apartment
buildings in the United
States, the MDU market represents a
tremendous opportunity for telecommunications carriers,” said Peter F.
Volanakis, president and chief operating officer, Corning Incorporated. “We’re excited to associate with companies like Verizon to deliver
breakthrough solutions that enable them to provide their customers with
Verizon was the first major carrier
certified by the Fiber-to-the-Home Council as providing all fiber-optic
services directly to the home, including the FiOS Internet and FiOS TV
$196.2M Award Against DuPont Upheld
Judge Upholds $196.2 Million Award Against DuPont
circuit judge has upheld a $196.2 million punitive damages award against DuPont
in a class-action pollution case.
Harrison County Circuit
Court Chief Judge Thomas A. Bedell also adopted a nearly $130 million estimate
for a medical monitoring plan, but ordered the Wilmington, Delaware-based
chemical company to pay for those costs as they occur.
The jury had required
DuPont to provide medical monitoring for 40 years to people who were exposed to
arsenic, cadmium and lead from a former zinc-smelting plant in the small
community of Spelter.
DuPont said it believed
there were "numerous errors, both during and after trial" and it
plans to appeal to the state Supreme Court.
evidence simply does not warrant medical monitoring," DuPont General
Counsel Stacey J. Mobley said in a statement. "We believe the evidence ...
shows that there is no increased risk of disease to the class members as a
result of the smelter."
The company said it
found "particularly troubling" the decision to include biennial chest
CT scans in the monitoring program, saying the risks outweigh any benefits.
Mobley also said the
$130 million cost of the medical monitoring program was overestimated by
"many tens of millions of dollars."
Ten residents of Spelter
sued DuPont in 2004, claiming the company deliberately misled them about health
risks from the pollution and delayed a site cleanup for as long as possible to
The lawsuit was tried
last year in four phases involving property damage claims, long-term health
screenings and corporate accountability. Jurors awarded the punitive damages in
October in the trial's fourth phase.
In the other phases, the
jury required medical monitoring and found DuPont liable for and negligent in
creating the waste site. Jurors also found DuPont had created a public and
private nuisance and that its pollution trespassed onto private property.
On Monday, Bedell
approved $127 million in attorneys fees and nearly $8 million in litigation
costs, which will be taken from the overall award of $381 million. He rejected
DuPont's motion for a new trial.
General Cable Elects Brian J. Robinson To Executive Vice President
Cable Corporation (NYSE:BGC - News) announced that the Board
of Directors of the Company has elected Brian J. Robinson to the post of
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer effective
immediately. Robinson will continue to report to Gregory B. Kenny, President
and Chief Executive Officer of General Cable.
“This is a
well-deserved recognition by the Board of the value that the Company places on
Brian are operating and strategic leadership,” said Gregory B. Kenny, President
and Chief Executive Officer of General Cable. “Since January 2007, Brian has
led our Corporate Finance Team through two debt issuances totaling over $800
million, and four acquisitions, including the $1.2 billion of revenues PDIC
business. He has also been instrumental in driving improved controls and best
practices in our global finance organization.”
has held the title of Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and
Treasurer since January 2007. Robinson became Controller for General Cable in
2000 and assumed the additional responsibility of Senior Vice President and
Treasurer in March 2006. He began his career at Deloitte & Touche LLP in
1991, and in 1997 moved from Cincinnati, Ohio to London,
he served as Audit Manager focused on accounting services for global companies.
In 1999, Robinson joined General Cable as Assistant Controller.
holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Dayton
and received his CPA certification in 1993.
Cable is a global leader in the development, design, manufacture, marketing and
distribution of copper, aluminum and fiber optic wire and cable products for
the energy, industrial, and communications markets. Visit our website at www.generalcable.com.
H.H. Robertson Floor Systems Announces Three Casino Contract Wins
Robertson Floor Systems has been chosen to install its major in-floor wire
distribution system for three new casino projects. The projects are Kickapoo Casino in Oklahoma, Argosy® Casino in Indiana
and The Meadows Racetrack & Casino in western Pennsylvania
for completion in the fall of 2008, Kickapoo Casino is expanding into a new
37,000-square-foot facility located directly behind the current casino. H.H.
Robertson is working in tandem with Selser Schaefer, the casino’s architect,
and its contractor, Oklahoma Electrical Supply, to complete the project.
Casino in Lawrenceburg, Ind., has tapped H.H. Robertson to work
closely with architects, Lay Pitman & Associates and Browning Day Mullins
Dierdorf to install the new flooring system. The company will work with Geiger
& Peters, Inc., to complete the installation which is scheduled for early
Racetrack & Casino, expected to open in early 2009, has also named H.H.
Robertson as its flooring system provider. The 350,000-square-foot casino is
owned by Las Vegas-based Cannery Casino Resorts. H.H. Robertson will partner with architect
Climans Green Liang Architects, Inc., and contractor LP Ciminelli on the $155
million casino project.
to these latest casino projects, H.H. Robertson's Cellular Floor Systems have
been used for wire and cable distribution on more than 60 prestigious casinos
Based in Pittsburgh (Moon Township, Pa.), CENTRIA is an international company and the U.S.’s premier
supplier of architectural metal wall and roofing systems used in
commercial/industrial products. Since 1906, CENTRIA professionals have provided
quality products and services for architectural and construction firms
worldwide. For more information about CENTRIA call 412-299-8218 or visit www.centria.com.
Electronics Maker Hitachi Profit Surges On Utility, Telecommunications Recovery; Cuts Outlook
electronics maker Hitachi Ltd. said Tuesday its profit surged in its third
fiscal quarter as its power plant, hardware and telecommunications businesses
But Japan's biggest
electronics conglomerate by sales slashed its outlook for net income for the
fiscal year because it plans to invest another 30 billion yen ($280.6 million)
in a liquid crystal display business to produce flat-panel TVs -- an attempt to
stay competitive in the market. It raised its projection for operating profit
and revenue, however.
Hitachi earned 12.5 billion yen ($116.9
million) during the October-December quarter, up from 1.26 billion yen in the
same period the previous year.
rose nearly 10 percent to 2.71 trillion yen ($25.35 billion) from 2.49 trillion
yen a year ago, the company said. Operating profit rose 27 percent to 77.9
billion yen ($728.7 million) from 61.56 billion yen.
Hitachi's information and
telecommunications operations returned to profitability on booming sales of
software and hard disk drives.
improvement" in electric power business, as well as automobile parts,
elevators and construction equipment contributed to the revenue growth during
the quarter, the company said.
booked an operating loss of 15 billion yen ($140.32 million) in the consumer
electronics and digital media division, though that was narrower than the loss
of 19 billion a year earlier.
Hitachi cut its net income forecast for the
year ending March 31 to 10 billion yen ($93.5 million) from the previous
forecast of 40 billion yen.
lifted its outlook for operating profit -- which excludes one-time items -- to
300 billion yen ($2.81 million) from 290 billion yen, and its sales projection
to 10.8 trillion ($101.03 billion) from 10.5 trillion yen.
Hitachi's earnings results are based on U.S. accounting standards.
Hitachi reported its results after the
close of trade on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, where its shares rose 0.9 percent
to 819 yen ($7.66).
LEVITON’S Video Monitoring System Provides An Easy Way To Keep An Eye On Home And Property
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Leviton Promotes Green Products Core Connectivity Products Are RoHS Compliant
Network Solutions announced today that its core connectivity products are
lead-free and RoHS compliant. Leviton’s
advanced manufacturing processes were updated with leading-edge lead-free
solder technologies to ensure that all CAT 6 and CAT 5e jacks, patch panels and
patch cords meet all the requirements for RoHS compliance.
pleased to offer environmentally friendly, RoHS compliant products to our
customers to help make green buildings a reality,” says Gary Bernstein,
Leviton’s Director of Product Management. “We invested in this technology more than 2 years ago and wanted to
ensure our customers were aware of our compliance.”
known as Lead-Free, stands for Restriction
of Hazardous Substances. RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC restricts the use of six
hazardous materials found in electrical and electronic products. RoHS impacts
the entire global electronics industry. All applicable products sold into the
European Union market after July 1, 2006 must pass RoHS compliance. California
RoHS law, modeled after the European Directive, took effect on January 1, 2007.
RoHS bans the use of lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), hexavalent chromium
(CrVI), polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers
(PBDE) in products. These materials are hazardous to the environment, pollute
landfills, and are dangerous to those who may come into contact with them
during manufacturing and recycling. The pollutants are particularly dangerous
to children, pregnant women, and the elderly. The elimination of these
materials from production will reduce those risks.
committed to doing its part to ensure the preservation of our environment and
continues to take steps to make sure our products are environmentally friendly.
Along with having RoHS compliant products, Leviton product waste is recycled or
reused following manufacturing. For more information on these or other Leviton
products, log on to www.leviton.com.
Come And See Mike Live And get Up To Speed On The 2008 Code Changes!
Mike is nationally
recognized as one of America's
most knowledgeable electrical trainers. He has touched the lives of many
thousands of electricians, inspectors, contractors and engineers. His dynamic
and animated teaching style is relaxed, direct and fun. Perhaps Mike's best
quality is his ability to motivate his students to become successful.
Now is your chance to
meet Mike in person and experience one of his live seminars. Get your ook
autographed and picture taken with Mike and find out why his seminars are so
Mike’s Upcoming Seminars:
Atlanta, GA, March
– 25: Atlanta
Electrical Contractors Association - Changes to the NEC 2008. (This seminar is
not open to the public)
Additional seminars for Mike
June 4 – 5: Instructor Conference
June 6: Business Management, Workplace Safety, Workers’
June 7: Grounding versus Bonding
Fort Lauderdale, FL
July 30 – 31: Instructor Conference
August 1: Business Management, Workplace Safety, Workers’
August 2: Grounding versus Bonding
hope to see you at one of these seminars! If you can’t join Mike for one of
these live seminars then visit www.MikeHolt.com to order one of his
special 2008 Code Change packages.
Ortronics/Legrand To Offer Free Visio Stencils With Altima Mx’ MCS Program
a global leader in high performance copper, fiber optic, and wireless
structured cabling solutions, announces a new agreement to offer free network
design and diagramming stencils from Altima Technologies, Inc., the leader in
network design and diagramming solutions.
As part of
Altima Technologies’ Manufacturer Certified Stencil (MCS) program, network
professionals will be able to download Visio stencils of Ortronics®
connectivity products at no charge, directly from the Ortronics/Legrand website
(http://www.ortronics.com/us). These shapes and stencils can be used in one of
the world’s most popular diagramming applications, Microsoft® Visio®.
“This is a
great service for network professionals that want to use high-quality stencils
of Ortronics products,” says Marybeth Marx, vice president of marketing for
Ortronics/Legrand. “With this relationship, customers will be able to build
sophisticated network designs and diagrams using Ortronics-certified shapes and
stencils they can access from our site, absolutely free.”
pleased to have Ortronics/Legrand as a part of the Manufacturer Certified
Stencil program,” says Angela Andersen, Program Manager for Altima
Technologies. “They are a great addition to our network of MCS manufacturers,
and we know that network professionals everywhere will benefit from this
alliance between Altima Technologies and Ortronics/Legrand offers a better way
for I.T. professionals to design, visualize and evaluate how Ortronics network
infrastructure solutions serve the needs of their network. Moving forward,
Ortronics/Legrand will be able to offer additional stencils of existing and
future product lines through Altima Technologies’ MCS program.
Information Systems Management Solutions (ISMS) And Ortronics/Legrand Offer High Performance Connectivity Solutions For Digitally Connected Communities
a global leader in structured cabling solutions, and Information Systems
Management Solutions (ISMS), a world renown leader in the design and deployment
of broadband IP networks, announce an alliance to bring high performance
connectivity solutions to communities
looking to fulfill the promise of broadband applications within the home. The alliance will provide a collaboration of
knowledge and resources not available anywhere else in the industry for
consultants, systems designers, developers and planners.
rate of IP convergence, broadband services, and downloaded entertainment
content is creating the need to incorporate high bandwidth networks within the
home. The amount of content and number
of broadband users within a home, along with the need to incorporate other home
automation systems, are redefining the design of these networks. As high definition video, music downloads,
on-line gaming, web-based video/picture sharing and other content-rich applications
increase, next-generation homes require an
infrastructure that supports the increase in data exchange without
compromising quality of service.
to this need, Ortronics/Legrand, together with its sister companies,
Wiremold/Legrand, Cablofil/ Legrand and On-Q/Legrand, offers a full compliment
of product solutions and delivers one cohesive solution set for digital content
networking systems. The agreement
between ISMS and Ortronics/Legrand allows broadband community designers and planners
to have a single contact with a multitude of industry resources at their
disposal. “To fulfill the promise touted
by triple-play service providers and to keep up with the ever changing
technology needs of the consumer, it will be critical that our industry bring
infrastructure networks that efficiently and effectively deliver service. It will be equally important that these
networks have the ability to adapt and adjust to the changes in technology,
lifestyle requirements and content volume,” states Chris Adams, Marketing
Manager for Ortronics. “Having James
Hettrick and ISMS deliver our message to this market reinforces our commitment
to this technology and gives it the recognition it deserves.”
mission at ISMS has always been to deliver superior network solutions while
lowering deployment costs,” added James Hettrick, Chairman of ISMS. “This
important alliance with Ortronics/Legrand allows us to aggregate the creative
talents and resources of both companies to provide more advanced product sets
and targeted services for community networks across the U.S.”
Information Systems Management Solutions, Inc.
ISMS is a global design, technology aggregation, and creative services firm
specializing in fiber / wireless communications network design and deployment,
connectivity business modeling, “smart home” design and implementation
services, and comprehensive communications infrastructure planning (CCIP). ISMS
also designs, builds, facilitates, and operates community based communications
infrastructure utilities. www.is-ms.com.
is a global leader in high performance structured cabling solutions, services,
and support. Ortronics offers a complete range of Category 5e, 6 and 10 Gig
copper, fiber optic, wireless and residential/MDU connectivity solutions. In
addition, Ortronics offers Cablofil® wire mesh cable tray and Wiremold®
pathways. For more information, visit www.ortronics.com.
PANDUIT®Opti-Core® Gel-Free Outside Plant Cable Provides Superior Durability and Faster Installation
Opti-Core® Gel-Free Outside Plant Cable joins
the PANDUIT Fiber Optic Cable
offering to provide superior outdoor durability and faster installation. The
gel-free design features water swellable tape that provides dry water blocking
for standards compliance. This dry, loose tube outdoor design simplifies cable
preparation, eliminates messy gel cleanup, and reduces termination time. The UV
resistant cable sheathing withstands harsh environmental demands and meets the
light absorption requirement by Telcordia GR-20, Issue 2 and ICEA 640.
Opti-Core® Gel-Free Outside Plant Cable is
available in all-dielectric and armored cable designs to meet your specific outdoor fiber
optic cabling installation requirements. All-dielectric cable, for aerial and
duct applications, features a non-metallic construction that eliminates the
need to ground or bond. Armored cable has corrugated steel armor to provide
superior crush resistance for direct burial applications. All Opti-Core®
Gel-Free Outside Plant Cable
is available in singlemode (meets OS1 and proposed OS2 standards) and multimode
(OM1, OM2, and 10 Gb/s laser optimized OM3) fiber types, and in standard fiber
counts up to 48 fibers as a “stranded tube” design.
The complete PANDUIT Fiber Optic
Cabling System is modular and versatile for easy installation and upgrade of
network infrastructures, resulting in a lower total cost of ownership and
increased return on investment.www.panduit.com
Maximum Capacity And Performance Pan-Way® PMR40 Metal Raceway
PMR40 Metal Raceway System is part of the complete PANDUIT solution that delivers a
reliable, high-performance infrastructure with the lowest total cost of
PANDUIT is a leading, world-class developer
and provider of innovative networking and electrical solutions. For more than
50 years, PANDUIT has
engineered and manufactured end-to-end solutions that assist our customers in
the deployment of the latest technologies. Our global expertise and strong
industry relationships make PANDUIT
a valuable and trusted partner dedicated to delivering technology-driven
solutions and unmatched service. Through our commitment to innovation, quality,
and service, PANDUIT creates competitive advantages to earn customer
Preformed Line Products Announces Quarterly Dividend
Board of Directors of Preformed Line Products (Nasdaq: PLPC - News) on February 19, 2008
declared a regular quarterly dividend in the amount of $.20 per share on the
Company's common shares, payable April 18, 2008 to shareholders of record at
the close of business on April 1, 2008.
Founded in 1947, Preformed
Line Products is an international designer and manufacturer of products and
systems employed in the construction and maintenance of overhead and
underground networks for energy, communications and broadband network
Preformed's world headquarters
are in Mayfield Village, Ohio, and the Company operates four domestic
manufacturing centers, located in Rogers, Arkansas, Albuquerque, New Mexico,
Albemarle, North Carolina, and Asheville, North Carolina. The Company serves
its worldwide market through international operations in Australia, Brazil,
Canada, China, England,
Mexico, New Zealand, Poland,
South Africa, Spain and Thailand. www.preformed.com
Preformed Line Products Elects Two New Directors
Line Products Company (the "Company") announced today the election of
R. Steven Kestner and Michael E. Gibbons to the Company's Board of Directors,
bringing the total number to eight directors. With the addition of Mr. Kestner
and Mr. Gibbons to the Board, the Company regained compliance with Nasdaq
Marketplace Rule 4350(c)(1), which requires a majority of the directors be
independent. The election of Mr. Kestner and Mr. Gibbons was by the Board of
Directors to fill two vacancies on the Board. In accordance with the Company's
Code of Regulations, they will hold office until this year's annual meeting of
shareholders. Both Mr. Kestner and Mr. Gibbons are expected to be nominees for
election to the Board by the shareholders at the annual meeting.
Previously, on February
6, 2008 the Company disclosed in a Form 8-K that the Company had notified the
Nasdaq on January 31, 2008 that the Company was not in compliance with Rule
4350(c)(1) as a result of the death on January 30, 2008 of John D. Drinko, an
Mr. Kestner is Executive
Partner and Senior Managing Director of Baker & Hostetler, LLP, and has
been an attorney with the firm since 1979. Mr. Kestner serves on the Board of
Trustees for The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Board of Regents for St. Ignatius
High School and the Board of Directors
for the Greater Cleveland Partnership. Baker & Hostetler, LLP serves as the
Company's general outside legal counsel.
Mr. Gibbons is the
founder of Brown Gibbons Lang & Company, and is also the chairman of Global
M&A. Mr. Gibbons serves as Chairman and is a member of the executive
committee for Global M&A, Dusseldorf, Germany; on the board of directors,
audit committee and chairman of the finance and planning committee for
Associated Estates Realty Corporation, Richmond Heights, Ohio; on the board of
trustees and executive committee and Vice Chairman for Greater Cleveland Sports
Commission, Cleveland, Ohio; on the board of trustees for Ohio Israeli Chamber
of Commerce, Cleveland, Ohio; and on the visiting committee for Case Western
Reserve University Weatherhead School of Management, Cleveland, Ohio.
Robert G. Ruhlman,
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, said that "We are honored
to have Steve and Mike join our Board. These appointments increase the number
of independent directors to five, and reflect our ongoing commitment to
maintaining high standards of corporate governance and improving the Board's
Founded in 1947,
Preformed Line Products (Nasdaq: PLPC - News) is an international
designer and manufacturer of products and systems employed in the construction
and maintenance of overhead and underground networks for energy, communications
and broadband network companies. Headquartered in Cleveland,
Ohio, the Company operates four domestic
manufacturing centers, located in Rogers, Arkansas, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Albemarle, North Carolina and Asheville,
North Carolina. PLP serves
worldwide markets through international operations in Australia, Brazil,
Canada, China, England,
Mexico, New Zealand, Poland,
South Africa, Spain and Thailand.
RHINO Professional Labeling Tools Announces Winners Of Yamaha Rhino Sweepstakes
Professional Labeling Tools announced the winners of its “Stick with RHINO”
Sweepstakes, in which five Yamaha Rhino Side-by-Side 4x4 vehicles were the
prizes. The sweepstakes ran from March to the end of November 2007. Entries
were accepted via RHINO’s website ww.rhinopromo.com, as well as select
tradeshows held throughout the United
Winners of the sweepstakes include Loretta Conover of Nevada,
Robin Ritter of New York, Tom Showers of
California, John Pawson of Pennsylvania, and
Terry Honaker of Indiana.
“We are very pleased at the interest this sweepstakes created for our products
and the excitement it brings to the labeling category,” stated Ernie Racenet,
Global Business Unit Director of RHINO. “The event was a special promotion held
to announce the release of our latest RHINO labeling tools: the RHINO 101
Reusable Label Dispenser and the PC-compatible RHINO 6000 and RHINO 6500 Label
Printers. Aside from the natural tie-in with the RHINO name, we chose the
Yamaha Rhino vehicles as the prizes because they are rugged, tough, and durable
— the same qualities featured in our RHINO labeling products. We congratulate
the five winners of our sweepstakes.”
For more information on RHINO labeling tools, visit www.rhinolabeling.com.
New SilverLine™ QMA Test Cables For Microwave Applications Now Available From Times Microwave
excellent frequency response of the new QMA-SMA, QMA-Type N and QMA-TNC
adaptors make them suitable for use up to 18 GHz for most microwave
applications. SilverLine test cables
with QMA plug and QMA jack adaptor exhibit a remarkably low VSWR of 1.30:1
through 18 GHz. Also improved are the
ruggedness and durability of the QMA interface, doubling the mating life.
and benefits include:
* Snap on,
pull off adaptors
* 18 GHz
operation (SMA, Type N, TNC)
mate life cycle
* 360° DUT rotation
while mated with little or no performance change.
all stainless steel construction
complement of 29 coaxial adaptors for 2-way, RF and microwave use are currently
are available in both plug and jack configurations.
Microwave Systems has 60 years experience in designing innovative,
high-reliability, coaxial cables and assemblies for demanding interconnection
problems. An engineering oriented organization, the company specializes in the
design and manufacture of high performance flexible and semi-rigid coaxial
cable, connectors, and cable assemblies for RF transmission from HF through
Betsy Ziobron - Freelance Writer
Serving the Telecommunications Industry
Betsy Ziobron has spent the past 15 years
writing quality technical copy for a variety of markets, audiences, and
mediums. Betsy started her
career as a technical and promotional writer for medical, security, and
environmental corporations. In early 2000, she became an independent freelance
writer focusing primarily on the networking and telecommunications industries.
Today, Betsy provides freelance and ghost
writing services to several leading providers of network infrastructure solutions,
specializing in case studies, white papers, technical articles, and brochures.
Betsy’s writing has been published in such publications as BICSI News,
Cabling Business, Cabling Installation and Maintenance, Communications News,
Heard on the Street, Network Cabling Magazine,TED Magazine, and several
other print and online technology publications. Well versed in
telecommunications and related standards, Betsy is also a monthly contributing
writer to Cabling Installation and Maintenance Magazine. She has covered
a variety of communications topics including standards, data centers, premise
and campus copper and fiber technologies, WiFi, security systems, market
trends, and more.
For writing samples, services, or other
information, Betsy can be contacted at email@example.com.
The Light Brigade’s April 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.
San Francisco, CA
San Antonio, TX
These intensive one-day fiber optic training courses were
developed as the next level of training for those who require more advanced
skills and experience with major fiber optic disciplines and equipment. Each of
the five modules focuses on a specific discipline and incorporates concentrated
Module 1: Fiber Optic Cable Preparation, Patch Panels &
Module 2: Fiber Optic Connectorization
Module 3: Optical Loss Testing, Troubleshooting &
Module 4: OTDR Theory, Operation & Emergency Restoration
Module 5: Fiber Optic Splicing (Fusion & Mechanical)
Light Brigade Fiber Optic Active Devices Training DVD
Brigade announces its newest menu-based DVD, titled Fiber Optic Active Devices.
Filmed at OFC 2006 and 2007, this DVD provides a basic understanding of optical
components from theory to operation. It serves as a primer for anyone involved
with lasers, LEDs, detectors and optical amplifiers, whether they are used at
the component or sub-assembly level, or in fiber optic transmission systems.
devices are electronic components made up of semiconductor materials that
actively manipulate electrons to perform the intended function. They require a
source of energy to operate and have an output that is a function of present
and past input signals. Types of active devices include controlled power
supplies, transistors, light sources, amplifiers, and transmitters. Also
- The theory and fundamentals of
- Optical sources, such as LEDs,
VCSELs, laser diodes, and optical amplifiers.
- PIN, PIN-FET and APD detectors
and their application in opto-electronic systems.
- Transmitters and receivers, and
how active components are manufactured, integrated, and tested.
- Design and packaging for active
optical components, and the roles of sources, detectors, transimpedance
amplifiers, clock and data recovery, mux/demux, heat sinks and
- Transceiver modules, such as
TOSA, ROSA, MSA, XENPACK, X2, XPAK, SPF, and XFP.
- How to employ test equipment
with active devices to verify performance, quality and operation, and to
material is divided into menu-selectable chapters for easy access. The DVD’s
bonus materials include an acronym list, a glossary of related terms, and a
quiz with student and instructor versions. www.lightbrigade.com
HCM Solutions Exceed Category 6A Standard
Cable Manchester (HCM) continues to be a leader in the development of new and
innovative copper and fiber optic communication cables.
HCM was the
first manufacturer to have UL verified Category 6A cable in both shielded and
unshielded versions. With the Category 6A standard, TIA/EIA-568-B.2.10,
now approved, customers can take full advantage of the benefit of open
architecture that the standard provides. Any connectivity that meets the
Category 6A standard, when mated to HCM’s Category 6A Supra 10G (UTP or F/UTP),
will deliver reliable 10-gigabit throughput. This open architecture
approach, for which the TIA/EIA standards were developed, allows customers the
flexibility to design an infrastructure that meets their specific needs.
And, with a Lifetime Warranty available through HCM, the performance of that
infrastructure is guaranteed. www.hcm.hitachi.com.
The search for the best carrier is over
Tired of beating the bushes to find the best deal
from a carrier to meet your needs? We found an outfit that really delivers
value. American Communication Solutions, Inc. provides quality solutions for
advanced voice technologies, including Carrier Access Services, Voice
Conferencing, Interactive Voice Response and Call Recording.
Scott Fairbairn, President of American Communication Solutions, Inc said, “ACS
has formulated their offerings around the business client’s values & goals.
ACS, by providing assess to multiple sources, can you help reduce costs
associated with qualifying vendors and evaluating technologies. ACS and Top
Service Providers - a combination that can't be beat!”
American Communication Solutions, Inc. Austin Texas
has expanded their Carrier Service portfolio to include 57 voice, data and
satellite carrier services.
SMP Announces Issuance of Limited Axcess™ Patent
leading developer and manufacturer of high-speed cross-connect products for
communication networks, proudly
announces the issuance of patent US 7,318,754, Keyed modular connection
system and associated adapter cable for their new Limited Axcess™
solution. Under the seal of the United
States Patent and Trademark Office, the Limited Axcess patent was published on
January 15th, 2008 and as a result of publishing, SMP may assert
provisional rights on the Limited Axcess solution and technology. This published patent joins SMP’s collection
of notable telecommunications achievements including recent patents relating to
Category 6 and 6A patch cord plugs.
The Limited Axcess keyed copper
solution offers enhanced network security by providing physically restrictive
access to the network using a unique plug and jack interconnect system. Using SMP’s signature Bezel system and
matching Patch Cord boot combinations, the Limited Axcess system creates
multiple levels of keyed access to a network.
In addition, this patented system provides system performance up to and
including Category 6A requirements.
“The Limited Axcess patent is just the next
generation in the family of SMP’s long-standing intellectual property history.
SMP has more than 50 active patents globally. Our devotion to developing
products that meet the needs of an ever-changing industry is always the primary
initiative for SMP and we look forward to continuing this tradition through
emerging technologies.” stated Bill Reynolds, VP and General Manager of SMP.
Communications, headquartered in Swannanoa,
North Carolina, is
internationally recognized for its role in establishing the world’s data/communications
standards, through its innovative-patented technologies. SMP, founded in 1990,
manufactures and develops copper and fiber passive connectivity hardware
components for use in commercial and residential applications. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of
Preformed Line Products (PLPC) of Cleveland,
Ohio. For more information about SMP’s complete
product line visit our website at www.smpdata.com.
Colleges, Universities Seeking Improvements in How They Charge Back Network Costs, Latest ACUTA Survey Finds
Communications professionals at
colleges and universities are only moderately satisfied with the systems in
place for charging back communications network costs to university departments
and to students, and they see much room for improvement, according to a survey
by ACUTA, the Association for Information Communications Technology
Professionals in Higher Education.
The latest ACUTA survey covered attendees
at the organization’s annual Winter Seminars, where the issue of cost
allocation was a key topic. ACUTA, the only national association committed to
serving the needs of higher education information communications technology
professionals, represents nearly 2,000 individuals at 770 institutions.
Asked to rate their current system
of analyzing costs and charging them back on a scale of 1 to 5, the survey
respondents gave their collective systems an overall rating of 2.92, just below
As to where their systems needed the
most improvement, 80 percent of ACUTA attendees pointed to allocation of data
costs, and 72 percent said the systems needed to be able to factor in newer
technologies such as Voice over IP and wireless networking. Sixty percent said
the systems need to be responsive to additional future needs. Interestingly,
more than half of respondents said the problems were outside the systems
themselves, in areas such as the degree of cooperation received from
departments and the administration, and a lack of backing at the executive
Most of the chargeback systems are
older, with 64 percent of respondents noting that their systems are at least
five years old; those systems are evenly split between systems developed
in-house or purchased from a vendor. More than half of respondents overall said
their current systems don’t have any negative impact on their budgets, but
among those who do see an impact, 55 percent say the effect on their budget
Asked how likely they are to make a
change in their systems, 84 percent said they are likely to do so, and more
than half of them expect an upgrade within a year. The most desired benefits of
a new system, the respondents said, would be to provide more accurate
cost-of-service data, allocate service costs more fairly, and enable better
ongoing analysis of their cost environment.
“As networks continue to converge,
the issue of charging costs back is much more complex now than it has been
traditionally, and ACUTA members understand that need,” said Jeri Semer,
executive director of ACUTA. “Clearly, the results of this survey show that
information communications professionals see the shortcomings of their current
systems and are pushing to improve them as soon as possible.”
ACUTA, the Association for Information Communications Technology
Professionals in Higher Education, is an international non-profit educational
association serving colleges and universities. Its core purpose is to
support higher education communications technology professionals in
contributing to the achievement of the strategic mission of their institutions.
ACUTA represents nearly 2000 individuals at some 770 institutions of higher
education, with members ranging from small schools and community colleges to
the 50 largest U.S.
institutions. ACUTA’s Corporate Affiliate members represent all
categories of communications technology vendors serving the
college/university market. www.acuta.org
ACUTA’s Spring Seminar Focuses On VoIP Technology, Challenges Of Staffing For Converged Networking
An examination of Voice over IP
technology from all angles, including the issue of finding the right employees
with the right skills in a world of converged networks, is featured in the
Spring Seminar of ACUTA, the Association for Information Communications
Technology Professionals in Higher Education.
The seminar is April 6-9 in St. Louis, at the
Sheraton St. Louis. With a twin topical focus on “VoIP: Costs, Challenges, and
Opportunities” and “Staffing in a Converged IT World,” it will feature
presentations by representatives of large and small colleges and universities
from all over the country.
Representing schools such as Yale, Indiana University,
Texas A&M, Columbia, Emory
Washington University, Johns Hopkins, and Juniata College, presenters will share their
insight, experiences, and successes with their peers.
Educational sessions concentrating
on VoIP technology will explore topics such as upgrading the infrastructure in
older buildings and optimizing the converged network for distance learning, and
will look at specific deployment details on various campuses. On the staffing
side, presenters will cover the mix of skills employees need now and in the future,
how to attract them to campus employment, and how to lead them to success.
ACUTA is the only national
association dedicated to serving the needs of higher education information
communications technology professionals, representing some 2,000 individuals at
“This year’s Spring Seminar
addresses a significant technical issue for ACUTA member colleges and
universities,” said Jeri Semer, executive director of ACUTA.” The migration to
a VoIP environment is inevitable, and our sessions will focus on how colleges
and universities can manage their evolution. That includes finding staff
members who can blend the specific skills required for data networks and for
“ACUTA seminars offer more than
educational sessions, giving attendees extensive networking opportunities and a
chance to learn from their fellow information communications technology
professionals. The information they learn and the contacts they make provide
real benefits to them and to their schools,” Semer said.www.acuta.corg
The Road Ahead” and "Sustainable Data Storage” Are Keynote Themes at AFCOM®'s Data Center World®
Microsoft and Hitachi Data Systems Executives to be Featured Speakers
AFCOM, the leading association supporting
the data center industry, announced that Michael Manos, senior director of data
center services for Microsoft Corp., and Hubert Yoshida, vice president and CTO
of Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), will deliver consecutive keynote speeches at
Data Center World on Tuesday, April 1, 2008, beginning at 7:45 a.m. and 9 a.m.
World will take place March 30-April 3 at the MGM Grand and Las Vegas Convention Center,
Mr. Manos, who is responsible for
the worldwide operations and construction efforts of all Internet and
enterprise data centers for Microsoft, will address “The Changing Face of the Data Center.”
He will discuss the management, measurement and operation pitfalls data center
professionals are likely to face in the coming years. Additionally, he will
explore the impact of new technology, coming regulatory reporting—of energy
efficiency and carbon footprints—and overall operations for the data center
Following a brief recess, Mr.
Yoshida will present “Sustainable Data Storage is More Than Green
Technology.” In his address, he will discuss the importance of
sustainable data storage, the disconnect with “green technology,” and the best
practices required to ultimately contribute to the bottom line. At HDS,
Mr. Yoshida is responsible for defining the company’s technical direction and
currently leads efforts to help customers satisfy compliance, governance and
operation risk issues.
Wholly owned and operated by AFCOM,
Data Center World occurs biannually and is lauded as a premier networking and
educational conference for data center professionals. Data Center
World averages upwards of 1,100 attendees, and has been recognized by Tradeshow
Week as one of the 50 fastest growing shows in the U.S.
AFCOM (www.afcom.com) is a leading
association supporting the educational and professional development needs of
data center professionals around the globe. Established in 1980, AFCOM
currently boasts more than 3,700 members and 26 chapters worldwide, and
provides data center professionals with unique networking opportunities and
educational forums and resources through its annual Data Center World®
Conferences, published magazines, regional chapters, research and hotline services,
and industry alliances.
Cabling Designers And Installers Rock N’ Roll In Music City
Inaugural Cabling Skills Challenge
hosted concurrently at Spring Conference
association supporting the information transport systems (ITS) industry with
information, education and knowledge assessment, announces events for the 2008
BICSI Spring Conference. Hosted at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention
Center in Music City, Nashville, Tenn., April 27-30, this unique conference
will help BICSI members, and nonmembers alike, gain invaluable knowledge and
take advantage of the rapidly emerging ITS industry to ensure future business
- Nashville Welcome by Kacey Musgraves— Monday, Apr. 28, 8:30 a.m.
Kacey Musgraves is a singer-songwriter from Texas who appeared on
the 5th season of USA Network's, "Nashville Star" the Country Music
version of "American Idol." She was one of ten finalists selected out
of over 20,000 hopefuls competing for a spot on the show. She has been
performing professionally from an early age gaining experience, learning
instruments and playing live shows. Now at age 19, Kacey lives in Austin and has released
her self-titled debut album. She is currently nominated for two Texas Music
Association Awards, Female Artist of the Year and Song of the Year.
- Scott Deming— Opening Keynote Speaker, Monday,
Apr. 28, 8:45 a.m.
Scott Deming started his own marketing and advertising
company called RCI in 1983. RCI eventually grew into a multi-million dollar
organization servicing Fortune 500 companies and many other medium to large
corporations across the country. Scott and his firm helped their clients
successfully grow their businesses and beat their competition with renegade
branding, sales, customer service and communications programs. Not
surprisingly, it was this very same progressive thinking that helped Scott's
firm succeed over a twenty-plus year period and achieve many awards, such as
The Business Journal's "Most Inspiring Business of the Year."
- Dick Enberg— Closing Keynote Speaker,
Wednesday, Apr. 30, 10:30 a.m.
Dick Enberg is celebrating his 50th year in broadcasting. He
has reported at football games in weather so frigid that his coffee froze
before he could drink it, been challenged to a fight by an irate baseball
player, led the Notre Dame band in a rendition of "The 1812
Overture," and been threatened with ejection at Wimbledon because he was shouting too loudly into his microphone. Dick
now calls play-by-play for CBS Sports' coverage of the NCAA Men's Basketball
Championship and joined CBS Sports in January 2000 as play-by-play announcer
for the NFL on CBS, college basketball and the U.S. Open Tennis Championships.
information about the 2008 BICSI Spring Conference or the BICSI Cabling Skills
Challenge, please visit www.bicsi.org/spring.
The U.S. Southeast Region Director Charles Wilson, RCDD/NTS/OSP Specialist, invites you to the Southeast Region Meeting.
Date: March 27, 2008
Time: 8 a.m.
Location: OFS Factory, Atlanta,
knowledge with networking and vendor showcases, as well as technical
presentations. Seats are limited, reserve your spot now!
There is no charge
to attend this meeting and RCDDs will earn four BICSI continuing education
credits (CECs) toward designation renewal. CECs for all other BICSI
designations will be assessed.
To view the meeting
agenda, details and to register, click
here or visit: http://www.bicsi.org/content/index.aspx?File=08-03-27_Atlanta.html
Register Today! Charles looks forward to seeing you
BICSI Announces Cabling Skills Challenge
- Participants will battle for the title of Installer of the Year -
inaugural BICSI Cabling Skills Challenge will feature the world’s best
information transport systems (ITS) installers testing their skills and
knowledge as they compete for the title of Installer of the Year. The event
will be held in conjunction with the evening exhibition sessions during the
2008 BICSI Spring Conference, April 27-30, at the Gaylord Palms Resort &
Convention Center in Nashville,
for the challenge will be selected from the field of entrants based on
qualifying criteria such as professionalism, quality of resume and work
experience. Over the course of the three-day challenge, they will compete in
the following six (6) events:
Event 1: Structured
Cabling Systems (SCS) Installation
Copper Cable Terminations
Cable Troubleshooting/Technical Support
will also be scored throughout the competition on professionalism. Scores will
be based on resume, orientation (attendance & promptness) attitude, safety,
tools and equipment, attention to detail and aesthetics. The award ceremony
will be held at 10:15 a.m., Wednesday, April 30, during the closing session of
Cabling Skills Challenge offers a substantial opportunity for BICSI Registered
Installers and Technicians to highlight the expertise they’ve gained through
years of training and experience working in the ITS industry,” said Dan Morris,
RCDD, Chair, BICSI Installation Committee. “We are very excited to develop the
event as part of our continuing effort to broaden our outreach to the heart of
our industry; the installers and technicians.”
will be the first time that the Installers will have a forum at a BICSI
Conference to showcase their talents,” said David M. Richards, RCDD/NTS/OSP
Specialist, VP Technical Training for PCC Network Solutions. “Giving the front
line BICSI Installers and Technicians their deserved recognition is important
to promote BICSI ‘best practices’ and the future RCDDs of the ITS industry.”
deadline for application is March 15. For complete details, including the
challenge schedule and application form, visit www.bicsi.org/skillschallenge.
BICSI Cares charity to help save little hearts
2008 BICSI Spring Conference, charity donations will be accepted to help Saving
Little Hearts Inc. This organization is dedicated to helping children with
congenital heart defects and their families in Tennessee,
Alabama and South Carolina, by providing financial and
emotional assistance and educational information.
Little Hearts also strives to provide enriching, educational and fun
experiences for these children which will help them build friendships and
confidence. More than 65 volunteers provide services that include, but are not
limited to: surgery care packages (sent out 1000 last year), support groups,
online parent matching, and educational materials. Find more information on the
charity at www.savinglittlehearts.com.
children in need, BICSI Cares, Inc. is the year-round charity outreach program
for our association that has given money to charities worldwide to help foster
child health and development, build schools, feed the hungry, prevent abuse and
violence, combat illiteracy and provide for an overall positive environment.
One hundred percent of the money collected at BICSI’s conferences is presented
to a charity in or near the host city. This tradition has become an integral
part of BICSI conferences and gives attendees the chance to see firsthand where
their contributions will be used. www.bicsi.org
Invitation to Participate in Convergence of Green and Intelligent Buildings (CGIB)
Thurs, March 6,
2008 at 3 PM – 4 PM ET
members and non-members are invited to attend an informational webinar and conference call on Thursday, March 6, 2008.
CABA is an industry association
that promotes advanced technologies for the automation of homes and buildings
in North America. The CABA Intelligent
& Integrated Buildings Council (IIBC) is proposing a market positioning
research study “Convergence of Green and Intelligent Buildings” with Frost & Sullivan, a
major research firm for the large building sector. This meeting will
educate participants in the upcoming “Convergence of
Green and Intelligent
Buildings” research project.
The research initiative will demonstrate the positive environmental impacts of
today’s intelligent and integrated building systems and building technology
solutions in the following manner:
Participants will steer
research to validate their buildings, technologies, companies and services as “Green”
The study will educate stakeholders to view intelligent
building technologies as a way to be “Green”
on Investment (ROI) case studies will show how technologies can save energy,
fuel and water while reducing greenhouse emissions
a tool to educate end-users, owners, engineers, architects, integrators, etc.
of the environmental and ROI benefits of using intelligent and integrated
The CGIB Steering Committee will
determine the final research deliverable
The key objectives of the
CGIB research report will demonstrate the green impact of Intelligent Buildings
and ROI for end-users and the environment. The focus points will include
measurements on the following criteria:
or Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Life cycle costs, installation cost, and pay back
Energy savings and improved efficiency
Occupant productivity ratios
Performance ratios (business cost)
Reduced risk factors
Indoor Air Environment
CGIB Steering Committee will be comprised of organization that will fund the
research. There will be two levels of participation. The final report will
offer the industry participants the means to showcase integrated systems
technology and contributions towards intelligent and green buildings. It will
also highlight to end-users, building owners, architects, designers and
developers how this technology can be incorporated into “Green and Sustainable”
Buildings, providing a great ROI!
To receive an information
package and meeting details please R.S.V.P. by Wednesday, March 5, 2008 to:
NAED Learning Center Expands Library Of Free Manufacturers' Product Courses
More than 320 Online
Courses Now Available Free to NAED Members
The National Association of Electrical
Distributors (NAED) has expanded its resource library of manufacturers' product
training courses. NAED members can use the NAED Learning Center (NLC) to
access more than 320 online courses. The courses enable distributor employees
to learn the most up-to-date information about specific manufacturer products.
All training activity is tracked on the learner's NLC training transcript, and
all manufacturer product courses are available at no cost to NAED members.
"We were looking for a better way to train our staff," said Scott
Drouin, sales manager for Laconia Electric Supply, Inc. in Laconia, N.H.
"Prior to committing to use the NLC as our primary training tool, our
employee training was scattered and highly ineffective. We were attempting to
use our vendor reps as our primary resource, and we found that it was difficult
and less than fruitful to coordinate meaningful training sessions for staff
members from our five locations. We made the commitment in 2007 to use the NLC
as our primary training tool and build our employee programs around it. The
response from the employees has been excellent. People were excited about using
the system from the moment we rolled out the first course offerings, meaning we
haven't had difficulty getting our students to complete their
Manufacturers with product courses in the NAED Learning Center (NLC) training
• ABB, Inc.*
• AFC Cable
• Appleton/EGS Electrical Group*
• Arlington Industries, Inc.
• ASCO Power Technologies
• Brady Corp.*
• Bridgeport Fittings, Inc.*
• Burndy Products, an FCI Co.*
• Coleman Cable Inc.
• Cooper Bussmann
• Cooper Lighting
• Cooper Wiring Devices*
• CRC Industries, Inc.*
• Crescent/Stonco, a Genlyte Group Co.
• Eaton Corp.
• Edwards Signaling & Security Systems*
• General Electric Co.
• Greenlee Textron Inc.
• Hubbell Wiring Device/Kellems*
• EGS Electrical Group, LLC*
• Ideal Industries, Inc.*
• ILSCO Corp.*
• Kaf-Tech Inc.
• Klein Tools, Inc.
• Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.*
• Lighting Controls Association - Education Express Site
• Lightolier Inc., a Genlyte Group Co.
• Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.
• Milbank Manufacturing Co.
• Osram Sylvania
• Pass & Seymour/Legrand*
• Philips Lighting Co.*
• Shat-R-Shield Inc.
• Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc.
• Square D/Schneider Electric
• Sola/Hevi-Duty/EGS Electrical Group*
• Southwire Co. *
• Universal Lighting Technologies
*Some modules are provided by ElectricSmarts.com Training Library.
"This resource library gives our distributor members a one-stop location
for manufacturer training," said Michelle McNamara, executive director of
the NAED Foundation and vice president of NAED. "We are grateful to the
manufacturers that have contributed their courses to the NLC, and we applaud
NAED encourages all manufacturers to participate in the NLC. To view the list
of manufacturer training available on the NLC, login to the NAED Learning
Center (NLC) at www.naedlearningcenter.org. In some cases, the NLC is linking
directly to manufacturer courses and in other cases, the NLC provides a link to
the manufacturer's site or to ElectricSmarts.com.
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.
TIA Hires Nicolas Fetchko As Director, International And Government Affairs
Newest Addition Brings Extensive
International Public Policy Experience to TIA Policy and Advocacy Team
Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) today announced the hire of
Nicolas Fetchko as Director of International and Government Affairs. Fetchko
contributes over ten years’ public sector experience in international
telecommunications and information technology trade policy to augment the
association’s extensive policy and advocacy operations.
will work to further the international interests of information and
communications technology (ICT) manufacturers in the U.S. and abroad,
advocating TIA members’ positions and facilitating business opportunities
through coordination of and participation in bilateral and multilateral
Fetchko brings to TIA an extraordinary breadth of experience in international
and government affairs,” said Grant E. Seiffert, TIA President. “He has a
reputation as a skilled strategist and consensus-builder, and brings valuable
competencies to enhance TIA’s efforts as a world-wide organization.”
In his most
recent position as Foreign Service Officer at the U.S. Department of State,
Fetchko advanced international communications and information policy with South
and Central Asia, Latin America, Canada,
Italy, Portugal, Germany
and El Salvador.
, Fluent in Spanish, French and German, Fetchko also holds an M.A. in Latin
American Studies from Tulane University and a B.A. in International Affairs
from George Washington University.
three decades, TIA has leveraged its global resources to create the best
possible business environment within which our 500+ members can research,
develop, manufacture, market and sell their products and services worldwide.
The association accomplishes this through its expertise in standards, advocacy,
business development, market intelligence, environmental compliance and
information security. TIA is committed to expanding market opportunities while
protecting and enhancing the reputation of the global communications industry
with all its stakeholders. www.tiaonline.org
TIA Hires Taly Walsh As VP, Marketing And Business Development
Association Adds Branding, Tradeshow
Marketing, Web and Membership Development Experience
Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) today announced the addition to
its leadership structure of Taly Walsh, Vice President of Marketing and Business
Development. Walsh brings over twenty years’ experience in association and
tradeshow marketing, strategic branding and positioning, web development,
technology and membership relations.
work to reinforce and enhance TIA’s leadership position in the information
communications and entertainment industries by promoting the association’s
efforts to provide its membership appropriate platforms for standard-setting,
government affairs, market intelligence, business development and environmental
delighted with the depth of expertise that Taly Walsh brings to the
association,” said Grant E. Seiffert, TIA President. “Her role at TIA will be
pivotal to our continued growth and visibility around the world.”
previously Senior Vice President for Marketing and Membership at InfoComm
International, an association representing the audiovisual industry; prior to
that, Walsh led the marketing for CardTech/SecurTech, a tradeshow for the
biometrics and security industries, and for Public Technology, Inc., an
association advancing research and technology in local and state government.
three decades, TIA has leveraged its global resources to create the best
possible business environment within which our 500+ members can research,
develop, manufacture, market and sell their products and services worldwide.
The association accomplishes this through its expertise in standards, advocacy,
business development, market intelligence, environmental compliance and
information security. TIA is committed to expanding market opportunities while
protecting and enhancing the reputation of the global communications industry
with all its stakeholders. www.tiaonline.org.
TIA Files Net Neutrality Comments With FCC
Management an Essential Part of Broadband Deployment.
Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) filed comments with the FCC this
week in response to its two Public Notices on broadband network management
practices -- net neutrality -- arguing that reasonable network management
may not only be beneficial to users overall but is indeed necessary for
widespread deployment of broadband service.
believes that the broadband marketplace can be vigilantly monitored and
complaints of anticompetitive activity can be addressed through appropriate
legal and regulatory oversight. TIA has maintained that the Commission has such
authority today,” said TIA Vice President of Government Affairs Danielle
Coffey. TIA believes basic consumer
protection rules have already been laid out by the FCC’s Policy Statement,
drawn in large part from the connectivity principles crafted by TIA and the
High Tech Broadband Coalition in 2003.
The Policy Statement offers consumers the right to access
information and connect devices of their choosing, and also provides network
operators the flexibility required in our ever-evolving technological
environment. This policy statement has succeeded in promoting a vibrant
Internet ecosystem and significant investment in broadband infrastructure in
part by avoiding the rigid regulatory regime that net neutrality rules
“Service providers have a responsibility to disclose quality
of service, speed and price data to consumers in an open, clear way,” Coffey
continued. “The chief question surrounding broadband network management
practices concerns is one of business practices, not technology.” www.tiaonline.org
BuildingGreen And The Taunton Press Announce Partnership
BuildingGreen, one of the oldest and
most respected sources of green building information in North
America, announces a partnership with The Taunton Press, publisher
of Fine Homebuilding.
The partnership gives Taunton Press
an ownership stake in BuildingGreen and gives BuildingGreen the ability to
extend its leadership in green building information to a broader and larger
Taunton, which publishes 11 magazines and
websites and a wide range of books serving professionals and homeowners, brings
financial resources, a long expertise in residential building and 32 years of
publishing experience to the partnership.
BuildingGreen, publisher of
Environmental Building News, BuildingGreen Suite and GreenSpec® Directory, will
be able to better serve its existing customers in both commercial and
residential building, as well as extend its reach to a wider audience that is
at an earlier stage of adopting green design and construction principles.
Taunton will assume an ownership stake in
BuildingGreen, alongside principals Alex and Jerelyn Wilson and Nadav Malin.
"We're excited to benefit from Taunton's resources and experience as
BuildingGreen grows and matures to meet the needs of an exploding market for
green information," said president and founder Alex Wilson, who has been a
regular contributor to Taunton's Fine Homebuilding. "We have long admired Taunton's integrity as a
family-owned company and the authenticity of its resources, and we look forward
to working together."
For its part, "Taunton
is thrilled to be joining forces with the leading voice in the green building
field," said senior vice president Paul Spring,
who will become CEO of BuildingGreen. "We share so many of the same values
and will be terrific complements to each other in the skills, knowledge and
experience we each bring to this partnership."
has provided the building industry with quality information on sustainable
design and construction since its founding in 1985. It is headquartered in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Its publications include Environmental Building News; the GreenSpec® Directory;
the residential product directory Green Building Products; and the integrated,
online BuildingGreen Suite.
The Taunton Press, www.taunton.com,
has been a trusted source of valuable information and inspiration on the house
and home, including home building and design, gardening, woodworking, fiber
arts and cooking since 1975. Millions of professionals and consumers purchase Taunton's books,
magazines, DVDs, and use its Web sites to improve their skills and expand their
Publishers of authoritative information
on environmentally responsible building design and construction, including the
leading monthly newsletter Environmental Building News, and the GreenSpec®
From Environmental Building News, www.BuildingGreen.com
Building Green News
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
materials Copyright BuildingGreen, Inc. 2008
Water: Doing More With
No place is
more emblematic of water shortage than Las
Vegas. The metropolitan area receives about four
inches (100 mm) of rainfall per year and has doubled in population just since
2000 (to 1.9 million). It is 90% dependent on Lake Mead
-- a half-full (half-empty?) lake whose level has dropped more than 100 feet
(30 m) since 1990.
to the U.S. Geological Survey, the United States uses about 400
billion gallons (1.5 trillion l) of water per day. Of this, the vast majority
is used for thermoelectric power generation (48%) and irrigation on farms
(34%). Water use in and around buildings, from both public water supplies and
well water, accounts for about 47 billion gallons (180 billion l) per day, or
12% of U.S.
To see the
full feature article:
article requires a log-in to view, and is NOT available for re-publication. If
you would like to read the full article, and do not have a log-in, please
contact Jerelyn Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Current Stories
from Environmental Building News:
Bringing Water Back into the
Atlanta provided a wakeup call in 2007.
With the city's primary water source, Lake Lanier,
almost dry and Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue holding prayer vigils for rain, a
region that normally sloshes in over 50 inches (130 cm) of rainfall per year
was grappling with drought. Water shortage is becoming a reality in many areas
of the United States -- a result of growing populations, shifting precipitation
patterns due to global warming, long-term precipitation patterns that may not
have anything to do with climate change (there is some evidence that for the
past several hundred years the West has been in a period of higher-than-normal
precipitation), and unsustainable water-management practices.
To read the
Good Ozone, Bad Ozone
Primer from Environmental Building News
that we breathe consists of pairs of oxygen atoms, or O2. Add another oxygen
atom and you get O3, or ozone. Ozone is the primary component of smog. It is
created when pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or nitrogen
oxides react with oxygen, which is triggered by sunlight and heat. These
pollutants come primarily from motor vehicles and factories but also from
paints, coatings, and adhesives. Ozone irritates lung tissues and can lead to
serious respiratory problems. Since passage of the 1990 Clean Air Act, ozone
levels in most major U.S.
cities have declined measurably.
To read the
California to Require
years, the California Energy Commission (CEC) releases an Integrated Energy
Policy Report in which it makes recommendations for energy policy in the state,
including changes to Title 24, the energy efficiency portion of the building
codes. In its 2007 report, CEC recommends adjusting Title 24 to require
net-zero-energy performance in residential buildings by 2020 and in commercial
buildings by 2030.
To read the
Revolutionary Vacuum Glass Coming
Industries, one of the world's largest architectural and automotive glass
manufacturers, with 19,000 employees in 25 countries, has under development a
revolutionary vacuum-glazing panel that provides a center-of-glass insulating
value of R-12 to R-13.
To read the
The Architecture Handbook:
A Student Guide to Understanding Buildings
update and replace a drafting manual from the 1950s, this high-school textbook
is an amazing achievement in the integration and presentation of nearly
everything future architects need to know, with a sustainable design focus that
is matter-of-fact but not heavy-handed.
To read the
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 a socially responsible, company based in Brattleboro, Vermont.
was sent to email@example.com, by firstname.lastname@example.org
Inc. | 122 Birge Street
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From Environmental Building
Cabling Installation & Maintenance
Green On Green
A few months ago in this space,
I brought up the topic of green buildings and the Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design (LEED) program by recalling a presentation that was
delivered at the BICSI Conference last September (see “LEED by example,”
October 2007, page 6). Not long after that article was published, I received a
call from a long-time contact of mine, who is employed by one of the
manufacturers in our industry. He had a response to the final line in my
October column: “I’ll be interested to hear more about our industry’s take on
His take is that our industry
will have a very minimal role in the program. Many of the products you work
with on a daily basis—those that get written about and advertised in this
magazine, and displayed at exhibitions such as those that accompany BICSI
conferences—fall outside the realm of what LEED considers, he said.
After taking that call, I said
out loud the figurative, “I don’t believe it.” It’s not that I literally did
not believe the information; it came from a trustworthy source who more than
deserved the benefit of the doubt. It was just one of those (many) occasions on
which I said one thing and meant another. What I really meant was, “I’m
surprised to hear that.” Surprised because I have heard all kinds of chatter
about cabling systems’ potential impact on LEED certification.
Fast forward just a little, and
I’m at BICSI’s most recent conference, held last month. What follows is a true
story: While on the exhibition floor with a fellow staff member of this
magazine, he was listening to one gentleman talk about the important role
cabling-related systems play in LEED at the exact same time that, not more than
three feet away, I was listening to another gentleman say that, in fact, most
of what our industry concerns itself with is exempt from the LEED program.
Now it’s your turn to say, “I
don’t believe it,” and a great many of you may mean it literally. But I would
testify under oath that’s exactly what happened.
Still, as much as that scene
might have resembled something from a slapstick comedy, the last thing we want
to resemble is an assembly of keystone cops trying unsuccessfully to relay
intelligent information about cabling’s role in LEED. So, my pledge is this: We
at Cabling Installation & Maintenance will work to cut through the
clutter and bring you relevant, meaningful information about LEED and, more
importantly to us in this industry, information about the extent to which it
and other environmental initiatives will affect us.
It appears that many in our
industry have much to learn about the topic, and I’ll rank myself as the
neediest for such information. But hopefully, not for long. Please stay with us
as we peel back the layers of what is sure to be a challenging topic.
with full permission of Cabling Installation & Maintenance www.cablinginstall.com
Fiber-optic technology brings old-fashioned security up to date
Two systems that employ optical circuits to detect intrusion are
finding deployment in highly sensitive applications.
Patrick McLaughlin is chief
editor of Cabling Installation &
You might not find a
more-primitive security system than the chain-link fence. Long before the
concepts of phishing and network hacking could be fathomed—well before the
invention of Ethernet, in fact—these trusted protection devices prevented
unwanted visitors from treading on selected parcels of real estate. Over the
years more technologically advanced methods of perimeter protection evolved,
including video surveillance and “seeing eye”-type intrusion detection, each of
which with its own communications infrastructure, and much of that
infrastructure consisting of wiring.
Yet fences did not go the way of
the abacus or typewriter in the face of emerging technology. They are still
virtually omnipresent as protection systems. And today, many highly sensitive
entities are choosing not to replace their fences with cabled security systems,
but rather to add cabling—fiber-optic cabling in particular—to their existing
perimeter security systems in order to gain the advantages of modern intrusion
Two such systems, the Fiber
Defender from Fiber SenSys (www.fibersensys.com) and Fiber Fence from Fiber
Instrument Sales (FIS; www.fiber-fence.com), turn optical fiber’s bend
sensitivity into a primary security asset.
Fiber’s bend sensitivity
“The optical fiber is used as
the sensing element,” explains Fiber SenSys’s Joshua Gardner. “There is a
unique phenomenon that occurs in multimode optical fiber, called intermodal
mixing. Any movement of the optical fiber, even microscopic movements such as
vibrations, changes the way that light is propagated down the core of the
fiber. Any movement of the optical fiber causes a change in what is called the
speckle pattern. Our detector registers a change in the speckle pattern.
“We employ a sophisticated
digital-signal processor [DSP] that runs many algorithms to determine if a
signal is an intruder or environmental background noise such as wind. There are
several calibration parameters that tune the DSP to respond correctly to the
sensor’s unique application.”
Fiber Defender is used in
several applications, Gardner
states, including chain-link fences, wrought-iron fences, and walltops. It can
also be buried in gravel. “Our SecurLAN application employs an optical-fiber
sensor cable inside of data conduit to detect cable tampering or tapping. A new
application is our FiberMat sensor that is used in the track bed of light rail
and subway stations to detect unauthorized access or the deposit of small
FIS’s Fiber Fence activates
alarms and shows breach locations using optical technology and mechanical
devices called MouseTrips, which are installed at intervals around a perimeter
and detect movement of the sensing fiber or disturbance of the fence to which
it is attached, the company says. Its laser-based control unit injects light
into the fiber-optic cable, and the MouseTrip sensors are triggered by any cuts
to or tugs on the cable. When triggered, the MouseTrip reduces light flow
through the circuit, which the control unit detects.
“FiberFence is designed to be
implemented on an existing fence line and is designed to go around walls and
gates,” says FIS’s William Batchelor, trainer and product manager for security
products. “Our FiberFence includes non-electrical mechanical sensors—the
MouseTrips—that are spaced every-so-many-feet apart from one another. Fiber-optic
sensing cable is run through the MouseTrips. A spring-loaded plunger inside the
MouseTrip is triggered when anybody disturbs the fence by tugging, climbing, or
cutting. That plunger trip creates a microbend in the fiber, which creates loss
“The system’s control unit is
constantly searching for a range of light being sent from the control unit,
traveling around the system, and arriving back at the control unit. If there is
a loss, an alarm is activated.”
The second phase of FiberFence’s
operation, Batchelor explains, is the activation of an optical time-domain
reflectometer (OTDR), which traces the fiber and locates the point of loss.
That loss point flashes on a screen, alerting personnel of the location of the
intrusion. FiberFence can tie into other security systems, including
video-surveillance cameras, which can zoom in on the intrusion location.
The system has been deployed in
military facilities, nuclear-power facilities, factories, storage yards,
chemical plants, and hazardous-waste facilities.
As fiber-based “bolt-on”-type
systems, these product lines differ from more-traditional intrusion-detection
systems in several ways. “Many intrusion-detection systems use a copper cable
to achieve their function,” says Fiber SenSys’s Gardner. “Examples of these would be leaky
coax and piezoelectric sensors. Any sensor that uses copper cable will have a
weakness to electromagnetic interference, radio-frequency interference, and
lightning. The presence of metal or standing water in a leaky coax system will
create detection problems.
“Some other intrusion-detection
systems use microwave, passive infrared, or beam sensors. These systems
typically get a lot of nuisance alarms in heavy wind, rain, or snow.
Fiber-optic sensors employ only silicon glass around the perimeter, which is
not susceptible to EMI, RFI, or lightning. It is not conductive to electricity
and will not spark or arc. That makes it an ideal medium in facilities such as
electrical switch yards, chemical storage, and explosive-material storage.”
He adds that Fiber SenSys
systems have been successfully deployed in military/Department of Defense
facilities and with DoD contractors. Other verticals that have taken to the
system include petrochem, corrections, airports, executive residences, and
Because Fiber Fence and Fiber
SenSys use optical technology and include cable as a primary element,
installers of these systems should have cable-installation experience as well
as knowledge of fiber theory and fiber-cabling performance. “Optical
termination is required,” Gardner
notes. “A good understanding of the tuning and calibration of the Fiber
Defender is needed to ensure reliable and accurate intrusion detection.” Fiber
SenSys offers a training class at its Hillsboro,
OR headquarters, which covers all
elements needed to install and maintain the system’s equipment.
Likewise, FIS’s Batchelor says
some background in fiber-optic installation is helpful. “Mounting the
MouseTrips requires just two screws, so that is not an issue,” he says. “But
when it comes to installing around a gate, the sensing fiber runs to a splice
box, then run over the gate to another splice box on the other side. Having
knowledge of fiber optics and the ability fusion splice is helpful.”
Fiber Instrument Sales offers
hands-on live training with its distributor and installation-contractor
customers on the Fiber Fence system. FIS personnel accompany new customers on
initial installations, ensuring they achieve a comfort level with the system.
Batchelor offers a case-in-point about two of Fiber Fence’s earliest
installers. One was an electrical-contracting company that had little
fiber-optic installation experience; the other was a contracting company that
handled fiber-optic installations exclusively. Both became certified installers
of Fiber Fence with relative ease, he says, after just a few training classes.
Fiber Defender and Fiber Fence
sometimes compete head-to-head, and other times one system is recognizably more
appropriate for an environment than the other. In a nutshell, Fiber Fence is
offered at a lower price point and provides shorter distance capabilities than
Despite their differences, these
two systems are similar in that they both have turned optical fiber’s bend
sensitivity into an advantage in the realm of security and safety.
with full permission of Cabling Installation & Maintenance www.cablinginstall.com
Improving security through a smarter infrastructure
management provides a host of benefits, including more secure networks.
Any network manager will tell
you the importance of a fully documented network. This documentation should
include all workstations, Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, router
configurations, firewall parameters, and other data. But this documentation may
fall short at the physical layer. In particular, older networks that have gone through
many moves, adds, and changes (MACs) are not likely to have current
documentation. In real time—during a crisis—this can mean the difference
between quickly solving a problem and wasting precious time locating that
Perhaps the best illustration is
an example taken from a customer that had an issue with an errant device on the
network. The company had a five-building campus network, and a laptop was
creating a denial-of-service (DoS) attack from the inside due to a virus. The
switch would shut down the port, and information-technology (IT) staff would go
to the telecommunications area to determine the location of the misbehaving
device. But when IT got to the switch’s physical location, the physical layer,
largely undocumented, became an issue because short of tracing cable, there was
no way to find the laptop’s location. The IT staff began tracing the cables,
only to find that the laptop was no longer there; the user believed his loss of
connectivity was due to a network problem and each time he was disconnected, he
moved to another location—only to find that he would soon lose his connection
Points of compromise
In this scenario, the switches
were doing their job by shutting down the user’s port. The user was “troubleshooting”
his own problems. IT was having difficulty finding the user to correct the
problem. And the cycle continued.
At one point, the user concluded
the problem must have something to do with the equipment on that particular
floor, so he moved to another floor. After being disconnected again, he decided
the problem was with the security settings for that building—so he moved to
another building. Again, the cycle continued.
Roughly five hours later, the
laptop and its user were found and the problems were corrected. For this IT
staff, it was five hours of pure chaos; for the user, five hours of pure
In other scenarios, compliance
and overall network security can also be compromised at the physical layer.
Most companies have desks and cubicles that are largely unoccupied and used by
staff members who can be considered transient. Conference rooms with available
ports can also pose a risk. In many vertical markets in which compliance is
required, these open ports can cause a company to fail its audits unless: 1)
the ports are shut down completely, or 2) a means exists by which only certain
users can gain access to the network through these connections. The only other
option is to firewall these ports from the actual network, which would mean a
reconfiguration each time an authorized user wanted to use the port. All these
risks and their remedies can be burdensome to an IT manager.
In the data center and
telecommunications areas, technicians provide an additional risk if they
accidentally unplug something that should not be unplugged. If, for example,
the accidental disconnect was a Voice over IP switch or a critical server, the
results would be devastating. What if a piece of equipment containing critical
information left a facility, as has been reported in the news many times
recently? How does a network manager know who has accessed the network? Where
did this person/these people access the network? How is access documented? And
finally, how are MACs managed? These questions are not only intriguing, but
also extremely challenging to IT managers.
The intelligent answer
Intelligent patching has been
around for some time; however, the functionality has improved from the original
releases. In any of the scenarios described above, an intelligent infrastructure
management system would have allowed the network manager to right-click on the
offending device, view the entire channel, and even locate the device on a
An intelligent infrastructure
management system’s graphical mapping capabilities include clear markings of
outlet locations on computer-aided design (CAD) drawings. By adding the
physical layer, network managers are no longer limited to upper-layer
information only. While knowing the media access control address (MAC
address—not to be confused with moves/adds/changes MACs), IP address, and logon
information is certainly helpful, should physical layer documentation be out of
sync with the actual infrastructure, finding problem devices can be daunting.
Intelligent patching bridges that gap.
The intelligent system works
through a combination of sensor-enabled hardware and software. On the hardware
side, the patch panels are configured with a sensor pad above each port. The
pad is connected to an analyzer via a connection on the back of the patch
panel. A standard patch cord with an additional conductor is connected to the
front of the system.
The patch cord has a standard
8-pin modular/RJ-45 interface or a standard fiber connector, but also includes
a “ninth conductor” designed to contact the sensor pad. This additional
connection allows the system to operate in dynamic mode by detecting changes in
real time—thus removing the human-error factor from documentation work as the
continuity or changes in continuity provide real-time information to the
The system works with both
copper and fiber, and is scalable to let end users purchase only what they
need, when they need it. Analyzers are available in a variety of configurations
as well. Software is purchased on a per-port basis and can work either as a
standalone application, or integrated with an existing network-management
In an integrated configuration,
a device and its channel can be traced from within a network management
package, such as HP OpenView. A simple right-click on the device and the
software can be launched, showing an immediate trace of the physical cable. The
trace includes all the information about the channel, including patch cords,
where the channel terminates, and the number of connectors within the channel.
It can also show the physical location of the device on a CAD drawing.
The software reads the object
identification information for network devices through Simple Network
Management Protocol (SNMP) and can also send SNMP (including Version 3) traps
to shut down ports based on user-defined parameters. This provides great
benefit when the physical layer is included. For instance, if you wanted to
know the location of every personal computer on your network that was running
Windows 2000, you could have that information displayed graphically as well as
in report format.
Work orders and security
The Virtual Wiring Closet (VWC)
module provides documentation on the telecommunications rack, including
connectivity, patch-cord length, where each device is connected, and other
information. It becomes a data dictionary for your racks and/or cabinets. One
significant benefit of the intelligent patching system is that it will track
MAC work automatically, saving IT departments from the manual process of
updating spreadsheets and documentation. The package also includes a module for
work-order creation. Work orders can be dispatched, and the changes made are
automatically tracked, allowing a manager to know when the work was completed.
The intelligent physical layer
management system can also be integrated with other security systems, such as
APC’s NetBotz or video cameras. Based on user-defined triggers—for instance,
when someone unplugs a VoIP switch—a camera can snap a picture, write it on the
log and, as you would expect from management software, can provide alarms via
email, cell, or pager, complete with escalation for unanswered alarms. Contacts
can be placed on entrance doors to rooms or cabinets. As soon as the contact is
broken, the same logging can initiate, including a photo of the log indicating
not only date and time, but also photographic/video evidence of the culprit.
While this article explains a
few of the features of an intelligent patching system, the overall benefits are
significant. If we go back to the example described earlier, had an intelligent
system been in place, a simple right-click would have saved five hours of
chasing down a user. Not only would the documentation be up to date, allowing
the network manager to know where that switch port terminated in the building,
it also could have shown the location graphically. The IT staff very likely
would have gotten to the user before his frustration began and he started
moving from place to place.
In search of thorough answers
Where security- and
compliance-related issues are concerned, the additional documentation and
logging abilities not only enhance a company’s security position, but also
answer many of the compliance-related requirements of documentation and access
logging. After all, most troubleshooting and investigations start with who,
what, where, when, why, and how. By adding the physical layer to your overall
management, the answers to these questions are easier to attain and more
CARRIE HIGBIE is global
network applications market manager with Siemon (www.siemon.com).
with full permission of Cabling Installation & Maintenance www.cablinginstall.com
Index matching gel stands the test of time
Though misconceptions continue to persist, no-epoxy/no-polish
fiberoptic connectors perform well, thanks to improved IMG performance.
As fiberoptic cable is increasingly deployed in both
private and public networks applications, including fiber-to-the-X (FTTx), the
need to install connectors in the field continues to grow. Due to the
installation speed, reduced setup/teardown time, deployment velocity and
convenience, and dramatic labor savings, adoption of no-epoxy/no-polish (NENP)
connectors for field termination has shown a significant increase.
NENP connectors use a
factory-polished connector endface in conjunction with a mechanical splice to
provide seamless connectivity. The reliability and performance of the
mechanical splice within the connector is enhanced through the use of
silicone-based index matching gel (IMG). This gel is formulated to have an
index of refraction (IOR) that closely matches the IOR for the glass used in
optical fibers. In addition, the physical properties of IMG are carefully
controlled to ensure optimum performance.
Using IMG allows for greater
variation in field cleaves while eliminating the need for expensive
fusion-splice equipment or extensive training. In these ways, NENP connectors
using IMG are enabling true copper-like optical-fiber subscriber connections.
IMG past and present
IMG has been an integral part
for mechanical optical-fiber splicing and termination for more than 30 years.
Despite the historical and market-based confirmation of IMG as a viable
enhancement for mechanical splice products, there are several misconceptions
based on the fact that gel formulations used up until the early 1990s were not
as carefully controlled as IMG formulations used today.
For comparison, the table
“Changes to IMG performance parameters” (below) shows the changes to
performance parameters of past and present IMG formulations used in mechanical
splices and NENP connectors.
The performance parameters of
today’s optical gel have improved markedly over gels used as recently as the
early 1990s. Fluid separation and evaporation parameters are 5x and 10x better
respectively. In addition, percent transmittance (%T) has been improved as
well, from 79% to 97% with modern gel formulations.
Clarity and optical transmission
Optical clarity of IMG is
measured as the percentage of light transmitted through a 1-cm path-length gel
sample. The percent transmitted was measured before and after a heat-aging
process in which the gel was heated to 80º C for a period of 136 days. The
table “80° C heat aging for 136 days” (below) shows change in %T at the
wavelengths commonly used in data-communications and FTTx networks.
The decrease in the amount of
light transmitted is very small. Additionally, the path length in a typical
mechanical splice would be about 10 µm—1,000x shorter than the path length of 1
cm used in the test. If dB loss were calculated for the values of % T given,
the losses would be in the ten-thousandths of a dB. This is well beyond the
measurement capability of available test equipment, which may only measure to
the hundredths of a dB.
Another concern is how the IMG’s
clarity is affected over the normal operating temperature range of -40º to +70º
C. Recent testing of IMG used in NENP connectors has confirmed that IMG
undergoes virtually no change in the percentage of light transmitted at
temperature extremes. The table “Test results in %T” (below) shows the test
results in terms of change in %T with respect to room temperature (RT). As
shown, excellent performance can be expected across a wide temperature range
when using IMG.
Gel retention in mechanical splice
surrounding IMG involves the thought that the gel will liquefy over time or at
temperature and leak out of the connector or splice. Gel retention in
mechanical splices and connectors, however, is ensured through careful control
of fluid separation and apparent viscosity.
First, fluid separation or
“bleed” refers to oil that separates from the IMG over time or at extreme
temperatures. Excessive fluid separation could lead to the oil running out of
the mechanical splice. Past formulations have been tested and found fluid
separation values as high as 2%. This has contributed to the misconception that
gel may leave the splice by leakage. The IMG used in modern NENP connectors and
splices, however, is formulated to exhibit less than 0.2% fluid separation
during a 24-hour heat soak at 100º C--the boiling point for water. For this
reason, rest assured that IMG will not leak out of the mechanical splice or
connector over time or temperature.
Another carefully controlled
physical property of IMG that prevents the gel from leaking out of the
connector is the gel’s apparent viscosity. IMG is a thixotropic gel, which
means it can flow when subjected to high shear, such as during dispensing from
a syringe. On the other hand, when the gel is at rest between two fiber
endfaces in a mechanical splice, the apparent viscosity is very high. In fact,
the apparent viscosity is like that of gum rubber and the gel is essentially in
a solid state.
With low fluid separation, high
apparent viscosity, and splice designs that completely enclose and encapsulate
splice parts, the IMG used in modern mechanical splice applications will not
leak, wick, or otherwise leave the optical splice.
Gel hardening or crystallization
Four key physical
characteristics determine whether a gel will harden or crystallize:
• Fluid separation;
• Thermogravimetric stability;
• Glass transition temperature.
Modern IMG used in NENP
connectors is designed to have virtually no fluid separation. In addition, the
IMG exhibits very low evaporation. During a test at 100º C for 24 hours, the
gel exhibited less than 0.1% mass loss due to evaporation.
At low and high temperature
extremes, the main concerns are glass transition temperature (Tg) and
thermogravimetric stability respectively. The Tg is essentially the temperature
at which a liquid or gel starts to freeze or becomes a solid. For IMG the Tg is
-59ºC. The most demanding applications for IMG in optical connections only
require the connectors to withstand temperatures to -40º C.
At the other end of the
temperature extreme, IMG exhibits very good thermogravimetric stability at high
temperatures. The thermogravimetric takeoff point (the point at which there was
mass loss of 1% due to evaporation and chemical oxidation) was measured to be
279º C. Modern IMG is designed and tested so that it will remain in a stable
gel state throughout the service life of the optical device.
Another common concern is that
the IMG used in an optical connector or splice may become contaminated. During
manufacturing, IMG goes through a series of processing steps to ensure optimum
performance with respect to particle contamination. For this reason, the
initial particle contaminates for practical purposes are non-existent.
While initial particle
contaminants are insignificant, some are concerned that IMG will attract dust
particles from the air. Manufacturers prevent this from happening during
manufacture by dispensing IMG into the optical device in a cleanroom-type
environment. During handling prior to installation, the IMG is contained inside
the device and protected from exposure to dust by the use of dust caps.
Additional protection against
dust particles is provided by the use of active alignment systems incorporated
into installation tools. These systems give installers a go/no-go indication
that the fiber is properly installed. With these active alignment systems,
should a particle of dust get between the fibers in an optical device, the
connector-installation tool would give the installer the opportunity to
re-clean, re-cleave and re-insert the fiber. Once the connector or device has been
activated, even if the particle has been introduced to the gel, due to the high
apparent viscosity, the particle will not migrate.
There is some concern that water
or other liquids may migrate or diffuse into the IMG at the splice and degrade
performance. Several factors affect how severe potential migration may be,
including duration of immersion, presence of solvents in the liquid, and the
containment of the gel-filled splice.
A recent study by a leading IMG
manufacturer measured the performance of IMG when exposed to an 85º C/85%
relative humidity (%RH) test and an immersion test. The test measured initial
%T, %T after exposure to 85º C/85%RH for seven days, and %T after seven days of
immersion in de-ionized water. The gel-path length for the tests was 1 cm. The
results of the test are given in the
table “IMG performance test” (below).
The test data shows practically
no change in %T with respect to the tests conducted. These tests prove that
liquid contamination will not limit the service life of IMG in challenging FTTx
Many doubts about IMG surround
the material’s service life when used in optical devices. Naturally, products
designed for communication purposes should last for decades rather than years.
To understand the usable service life of IMG, studies have been conducted by
both IMG and component manufacturers. In the studies, gravimetric analysis was
used to calculate service life for the IMG; it was found the service life of
the gel to be 203 years at 40º C.
Another study, by a leading gel
manufacturer, placed an IMG sample at 80º C for 136 days. Based on the
findings, a half-life calculation was made. The study found a half-life of 14.6
years or a full life of 29.2 years at 80º C. It should be noted that these
temperatures are well above room temperature, which is 25º C. Based on the
studies, it is easy to see that IMG will allow components to provide decades of
It is clear that the
optical-components market has accepted and even embraced IMG technology.
Virtually every major component manufacturer in the market offers products that
use IMG to enhance optical performance. From mechanical splices to NENP
connectors, there is a wide selection of products and competitors from which to
choose. With growing bandwidth demand and acceleration of FTTx deployments to
meet that demand, IMG will prove to be an enabling technology. With 30 years of
innovation and improvement, the IMGs used today are vastly superior to earlier
Extensive testing has proven the
reliability of IMG over a wide temperature range, at a wide variety of
wavelengths, and for extended periods of time. With the enhanced performance
offered by IMG, as well as initial tooling and installation-cost reductions,
optical components using IMG have proven that they are not only here to stay
but, in fact, are leading the way.
RAY BARNES, P.E., (email@example.com)
is senior applications engineer at Corning Cable Systems.
with full permission of Cabling Installation & Maintenance www.cablinginstall.com
Cabling Networking Systems Magazine
BICSI Bulletin: Past, Present and Future
Outgoing and incoming presidents
reflect on the changes that have occurred since BICSI was formalized in 1974
and also, what lies ahead.
of BICSI, I would like to congratulate CNS Magazine on its 10-year anniversary.
Speaking for myself and the past Canadian region directors, Roman Dabrowski,
Greg Porter and John Bakowski, it has been a pleasure working with CNS,
formerly Cabling System, over the past 10 years.
appreciates having had the opportunity to collaborate and we look forward to
many more years of successful partnership with the magazine.
with the theme of this edition, I will turn the rest of this article over to
outgoing BICSI President John Bakowski, who will comment on BICSI's past and
present, and our incoming president Ed Donelan who will address the future.
formalized in 1974 with 50 members, all of whom were volunteers from the
telecommunications industry in the United States
These early leaders came together to share knowledge, exchange experiences and
develop expertise in order to satisfy the needs of a newly deregulated
telecommunications industry for network cabling.
organization's purpose was to educate the members within the industry, to
motivate the industry to develop new products and methods and to encourage the
development of the structured cabling industry.
are, more than 34 years later, now supporting more than 24,000 Information
Transport Systems (ITS) professionals in more than 119 countries. We are
continuing to educate and motivate our industry professionals as the worldwide
preeminent source of information, education and knowledge assessment for the
constantly evolving ITS industry.
speaks to our future, but our membership numbers are greater, industry demands
are higher and our focus is much wider. From structured cabling, we have grown
to reach out to the other members of the ITS industry who are in need of our
services and leadership.
the BICSI Board of Directors asked a number of BICSI members and volunteers to
review the many changes that have occurred in the ITS industry since the
inception of the RCDD program. From this research the group was able to make
recommendations for enhancements.
2007 this committee recommended that BICSI take a serious look at what the
organization can do to maintain its leadership role in the ITS industry. As a
result, an effort called the BICSI NxtGEN Program was formed.
NxtGEN Program and the committee's findings were presented to the BICSI Board
of Directors in December and, if approved, will be presented to the membership
in January. Furthermore, added research and analysis will take place prior to
the implementation in the future.
to the BICSI NxtGEN Program, other enhancements to our association are
continually being worked on by volunteers and staff members.
the BICSI Membership and Marketing Committee and the BICSI Communications
Department are working on the new Speakers Bureau project.
provide us with a defined plan of action to assist with representing BICSI at
industry events through presentations and speakers. With this added presence in
the industry we are persistently aiming to advance our members' opportunities
for continual improvement and enhanced professional stature.
international standpoint, the BICSI Board of Directors and staff are continuing
to make strides and create solutions geared to the needs of the global members.
Currently, we are focusing on the Europe, Australia,
Japan, Mexico and
Middle East & Africa regions.
making significant progress in keeping our members there current and actively
involved with BICSI events, training and, ethical guidelines and new networking
at BICSI headquarters, we have a staff of dedicated and highly motivated
individuals led by Executive Director David Cranmer RCDD.
As a result
of his experience in the ITS industry he has gained the respect of his staff,
peers and the Board of Directors in steering the operation to achieve the many
goals of BICSI.
forward, BICSI's new president, Ed Donelan, is bringing a new energy to the
Board of Directors and BICSI. His unique style, based on his many years of
business experience with his company and on the BICSI Board of Directors, will
ensure success for BICSI.
served on the BICSI Board of Directors for the past eight years, it is an
honour to be elected to the position of President by my peers.
As I write
these words, my goal is to express the deep gratitude I feel toward each and
every member as you pursue your education and especially to the many volunteers
who contribute their time and money to such a worthy cause.
get ready! The groundwork has been established in the basic back office
functionality for our association through the work of BICSI employees.
We are to
continue the one main goal every not-for- profit association must attain --
excellent customer service.
been working very hard and burning the midnight oil to ensure our business
systems can handle the anticipated growth of our organization while maintaining
excellent customer service to our current members. Poised now to truly be an
impact to so many in the Information Transport Industry, I am genuinely excited
about the possibilities that are at our door.
invested in a new association management system, a new finance and accounting
system, a new credentialing program and a new Web based program just to name a
we have partnered with excellent service providers to greatly enhance the
conference learning and networking experience.
years we have introduced many new programs such as the Authorized Training
Facility program, the manual Translation Program, and Breakfast Clubs, to name
a few. These improvements have allowed us to focus on offering new benefits to
forward to an amazing opportunity of living up to the task the past presidents
have set before me. Thank you for counting me worthy of your confidence to lead
the BICSI organization.
to entry for joining BICSI has never been lower and the benefits are at an all
time high. We honor discounts associated with membership for the active
military, active students, and the retired and as we continue to encourage
installers and technicians to pursue a fascinating career in the ITS industry.
that our members have towards assisting us with revitalizing our programs and
expanding our product offerings is matched only by the willingness of our
professional staff, educators and volunteers to assist each and every student
in achieving success.
simply, we want each member to be a true advocate of BICSI so that the message
is spread throughout the world.
as president will be marked by this one simple yet very important goal: To
practice excellent customer service through our programs in what ever way we
business owner of a small company, I have been designing and building wiring
systems for ITS for many years. I remain passionate about the ITS industry and
look forward to wiring buildings around the world for many more years. Based in
Manhattan, N.Y., our business caters to the private
sector and Fortune 1000 clients. I know what it takes to provide excellent
customer service and our demanding customers remind me daily. My business has
practiced this customer service concern for the past 23 years and has never
taken it for granted.
we know that by providing unexpected ways of taking care of you, we will grow
know that each day a business is run without the proper tools -- hardware,
software and firmware --it is a more difficult day in delivering on those
customer service expectations.
assured we are constantly aware of the need for better business practices and
are rapidly taking action and wisely investing your membership dues to ensure
our goals are met.
would like to thank John Bakowski for his tenacious pursuit of the finest
details during his presidency.
performed way above and beyond in his capacity to provide all of us with
excellent customer service, leadership and most important; a real concern for
helping us achieve our goals.
worked many hours as a volunteer, not just during his Presidency, but for over
12 years contributing on the Board of Directors and even more years proctoring
exams and mentoring members.
Smith is the Canadian Region Director of BICSI and the manager of Aliant
Cabling Solutions in Moncton,
N.B. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bakowski is the past president of BICSI. He is also president of ITS Design and
Audits, a company that provides telecom support to the SMB market. He can be
reached at email@example.com.
is the current president of BICSI. and the owner of Telecom Infrastructure
Corp., a New York City-based ITS company that serves Fortune 1000 firms. He can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
with full permission of Cabling Networking Systems www.cnsmmagazine.com
2008: Year of the iThings?
It is always dicey to predict the
future, but while we're waiting for the iPhone, businesses might want to take a
look at the iPod Touch
Year everyone and a belated welcome to 2008. How are things so far? It is
always dicey to predict the future, but once again I'll put my neck on the line
and throw out some ideas about what might happen this year.
is up with the iPhone? Here is one of the slickest wireless devices yet
produced and here in Canada
-- one of the slickest wireless markets in the world -- we cannot get one. At
least, not officially.
you've been living under a rock, the iPhone was launched in the United States in late June and in the United Kingdom, Germany
case, Apple offered exclusive agreements to carriers -- AT&T in America, O2 in the UK,
T-Mobile in Germany, and Orange in France.
And by all accounts, the device kicks serious wireless butt -- from the
touch-screen user interface, to the applications, to the fun stuff you can
download, to the excellent online support guide, to the sheer cool factor that
is a credit to Apple's design team.
too hard to find an iPhone, I'll admit. Within three blocks of my downtown Toronto home there is a
mobile phone/PDA shop and an iPod repair kiosk that both advertise unlocked
iPhones -- devices that, in theory, will work on any network the device
betting that unlocking them voids a warranty, and there are probably some
features on the iPhone that are not supported by Canadian networks. So as of
this writing, we're still waiting for the iPhone. Will we see it this year?
depends. Apple is currently embroiled in a trademark dispute with Toronto-based
Comwave Telecom Inc., which has been using the iPhone name for a suite of
Internet-driven telecom services. Comwave argues it has prior rights to the
name. Before we see the iPhone in Canada, Apple will need to do two
hammer out a deal with a carrier. For "carrier,"read "Rogers
Wireless," since the iPhone runs on GSM networks and Rogers is the only Canadian operator that
settle the Comwave dispute. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office will
decide the case and if it rules in favour of Comwave then Apple will likely be
forced to walk away from the Canadian iPhone market, or buy the name. One's a
financial cost; the other, a blow to its goodwill with customers. I wonder
which will cost more?
The Wi-Fi alternative
iPhone stakeholders get their ducks in a row, we will probably see more iPod
Touch models sold to business users. The iPod Touch has all the same slick
characteristics as the iPhone, but instead of having a wireless network option,
it connects via Wi-Fi.
significant because although many industry-watchers have dismissed Wi-Fi
because of some high-profile failures to launch citywide networks in the United States,
Wi-Fi is out there. Canadian cities are deploying new networks or expanding
existing ones. Airports, hotels, conference centres, sporting venues and other
public spaces are either operating their own Wi-Fi networks or are contracting
with wireless network operators to do so on their behalf. And businesses are
finding that these networks are not just good things to offer to the public,
but are also useful for their own operations.
example, an airport might offer Wi-Fi Internet access for travelers to check
e-mail or surf the web while waiting for a flight -- but also use the same
network for tracking baggage or connecting workers on the apron to the
administration's corporate Intranet.
this mean for IT departments? I would say if you did not get a new iPod Touch
over the recent holiday season, ask for one for your birthday and then figure
out how to use it -- not to play music (it does that too) -- but for browsing,
accessing web-based-applications, personal information management, data
back-up, and the other business-appropriate functions that this device
about rolling the device out in your company. Employees will be more productive
and look cooler doing it, and you'll be a hero. What's not to love about that?
Marshall is a Toronto-based reporter, writer and observer of the Canadian
wireless industry. He can be reached (on his mobile) at 416-878-7730 or email@example.com.
with full permission of Cabling Networking Systems www.cnsmmagazine.com
Communications News Magazine
The truth about blogs
We have two
blogs on the Communications News Web site, one that I write and one
penned by Associate Editor Denise DiRamio. Mine is used more to run ideas by
site visitors, gain some insight from those readers and create a dialog. Denise’s
is more utilitarian, covering an area important to our visitors that is not
covered editorially–trade shows that IT decision makers attend.
A few years
ago, hers would have been called “Trade Show Report” or something similar and
would have been treated as news material. Now, it’s called a blog.
just don’t happen on their own. Denise and I have to find time in our already
busy schedules to provide regular content for our blogs. We didn’t discontinue
other tasks necessary in our jobs, we just added this new one. We thought it
was important in this day of “engaging readers online.”
But how important are our blogs?
we have a significant number of people viewing our blogs. Unfortunately, we
don’t know what they think, because, like the vast majority of blogs I’ve seen,
visitors rarely provide comments. I’ve noticed this problem is not unique to
ours. Virtually all the blogs I’ve seen in the past year have the same reader
comment traffic–virtually none.
talking about political blogs, here; everyone has an opinion on that subject
and is more than happy to share it. Trade magazine blogs, however, even with
experts writing them, generally do not generate more than a few comments. So
are these blogs actually engaging visitors?
Then there are the other problems:
and popular blogger for a California
newspaper was found to be plagiarizing her content word for word from print
publications and online resources.
are using blogs to denigrate competitors and their products, without supporting
thoroughly researched blogs often are considered boring. Rumor-centric blogs
are apparently far-more interesting.
that used to be product reviews are now packaged as blogs.
are getting into the act, as libel claims related to blogs grow.
reason, many people seem to think that the information they read in a blog is
accurate and researched by the blogger. The truth is that a great many bloggers
would be helpless if they didn’t have real journalists writing articles that
they could comment on or steal from.
“If I were the king of journalism, I’d
force newspapers to stop publishing for a month,” says Patrick Williams,
managing editor of the Dallas Observer. “Then let’s see what would happen to blogs. Facts have to be the basis of
opinion at some point. And if a blogger is collecting facts, then at what point
does the publication cease being a blog and become an Internet news site?”
with full permission of Communications News Magazine www.comnews.com
When do you take the plunge?
VCU bridges the gap between old and new with hybrid
integrated communications infrastructure.
For enterprise CIOs and telecom directors, the question of
when to consider a migration from traditional private branch exchange (PBX) or
Centrex systems to IP-based telephony is all too familiar. For Virginia
Commonwealth University (VCU), CIO Mark Willis knew the decision would impact
more than 45,000 students, faculty and staff spread across 120 buildings on two
campuses located in the heart of Richmond,
Va. In addition to the Monroe Park
campus, VCU’s Medical College of Virginia campus includes the VCU School of
Medicine and a 780-bed hospital that has its own IT infrastructure and
“We were a
Centrex shop for years and our Monroe
Park campus is in the
middle of a residential area,” says Willis. “As we have grown, we’ve taken
older neighborhood buildings, converted them to academic space and
incrementally added Centrex lines for phones. We were spending a lot of money,
and we had some service issues in terms of how quickly we could respond to the
needs of users.”
administering the old Centrex system, the VCU telecom team was relegated to the
role of middleman, translating and passing customer requests for new phones and
services to their provider (Verizon) for implementation. “Some departments were
managing their own key systems thinking they could save money and add features
we couldn’t deliver easily,” says Willis. The resulting patchwork created
issues with university-wide features such as integrated voice mail and
to the need to reduce costs and improve service for customers, Willis’ team
also had a wish list of improvements to the network’s functionality, security
and enhanced 911 (E-911) readiness. One final pain point ultimately tipped the
scales in favor of a major change: The manufacturer of the old key-system
phones had gone out of business, so getting replacement parts had grown
tasked Bill Jones, a veteran VCU network architecture and project manager, with
leading the effort to draft requirements for a new system that the university would
manage in-house. Job one was to agree upon a system model; should they go with
a traditional PBX or an all-IP telephony environment? Would a hybrid approach
best meet the needs of their diverse environment?
settled on an approach that called for a voice-over-IP (VoIP) solution for the
university and a digital PBX solution for VCU Health Systems, primarily due to
initial VoIP reliability concerns for the hospital that Willis admits did not
materialize–thanks to quality-of-service (QoS) standards in the network. A
short-term decision also was made to leave the residence halls on the existing
Centrex system while more closely examining options for the future that take
into account students’ mobile phones, the university’s existing wired and wireless
broadband infrastructure, emergency communications requirements and other
platform decision in hand, Jones created a comprehensive RFP that called for:
unified management platform;
system that could meet the current needs of both campuses and scale to meet
future needs for five to 10 years without a “forklift upgrade”;
for advanced features such as unified messaging;
and failover capabilities;
911 protection and accurate E-911 location information;
integrator that could handle a large implementation in a short time-frame; and
cost-effective solution that would meet the budget needs of a public
The duration of the initiative was critical due to the fact
that VCU’s technology services department also acts as a service provider,
operating the university’s telecommunications system much like an independent
enterprise. “We’re a telco company for VCU,” says Willis.
financial modeling determined the switch needed to take place relatively
quickly so the projected cost savings could be used to help pay for the new
system–rather than spent on multiple vendors during a lengthy transition.
partner with experience implementing a project of this size ($11 million,
10,000 phones) was key for us,” says Bob Neale, director of computing and
communications for VCU technology services.
requirements led to the selection of a partner team of IBM Global Technology
Services (integrator), Avaya (systems) and RedSky Technologies (E-911 location
information). The system of choice would be the Avaya Communication Manager, a
hybrid IP PBX that would support the mix of Avaya IP phones, digital phones and
legacy analog phones that would be in place at the completion of the migration.
convergence of voice and data required VCU to upgrade its network to support
the QoS requirements for VoIP. As the university’s primary data network
partner, Cisco implemented virtual networks using multiprotocol label switching
(MPLS) to handle the many different types of traffic the university’s network
now required. VCU is one of the first large universities to deploy MPLS across
its campus network, according to Neale.
wanted to re-engineer our data network to support a better security model,”
says Neale, who credits the project with helping VCU implement changes required
by a new Virginia
regulation that sets new security standards for
networks containing sensitive data.
data network upgrade with a major phone system upgrade created challenges for
the implementation team. “We knew we’d have to replace about a third of our
1,700 switches, and they all would have to be touched for QoS and VLAN
configuration,” says Jones. “And we had to do this with a very tightly
“If we had
it to do over again, we’d have started with the data network upgrade sooner to
make implementation easier,” says Willis.
To keep the
complex process moving, the team developed a 14-week implementation schedule
for each of 42 distinct implementation groups. The first four weeks of the
cycle were devoted to network remediation and changes. The subsequent 10 weeks
were spent meeting with users, determining needs, ordering, configuring and
installing phones and, finally, switching phone numbers from the old Centrex
lines to the new system.
“You had 14
groups at the various stages of the process at any given time and only one of
those actually involved putting phones on the desk and cutting them over,” says
To keep the
intricate schedule rolling, the project team reserved a conference room in
VCU’s technology building for the entire 18-month process and held weekly
face-to-face meetings involving all the partners. “We had Thursday ‘go/no go’
cutover meetings each week because we had to tell Verizon by 9 a.m. Friday
morning not to move the phone numbers if we weren’t ready,” says Neale. “If we
weren’t ready and didn’t make the call, people wouldn’t have a working phone.”
Out of the
42 implementation groups, “only two or three” were delayed according to Jones.
Given Verizon’s scheduling requirements, any delay would push back
implementation five weeks. The delayed buildings were rescheduled into
subsequent implementation groups so the overall project schedule was not
project also created the opportunity for VCU to assume responsibility for
providing E-911 protection for students, faculty, staff and visitors to its two
campuses. Taking control of this critical public safety, security and liability
issue was a priority for VCU that became even more important after the
shootings at Virginia Tech and the passage of legislation in Virginia requiring all organizations
operating a PBX or multiline telephone system to implement E-911. Thirteen
other states have E-911 legislation on the books.
migration, Verizon managed the E-911 location information for the university’s
Centrex lines and could only track the location of a 911 caller to a network
interface device (NID) that could serve one or several buildings.
case (with the old system) was a 911 call could be tracked to a single
building,” says Jones.
calls from the university or VCU health systems were routed Richmond’s public safety answering point
(PSAP), which would then pass requests for police assistance to VCU’s campus
the new system would have to do better. “On our medical campus, we have a
12-story, 500,000-square-foot building,” says Willis. “How would you find
someone if you only knew they were somewhere in that building?”
E911 Manager was chosen to integrate with the Avaya Communication Manager to
automatically capture location changes for all types of phones and update the
regional automatic location identification (ALI) databases that provide
location information to emergency dispatchers. To make sure the location
information was accurate, IBM helped the implementation team conduct a complete
location audit for every new phone, identifying it down to the room and jack
level. The process uncovered several street addresses that were not E-911
compliant, which could slow response in an emergency.
new network configuration, the location of a 911 caller can now be tracked at
least to the floor within a building, even more specifically in larger
VCU also is
using RedSky’s emergency on-site notification (EON) feature to speed emergency
response to 911 callers. With EON, campus police dispatchers are notified the instant
a 911 call is placed and provided with the location of the caller.
“We get 10
to 15 911 calls per day,” says Rachel Ross, communications manager for VCU
campus police, one of the largest campus police forces in the country. “EON
saves two to three minutes per call and helps us send help sooner.”
One of the
key benefits of VCU’s new IP communications system is the ease with which
moves, adds and changes (MAC) can be made. With campus expansions and
renovations, Jones estimates that 25 percent of their phones are involved
annually. Turnaround time for VoIP phone MAC activities has been reduced from
two weeks to one business day for most tasks, thanks to centralized, in-house
accurate E-911 location information in this constantly changing system would be
an administrative nightmare if handled manually. The RedSky solution captures
network changes the moment they occur and sends updates to the regional ALI
database. “We don’t have to worry about when a phone is moved to another place,
it’s automatic,” says Jones.
the project was virtually transparent until a new phone showed up on their
desk. Behind the scenes, VCU technology services has had to learn a new way of
doing business. The converged network now requires data and voice teams to work
together more closely. One help desk number now handles all IT-related customer
people were used to focusing on hardware, while our tele-group was used to
talking with users all the time,” says Neale. “We’ve had to educate one group
on understanding users better, while the other group has had to come up to
speed on technology. It’s really been a challenge, but the staff has been up to
system also transferred all maintenance responsibility to the technology
services team. No longer can the team pass voice-related issues along to
Verizon. Helping to make the transition smoother has been new centralized
monitoring features that allow issues to be discovered before a customer calls
main implementation phase recently concluded, Neale says the technology
services team is now turning its attention toward leveraging its new system to
improve business processes at the university. At an infrastructure level, these
improvements will likely include the use of fax servers and expanded use of
automatic call distributor applications. For individual users, the team plans
to use marketing and training to make users more aware of the benefits of
system features such as “find me” to route calls to users with multiple phones,
and Web-based voice mail.
addition, the new system is also paying off financially. Jones estimates VCU
has seen a 50 percent reduction in carrier costs by eliminating the majority of
its leased lines. The university is also no longer paying one-time deployment
charges for putting a phone on the desk, including handset costs, line fees,
fees to set up voice mail and maintenance charges. Eliminating these charges
and rolling them into the monthly per-line fee has simplified the billing
process and allowed departments to establish more predictable budgets.
“Don’t attempt to do something this massive without an
outside partner,” Neale advises. “We needed an outside partner to assist us,
not only with the technology but to coordinate with all of the outside vendors
necessary for the project. Some organizations might try to take on all of these
activities themselves, but it would be nearly impossible to do. The
co-existence and colocation of the vendor project team with our internal
project team was expensive but worth it.”
Exchange trades up to 10
consensus was to standardize the data center from end to end on a single
Sternbauer, director of electrical engineering at the Chicago Board Options
Exchange (CBOE), has witnessed his organization’s evolution from a
mainframe-computing environment utilizing coax and shielded cabling to a
distributed PC environment using unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) cables. When the
CBOE’s data center network infrastructure needed upgrading, he played a major
role in the process, having designed the original cabling infrastructure and
power network as a consultant more than 20 years ago.
consultant, I had only provided the structured cabling design concept, while
the buildouts over time were implemented using a best-bid approach,” says
Sternbauer. “When I came on board as a CBOE employee, I faced a cabling
environment that consisted of products from a multitude of vendors. When you
start mixing and matching like that, what you get is a conglomeration of
systems that is not easy to manage or maintain.”
Sternbauer’s opinion, the system as it existed was fundamentally flawed,
inefficient and not cost effective.
to coping with a multivendor environment, the task of supporting the thousands
of moves, adds and changes required in a busy trading environment had resulted
in an extremely complex cabling network throughout the data center. When CBOE
decided to upgrade its data center to support higher transmission speeds, the
CBOE electrical group and IT department saw the opportunity not only to design
an advanced 10-gigabit structured cabling system, but also to ensure their
ability to properly manage the system and execute the day-to-day work orders
that direct and track the electricians’ activities in making required moves,
adds and changes.
1973, the CBOE is a fast-moving securities exchange, and one of the largest
options marketplaces in the United
States. Network performance in such a
data-intensive environment is mission-critical. On any given day, CBOE’s
trading volume can reach 3.5 million trades or higher, with orders having to be
electronically executed in a matter of sub-seconds. To make this possible,
thousands of computer screens on the trading floor must convey volumes of
information at high speed to the traders who rely on the data, literally from
minute to minute.
CBOE needed to upgrade its network data center, the consensus was to
standardize the data center from end to end on a single vendor’s products.
Following an evaluation of marketplace offerings, Belden was named the supplier
for the network backbone. CBOE chose the Belden IBDN System 10GX, an augmented
Category 6 UTP cabling solution designed specifically to support 10-Gigabit
came time to upgrade with the higher-density servers and faster switches, we
looked to move to a full 10-gigabit solution to future-proof our network as far
out as possible,” explains Sternbauer.
data center upgrade called for the installation of robust copper-based backbone
cabling between 10-gigabit switches provided by Cisco and servers housed in
Belden’s Ultra Deep server enclosures. The IBDN System 10GX cabling system
components include: 10GX cables, 10GX modular cords and 10GX 1U 48-port ultra
high-density patch panels.
components incorporate a series of performance-enabling technologies that allow
the system to improve alien near-end cross talk (NEXT), NEXT and impedance over
traditional technologies, resulting in performance beyond augmented CAT 6
standards. The system provides performance up to 625 MHz.
links between data center locations, Sternbauer specified Belden IBDN FiberExpress,
which includes 10-gig laser-optimized 50-micron multimode fiber, fiber patch
cords, Optimax field-installable LC connectors and FiberExpress Manager.
single-mode fiber is also used for specific switching applications, such as
outside links to other Chicago
trading facilities. To enable gigabit horizontal connectivity to PCs and the
nearly 6,000 screens on the trading floor, the team installed Belden DataTwist
enhanced Category 5e cable, IBDN Gigaflex CAT 5e patch cords, 1U 24-port flex
patch panels and GigaFlex jack modules for workstation outlets.
efficient cable management and maintenance within the data center, CBOE
deployed Belden’s Ultra Deep server enclosures with a 24-inch by 42-inch
footprint. The enclosures feature numerous top and bottom entry points for easy
configuration and access. Also specified were an assortment of Belden
cable-management tools and accessories designed for use with the racking
systems and enclosures.
contracted with Commercial Light Co. to implement the 10-gigabit system
throughout several of its data center locations, using a phased implementation
approach. Commercial Light’s electricians are trained and certified to install
and test Belden IBDN systems to existing 10-gig copper and fiber standards.
training and certification were important to Steinbauer. “We inspect, pretest
and precertify everything we install using fiber cameras, OTDRs and the latest
10-gig testers and analyzers,” he explains.
As one of
the world’s largest financial exchanges, workflow continuity on the CBOE
trading floor is paramount, with downtime not an option. So, in addition to
updating the network data center, the CBOE’s staff of electricians and IT techs
must continue to respond to day-to-day requests for moves, adds and
changes–with more than 4,000 work orders handled annually and close to 30,000
feet of copper cabling to maintain. The trading floor uses a raised-floor
system that ranges in depth from two to seven feet, depending on location.
the installation project’s scope and complexity, Sternbauer established a
workflow plan designed to facilitate implementation of the 10-gig system in a
timely fashion, while respecting day-to-day operational requirements. “I have
one crew dedicated to pre-wiring each new cabinet and setting it up to
seamlessly transition out the old cabinet,” he explains.
a lot of stress in this environment,” Sternbauer asserts. “We are dealing with
over 3,000 traders responsible for millions of dollars, and we have to be very
careful about how we approach construction and recabling.”
of this magnitude proceeds without installation challenges, and the CBOE
upgrade is no exception. Sternbauer admits that the transition to 10-gig has
not been completely seamless. For example, because of specific data center
space constraints and density requirements, several modifications to the
cable-management system were needed.
the national distributor, Communications Supply Corp., have been very
responsive to our needs throughout this entire process,” he offers regarding
such challenges. “They sent people out, and when we told them what we needed,
they designed it for us.”
to Sternbauer, the upgrade project is on track
for completion this year. At that point, the old cabling and connectivity
equipment will have been phased out and the CBOE network wholly cut over to the
new system. He estimates that by that time approximately one million feet of
Belden fiber-optic cable, one million feet of 10GX copper cable and 500,000
feet of CAT 5e cable will have been installed.
challenges posed by upgrading such a data-intensive and dynamic environment as
the CBOE, Sternbauer says he is confident that the careful planning and the
implementation path taken will ultimately result in the 10-gigabit network
performance, reliability and scalability he envisioned from the start. “At the
end of the day, I am confident that CBOE will have a network we can be proud
of,” he says.
with full permission of Communications News Magazine www.comnews.com
The key to broad use of 10GigE
Traditional RJ-45 Ethernet at
10-gigabit speed will mainstream copper connectivity.
twisted-pair copper cable with RJ-45 connectors, is the most cost-effective and
easiest way to create Ethernet local area networks. It is the connectivity of
choice for more than 90 percent of the links in data centers, and the nearly
exclusive connection to the corporate desktop and notebook computers. It
provides a simple plug-and-play paradigm that allows IT managers to connect any
RJ-45 to any other, with the technology providing automatic connection and rate
sensing that promises interoperability with the vast variety of equipment
present in every IT installation.
brings this time-tested use model to the 10-Gbps rate of Ethernet. The IEEE
standard for 10GBASE-T prescribes full-duplex operation over the four wire
pairs present in every RJ-45 jack. In addition, the standard incorporates
enhancements to the traditional auto-negotiation protocol, enabling backward
compatibility to the billions of RJ-45 ports already deployed in IT
the ease of deployment theme, 10GBASE-T is specified to work over existing CAT
6 cable, as well as a number of other cable types. The standard requires a
channel with 500 MHz of bandwidth on the cable. CAT 6 cable complying with the
IEEE standard is guaranteed to support transmissions up to 55 meters.
industry is providing further support for the standard and has created an
augmented CAT 6 (CAT 6a) cable that has been designed to reduce cable-to-cable
crosstalk (i.e., alien crosstalk) and enables links of up to 100 meters.
Additionally shielded cable, or CAT 7, is called out in the standard to also
operate up to 100 meters.
vendors are in production with silicon products that implement 10GBASE-T and
have demonstrated interoperability between their implementations. This is a
clear signal of the maturity of the standard and the ability to carry the
written document to a practical implementation. A number of equipment vendors
of switches, network interface cards and servers have recently announced they
are now sampling 10GBASE-T products, and full networks were demonstrated at
November’s SC-07 show in Reno,
Nev., using products from a
number of companies.
10GBASE-T is expected to hit the data center floor. Several switch and server
vendors performed field trials of their products in late 2007, with others
scheduled for early 2008, gearing up for general availability of the products
in coming months. Switches priced near or below $500 per port are promised,
and, at these port prices, 10GBASE-T will be cheaper per gigabit than 1-GigE
applications are likely to include high-performance computing clusters, as the
increased rate of communication from 1 gigabit to 10 gigabit reduces the
transport latency of the link to well under that of 1 GigE. In more mainstream
data centers, 10GBASE-T will be used in applications where previously multiple
1-gigabit links needed to be deployed with “link aggregation” and can now be
replaced by a single cable, providing both cost and ease-of-management
10GBASE-T-enabled servers come online both in rackmount and blade
configurations, they will be deployed with server virtualization technology,
providing a multiplier on the effectiveness of each server dollar invested. In
the long run, as technologies such as Fiber Channel over Ethernet and iSCSI
mature, 10GBASE-T promises to be a candidate for unifying the whole fabric of
the data center on the simple Ethernet BASE-T model.
with full permission of Communications News Magazine www.comnews.com
Electrical Contractor Magazine
constant is change, which is certainly the theme of this winter so far, with
one presidential candidate after another touting his or her status as an agent
of change. With politicians, the idea of change may only amount to empty
rhetoric. With construction, things really do change, as it is all about
growth, building something from nothing, updating to suit the technological
imes/advancements and turning something that already exists into something
else. Change is the main focus of this issue, as we take an in-depth look at
renovation, historical and otherwise, and the growth in moves, adds and … what’s
the word? Ah yes, changes.
at renovation from various directions, from the general to some “how-to” type
application notes, to some product features that should provide tools to get
the job done. Some notables include “Up to Snuff” by Darlene Bremer, who looks
at MACs in retrofits, while “Everything Old Is New Again” by Claire Swedberg
addresses integrated building systems in renovation. Jeff Kohmstedt writes in
“Downtown CPR” about the revitalization of some city centers, which in past
decades faced steep decline and abandonment. John Paul Quinn tackles historic
renovations underway in New Orleans,
in “Historic Makeovers.”
mentioned last month, the rosy spot for the troubled residential market is
remodeling, and one ray of light for many contractors is structured wiring to
fully network and outfit current homes. Jim Hayes writes on this renovation
aspect in “Sell Low (Voltage), Score Profit.”
profiles focus on renovation this month, both written by Claire Swedberg. In
“On the Plaza,” you can read about the world-famous Plaza Hotel in New York,
which now houses condos and shops, thanks to work by three New York-based
electrical contractors. “Renovation Remedies” profiles Sal Electric’s work on
the former headquarters and manufacturing facility of Block Drug, which is
being turned over to a New Jersey
county to serve as its administrative building.
Like Electrical Contractor last
month, our special report, Security + Life Safety
Systems underwent a renovation in the form of a redesign,
launching this month. In addition, S+LSS now is being managed
by Edward Brown, who introduces himself on page 88. He’s looking to revamp some
of the content of this publication and would love to hear ideas from the
readers involved in low-voltage work. We want to know that we’re serving you,
our readers, in the best way we can.
If I were
making a stump speech right now, I would ask, “After reading this letter, have
we proven Electrical Contractor is the true source of change?” Hopefully, you’ll find
it is and that it’s the information you need to keep up with the changing
Desk by milner Irvin
with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com
Construction Firms Go Green from the Top Down
dozens of people in various cities all across the nation will undertake the
rigorous solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal installer certification
exams offered through the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners
(NABCEP). Only a few will pass.
way it should be. The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and
our partners in the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) are
integrally involved in NABCEP’s efforts. Our National Joint Apprenticeship and
Training Committee (NJATC) was the driving force in launching this volunteer
board of renewable energy stakeholder representatives in 2001. The NJATC had
been developing and delivering work force training on alternative energy,
including solar and wind power, for more than a decade by then.
All these organizations—NECA, IBEW, NJATC and NABCEP—realize it takes a
lot of study and experience to master green technologies. Accordingly, we
believe those who seek professional credentials as renewable energy installers
should be held to very high standards. I’m sure you can agree.
sure we all can agree it is wise to invest in training workers for the green
building market, given that this market is continuing to expand. However, this
investment will be wasted if we contractors neglect our own education.
owners and employers, we—not our electricians or technicians—determine what
type of projects we want to take on. It is up to us to land these projects and
bring them in at a profit while ensuring our customers’ needs are met. But, if
you set your sights on the green building market—which most of us eventually
must, whether by desire or necessity—simply staying in budget and on schedule
while having your crew put quality work in place is no longer sufficient.
contractors need to understand sustainability and how to manage the various
processes that go into sustainable construction. They need to be able to talk
intelligently with customers about their options and to work with designers and
other contractors from the very start of a project. They need to keep abreast
of new green products and be able to evaluate their appropriateness for a given
project. And, if the project is following a green rating system, such as the
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, green contractors
need to understand the system thoroughly.
Where can you acquire the necessary knowledge? Well, a Google search on
“green contractor” or “green building” will lead you to tons of information.
But, to simplify matters, I recommend that you start by going to this Web site:
online home of NECA’s Management Education Institute. Once you are there, click
on “Catalog of Courses” and then “Emerging Green Markets” (under “Online
Management”) to learn about a course now available online, ready whenever you
choose to acquire the knowledge of green construction services that will give
you a strategic advantage. Reflecting the findings of research conducted for
ELECTRI International, the “Emerging Green Markets” course is targeted to the
executive management level.
This is just one of the resources NECA has developed to help electrical
contractors grow and prosper in the green building market. And, you can expect
our association to step up its efforts in providing education and training and
credentialing programs for green contractors and their employees now that we
have become an official member of the U.S. Green Building Council, the
developer of the LEED standards. Other USGBC members include builders, designers, legislators,
policymakers, educators, manufacturers, developers, activists and scientists.
Watch these pages for news on developments. The green building market
is here to stay and so is NECA, your “ever-green” source for dependable advice
with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com
Green Building Standards Growing in Los Angeles
It’s a locale
not necessarily regarded for being friendly to the environment. Then again,
it’s also a place known as a pioneer for change.
and county of Los Angeles, known for its smog and
crowded freeways, are both in the midst of adopting ambitious green building
standards, which will improve energy efficiency and lower the environmental
impact of new construction.
In November, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission approved a green
building program that will require large new developments to be 15 percent more
energy efficient. The standards, which the city council will consider this
year, would apply to new buildings with more than 50 units or 50,000 square
feet of floor area. They would be required to meet national standards
established by the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington, D.C.-based
nonprofit organization working to advance the cause of environmentally friendly
building construction across the country. The standards, known as Leadership in
Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), would reduce the amount of energy used
in large developments to well below what is required by California’s building code, which already is
the strictest in the nation.
The Los Angeles proposal
includes wiring buildings for solar-energy systems, using high-efficiency
heating and air conditioning units, and installing toilets and showerheads that
use less water. Half of demolition and construction waste would have to be
recycled, and low-irrigation landscaping would be mandated for lots greater
than 1,000 square feet.
Los Angeles, along with more than two dozen
other cities, already requires LEED certification for publicly funded
buildings, such as schools and libraries. If the planning commission proposal
were approved, Los Angeles
would join a small but growing cadre of cities that impose the same requirement
for private construction.
a similar proposal is in the public hearing phase in Los Angeles County.
The county ordinance will combine requirements for energy efficiency,
low-impact design and drought-tolerant landscaping in new development projects.
with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com
Evolution of a Standard Let’s create our own
I know I have said enough about industry standards, so this will not be
another column on that topic. However, I’m going to recruit you and your
customers to create a new standard using a time-proven technique—just doing what
makes sense! You see, standards come in two very distinctive varieties. What we
refer to as “de jure” (meaning “by law”) are created by an authority, such as
TIA, and take years to research, develop and then negotiate among the standards
developers to produce a standard. But most standards develop from a “de facto”
standard: something that people are doing anyway.
Consider the most common multimode fiber optic cable plant of the last
20 years: 62.5/125 fiber with ST connectors. How did that combination become so
Until the mid-1980s, there were several multimode fibers available:
50/125 micron that had been used for the initial telephone links before
single-mode fiber became commercially available; 100/140 micron optimized for
LEDs; a proposed 85/125 micron fiber that could use the same connectors as all
other fibers, which was a problem affecting 100/140 fiber’s popularity; and
62.5/125 fiber, which was the original AT&T fiber that was set aside when
50/125 fiber proved better for long-distance telco links using lasers.
When IBM created its first fiber link in the mid-1980s—the 3044 channel
extender for mainframe computer peripherals—the company chose an AT&T
transceiver that just happened to be specified to use 62.5/125 fiber. So it
became the specified fiber for IBM’s new product. Since this was back when IBM
was the “3,000-pound gorilla” of the data industry, everybody else jumped on
the bandwagon and adopted 62.5/125 fiber as their choice, too.
Concurrently, AT&T—the 3,000-pound gorilla of telecommunications at
the time—introduced a new connector called the ST (straight terminus) with a
cylindrical ceramic ferrule and bayonet locking nut. Compared to then-current
choices, SMA connectors with metal ferrules or biconics with molded plastic
ferrules, the ST was great. The ferrule’s precision helped improve connection
geometry, the ceramic improved bonding to the glass fibers and simplified
polishing techniques, and it was cheaper than some other connectors. Instant
Practically overnight these technology gorillas changed the entire
landscape in fiber optic cabling. Premises cable plants to support mainframe
data centers and the large number of different LANs currently available
(Ethernet, DECnet, Token Ring, ARCnet, etc.) all were designed and installed
with 62.5/125 fiber and ST connectors, creating a de facto standard.
To show the power of de facto standards, look how this one withstood the
onslaught of standards committees. When TIA started writing 568 standards
several years later, it choose the SC connector for political and patent
reasons, but users didn’t buy it. Even today, the ST connector has not been
displaced. When the TIA committees considered standardizing on a new “small
form factor” connector in the late 1990s, no decision could be made because no
manufacturer had sufficient support to get a majority of votes. Nearly a decade
later, the market has decided the LC connector—another AT&T design, no
less—is the small form factor connector of choice, i.e., the de facto standard.
As the LAN market has gone to gigabit and 10 gigabit networks that
require more bandwidth than the 62.5/125 fiber used for the last 20 years can
offer, the older, more laser-friendly 50/125 fiber, updated for modern
manufacturing techniques, has made a comeback. In fact, new development had led
to even higher bandwidth 50/125 fiber, called laser-optimized fiber, or “OM3”
in international standards terminology. And transceiver manufacturers use the
LC connector exclusively for its small size.
Today, knowledgeable users are installing cable plants with OM3 fiber
with LC connectors. The fiber is good for 10 gigabit networks (and more), and
the LC connectors prevent mixing these new cable systems with older 62.5/125
So let’s all create a new standard—me, you and your customers. We’re
going to call it “OM3,” for the fiber it uses. It will have LC connectors and
every component (connectors, mating adapters, cable jackets) will be
color-coded aqua to distinguish it from earlier fiber types.
Unlike Category 6, we don’t have a limited cable design, requiring
running tons of messy cables; we have the flexibility to run dozens of fibers
in a cable the size of a single Category 6 cable. We have the advantage of
dry-water blocking to run outdoors or even use indoor-outdoor designs on a
campus. We don’t have to worry about crosstalk, high power consumption or
removing abandoned cables every couple of years in order to upgrade, all of
which are hounding the copper cabling business.
Use this spec in your new projects. Advise all your customers to use it.
We’ll promote it on the FOA and SCA Web sites and include it in the next update
of the NECA/FOA-301 installation standard.
And we’re going to be so successful with OM3 cable plants that its
adoption in the next TIA 568 update cycle will be a shoo-in. Here is the OM3
spec for designers to use in documentation:
The fiber optic cable plant will be type OM3, using laser-optimized
(OM3) fiber in a cable with aqua-colored jacket, terminated with LC type connectors
and mating adapters all colored aqua. Individual fiber cable runs will be
specified by number of fibers and cable type (riser, plenum, indoor-outdoor,
HAYES is a VDV writer and trainer and the president of The Fiber Optic
Association. Find him at www.JimHayes.com.
with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com
Retrofit applications and MACs
by DARLENE BREMER
New advances in technology, changes
in personnel and new deployment needs of a company’s human resources. The need to improve operations, reduce energy
consumption or cut costs to increase profitability. Any one, or combination, of these
trends in an existing facility or building means an opportunity for electrical contractors to acquire retrofit
moves adds and changes (MAC) work.
The MAC market
MAC work runs the gamut from providing the required electrical and
voice/data/video (VDV) outlets and jacks for moving or adding a single person
in an existing office or building, to reconfiguring large swaths of space and
moving great numbers of workstations at a time, to running phone service from
the communications provider to workstations or other outlets. Known as
restacking, such a large redesign of space requires the electrical contractor
to move and add a great deal of cabling to accommodate the physical
restructuring of personnel environments.
MACs on the traditional electrical side of the business, mostly defined
as service work, still involve working in existing spaces and dealing with VDV
devices and computer and telecommunication systems. The work primarily entails
upgrading and servicing outlets, improving power distribution efficiency, and
providing reliable power quality for computer networks and other systems. There
are no discrete figures for the MAC market, but the consensus is that it is
growing on an ongoing basis.
“Ninety percent of the time, the
electrical contractor that performs the initial installation is chosen for the
subsequent MAC work because that company is already familiar with the
building,” said Pete Archacki, director of structured cable systems for
Continental Electrical Construction Co., Skokie, Ill.
Electrical contractors that don’t already have a dedicated division to
handle MAC work might want to consider forming one and staffing it with the
necessary expertise, so they can be prepared to fulfill the customer’s MAC
requirements even before the construction process is complete.
market in parts of the Mid-Atlantic has grown 50 percent in the last 18 to 30
months, according to Pat Azzole, operations manager of VDV for Mona Electric
Group Inc., Clinton, Md.
“A lot of
companies are expanding in certain geographical markets like Washington, D.C.,
and the electrical and teledata markets are experiencing consistent increases
in the demand for MACs,” Azzole said.
MAC work represents about 15 percent of Des Moines, Iowa-based Baker
Electric Inc.’s business, and the company believes the market will continue to
“The number of groups that have been tasked with finding local
contractors to provide MAC support for companies with a national presence have
nearly doubled in the area in the last four years,” said Kevin Reynolds, RCDD,
service manager of Baker Electric’s voice and data division. Growth is expected
to remain steady as companies expand, remodel or adopt new technologies,
including g wireless, all of which require adaptation of the existing
infrastructure to accommodate the changes.
Ron Roberts, president of Schmidt Electric Inc., Ft. Wayne, Ind.,
agreed that growth in the MAC market, including the traditional electrical side
of the business, is great.
how tight the economy gets in terms of new construction, MAC work is always
growing as companies and organizations change size and try to reduce costs and
maximize the use of their space,” Roberts said.
MAC vs. new construction
MAC work takes place in an occupied work environment and requires
employees who can perform their jobs without disrupting the activities of the
construction is performed in an empty environment, and there is less
interaction between field electricians and the customer or end-users,” Archacki
said. As opposed to new construction, MAC
work doesn’t require waiting for other trades to reach a certain point before
the electricians can begin.
“The finished environment of MAC work makes it more complex to
perform,” Azzole said. For example, electricians performing MAC work must
ensure their activities don’t interrupt or disrupt the business’ operations,
which means frequently working at night. In addition, MAC electricians have to
work closely with the customer and end-users to schedule tasks and must
consistently maintain a professional appearance and clean up after themselves
after each task. The fact that the contractor usually is dealing directly with
the building owner, rather than with a general contractor, provides more
control over negotiating agreements and allows the contractor to build a more
personal relationship with the end-user. In addition, much of MAC work requires
understanding the electronics involved in the systems being wired.
“MAC electricians and technicians must be able to assist in
troubleshooting and in engineering the switchgear that will power the
low-voltage systems,” Reynolds said.
That’s not all. MAC work takes fewer people to perform it, the jobs
usually are smaller in scope than in new construction and, perhaps most
importantly, response time to accommodate a customer’s nonemergency request is
only three to five days.
“It can take months, even years, for a new construction project to get
up and running,” Reynolds said.
According to Fred Sargent, former CEO of Sargent Electric Co., Pittsburgh, the greatest
differentiation between new construction projects and MAC work is that the
former has become more of a commodity or assembly item, while the latter
requires greater individual skills and craftsmanship.
“MAC work is a great opportunity for electrical contractors to use their
high-quality, trained work force to gain a steady income stream and to grow
long-term relationships directly with the owner,” Sargent said.
According to Archaki, One of the issues specific to MAC work is dealing
with a building’s existing pathways and spaces. Today’s cable diameters are
increasing in size, which requires upgrading the existing space’s pathways to
accommodate the technology. In addition, Archacki said, when upgrading
technology for a customer, the new systems must be implemented so end-users
don’t experience a service disruption.
“That kind of work requires running parallel systems as well as extensive
coordination between the contractor’s technicians and the customer’s
information technology staff,” Archacki said. In addition, it takes a unique
ability to envision an area’s new configuration and to rewire it effectively,
while retaining and using as much of the existing infrastructure as possible.
adopted by many jurisdictions calling for the removal of abandoned cable before
the installation of new cable is another
issue specific to MAC work. Customers must be educated on the requirement to
destroy the abandoned cable, but fortunately, according to Azzole, building
managers now are incorporating demolition clauses into their lease agreements,
making the contractor’s job somewhat easier.
Minimizing damage and disruption
In a MAC
environment, it is vital that the existing infrastructure and environment not
be damaged and to keep disruption of business operations to a minimum.
Therefore, it is essential to have the appropriate personnel and equipment at
the site. Some of the equipment found on a new construction project has no
place in an office building or historical structure, and the electricians
chosen to be on the team performing MAC work must have the appropriate
technical aptitude and be trained to work in a finished environment.
contractor has its niche specialties and has crews within the organization that
have experience working on specific types of projects. You can’t expect high
levels of customer satisfaction if you don’t staff MAC work with the right
people,” Archacki said.
Environmental damage also can be mitigated if the MAC crew has access to
and uses the building’s as-built documents to plan the wire routing with the
least number of pathway changes.
new pathways occasionally must be made if the existing ones are inappropriate
for the new cabling,” Reynolds said. Minimizing damage also requires that the
crews are properly trained to understand the importance of not destroying the
existing infrastructure and that they have the proper tools, such as especially
flexible drill bits for working on walls or other obstructions discovered
during the work.
The safety of the MAC electricians is equally important.
“Most MAC work is in commercial or light industrial environments, which
can present terrible safety hazards,” Sargent said. MAC electricians, if not
properly trained and alert, may be lulled into a false sense of security by
working in a finished environment and think the potential risks of construction
work don’t apply to them.
of minimizing damage is a paramount concern in historical buildings.
“In a historical environment, the contractor must work closely with the
architect and structural engineer to maintain the building’s integrity and
still deliver the appropriate upgrade to the customer,” Archacki said.
Working in historical buildings requires a great deal of skill and
creativity to engineer the appropriate pathways for the larger cabling required
by today’s technology, which do not fit in an older structure’s spaces. The
solution frequently is the use of decorative exposed raceway to avoid cutting
into a building’s walls or changing the aesthetics of the building.
Another issue in historical building MAC retrofit work is that materials
usually need to be custom-made to match the existing architectural style.
“The lead times for these materials can be extensive and requires a
great deal of planning,” Azzole said.
Contractors also need to be constantly aware of the value of the
existing materials in and of the building and must have the required skills for
planning and handling the work. In addition, contractors must have the work
force with the expertise and experience to effectively deal with this type of
MAC work is
expected to experience continued growth and to offer electrical contractors a
wide breadth of opportunities.
technology continues to advance and customers require the appropriate upgrades,
the electrical needs to power those systems will also change and evolve,
providing long-term opportunities,” Roberts said.
freelance writer based in Solomons, Md., contributes frequently to ELECTRICAL
CONTRACTOR. She can be reached at 410.394.6966 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com
Sell Low Voltage, Score Profit
need to differentiate their offerings, think MDUs
With all the baD NEWS about the
housing and mortgage industries, writing about how to make money in residential
cabling might seem untimely, but maybe not. During one recession long ago, I was working for an electronics company that had
been growing very rapidly up to that time. As worries about the recession’s
effect on the company began to cause unease among employees, the president,
then a young techie entrepreneur, called all the employees together into the
First, he acknowledged the uncertainty of the -economy, but he noted
that the company was in a rapidly developing technology, peripheral to the
then-new microprocessor industry. The company was a small fish in a big pond.
Most competitors were large, publicly held companies whose major concern was
consistent profits. The company, he said, could benefit from this recession if
it continued funding research and development and advertising while it cut only
expenses that would not affect product development and sales.
Did it work? You bet. That company grew to be a major player in the
electronics business in only a few years, with much of its success built on the
aggressive actions it took during that recession. It was a lesson worth
learning: When others are timid or fearful, look for opportunities, and take
advantage of them.
cabling may be a real opportunity now. Many contractors do not pursue
residential work for a number of good economic reasons. A single-family home
has limited income potential. Developers of subdivisions generally look for the
cheapest contractors or installers. Most do not want to deal with
after-installation service calls from the homebuyer. All good reasons to ignore
But the downturn in housing starts has created some potential
opportunities for contractors. The timing coincides with a massive consumer
demand for broadband connections to the home (for more information, see
“Connecting to the Future” Electrical Contractor, June 2007),
which has led to telcos and CATV companies competing fiercely to connect homes,
especially in new developments where the installation cost to the home is
cheapest and the “take rate” is highest. Verizon’s FiOS fiber to the home
(FTTH) service, for example, appears to have up to a 70 percent take rate in
new communities in Southern California.
Verizon is aggressively pursuing customers with banners in shopping
centers, towed behind planes and anywhere else it can get exposure to
consumers. In addition, the company is soliciting home builders, installers and
home technology integrators to work with. Verizon has been going to specialist
trade shows and presenting seminars on its FTTH programs to explain what it is
doing, who it is recruiting and how to contact the right people. Last year, for
the Fiber Optic Association and Verizon, two “FTTH Summit Meetings” were held to
help recruit contractors and installers for these ambitious programs.
CATV companies are responding with aggressive sales and pricing and even
offering premium Internet service with faster speeds. Municipalities unhappy
with the broadband rollout schedules of telcos or CATV companies are building
their own FTTH or wireless networks. Although citywide Wi-Fi has
fizzled—because cities have found the service demands are not easily met, and
real installation and support costs are higher than expected—a new challenger,
WiMax, has emerged on another tidal wave of hype. Wireless technologies continue
changing faster than standards or markets can respond, making a decision to
invest in wireless for a city a difficult proposition, so landline connections
continue to dominate the broadband connection marketplace with CATV cable
modems and telco DSL each connecting about 30 million households and growing.
So when home builders are “mothballing” developments, and real estate
listings show listings for single-family houses are equal to a year’s average
sales, where’s the opportunity? When selling new homes becomes more difficult,
developers need a way to differentiate their offerings in the marketplace. Some
offer all sorts of incentives, including one condominium developer in Los Angeles offering a
free three-year lease on a car with each unit sold. Others have adopted a
high-tech approach, offering a high base level of tech capability in each home
and options to provide a wide variety of customization services for security,
networking, home automation and home theater.
One home developer/builder said it had adopted a policy of hiring only
certified network-cabling installers for this work, as it had problems with the
quality of the work in some installations. The developer can justify paying for
qualified installers because high-tech cabling in homes was extremely
profitable, generally returning more than 50 percent profit margins, as opposed
to the 10 percent typical with normal upgrades, such as kitchen counters or cabinets.
This is the kind of developer to work with.
Although we have mainly been discussing the single-family home, one
should not ignore condominiums and apartments, which are having to absorb the
people who cannot now afford homes. People who cannot afford to purchase a
single-family home still need somewhere to live. Some have the means to
purchase a condo, but most end up in apartments. Apartments are becoming scarce
and expensive in Southern California, while
the housing market is flooded with unsold homes. Therefore, condos and
apartments may prove to be a more lucrative market opportunity for cabling
Perhaps most importantly, young people not yet ready to settle down are
much more likely to rent than buy. If they have recently lived in college
housing, they are accustomed to high-speed Internet access. Colleges are
providing every student with high-speed Internet access for all their
assignments. Colleges also are sites for all sorts of networking experiments
where technology companies let the school and the students test the latest
gadgets and connectivity. When these people leave school and move into an
apartment, broadband access is considered a necessity.
Apartments and condos (lumped into a category called multi-dwelling
units or MDUs) are more like commercial networking installations than
residential. The landlords must provide entrance facilities for telcos and CATV
providers, perhaps several. Large units may need backbone cabling and telecom
closets to provide telephone and Internet access just like a business. If fiber
to the building is available, there may be options for bringing fiber directly
to the units. Besides phone and network cabling, each unit needs one or more
coax cables for TV, intercom and entry systems, and most buildings now have
multiple security cameras and recording systems. Each location with electronics
needs power and grounds, of course, just like an office building.
While a single-family home
developer may be able to convince himself that installing a few extra cables in
a home is no problem, the complexity of a multidwelling unit is obvious. The
cost of such a job also is larger, demanding more attention from the architect,
developer and general contractor. Hiring an experienced, certified cabling
contractor for such work is a good business decision. Justifying the additional
expense for an apartment owner is easier, as the services may be unbundled and
charged separately, or the owner may offer certain services—such as Internet
access—directly and charge as a separate monthly item.
The biggest challenge is to
educate developers, architects and general contractors on the special needs of
a “high-tech residence” to take advantage of the broadband connection. This
subject came up at the annual conference of the Building Industry Association
of Southern California last November. Attendees included developers, home
builders, architects and a lone home theater installer. Each had a different
developers or home builders were mostly concerned about payback. What did they
need to install, who could do the installation properly, how much would it cost
and how much would the customer pay for it? Those are the typical issues we
deal with, so they were satisfied with our presentation.
sometimes are not convinced. One way to address architects is to inform them of
the industry standards and codes regarding high-tech cabling and hope it gets
translated into the project paperwork properly.
Of the groups involved in installing residential cabling, home theater
contractors are the closest to having a complete understanding of the needs of
the home. However, the ones I’ve talked to generally focus on custom
installations, generally upgrades to existing housing, that are very expensive.
Typical home theater installations run from $20,000 to $100,000 or more,
including electronics (stereo, TVs, etc.), and the contractors usually are not
interested in installing just the cabling, since most of the cost is in
recap. Is there money to be made in residential cabling? Absolutely. The best
opportunities for professional cabling contractors are probably in MDUs being
equipped with state-of-the-art communications and security systems, but
developers still are working on new subdivisions, and all have broadband
presentations to developers and builders, it is important to point out that
buyers demand new homes be designed and built for high-tech devices, and they
are willing to pay for it. Home cabling not only makes houses easier to sell,
especially in a competitive market, but home cabling has a much higher profit
margin than most traditional home options, such as kitchen upgrades.
should be assured that industry standards are available and you are familiar
with them. Show your industry credentials; training and certification will help
you make a positive impression on the architects. In addition, get to know some
home theater installers. Most are not interested or capable of taking on big
cabling jobs, but they may be aware of opportunities they will share with you,
and you can reciprocate when you find opportunities for custom installations.
we’ll look at the “nuts and bolts” of residential network installations.
HAYES is a VDV writer and trainer and the president of The Fiber Optic
Association. Find him at www.JimHayes.com.
with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com
HYBRID SYSTEMS Coexistence is the new norm
by debbie mcclung
It’s no surprise that the proliferation of
electronics continues to redefine work and play. Local area networks (LANs),
which have long performed as distribution workhorses, are rapidly evolving with
the breakneck pace of wireless (WLAN). As Kourosh Parsa, a senior wireless
systems engineer with Ortronics/Legrand put it, “We are experiencing a global wireless ‘gold rush.’”
The introduction of next-generation wireless technologies and the
expansion of 802.11 WLAN systems are driving demand for a domain that still
relies very heavily on wired infrastructure. Not too long ago, convention
suggested that computer networks for the home and business could be developed
from either wired or wireless technology. Both technologies can claim
advantages over the other. Both represent viable options for residential,
commercial and industrial LANs, but they needn’t compete against each other
anymore. Nobody expects one size to fit all. Coexistence is the new norm.
Product developments and manufacturer alliances continue to provide proof
that neither a wire nor air interface will emerge as the single solution to
deploy next-generation applications and platforms. Rather, there is a growing
realization that the seamless integration of hybrid systems is the ticket to
the future, and electrical contractors are in the driver’s seat.
“If anything, there is a single-mindedness among industry leaders to
adopt hybrid solutions—that is, wireless and wired solutions combined together
in a single system,” said Kurt Scherf, vice president and principal analyst at
Parks Associates, a Dallas-based market research firm. Scherf and others agree
that it is not wise to box yourself in by thinking there’s only one solution to
the exclusion of the others. In nearly every segment of systems work, there are
a variety of hybrid capabilities to build future network configurations.
It’s all hybrid, all opportunity
to David Veneski, Fluke Networks marketing manager for certification products,
the common perception of a wireless network is tied directly to the visibility
of the final link. Although users are not tethered, the wireless access points
that transmit to those end-users are connected to the network through a
structured wiring system.
installers are worried that wireless will destroy their cable installation
business. They should remember that there is no such thing as a purely wireless
network. All the wireless access points need data cabling, electrical cabling
or possibly the new combination of Power over Ethernet [PoE]. This is an
opportunity, not a threat,” Veneski said.
PoE is a
relatively new addition to the cabling market that can pull double duty to
provide both data and electrical power. The dual functionality, Veneski pointed
out, results in a simplified installation—fewer wires to pull—but requires
added knowledge on the part of the cable installer.
The use of structured wiring as a backbone for home automation and
networking applications is increasing, especially in new home construction.
anticipate that hybrid solutions will make up 60 percent or more of the home
networking products—data, voice and multimedia—that are shipped by the end of
2008,” Sherf said.
automation and industrial controls incorporate similar infrastructure. In the
vast majority of wireless networks deployed today—also known as 802.11 in IEEE
Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) standards, wireless is the means of connecting
end-users to the wired 802.3 Ethernet LAN where network resources reside.
Wireless is the access method, but the core and backbone of the network
still is wired. “All networks have wires, even wireless networks. In order for
the access points to deliver performance the users expect, they must be
connected by cabling that meets the design specifications for that network,”
In hybrid systems, wireless access points and hardwired resources, such
as coaxial, structured wiring and fiber, are teaming up to provide data and
communications networks, sensors and controls, security systems and energy
management systems. But don’t let the semantics of the term “hybrid systems”
region, the deployment may be known as “wired-wireless integration,” “converged
network” or a “wireless overlay,” according to Wiring.com Inc.’s John Colodny.
“Typically, it’s putting in Cat 5e or Cat 6 wiring to the faceplates
and putting a separate wireless infrastructure into the same space. We find
that 99 percent of the time wireless is being installed to support a specific
application. Wireless is not a replacement yet; instead, it’s an enhanced
capability,” Colodny said.
of the nomenclature, a centralized wired network architecture is required for
the wireless system to operate. It’s the successful foundation for adding
wireless in retrofit situations in homes and historical structures where
opening walls for additional wiring can be intrusive.
Partnerships expand functionality
Although a conventional hybrid system teams wired and wireless
components, there are recent examples of hybrid partnerships between data
cabling and wireless access point manufacturers that can offer a comprehensive
In the past year, Ortronics/Legrand introduced the Wi-Jack Duo, a small
dual band/dual radio access point that fits into a standard wall box in the
footprint of a standard faceplate and extends 12 mm from the wall. The device
supports 802.11 a/b/g operation, allowing simultaneous operation at 2.4 and 5
GHz at speeds up to 54 Mb/s, and can be used with a dedicated air monitor.
bringing the access point into the wall outlet, we have more closely integrated
the WLAN into the existing structured cabling infrastructure,” Parsa said.
Scherf said that even service providers are pushing home networking to
extend the value and utility of hybrid-based services.
“Take, for example, the deployment efforts of both AT&T and Verizon
to deliver deep-fiber-based broadband and television services to the home. As
they are installing these services, they’re using residential gateways that
have both a wireless (802.11g) and a coax/twisted pair solution to distribute
TV content, broadband, communications, etc. They definitely see the value in
having the wireless component, since it provides a homeowner with much greater
flexibility of where to use a laptop computer or locating a desktop PC that may
not be near a coax, Ethernet or phone outlet,” Scherf said.
The ZigBee Alliance is an organization of approximately 250 companies
working on standardization and common interoperability platforms for wireless
devices. Based on IEEE 802.15.4, with the goal of creating a global standard
for sensor and control networks, ZigBee also has a stake in hybrid
“ZigBee knows how to talk to 802.11, which knows how to talk to
Ethernet, which knows how to talk to the Internet. By design, all these
platforms are part of the broader standards solution and should be capable of
working together,” said ZigBee chairman, Bob Heile.
One of ZigBee’s initiatives is to collaborate on the interoperability of
protocols for back office functions in building control systems. “One of the
solutions on the wired side is BACnet. We’re working with ASHRAE and the BACnet
standards group to create joint common solutions that not only allow
communication on both sides of the network, but allow applications to be shared
and to create a seamless user-friendly experience,” Heile said.
and wireless traffic
One of the primary reasons for WLAN’s popularity is its host of mobility
applications, and the next generation of 802.11n devices promise sufficient
throughput for many business users. But it’s not for everyone. WLAN can be
susceptible to interference and service attacks. Industry experts, such as Eric
Anderson, Fluke Network’s product manager for portable network analysis,
predict that new, more complex applications are expected to require even
greater bandwidth than even 802.11n can provide.
“WLANs generally have more latency and jitter, which impact VoIP and
live video applications. Security is a much bigger concern with WLANs. So in
industrial and commercial environments, IT managers employ a hybrid approach,
using WLAN where it’s applicable and wired where it’s best suited,” Anderson said.
Hybrid technologies are placing new challenges on technicians who must
increasingly troubleshoot mixed network environments, which up to now required
different tools and different techniques. According to Anderson, wired and wireless networks have
both passive and active components. Within wired networks, the passive
components typically include the twisted-pair cabling, RJ-45 jacks, patch
cables, optical fiber cabling, fiber connectors and patch panels. The certification
of the passive wired infrastructure is a mature-use model, and best practices,
standards and instrumentation are available for certifying wires.
certification of active 802.3 wired LANs is not a common practice. Wireless is
even less mature. There is no industry-recognized best practice for certifying
the ‘passive’ component of the WLAN or the RF environment. And there’s no best
practice for certification of the active 802.11 wireless LAN,” Anderson said.
future through optics
Telecommunications researchers the Georgia Institute of Technology have
demonstrated a novel communications network design that would provide both
ultra-high-speed wireless and wired access services from the same signals
carried on a single optical fiber.
The new hybrid system could allow dual wired/wireless transmission of
the same content, such as high-definition television, data and voice up to 100
times faster than current networks. The new architecture is projected to reduce
the cost of providing dramatically improved service to conference centers,
airports, hotels, shopping malls and, ultimately, to homes and small offices.
The optical-wireless access network envisioned by Gee-Kung Chang, an
electrical and computer engineering professor and his colleagues would connect
to existing optical fiber networks located throughout the country. Using a
technique developed at Georgia Tech, wireless and baseband signals carried by
multiple wavelengths would be converted onto the millimeter-wave carrier simultaneously.
“If you look into the future, the broadest bandwidth possible would come
through combining and integrating optical and wireless services in a single
network,” Chang said.
Added Fluke Network’s Anderson,
“If a contractor wants to grow his business, he should learn more about WLAN
technology. Networks will increasingly become hybrid, and knowledge of both
wired and wireless network deployment and testing will become more important in
MCCLUNG, owner of Woodland Communications, is a construction writer
She can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com
Everything Old Is New again
by claire swedberg
Educational facilities, especially,
must maintain modern amenities and, generally, the buildings are updated to fit
current needs, rather than being replaced by new because of
systems enliven old facilities
structures age, tenants expect up-to-date building automation,
lighting controls, security and voice/data information. This expectation
creates a new niche for electrical contractors. Contractors who can comfortably
handle an integrated building system (IBS) retrofit have low-voltage wiring
knowledge in addition to specialized engineering and the flexibility needed to
make a modern system fit into a not-so-modern facility.
Commonly, demand for IBS retrofits comes from hospitals and schools.
Educational facilities, especially, must maintain modern amenities, and
generally, the existing buildings are updated to fit current needs, rather than
being replaced by new because of restrained budgets. For instance, most IBS
retrofits that San Diego-based electrical contractor Dynalectric performs are
in the educational market, said Bob Riel, vice president and division manager.
In the past year, the company has upgraded heating, ventilating and air
conditioning (HVAC) and lighting controls at College of the Desert, Palm Desert, Calif.; Citrus College,
El Camino, Calif.;
and El Camino College, Torrance,
commercial buildings also are being updated and integrated. In one such
project, Diamond View
Tower, a 14-story office building in San Diego, Dynalectric
added fiber closed-circuit television (CCTV) and video conferencing, bringing
the building tenants necessary capabilities for today. Older buildings tend to
have single, stand-alone systems, which make these retrofits necessary, especially
when building owners are trying to compete for tenants with new buildings. “The new buildings tend to be more integrated,”
Large IBS retrofits often are missed opportunities for electrical
contractors. Construction Electronics Inc. (CEI), Poway, Calif.,
is one of the contractors that has focused on low-voltage work since its 1975
founding. CEI is an exclusive installer for Rauland-Borg nurse call systems and
completes a large percentage of the area’s healthcare market. The company also
performs new construction and retrofits for schools.
CEI specializes in the big jobs that other contractors may avoid, said Don
Walters, the company’s CEO. Instead of taking smaller jobs, CEI electricians
are more likely to be found wiring or rewiring large industrial and office
buildings. They commonly retrofit security, including access control, CCTV and
fire alarm systems.
Diego Gas & Electric’s 20-story building, CEI is supplying an entire fire
alarm system upgrade. With older structures such as these, the project often
begins with asbestos abatement teams. CEI arrives on the site ahead of those
teams, marking the locations where the work will be done, and letting the
asbestos abatement team remove what is necessary.
ever even order parts, we walk the building, lift ceiling tiles, open terminal
boxes and look at it with engineering eyes,” Walters said.
workers understand how the conduit and raceway systems are mapped out, they
come back in-house and work with the engineering team, doing CAD drawings and
beginning to plan the new system.
With that process, Walters said, “We have 90 percent surety of the
pieces and parts we have to order and how much labor will be needed.” Once the
drawings are complete, they are presented to the authority having jurisdiction
to ensure they meet codes.
“We can spend as much time like this upfront, doing the engineering and
drafting, almost as we do pulling wire,” he said. “The low-voltage industry is
different. We probably have as many people in house as we have in the field.”
CEI does all its own engineering.
in a building retrofit such as San Diego Gas & Electric, CEI has tenants to
work around. The company moves its employees one space at a time.
“If we do
the south-end second floor, they move their employees out of the area,” Walters
“[Tenants] don’t even want to know we exist, let alone work with us,” he
said. CEI schedules shifts an hour after the office has closed, and workers
begin cleaning up a few hours before the office reopens.
the floors, put everything back. They want to come to work and sit at a nice,
clean desk and not hear anything.”
Renovation from the ground up
Some retrofit projects can be huge. Egan Cos., Brooklyn
Park, Minn., is completing a large
scale IBS retrofit at Foshay Tower in Minneapolis.
The company had already completed several building renovation projects that
have included all new voice/data, security, fire alarm and building automation
systems, said Ward Arms, vice president, Egan Cos., Electrical Construction.
The company has a separate automation group (voice/data, fire alarm, security,
and building automation/energy management) and an industrial controls group for
jobs such as these.
Foshay Tower’s renovation project, transforming
the building into an upscale hotel, includes gutting it completely. Egan was
tasked with building new systems for the voice/data, security, fire alarm and
The 32-story Foshay Tower is a historic building in central Minneapolis and its design mimics the Washington Monument.
Its construction offers some challenges since the sides of the building slope
inward, and each floor of the Foshay
Tower is slightly smaller
than the one below it. In addition, it is set back from the street, with a
two-story structure surrounding it on two sides. The other two sides are now
surrounded by the 17-story TCF
renovation, Egan Cos. is a subcontractor to Ryan Cos. U.S. Inc.—the developer
and part-owner of the project. In addition to the IBS, Egan Cos. is providing a
new electrical system, including new incoming services; normal power; lighting,
including lighting controls; and emergency generator and power distribution.
Demolition started February 2007 and the project must finish up by the end of
our greatest challenge [with the Foshay Tower] is the fact that construction is
advancing faster than some of the design, decisions that probably should have
been nailed down several months ago,” Arms said. Those decisions are still
being made, but the finish line hasn’t been moved.
To stay on
schedule, workers have to be organized.
“We have to
be flexible, work on parts of the project where the design is complete, and
come back to other parts later. This often requires doing work out of
sequence,” he said. “If in a normal project you would do things 1, 2, 3, 4 and
5, we may have to do things 1, 3, 5, 2 and 4. Not nearly as efficient, but it’s
the nature of this kind of work.”
around tenants has not been as much of a challenge, Arms said, because most of
the tower has been vacated for reconstruction. One tenant, specifically, hasn’t
“There is a
street-level restaurant that we have to keep up and running the whole time,
except for a two-week window that we were given last month to cut-over their
new systems,” he said. To keep the restaurant operating, Egan removed all the building
systems and kept the restaurant running on temporary systems.
addition, there is the added challenge of working with a historic building,
with different parties weighing in.
“We had to
adhere to the hotel operator’s specifications and requirements, while
simultaneously meeting the owner’s and developer’s aesthetic and budget goals,”
Arms said. Even more challenging, since the Foshay Tower
is a national landmark and the National Park Service has jurisdiction over many
aspects of the renovation, the company had to satisfy demands related to
historic preservation. To make it all happen, Egan Cos. chose products that
would help the company meet performance and budget requirements.
on this project is unique,” Arms said. “Taking a national and community
landmark that has fallen on hard times the last two decades, and turning it
into a jewel that the city can be proud of, that will be very rewarding.”
And when it
comes to working in the middle of downtown, Arms said, staging becomes a challenge.
have to shut down half a street in order to receive large material and
equipment,” he said.
said, movement up the tower has been a challenge. The building has four
elevators; however, all four are being replaced, and at any given time, workers
may be down to only one or two elevators, which are shared by all the trades.
Egan Cos. will install 10,000 feet of speaker cable, 8,000 feet of line-level
audio cable, 8,000 feet of Category 5 cable, 500 feet of mini high-resolution
cable and 500 feet of RG 6 video cable. The voice/data work was subcontracted
to Structured Network Solutions Inc., Golden
Valley, Minn. For the
voice/data system, the company will run 125,000 feet of Category 5e and 1,300
feet of six strand 50 micron fiber. For the fire alarm, Egan Cos. is installing
15,000, 2 No. 16 twisted pair and 23,000, 4 No. 16 notification circuits for
fire alarm communications. Bosch installed its own security system.
What renovation means today
move to integrated buildings creates a drive to update older buildings to fit
today’s needs and requirements, incorporating sophisticated voice and data and
streamlining other systems, such as fire, security, lighting and HVAC, for
can mean installing one network for building automation and control, another
for the IT functions, and another one for voice over Internet protocol (VoIP)
and then tying all these systems together through a single control system. In
the case of a single network control, data and voice communications are all on
one network, instead of multiple independent networks, which can serve to
reduce the owner’s cost of installation and management.
sophisticated systems being installed in historic or decades-old buildings, the
electrical contractor called on to install IBS must figure out how to approach
“It’s an expertise all on its own,” Walters said. For instance, he
pointed out that many contractors do work with fire alarms, the fire marshal
and other intricacies involved, get fed up at some point.
they’ve all dabbled and undabbled,” he said.
fire alarm systems as well as training in how to work better with building
owners may offset some of that frustration, especially since these projects
could lead to a constant stream of revenue. For
example, CEI seeks work where the company can secure a long-term relationship
“We look for recurring revenue,” Walters said, adding that his company
also seeks to keep its suppliers happy (i.e., finding work in which their
suppliers can have a part).
maintenance on IBS systems is a huge spot for future growth, Walters said.
customers don’t want to fool with it at all. They want to be able to pick up
the phone. Those are the kind of customers we look for,” he said.
of a building, as has been said before, is changing, and new buildings must be
updated to fit that new conception. For instance, a building was once thought
of a series of independent systems, and now the building itself is being
regarded as a system. With this shift, comes a greater push to renovate and a
greater need for a contractor that can make integrated building systems a
SWEDBERG is a freelance writer based in western Washington. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com
by allan b. colombo
essential that low-voltage contractors know how to efficiently fish cables into
internal and external wall cavities in retrofit applications. Unlike pulling
wires through half-inch EMT conduit, fishing requires skill, experience and the
Fishing wires in
know all too well the difficulties involved with installing multiple-conductor,
18-AWG cables into external walls packed with insulation.
than a decade ago, this task required two men—one up and one down—to bring a
difficult retrofit job within budget. Advances in retrofit installation
techniques over the last decade, however, have made the job of retrofitting
Armed with a myriad of ingenious tools designed to assist the installer
fish low-voltage cables, a single installer now can perform the task easier and
faster than ever before.
One reason why low-voltage installers experience anxiety when they have
to fish an external wall involves the time it takes to negotiate the insulation
therein. It’s not easy to insert, locate and pull a wire from atop a wall into
a basement location. A single wire can take from 10 minutes to more than an
hour. Fishing wires under a carpet or above a suspended ceiling also can take
Ten or 20
years ago, there were only so many factory-made tools available for fishing
walls, carpets and ceilings. Installers often fashioned their own tools from
household items or objects found in an office, workshop or service van.
The ordinary coat hanger is probably one of the most common self-made
fishing tools. Using a pair of large diagonal cutters, the hook is removed and
the hanger straightened. A small hook is then formed at one end and a small
handle at the other.
A cable is
first inserted into the wall using some means of weighting it, such as a string
or chain with a weight attached, (see sidebar on right) so gravity carries it
as deep into the wall cavity as possible. The hook is inserted into the wall,
usually through a hole placed where the wire is intended to exit.
wire to fish with this contraption is one that involves a single- or two-gang
box where you can put your hand into the wall to find the string. By adding a
slight double bend to the hook end of the coat hanger, it is possible to rotate
the hanger assembly until the hook catches the wire or the attached string or
Today’s modern marvels
When I searched for prefabricated fishing tools on the Internet, I was
surprised at just how far these modern marvels have come. Some of the available
resources on the Web include videos you can watch, such as on the Magnepull Web
Magnepull consists of a strong, hand-held magnet and a metal sinker-type object
that the technician fastens to the wire when he drops it into the wall. The
sinker is located by moving a magnetic roller back and forth on the surface of
the wall. Once found, the technician works the Magnepull back and forth as he
moves toward the exit hole.
magnetic-based tool can be used to retrieve magnetic tools and drill bits
trapped in a wall cavity. According to the manufacturer, this method of
retrieval may not be viable where it involves metal studs.
watch the Magnepull videos, you’ll note that the demonstrator drills the entry
hole close to the edge of the top plate. In the real world, extreme care must
be exercised when doing this because of the possibility of breaking through the
drywall into the room.
Additional wire-fishing aides
There are other interesting modern marvels on the market, all designed
to make the job of fishing easier and faster. One is a fiber optic scope with a
built-in infrared (IR) illuminator.
Labor Saving Devices’ model VS48
(www.lsdinc.com/content/product_details/32) allows the installer to actually
peer into a wall to see where the pull string, chain or long flexible drill bit
is (see sidebar on flexible drill bits, below). This particular model comes
with two settings on the IR illuminator portion.
also can be a challenge in horizontal spaces, such as ceilings. Here,
installers can use an expandable fiberglass pole assembly equipped with a hook
designed to snag a cable. These poles can be expanded 12 to 18 feet, depending
on the model.
Fiberglass rods can be connected together, which allows installers to run
a wire the entire length of a ceiling or under a continuous floor space for
relatively long distances without interruption.
When using any of the above cable fishing tools, always use caution. For
instance, when the job involves suspended ceiling spaces and code is a
consideration, cable hangers usually are necessary.
Safety is the installer’s first priority, because accidents can be
costly to both an injured installer as well as the company that employs him.
Colombo is a 32-year veteran in the
security and life-safety markets. He currently is director with FireNetOnline.com and a nationally recognized
trade journalist located in East
with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com
Network & Cabling
The Intangibles Of Business Leadership
several things you expect a trade-specific publication such as Network &
Cabling to deliver, such as updates on technology and services, news on what’s
going on in the marketplace, feature articles on things of interest in the
world of ITS, and so on. With this issue, we endeavour to do even more, by
providing you with information you can use right away in your business—in your
editorial of mine plays a part in this renewed focus on you and your business
needs, as it draws upon a presentation I attended Sunday afternoon at the BICSI
Winter Conference entitled, “Business Management”, by Mary Powell, the
vice-president for strategic sales and marketing at A1 Teletronics. In this
presentation, she explained a few things about how customers think, how they
act and how you fit into the picture.
thing is that everything she said is common sense; something we would all
figure out if we only sat down and actually thought about it. Let’s face it: we
can’t go through life without being someone’s customer at some point. So what
works for us, works for them—we just need to remember to put ourselves in the
customer’s shoes when we’re not the customer.
But we need
reminding, and that’s where “Business Management” comes in. Mary started by
quoting several statistics, such as:
• 95% of
complaining customers will be repeat customers when you resolve their problems
on the spot.
satisfied customer will tell five to six people about a problem, whereas an
unsatisfied customer will tell eight to 10 people.
business will spend six times more to attract new customers than it does to
keep current ones.
don’t care how much you know,” said Powell, “They want to know how much you
care.” Many business decisions are based on our emotional responses, she
argued, despite how much logic we may infuse into defending our decisions
later. People buy good feelings and solutions to problems, Powell continued.
“If you believe you’re selling something of value, chances are the customer
will believe he’s buying something of value.”
explained that “perceived” service leaders can charge up to 10% more than the
competition will grow twice as fast and improve market share up to 6% annually.
She concluded with five simple measures that, when followed, will keep your
customers coming back:
reliable (do what you say you will).
credible (provide peace of mind).
attractive (everything the customer sees, hears and feels will form their
opinion of you).
responsive (accessible, available and willing to help).
empathetic (put yourself in your customer’s shoes).
success today does not guarantee success tomorrow, Powell said, concluding with
the following statement: “Excellent service isn’t the result of doing any one
thing 1000% better, but rather the result of doing 1000 things 1% better.” I
couldn’t agree more, and it’s a lesson that makes sense in any business.
with full permission of Network & Cabling Magazine www.networkcablingmag.ca
Security & Life Safety Systems Magazine
Planning to Teach and Learn
By Edward Brown
new year as I write this and the start of what feels like an exciting adventure. I’m
the new managing editor of S+LSS, and I’ve been given the
task of making a good magazine even better. What a great opportunity! I’m
looking forward to working with our writers, our editorial advisory board and
the terrific staff, but most especially, I’m looking forward to working with
you readers. I would love to hear about what you like, what you don’t like and
what you’d like to see more of in our magazine (-email@example.com).
being February, our focus is on education. I read through the issue with
Jennifer Leah Stong-Michas’ Management column in mind: “Selling solutions and
products to end-users is basically the same in any vertical market. … Schools,
short of a few extra rules, regulations and constraints, have funds to spend
the same as everyone else.”
enough, our profiles highlight the truth of her words. They all show how
working with schools is basically the same as working in any other market—but
also how it is different. That’s a lot of useful information. Most of the
projects involved both renovation and new construction, and, of course, began
with contracts and negotiations (see Timothy Hughes and Alison Mullins’ Legal
column, page 37).
of the typical constraints for renovations is timing the work to minimize the
disruption to the education process—a tricky challenge. What spoke to me about
each of these projects was that they were mainly driven by two forces: a need
to accommodate an expanding population and a desire to bring to these schools
the benefits of modern technology. School boards were willing to spend money on
giving classrooms access to the Internet, improving teachers’ ability to use
audiovisual resources, helping students and teachers across the district
communicate with each other because they believed these things would improve
their children’s education, and updating security and other life safety systems
would help ensure their children’s safety. These, in my opinion, are valid
beliefs. I think as the evidence accumulates about how effective these new
technologies are, this vertical market will continue to expand at a rapid rate.
with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com
Maintaining Cybersecurity in Higher Education
As colleges and
universities move to wireless
networking, security risks are escalating with the transition. Higher education
IT administrators are worrying about nonuniversity individuals hopping onto
their networks for malicious reasons. It is not easy to balance their mission
to keep universities as open, accessible learning environments with as much
interactivity as possible with their need to maintain cyber security.
“The greatest challenge we face is the user challenge,” said Fred Cates,
director of Indiana
University’s Center for
Applied Cybersecurity Research. “We are dealing with a wide variety of people,
many of whom have no technical knowledge. For example, we’d all like to require
extremely vigorous passwords, but many individuals have trouble just figuring
out how to get their wireless devices to start.”
The myriad new devices that people want to connect—such as cell phones,
computers and PDAs—compounds the security challenges.
“It’s not just about security of our networks, but the security of the
devices that connect to it as well,” Cates said.
Institutions of higher education are taking steps to protect their
networks. Many require all users to register their Media Access Control (MAC)
address—a hardware address that uniquely identifies each node of a network—in
advance. They also are trying to enforce better standards of security for
laptops, advising their communities to run filters or virus software.
“We’re using stronger encryption and requiring that all devices support
that encryption,” Cates said. “If you’re using a wireless card or laptop, you
may find that you can’t connect it unless it supports the type of encryption
that the university wants to see.”
Intrusion detection and monitoring are vital to preventing hackers from
breaking into systems. Educating and training users about risks and
responsibilities also is vital.
“I don’t think we’ll see a magic bullet in the future to resolve these
cybersecurity challenges,” Cates said. “Nevertheless, wireless technology is
here to stay.”
with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com
University Campuses Face New Security Challenges
9/11 and the events taking place in April 2007 at Virginia Tech, many colleges and universities
realized that they needed to update and enact security policies and procedures
to respond effectively to new threats to the safety of their faculty members,
students and staff members.
and universities are dealing with threats they’ve never experienced before,”
said Paul Denton, chief of police at The Ohio State University. “In the world
after 9/11, we’ve had to refocus.”
Denton and his team
at Ohio State have updated their response
policies to incorporate new procedures for evacuation and detection. Their
response plans detail the roles of university security and local police and
fire personnel and how they need to work together.
After the shootings at Virginia Tech, Ohio State
decided to train in national incident management systems (NIMS), which require
university officials to work closely with the community.
“We focus on how our integrating command structure looks and who is
working in leadership and decision-making roles,” Denton said.
security plans emphasize the importance of creating new pathways to cooperating
and building partnerships with local, state and federal agencies.
certainly where it all starts,” Denton
to Michael McCarthy, director of security at St. John Fisher
can’t rely on technology alone to combat new security threats.
element is vital,” he said. “We are training security personnel to detect
anything of a suspicious nature. For example, we have to know where and how to
look for suspicious packages as well as international and domestic terrorists.”
heightened security threats, McCarthy still believes that institutions of
higher education are safe.
college campuses are one of the safest places you can be,” he said.
with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com
New Technologies Meet Evolving Security Needs on College Campuses
There has been a
in the role that technology plays in ensuring safety on college campuses.
Tom Ridge, former Homeland Security chief, say that our budgets won’t allow us
to triple or quadruple the number of people responsible for safety,” said Ted
Collins, president and chief operating officer of InterAct Public Safety
Systems, a company headquartered in Winston-Salem, N.C. “Technology will have
to carry the load with the same number of officers and act as a force
multiplier of their abilities.”
Most college campuses are looking at campus notification systems that
respond to and perhaps anticipate emergency situations. Pagers, cell phones and
even loudspeakers in dorm rooms have become key elements in alerting college
communities of danger.
There is a
new emphasis on technology that ensures the safety of first responders and
helps them to perform their jobs effectively. According to Collins, this
technology must be mobile to protect a widely dispersed public. Officers on
bikes or horses, as well as those in police cars, must be able to receive and
transmit information at any time.
technologies also must provide interoperability to enable first responders to
communicate with their dispatchers, officers in the field, neighboring towns
and the private sector. In the event of a catastrophe, information must be
shared to ensure that universities quickly secure vital resources.
Collins predicts that in the future, biometrics, which includes
fingerprint technology and retinal scans, and remote video wireless
technologies will be increasingly popular at colleges and universities.
will be pushing the needle back and forth about what is the appropriate use of
technology versus what constitutes an invasion of privacy,” he said.
with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com
By Wayne D.
How to retrofit New Systems in
Existing Educational Buildings
The National Fire
Alarm Code, NFPA 72, Section 10.4.1.1 requires trained technicians to perform an
acceptance test on all new fire alarm systems. Specifically, the section
states, “All new systems shall be inspected and tested in accordance with the
requirements of Chapter 10. The authority having jurisdiction shall be notified
prior to the initial acceptance test.”
Many contractors assume the testing required by NFPA 72-2007 applies
strictly to the components that make up the fire alarm system. However, the
integration of fire protection systems and the fire alarm system within a
building significantly broadens the scope of acceptance and periodic testing.
In fact, the fire alarm system often serves as a management tool to oversee the
operational readiness of all other fire protection systems.
72-2007, Section 6.8, provides for a fire alarm system to monitor alarm and
supervisory conditions of all building fire protection systems. Section 6.16
lays out the requirements for when the fire alarm system provides a command and
control interface with other building fire safety functions, such as elevator
recall; elevator shut-down; fire-door release; door unlocking; smoke control
actuation; stairwell pressurization; smoke and fire damper release; and
heating, ventilating and air conditioning system (HVAC). In addition, the 2007
edition of the National Fire Alarm Code includes provisions for the interfacing
of mass notification systems with building fire alarm systems.
will find many of these systems and functions in both new and existing
educational buildings. Fire alarm system replacement in an existing building
provides additional challenges when a contractor must perform an acceptance
Up for the test
on the alarm system replacement or upgrade, contractors may overlook the other
functions and systems that are controlled or monitored by the fire alarm
system. The contractor must program and test these interfaced systems to ensure
they perform as originally intended for the safety of the occupants.
than a decade, common practice has provided for the simultaneous commissioning
of all systems in a building. The wise contractor will carefully consider this
when they have the responsibility to install a fire alarm system in any
building but especially in an educational building.
Building Commissioning Association (BCA) serves the fast-growing building
commissioning industry. Its stated mission is to guide the building
commissioning industry through establishing best practices, educating providers
and promoting the benefits of building commissioning.
According to the BCA Web site (www.bcxa.org),
BCA’s goal is to achieve high professional standards, while allowing for the
diverse and creative approaches to building commissioning that benefit our
profession and its clients. For this reason, the BCA focuses on identifying
critical commissioning attributes and elements, rather than attempting to
dictate a rigid commissioning process. Building commissioning provides
documented confirmation that building systems function according to criteria
set forth in the project documents to satisfy the owner’s operational needs.
Commissioning existing systems may require developing new functional criteria
to address the owner’s current requirements for system performance.”
to the BCA, the definition of the purpose of commissioning is:
purpose of building commissioning is to provide documented confirmation that
building systems function in compliance with criteria set forth in the Project
Documents to satisfy the owner’s operational needs. Commissioning of existing
systems may require the development of new functional criteria in order to
address the owner’s current systems performance requirements.”
commissioning of the fire alarm system and any building systems integrated with
the fire alarm system is a quality management process, with the initial
activities related to quality assurance (installation and system programming)
and subsequent activities (testing and maintenance) related to quality control.
for contractors to ensure a proper fire alarm system commissioning process takes
place, they must focus on details, such as scheduling, participation of various
parties, actual lines of reporting, level of documentation, development of
prefunctional testing requirements, and detailed functional performance test
when retrofitting a fire alarm system into an existing educational building,
the parties who participated in the initial installation and test of the
integrated systems most likely will not have any part in the retrofit project.
requires that the fire alarm system contractor review the original system
documentation in detail to determine what other systems integrate with the
existing fire alarm system. The contractor also must determine what fire safety
functions the fire alarm system controls.
defines “Retrocommissioning (a type of existing-building commissioning)” on the
Web site as “a systematic process for investigating, analyzing, and optimizing
the performance of building systems by improving their operation and
maintenance to ensure their continued performance over time. Retrocommissioning
helps make the building systems perform interactively to meet the owner’s
current facility requirements.”
All of this
information should alert the professional contractor to pause before quoting a
price to replace an existing fire alarm system. The contractor must first be
sure of the detailed operation requirements for the existing system.
NFPA 72-2007, Section 10.6.2.3 requires those performing all
inspections, testing and maintenance after the initial installation to provide
a record that includes the following information:
of person performing inspection, maintenance, tests or combination thereof,
address and telephone number
address and representative of approving agency(ies)
of the detector(s) tested; for example, ‘Tests performed in accordance with
test of detectors
test of required sequence of operations
of all smoke detectors
resistance for all fixed-temperature, line-type heat detectors
tests as required by the equipment manufacturer’s published instructions
tests as required by the authority having jurisdiction
of tester and approved authority representative
of problems identified during test (e.g., owner notified, problem
retested, device abandoned in place)”
references testing all of the required sequence of operations. An input/output
matrix offers one method to define the required sequence of operations and to
document the actual sequence of operations (See Figure A.10.6.2.3(9) from NFPA
minimum, the contractor should request the as-built drawings and the system
documentation does not exist, the contractor must either perform a complete
functional test of the existing fire alarm system or determine the owner’s fire
protection goals and how the owner expects the fire alarm system to perform.
Then, the contractor must develop a detailed design to accomplish those goals.
guide for the best practices for design and commissioning of fire alarm systems
includes the following:
a clear understanding of the fire protection goals:
• Code compliance (minimums?)
• Life safety
• Property protection
• Mission protection
2. Understand the issues of the
building (for example, class changes, laboratory locations.
and use) and the impact of the fire
alarm system on the building occupants
the impact of the fire alarm system on the operations of the educational
what other fire-safety functions the fire alarm system must perform beyond
detection (HVAC control, door
control, lighting, elevator recall, connections to the FD,
5. Establish the System
Performance Matrix. Determine system programming needs.
a clear commissioning plan.
all system interfaces (for example, will a mass notification system (MNS)
with the fire alarm system?).
the requirements for acceptance testing and commissioning the fire alarm
Contractors must remember that today’s fire alarm systems can be quite
complicated. A contractor may program such systems to perform many important
fire safety functions. For this reason, the commissioning process has a
heightened importance. It must verify that the installed fire alarm system
meets the code, and it must verify that the fire alarm system complies with the
owner’s design and performance intentions.
A thorough commissioning process will include all of the appropriate
operation and maintenance documentation. And, of course, the contractor must
provide training for the personnel who will operate the fire alarm system, in
order to ensure reliability and minimize downtime of the system.
goal for both the contractor and the owner remains continued high performance
and reliability of the installed fire alarm system.
MOORE, a licensed fire protection engineer, frequent speaker and an expert in
the life safety field,
is a co-editor of the current “National Fire Alarm Code Handbook.” Moore
is a principal with
Hughes Associates Inc. at the Warwick,
with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com
years ago, Lynn (Mass.) School
District had many problems in the Thurgood
Marshall Middle School.
Students were fighting in the public areas. The building was being vandalized.
There were several arson attempts, and one teacher was suspected of being
poisoned. Although district administrators knew they needed to make changes,
according to Lynn
school deputy superintendent Cathie Latham, “We didn’t know where to begin.”
Since then, the district has installed a security system with
closed-circuit television (CCTV) and controlled door access and has made other
improvements, which have changed the school setting in just two years. There
had been trees blocking cameras outside the school, overgrown foliage at the
entrance and broken doors.
GE Security, Bradenton,
Fla., brought a team of experts
to the school and reviewed that facility and others in the district. Since
then, the district has a full camera installation that covers public areas in
all its secondary and most primary schools and a card access system that
controls entrances. However, some security problems can be too extreme for
Until recently, the main concern at schools was vandalism and theft.
While those problems may still exist, they have been overshadowed by the
threats of intruders, fights and gang-related violence and crime, said Tim
Hickey, marketing communications and product manager at Sonitrol, which makes
access control, intrusion, video and fire solutions for more than 12,000
schools in North America.
“Facility managers are still concerned about vandalism,” Hickey said,
“but at a district level, the primary concern is about safety. No one wants to
be the next school in the news.”
Emergency notification has been at the forefront for college campuses.
It has been a concern for some Kindergarten through 12th grade
schools, as well. With a notification system, messages can be sent to an
unlimited number of recipients about everything from a crime on campus to bad
At K–12 public schools, more districts are spending their security
budgets on analog or IP cameras that can be managed over a network. Smartcards
and photo IDs, while commonplace on college campuses, are entering into public
schools for faculty and staff. And while biometrics is still too expensive for
most districts, they are beginning to draw interest, Hickey said.
“Schools always have a challenge with funding,” Hickey said, “They need
to identify what their needs are, work out a strategy that suits them and that
can grow with their needs.”
And keeping the openness of the school is even more challenging.
“Schools aren’t just schools anymore,” Hickey said, “They are multiuse
facilities with lots of people in and out for many hours.” Keeping multiuse
facilities safe yet open can be a balancing act.
“You don’t want to feel like you are walking into a prison. You want a
safe atmosphere but not to be overzealous,” he said.
In 2006, GE Security, created a new kind of team approach, preparing a
group of experts in security to meet with schools and do a full evaluation
before making any recommendations. That means identifying both the needs of the
community and the safety concerns.
According to GE Security team member Ray Lauk, education solutions
manager, “[Upfront,] every district has to have a discussion of the philosophy
of security in order to have a system they demand and can also tolerate. Every
community has to make that balance for themselves.”
The team also works with teachers and students, parents, custodians and
police officers, said Paul Baratta, solutions manager. Team members look at the
school environment and scan for easy fixes—cutting back shrubs that create a
shelter for potential criminals or a place to hide drugs or weapons, or cutting
back trees that make video surveillance too dark or obscured.
“And you have to look at what’s going to be tolerated in the community,”
Lauk said, “You have to ensure that the security philosophy matches the mission
of the school.”
The first thing the team members look at is what they have; they must
determine if it is sustainable. And they also evaluate how realistic the goals
are. Many schools want to know the identity of everyone who enters between 8
a.m. and 3 p.m. each day, but to accomplish that, they may need to make more
changes than they realize.
Baratta said the team gets calls from contractors who provide the
integration on a regular basis, and they help guide the contractors through the
“Our goal is to work with the integrators. As much time as we spend face
to face with superintendents, we also talk to integrators,” Baratta said.
Ultimately, Baratta said, every district is spending money on security,
some on planning and others on technology, and others on simply keeping up with
the effects of the crime they were unable to deter, such as painting over
According to Paul Terschuren, vice president of sales and marketing for
visitor-management software company STOPware, knowing and keeping track of who
is on campus and where they are going drives school districts in their search
But can school districts accomplish everything on their wish list and
stay within budget? And can they do it while maintaining an open environment
that makes students, parents and members of the community feel welcome?
Probably not, according to security experts, which is why each school district
needs its own approach that achieves a system that meets the needs and desires
of its users.
“Overall, schools are becoming more savvy and looking to employ
visitor-management solutions that can be integrated with other functions and
resources, such as the Internet,” Terschuren said. Many schools are becoming
closed campuses to help manage security. Of these, several are starting to
integrate access control systems. To complement access control, they are
choosing to add visitor-management software and using badges to identify their
STOPware has a new version of its PassagePoint visitor-management
software solution tailored for schools, known as “PassagePoint EDU.” In EDU,
STOPware has incorporated features, such as automatic sex offender searching
based on a person’s name, preregistration for visitors, badge printing based on
category of people, student tracking and management of custodial rights of
Patrick Fiel, public safety adviser, education, for ADT Security
Services, Boca Raton, Fla., agreed that visitor control is one of
the most prominent school concerns. As executive director for school security
in Washington, D.C., from 1997 to 2002, Fiel was tasked
with making the city’s schools more secure, and access control was one of his
However, ADT and Fiel take what they call a holistic approach to school
campus security—putting measures in place that are most applicable to a
district’s specific problems.
“We try to become a partner,” Fiel said.
Visitor-management systems eliminate many of the hazards other schools
face since they keep the source of a problem from getting into the school in
the first place. If the district can afford to take it to another level, access
control systems can allow schools to scan visitors’ driver’s licenses, other
government identification and passport information before they are granted a
temporary visitor badge.
“Every school in every district needs to have a security plan,” Fiel
said. “If they don’t have one, they need to create one.”
New construction facilities often offer the best opportunities to
install a comprehensive security plan. However, all too often, Fiel said, the
budget for security isn’t considered until the school is already close to
surveillance on the rise
Panasonic has seen growing sales of IP-based systems, such as its i-Pro
network-based video surveillance solutions that allow school administrators and
security personnel to access live video images over their networks, according
to Frank DeFina, president, Panasonic System Solutions Co., Secaucus, N.J.
Networked video surveillance systems allow for integration with related
security systems, such as access control and visitor management, where specific
sequences of events can automatically trigger alarms and notifications.
“There has definitely been a rise in awareness for tighter security at
educational facilities across the nation as a result of the increased media
coverage of unfortunate events that have taken place at schools,” DeFina said.
This, combined with the overall trend for networked integrated security
systems, has broadened the scope of responsibility into the IT domain.
DeFina noted that more manufacturers are entering into partnerships in
an effort to achieve greater interoperability among formerly disparate security
systems, such as video surveillance, access control and intrusion systems.
“At Panasonic, we launched a business initiative aimed at improving open
infrastructure so that our systems can be seamlessly integrated with other
systems on a network platform or in a hybrid configuration consisting of some
combination of traditional analog and networked devices,” he said.
Sanyo also has recognized a need to migrate security systems in schools
to an IP-based platform.
“This was the impetus behind our ‘IP-ready when you are’ engineering
strategy and product roadmap,” said Frank Abram, vice president and general
manager, Sanyo Security Systems, Chatsworth,
Calif. Every Sanyo pan-focus or
pan-tilt-zoom camera is now designed to be IP-ready with the addition of a
network board. The conversion can be made quickly and right in the field.
“This will help accelerate schools’ abilities to upgrade their systems
to network-based operation and apply the latest advancements in PC-driven
control solutions that are scalable for future growth and can be upgraded much
more efficiently than conventional analog solutions,” Abram said.
SWEDBERG is a
freelance writer based in western Washington.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com
A market heats up
The data center industry is facing
the need for high-dollar investments in
upgrades, facility replacements, and
the recruitment of new workers.
Increased demands for data center power efficiency and
computing density are generating new construction—and excessive heat. All of
this activity is creating significant opportunities for distributors providing
power efficiency and distribution, air handling, and cable management
Today’s businesses and organizations literally run on
data—thus making the world of data centers a vital market that plays a critical
role in the U.S. economy.
AFCOM, an association supporting the data center industry,
represents the professionals at the heart of data center operations. In 2006,
in order to find out what is shaping current concerns and future planning among
data center administrators, AFCOM’s Data Center Institute surveyed more than
1,000 AFCOM members. The published findings, entitled Five Bold Predictions for
the Data Center Industry That Will Change Your Future, reported that by 2016,
53% of data center managers expect to physically expand their data center
facilities, with 45% of them planning to make major improvements to these
facilities. Of those that were surveyed, 32% said they will have to relocate
their data center operations. Reasons for this included 41.8% reporting
business growth, 33% claiming aging facilities, and more than 32% indicating
their need for newer technology.
When asked to identify the greatest facility problems facing
data centers, the AFCOM members listed three that are directly linked to the
massive increase in computing density: insufficient power, excessive heat, and
insufficient raised floor area.
“All of these problems happen to be related issues,”
explained Mark Guymon, director of product management for Leviton’s Power
Solutions Products. “Wattage-hungry servers and other types of equipment are
requiring more and more electrical power to feed the ever-increasing processing
power. These faster, more powerful processors in turn generate more heat, which
leads to a need for more cooling—and a need for more raised floor space for
power and cooling infrastructure.”
According to a 2006 report to Congress by the EPA, in 2006,
“Data centers in the United
States have the potential to save up to $4
billion in annual electricity costs through more energy-efficient equipment and
operation.” The report indicated that the energy consumption of servers and
data centers has doubled over the past five years, and that existing
technologies and strategies could reduce server energy use by approximately
“When a data center is being designed, computing density is
a critical engineering concern, and a primary requirement for older
facilities,” said Roger Jette, president of Snake Tray. “Because one server
cabinet can generate a 4,000W thermal, load cooling is extremely important.
Access floors are the primary means of delivering cooling air to the cool
aisle, so reducing congestion under raised floors by designing higher floors
and installing cable tray closer to the floor allows greater circulation of
“A well-run data
center is a core competency for any major organization,” said William DiBella,
president of AFCOM. “A few years ago, 1kW power per rack was the norm; however,
power has since grown to 14kW to 24kW per rack. The proliferation of blade
servers in the data center has increased computing density, which, in turn, is
causing power consumption and cooling issues. As a result, the question for
today’s data center manager is: How do we continue to increase computing power
without increasing energy consumption?
“Power and cooling are the industry’s squeaky wheels that
are getting much of the attention,” continued DiBella. “We’re seeing a greater
reliance on modeling software to help data centers manage their power
efficiency and cooling needs. These tools help identify potential hot spots
before hardware gets laid out, and help design the most efficient airflow
patterns to unavoidable hot spots, which allows you to reduce your overall
Guymon noted that one way that data centers are dealing with
the need for more power is by using 208V input power rather than standard 120V
power. “A lot of servers and other equipment accept either 120V or 208V, but
208V is about 73% more efficient in terms of how it uses the available
amperage,” he said.
According to a study from FTM Consulting, the U.S. data
center cabling market is poised to grow at an average annual growth rate of
26.8% from $680.9 million in 2006 to more than $2.2 billion by 2011. The study
projects the data center cabling market will account for 30.8% of the total
structured cabling systems market by 2011.
Frank Murawski, president of FTM Consulting, noted, “One
surprising findings is that the market is strong for both fiber and copper
cabling. We found the market is segmented into three distinct groups of users:
small sites with an all copper cabling architecture; medium sites with hybrid
copper/fiber cabling; and large sites with all fiber cabling.”
A key driver for this growth is the increasing storage
requirement, which leads to the centralization of databases at servers within
data centers. “Storage has become so cheap that data centers are getting much
bigger, with many IT departments outgrowing their older facilities,” noted
DiBella. “Many older data centers are relocating to areas with cheaper power.”
DiBella also projects a shift from the explosive growth seen
in server/rack installations. “We’ve seen a shift away from mainframes, which
greatly increased server density, space requirements, and heat generation,”
said DiBella. “Now we’re seeing a cycle back to using mainframes in place of a
far larger number of servers. It’s easier to manage 30 mainframes than 3,000
provides B2B marketing services for electrical industry organizations. He can
be reached at email@example.com.
with full permission of The Electrical Distributor Magazine www.tedmag.com
Private labeling: The risks and benefits
Plugged in: The U.S. data
center cabling market is poised to grow to more than $2.2 billion by 2011.
Like many distributors, Border States is trying to learn
about the pros and cons of selling private label products. We have seen a few
large distributors make statements against private labeling, while other large,
medium, and small distributors have had some success selling private label
The benefits of a private label strategy may include
capturing the manufacturer’s margin and the ability to control profit from the
top of the supply chain to the bottom. In addition, customer relationships may
improve because of lower costs and distributors may be able to differentiate
themselves by providing the ability to create products that may not already
exist in the market.
On the downside, private labels may strain relationships
manufacturers because they challenge the distributor’s traditional role. With private
labels, the distributor is no longer a sales and marketing agent, but rather
his or her own agent on behalf of the customer. In addition, private labels add
responsibilities for the distributor, as well as supply chain risks. And, with
an increasing number of components coming from offshore manufacturers, these
risks can be substantial.
As you continue to do your homework on the pros and cons of
selling private label products, consider the following:
1. Is your purchasing team trained to do global sourcing?
2. Is your accounting team experienced in dealing with
foreign currency issues?
3. Is your operations team ready to deal with global
4. Is your warehouse team trained to handle container load
shipments, and do you have the space to do so?
5. Is your marketing team geared up to market private label
products without manufacturer support and resources?
6. Is your risk management team ready to deal with potential
warranty and other liability issues that may arise?
To help members evaluate product liability exposure as it
affects distributors and installers in the global marketplace, NAED’s Education
& Research Foundation funded the project Product Liability Exposure: How to
Manage and Mitigate the Risks in Today’s Global Market (learn more about this
research at naed.org). The study suggests proactive measures those considering
private label products should take, such as:
1. Doing business directly with a known, established, or
reputable manufacturer or intermediary
2. Checking UL-listed products’ “E” numbers on the UL
3. Doing due diligence—and documenting it—before doing
business with an unknown manufacturer
4. Retaining all samples to compare against product
5. Undertaking an independent evaluation to assess potential
exposures from products sold or services provided
6. Examining the contracts and strength of indemnification
agreements, vendor endorsements, and insured endorsements with manufacturers
7. Ascertaining the ability and responsiveness of
manufacturers to provide defense and indemnification for their products
8. Examining all existing insurance coverages and making
necessary adjustments to ensure full protection is obtained
9. Examining the financial security of the insurance
company—for both the distributor’s and the manufacturer’s policy
As companies try to find innovative ways to maintain or
boost existing margins, private labels will continue to appeal to some
distributors as an option. Many resources are available to help increase
awareness about the potential risks and rewards of selling private label
products. Take advantage of these many resources to ensure you make an informed
decision. If you are considering launching a private label, do your homework to
determine whether such a move makes strategic and financial sense for your
with full permission of The Electrical Distributor Magazine www.tedmag.com
Who’s the biggest?
post-2007 top five electrical distributorship shake-out.
Thanks to headline late-2007 acquisitions, which saw the
absorption of USESI and the prospect of a takeover of Hagemeyer NV, there’s
been a shake-up at the very top of the electrical distribution business in the
United States—and the world.
With Hagemeyer to be divvied up by Rexel SA and Sonepar SA,
and USESI now a part of Consolidated Electrical Distributors (CED), the cards
have been dealt in new ways. Add WESCO’s 2006 acquisition of Communications
Supply Corporation (CSC), and the major deals in the past two years put new
cards in the hands of four of the top five electrical distributors in the
Who’s the biggest? Here’s how this reshuffling is playing
• CED emerged in October to acknowledge its major move to
purchase USESI. Here’s what is known about the transaction:
• CED has never previously purchased a company of such size.
• USESI’s sales before the transaction topped $700 million.
• Owners of USESI—the sellers—included top executive Richard
Worthy (who led Sonepar’s initial acquisitive foray into the United States) and
two private equity concerns. One of those (the primary owner) was a family
investment arm owned by Michael Dell, founder of Dell.
• Worthy remains with USESI and, thus, with CED.
• CED has shifted a previous acquisition (Standard Electric
Supply) to USESI’s silo.
According to the table below, it’s possible that CED owns
close to one-third of the combined total U.S. branches operated by it,
Graybar, Rexel, Sonepar, and WESCO.
Forbes magazine’s list of “America’s Largest Private
Companies” put CED’s 2006 sales at $3.28 billion, a 17% increase over one year
earlier. Add USESI (and the Standard Electric acquisition, which is being
folded into USESI), and some growth, and it seems CED could have perhaps $4.5
billion in 2007 sales, if not more.
Is CED the biggest electrical distributor? In terms of the
number of U.S.
branches, it certainly seems so.
• Hagemeyer. Rexel appeared to outbid Sonepar in November
and won the right to purchase Hagemeyer. But the deal—which was taking time to
come together—included a provision that Rexel would sell off pieces of
Hagemeyer to Sonepar. Hagemeyer’s 2007 global sales seem likely to top $9
So what happens to Hagemeyer? Rexel reportedly is taking
most of the European operations (perhaps 58% of the sales dollars). It has
contracted to sell off Hagemeyer’s not-small North American and Asia/Pacific
operations, and some minor European slices, to Sonepar.
Essentially, the companies that house the world’s two
largest electrical distribution operations—one with stock in public hands
(Rexel) and one family owned (Sonepar)—have made a meal out of the
once-struggling Dutch company.
Note: While Rexel and Sonepar are not on the same team,
together they are a powerful global force. After absorbing Hagemeyer, these two
France-based firms will, together, account for 4,426 of the branches
represented on the table.
• Rexel SA. One quickly gets to some breathtaking numbers
when adding up the pieces of Rexel and throwing in the big Hagemeyer bite:
• Rexel’s pro forma 2006 sales were 10.7 billion euros,
which works out to $15.8 billion.
• In the first nine months of 2007, Rexel’s worldwide sales
were up 3.5%.
• Add in Hagemeyer’s sales in Europe—where
that company had a 7.1% sales increase through the year’s first three
quarters—and Rexel’s annual sales could total $6.25 billion.
All told, Rexel’s 2007 global distribution sales could top
What did the company obtain by consuming Hagemeyer? Before
the deal, North America made up close to half
of Rexel SA’s sales—thanks in significant part to its 2006 acquisition of GE
Supply (now known as Gexpro).
Now, sales on this continent will comprise roughly 37% of
the company’s global revenues; Europe will
comprise more than 50% of Rexel SA’s total sales.
• Sonepar SA. With 9.45 billion euros in 2006 sales—about
$14 billion—Sonepar was (and remains) the world’s second largest electrical
Plans detailed during the Hagemeyer acquisition call for
Sonepar to take over U.S.
(approximately $2 billion in sales) and Asia-Pacific (more than $700 million in
Omitting 2007 organic growth that came from smaller
acquisitions (the company bought two companies in Latvia during the Hagemeyer
dealings), Sonepar’s annual sales could end up at $17 billion or more.
Of that, roughly $4.4 billion (more than 25%) comes from the
(Some of that is nonelectrical—safety supplies added with the purchase of
Note: If one credits all of Hagemeyer’s U.S. branches
to Sonepar, the company will have more than 450 locations in this
country—roughly equal to what Rexel has, including Gexpro.
• WESCO’s name was thrown about by financial re porters
seeking to stoke the flames of a hot bidding war for Hagemeyer, but an offer
never materialized. Here’s what’s known about WESCO’s current situation:
3 Through nine months of 2007, almost all of the com pany’s
growth ($524 million of $568 million in added sales) came via its 2006
acquisition of CSC. To put that another way, WESCO’s sales at the three-quarter
mark were $4.514 billion; the increase outside of CSC was only $44 million (or
1.1%) over sales at the nine-month mark of 2006.
3 Integration of CSC seems to be going well. CSC’s 2006
sales were reported as roughly $600 million. That operation seems headed for a
double-digit sales increase this year.
3 WESCO has the wherewithal to make additional purchases. At
this moment, however, it seems to be concentrating on shrinking the number of
shares it has outstanding. After completing a $400 million stock buy-back in
September, the company immediately announced it would invest another $400
million in open-market purchases of WESCO stock.
If one combines its electrical and datacomm operations, how
big is WESCO in the United
States? In 2006, U.S. sales were given as $4.6
billion. Hold that flat if you like, for 2007, but add in $660 million, or
more, for CSC. Now subtract something for WESCO’s fledgling fastener operation
and its manufactured housing business. For a back-of-the-envelope number, peg
electrical and datacomm sales at roughly $5 billion.
How about Rexel? When the com-pany acquired GE Supply, press
releases indicated the combo would have $4.7 billion in 2005 sales. One must
add something to that for growth in 2006, and even more for acquisitions
(including Rexel’s U.S.
acquisition of CLS of New England). Now subtract something for the foreign
operations included in GE Supply’s total and for slight declines in 2007. In
round numbers, a guesstimate for Rexel (including Gexpro) in the United States
in 2007 comes in at around $5 billion.
Sonepar’s total U.S. sales (including Hagemeyer)
were given earlier at about $4.4 billion. Let’s stick with that number, knowing
that we should subtract something from it for the nonelectrical (safety) sales
that the company is acquiring with those various Hagemeyer operations.
What about Graybar? The company’s 10-K filing with the
Securities & Exchange Commission does not break sales down by geography.
Sales this year seem headed slightly north of last year’s $5.2 billion;
however, something must be subtracted for its Canadian operations—so let’s put
Graybar at about $5 billion.
Then there’s CED, which seems to be a stab in the dark at
any given moment. For consistency’s sake, let’s stick with the $4.5 billion
Essentially, then, this handicapping effort puts the five
competitors very close to each other. It’s what they call a “blanket finish” at
is an Oakton, Virginia-based writer. He can be reached at eddotcom@
See his weekly column on tedmag.com and his electrical construction industry
blog at eleblog.com.
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information about Klein Tools, circle 200 on the Direct Info Card.
Identifying the largest electrical/datacomm distributor in
the United States is interesting, as what it boils down to for many TED readers
is simple: If and when I want to sell my electrical distribution company, who’s
likely to make an offer?
Here’s some conventional wisdom on which very large
electrical distributor might buy your company, with regard to the players named
in the story to the left:
• CED/USESI. Richard Worthy’s career at Sonepar and his
shaping of USESI has been all about buying companies. Also, Worthy has signed a
six-year contract with CED; USESI will continue to do the things that it has
done recently—buy distributors to integrate; and USESI will grow by opening
branches. The company has opened 19 so far; in 2008, Worthy plans on double
• Graybar’s philosophy, as revealed in public statements,
does not anticipate a major new program of acquisitions.
• Rexel. Dick Waterman, boss of the holding company that
overseas Rexel and Gexpro, has said that further acquisitions to build out each
operating unit were not only possible, but also anticipated.
• Sonepar. Word is that Sonepar will have some work to do to
blend the Hagemeyer units it has in the United States into its fold.
• WESCO doesn’t seem to be suffering from the effort of
integrating CSC. Furthermore, the company’s free cash flow seems to be
healthy—which could enable it to make purchases.
What’s more, the company’s debt-to-equity ratio is decent,
and it has made several small acquisitions. Still, the company’s internal focus
might lead one’s thinking away from a slew of new acquisitions. —J.S.
CEO of Border States Electric in Fargo, N.D.
Reach her at 602-206-9502 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
with full permission of The Electrical Distributor Magazine www.tedmag.com
Gear up for green
Get a handle on this market—or risk
losing sales opportunities.
When it comes to green and sustainable building issues, many
electrical distributors have two main concerns: the impact all of this green
talk is likely to have on their businesses, and just how well they are
positioned to benefit from it.
“The green building market is growing about 50% per year—far
faster than the commercial market,” said Richard Walker, senior national
environmental solutions manager for Siemens Building Technologies.
“Electrical contractors and distributors need to get up to
speed and add value to this growing market,” said Jordan Lerner, director for
TAC Energy Solutions Division.
At Eoff Electric, a Sonepar USA distributor in Portland, Ore.,
a decision was made more than six years ago to support energy management
applications in green projects. Today, the company has a dedicated team focused
on automated energy management. “Our projects have saved more than 3 million
kilowatt hours each year—and we have only scratched the surface in a huge
untapped market for industrial retrofit,” said Les Williamson, president.
The company holds training sessions on the financial payback
of installing new, high-performance, energy-efficient lighting at industrials
and utilities. “We’ve also completed an energy audit and helped customers file
for energy trust rebates for installation of energy-efficient electrical
products,” noted Williamson.”It’s powerful when you can deliver the rebate
check to a customer.”
According to Williamson, those in CII construction in the
next five years will miss a huge opportunity if they don’t train personnel to
handle the green initiative. “If the channel fails to get a handle on this
market, it could lose sales opportunities,” he warned. “New companies are
popping up that are totally focused on providing green expertise.”
Fortunately, many distributors already have the tools to
take advantage of the green movement.
“Many don’t realize how green they are,” said Dave Davidson,
solutions center manager for Eaton’s electrical group. “Most already sell many
of the ballasts, lighting fixtures, and lighting dimming controls that, if
integrated properly, maximize energy efficiency.”
“Companies see that they must meet the code and take notice
of LEED,” said Mike Crane, product marketing manager for Hubbell Building
Rebecca Hadley-Catter, manager, SOURCE
Center, expects LEED will continue to
increase the demand for sustainable lighting as indicated by LEED NC
v2.2, which requires minimum compliance with ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1-2004.
“To gain additional points in lighting projects, demand
lighting systems that integrate fixtures, daylighting, and controls and exceed
power densities required in ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1-2004 by 7% to 42%,” said
She also noted that companies should have taken advantage of
the EPAct tax deduction and installed new lighting systems before the Dec. 31,
According to Eric Lind, director of commercial marketing for
Lutron Electronics, sustainable design is affecting every part of the U.S.
construction industry because of the value it brings to building owners.
“Energy savings go directly to the bottom line. Almost every electrical aspect
of a building project is impacted by sustainable design. It’s a key area to
focus on when trying to achieve LEED certification.
“Lighting and lighting control have the biggest impact on
the sustainability and LEED viability of a project,” continued Lind. “Lighting
is the single biggest energy draw in a building. Dimming saves energy, so every
product we manufacture contributes in a major way to the sustainability of a
Susan Anderson, manager, energy relations for Osram
Sylvania, noted that the watts-per-square-foot allowances in 2007 ASHRAE 90.1
declined from the 2004 standard. “This mandates the use of more energy-efficient
products, so the distributor supplying the contractor needs to be aware of the
best high-efficiency products. Most states have already adopted an energy code,
which means that most projects that require permits are affected,” she said.
According to Ty Foren, market development manager of
commercial, industrial, and OEM for Cooper Power Systems, “Green and
sustainable product and service offerings will grow more than the new
construction market as existing building owners seek green, sustainable
solutions as well.”
provides B2B marketing services for electrical industry organizations. He can
be reached at email@example.com.
with full permission of The Electrical Distributor Magazine www.tedmag.com
Q: What is LEED?
A: In 2000,
the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) launched the LEED program (Leadership
in Energy and Environmental Design). LEED calls for construction projects to be
in compliance with ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1; LEED-registered projects earn points and
awards for meeting energy reduction.
questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Market the message
Given the current clamor about sustainability, many
companies are rushing to announce new green products and eco-initiatives in
both the mainstream media and industry publications. Many are also publishing
their green accomplishments in their own marketing literature, through trade
associations, and on the Internet.
All reports indicate that customers, suppliers, employees,
investors, and surrounding communities welcome companies’ green programs and
policies. “We’ve seen an increase recently in the number of job seekers who
want to work for green companies or in industries that are helpful to the
environment,” said Bernadette Kenny, chief career officer of Adecco USA, a human
resources consulting and research firm.
Applying this information to distribution, the following
questions might spring to mind:
• How can value be added to current product lines and
services, green-certified products, and electronic billing?
• Can entirely new revenue paths be created—such as a
recycling service for electronic waste or a consulting service to help
municipalities reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
• How can we differentiate ourselves from the competition?
Can things like biodegradable packaging, hybrid delivery trucks, or
well-publicized support for a local environmental organization do this?
As progressive corporate leaders are demonstrating in
virtually every industry, there are myriad opportunities to capitalize on
green—and to secure free publicity in the bargain.
is a St. Louis-based free-lance writer. She can be reached at
JanNiehaus@charter.net or 314-644-4135.
with full permission of The Electrical Distributor Magazine www.tedmag.com
That’s all folks!
Next month we hope to have several
powerful articles from Rexel’s Power Outlet Magazine.
REMEMBER TO RECYCLE, REDUCE AND REUSE