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Wireville.com

Issue: November 2008
By: Frank Bisbee


Datacom/Telecom Glossary
In This Issue

Bits N' Pieces


BISBEE’S BUZZ

A Recession?

My father once told me that the definition was personal. “A recession is when the other guy loses his job. A depression is when I lose my job.”  The current economy has defined today’s condition as a recession for millions and a depression for hundreds of thousands. The nation's unemployment rate bolted to a 14-year high of 6.5 percent in October as another 240,000 jobs were cut, far worse than economists expected and stark proof the economy is deteriorating at an alarmingly rapid pace.  The cutbacks and expansion suspensions are staggering. But TECHNOLOGY has become so important to our commerce that it moves forward without regard to the economy.

Change is on the horizon

The Nation elects the first African-American President. Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States of America. It was a long and grueling political race. Many are glad it is over. The voters in the USA have spoken and a new regime is poised to take command. The promised support for the small business base is yet to be defined. Contractors are hopeful that there will be some additional stability now that the elections are OVER. The stock market still looks lost, however, prices have fallen at the gas pump. Copper has stepped back from an all time high, but the cost of fluoropolymer plastics, like Teflon® FEP still climbs. The cabling industry is witnessing many changes. Cabling infrastructure has become critical. Even the operations and businesses that face horrid financial conditions must continue to deal with MACs (moves, additions, and changes).  MAC activity may constitute as much as 2x the entire system in a year of change. These revenues are the bread and butter of the contractors and distributors.

Copper’s Last Stand?

FASTER NETWORKS to handle more information is one trend that is undeniable. Several industry experts are predicting a change of leadership in the cabling command. Fiber Optic cabling seems to be the preferred mode for designing a network with any reasonable barrier to obsolescence. Copper is facing the last stand as the dominant method of delivering the high performance networks. Data centers are already dealing with 100Gb design for infrastructure and the rest of the market is following closely.

The best of the best

Recently, we have seen a new trend in contractor and distributor solutions. After years of migration strategy marketing from the manufacturers, the consumers, contractors and distributors are saying “NO MORE”.  The idea of selling solutions that are obsolete before they are installed may have been accepted before but NO MORE. Even a cursory review of the cost comparisons show that investing in an infrastructure that is out-dated is bad business. One example of a distributor organization that is geared for the future is WESCO and it’s subsidiaries. Their internal programs carefully scrutinize the products and systems for value and benefits. Contractors that work with WESCO are finding that it gives them a competitive edge. We feel that other distributors are also following the lead set by WESCO because real value sells. www.wesco.com and www.gocsc.com

SOURCES and current information

In closing, some of the manufacturers have suppressed technology to squeeze out the profit from their manufacturing costs. That’s okay, but we don’t have to buy it. Judge the source of your information. The Internet has become a powerful tool for the buyer and designer to get the “rest of the story”. Almost all of the print publications and associations have very significant websites packed with additional information at no cost to the “searcher”.

Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine

BOMA.org

Cabling Networking Systems

NAIOP

Network & Cable Magazine

Building Operating Management

TED – The Electrical Distributor Magazine

NEC Digest

Communications News Magazine

Wire International

The Electrical Contractor Magazine

Network Magazine

ACUTA Journal

www.nfpa.org

ACUTA Newsletter

Buildings Magazine

Plus there are many other association publication and independent sites with lots of news that you can use:

¨       www.wireville.com

¨       www.naed.org

¨       www.bldgdesign2020.com

¨       www.thefoa.org

¨       www.cablingtrends.com

¨       www.cablingconnections.com

¨       www.wired4fiber.com

¨       www.eleblog.com

¨       www.cablingnewswire.com

                                 ALTS - Association for Local Telecommunications Services

                                 APOMA - American Precision Optics Manufacturers Association

                                 ANSI - American National Standards Institute

                                 ASEE - American Society for Engineering Education

                                 ATIS - Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions

                                 BICSI - Building Industry Consulting Service International

                                 CMA - Communications Managers Association

                                 ECTA - European Competitive Telecommunications Association

                                 EIA - Electronic Industries Association

                                 ETO - European Telecommunications Office

                                 ETSI - European Telecommunications Standards Institute

                                 FCC - Federal Communications Commission

                                 FCIA - Fiber Channel Industry Association

                                 FIA - Fibreoptic Industry Association

                                 Fiber Jack Industry Roundtable

                                 FOA – Fiber Optic Association

                                 FTTH Council - Fiber to the Home Council

                                 HKTUG - Hong Kong Telecommunications Group

                                 ICA - International Communications Association

                                 IEC - International Engineering Consortium

                                 IEEE -The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

                                 INTUG - International Telecommunications Users Group

                                 ISO - International Organization for Standardization

                                 LEOMA - Laser & Electro-Optics Manufacturers Association

                                 LIA - Laser Institute of America

                                 NACC - National Association of Communications Contractors

                                 NATOA - National Association of Telecommunications Officers & Advisors

                                 OIF - Optical Internetworking Forum

                                 OSA - Optical Society of America

                                 Photonics Association (Singapore)

                                 SCTE - Society of Cable Telecommunication Engineers

                                 SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering

                                 TCA - Information Technology & Telecommunications Association

                                 TIA/FOLS - Telecommunications Industry Association -  LAN Section

Well, you’ve got your homework cut out for you. Change is coming and it is going to be very hard on some folks. Stay current and stay on top of your game.

But that’s just my opinion,

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

Industry News

Megladon Announces New Product Release of Bend Insensitive Fiber Optic Drop Cables with HLC® ScratchGuard™ Technology

Incorporation of Bend Insensitive fiber is next logical step for CATV Drop Cables

Megladon Manufacturing Group answered the request of the CATV industry today by providing bend insensitive fiber for node tail applications. Maximizing the number of customers served by each node has reduced the available space inside the node for fiber management. The result is attenuation and potential intermittent failures which are seen by customers as outages.

Managing the fiber inside the node is a big problem. There are typically six fiber strands that must be properly routed to specific ports. Service loops are added to ease repair and maintenance in the event issues arise after installation. The result is several meters of fiber that must be enclosed in the node without bending or pinching when the lid is closed. This entire process is completed from a bucket truck thirty or more feet off the ground.

Utilizing bend insensitive fiber is the answer the industry has been seeking for two primary reasons. First, the installation time is reduced which has an associated cost savings. The time savings is due to a more straight forward process and ease of certification. Second, the prevention of intermittent failures due to bend loss reduces the number of technician trips to the site and plays a key role in customer satisfaction and retention.

“We have watched the CATV industry struggle with loss issues at the node for many years”, stated John M Culbert, President of Megladon. “The addition of hardware inside the node to support more wavelengths has improved density while putting a strain on the reliability of the final solution. The addition of our HLC SCRATCHGUARD technology earlier this year removed many of the loss barriers and now the migration to bend insensitive fiber is the next logical step.”

Megladon’s Bend Insensitive node cables with HLC SCRATCHGUARD technology are the most reliable in the industry and utilize Draka’s (www.drakaamericas.com) Bend Insensitive fiber in both the 10X and 100X versions. The cables may be configured in various fiber counts, lengths and are supported with all standard fiber optic connectors including the SCAPC HLC. They are competitively priced and ready for immediate deployment.

Megladon Manufacturing Group Ltd., a subsidiary of TyRex Group Ltd.®, is recognized as a leader in the fiber optic marketplace. Founded in 1997, Megladon made it their mission to provide customers with fiber optic products that far exceed industry standards. As technology innovators, Megladon created the HLC® (Hardened Lens Contact) termination, which has changed the market and taken it to the next level. For additional information on Megladon and their patented processes please visit the company’s website at www.megladonmfg.com.

For additional information regarding Megladon’s variety of fiber optic products please contact John Culbert at 512.615.4687 or by email at scratchguard@megladonmfg.com.

Editor’s Note: If you wonder if your distributor is up to speed and offering the latest and most effective solutions, test them. Ask if they have scratch resistant fiber optic terminations or jumper cables (patchcords). If they don’t know, give them a few days. If they still don’t know, look for another distributor who offers the latest and greatest values.

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KITCO Fiber Optics Names New Program Manager

KITCO Fiber Optics has named Troy Goodnow to the position of Program Manager – Field Services.  In this position, Goodnow will be responsible for overall project management for the company’s rapidly growing field services team, providing on-site fiber optic services for the U.S. Navy, major shipyards and numerous DoD contractors.  Mr. Goodnow has extensive DoD Program Management experience, most recently serving as Senior Systems Engineer for Advanced Acoustic Concepts as well as Program Manager positions at L-3 Communications and Anteon. 

KITCO Fiber Optics is a leading provider of fiber optic connectorization products, training and consulting services to the military and commercial communications industry. It specializes in the design and fabrication of fiber optic tools, tool kits and custom cable assemblies.  KITCO is also recognized for the development of customized fiber optic curriculum and training and provides commercial and military training worldwide, serving as the U.S. Navy’s sole shipboard fiber optic trainer.  Its highly skilled field services team can respond to fiber optic requirements anytime, anywhere – rapidly providing the best solutions for overcoming system problems or delays. www.kitco.com

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Leviton Announces New Executive Appointments

Pete Newman and Scott Leighton Named to Leadership Roles in Network Solutions Division

Leviton today announced two new appointments in its Network Solutions division. Pete Newman, a 20-year company veteran, has been promoted to senior director of international business development for all Network Solutions products. Scott Leighton, who has 20 years of network infrastructure industry and sales/marketing management experience, joins Network Solutions as director of marketing and customer service.

Newman will be responsible for growing Network Solutions’ product sales outside the United States, including Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, Europe, the Middle East, China and other key international markets, working closely with Leviton’s local sales and management teams. Since joining Leviton, Newman has held various marketing and product management positions, moving 10 years ago into his most recent role as director of marketing and customer service. His dedication and leadership have been instrumental in helping Leviton grow into a top-tier network infrastructure manufacturer. Newman holds a bachelor’s from Purdue University, and an MBA in marketing from Rutgers University.

Scott Leighton joins Leviton to lead Network Solutions’ marketing and customer service efforts going forward. Leighton comes to Leviton from Molex and CommScope, where he held a series of sales and marketing positions. He holds a BA in marketing from Western Michigan University.

“Leviton is focused on growing globally while continuing to provide all our customers with outstanding products and renowned customer service,” said Ross Goldman, Network Solutions’ vice president and general manager. “People are our strongest asset, and having the best team in place is essential to our continued success. Pete and Scott bring incredible talent, experience, and leadership to these key positions.”

About Leviton Network Solutions

Leviton Network Solutions was created 20 years ago to meet the growing need for telecommunications and high-speed data technologies. Today, the division is dedicated to producing complete network infrastructure solutions for its enterprise, data center, service provider, developer, and government customers. Category-rated connectors, cabling assemblies, and patch panels; enclosures and splice trays; PDUs and surge strips; and much more are engineered to exacting standards and offer guaranteed performance. For more information, visit Leviton.com.

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CSC - The distributor with leadership quality

There are no pretty words for the economy. American businesses are doing everything possible to eliminate waste and deadwood. At the same time, the commercial environment is scrambling to refine their competitive edge with the best tools available. For the most part, those tools are technology driven. Even the very structures that house our business operations are becoming automated and more cost efficient. Integrated Building Systems could also be called Integrated Business Systems, because the tools and technology are working together in ways that were not even imagined a few years ago. A visit to the website of the Continental Automated Building Association (www.caba.org) will drive this point home.

The components of the building used to be grouped as POWER, CONTROL, and COMMUNICATIONS. Today, the building systems are all hooked together is an active network of POWER + CONTROLS + COMMUNICATIONS + SECURITY + LIFE SAFETY  plus a host of ancillary customized systems.

THE SMART BUILDING is the wave of the future for commercial real estate. Both BOMA (The Building Owners and Managers Association – www.boma.org) and NAIOP (National Association for Industrial and Office Properties – www.naiop.org) recognize the need for the structure to not only operate at maximum efficiency, but also promote the increased productivity of the tenants. These challenges call for a design and implementation team that can bring all of the parts together in a cohesive powerful set of systems that can do better than “get the job done”. We don’t buy parts. We buy systems.

In order for this scenario to happen, the consumer must have a contractor that is teamed with a distributor, capable of pulling together a valuable integrated solution with barrier to obsolescence. The distributor does not have to be big to be good, but we think that size helps. That is why many of the smaller distributors band together to develop solutions and even standards. Check out NAED – The National Electrical Distributors Association – www.naed.org. This organization has long been known for a focus on value and integrity in the marketplace.

The heir apparent of the IBS market may well be the electrical contractor. There are many reasons driving this trend, but the training, apprentice programs and licensing are the strongest factors. The electrical contractor is reaching out to the consumer with a host of non-traditional services to serve the full spectrum of the building systems. Today, NECA ( the National Electrical Contractors Association – www.necanet.org) is getting the message out through the Electrical Contractor Magazine (www.ecmag.com) and a powerful set of informative websites. An army of small untrained, unorganized independent contractors is finding it very difficult to compete.

Choosing the right distributor for your team requires some research. For example, we researched several distributors and checked behind the scenes.

The important question is “ Does the Policy make it into Practice?” Here is an example of one outfit that got our very highest rating:

Communications Supply Corporation www.gocsc.com

Since CSC’s acquisition by WESCO (one of the world’s largest and most successful electrical products distributors in late 2006, a lot of things have been quietly, deliberately taking place. The two companies have been working on consolidating IT platforms, sharing best practices and beta testing a variety of customer and supplier-focused programs. From what I hear, CSC is now solidly positioned and ready to make its move—to increase its already inherent value to customers, and continue their trend of growing faster than the market. The CSC/WESCO union provides a powerful customer, sales and distribution focus that is making a noticeable impact in the overall marketplace. www.wesco.com

According to David Bemoras, President of CSC, the companies will jointly pursue key growth markets such as security and data centers. “By using our own independent, local strengths and leveraging WESCO’s expansive market brand and global presence, we intend to grow our business while continuing to emphasize and deliver excellent customer service,” Bemoras told me. “Our customer-driven product portfolio, power and infrastructure supplier relationships, best-in-class distribution centers and commitment to quality service will all contribute to solidly strengthen our strong industry leadership role.” Sounds like CSC is the distributor to watch! www.gocsc.com

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Communication News announces HOT PRODUCTS of 2008 Spotlight

In December, Communications News, the data and voice networking magazine for IT professionals, will launch its “Hot Products of 2008 Spotlight,” an annual e-newsletter that will focus on product announcements from the past year.

"As we close in on the holidays, there are precious few opportunities to get your message out, effectively and efficiently, about your products or services – at least without breaking the bank," says Communications News Publisher and Editor Ken Anderberg. "With budgets tight, companies are looking for targeted product marketing with real ROI. And they probably would like to get real, live leads from qualified purchasing decision makers.

"The Hot Products Spotlight provides such an option," he adds. "It will be mailed twice during the first half of December, providing companies with a unique way of further marketing one or more of their products to 70,000 opt-in subscribers." www.comnews.com

He adds that complete contact information of all those who click on newsletter links will be provided to participants. This includes individual’s name, title, company name, address and e-mail address.

Anderberg can be contacted at kanderberg@comnews.com or 941-584-0145.

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LEVITON Cuts Ribbon On State-Of-The-Art Distribution Center In Tennessee

New technology showcase to bring jobs to local economy

Local politicians and community development groups joined Leviton’s chief executives Friday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony to herald the February 2009 opening of the company’s new distribution center in Lebanon, Tennessee. The 450,000 square-foot, fully automated facility will serve as one of the company’s two state-of-the-art domestic warehousing and distribution hubs.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony offered local officials an opportunity to learn about Leviton and tour the inner workings of the facility, located at 103 Leviton Drive. Members of the Lebanon City Council, Wilson County Commission, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Tennessee Valley Authority and Nashville and Lebanon Chambers of Commerce joined with Lebanon Mayor Don Fox and congressional representatives to take part in the event.

“In selecting a site for our new distribution center, we assessed many areas of the country that fit our geographic needs, offered a strong workforce and provided attractive incentives. At the end of the day, Wilson County distinguished itself as the right match for our needs. I’d like to extend my gratitude to Duke Realty Corporation, the Joint Economic & Community Development Board of Wilson County, the State of Tennessee, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the City of Lebanon and Wilson County, along with many other groups who have shown their support in making this project a success,” said Donald Hendler, President and CEO of Leviton.

Stephen Sokolow, Chairman of Leviton’s Board of Directors added, “We look forward to serving as a responsible corporate citizen, and bringing jobs and new sources of revenue to the local community.” Scheduled to open in February 2009, the new facility will service U.S. customers east of the Mississippi River, and serve as a regional showcase for the company’s distribution technology and products. Conveniently located between Wilson County’s Highways 109 and 840, the center will ship over half of Leviton’s U.S. order volume and bring approximately 150 new jobs to the area.  

“Leviton encourages opportunities and offers a corporate culture that inspires personal and professional development, serving the communities in which it operates as an outstanding corporate citizen. It is with much excitement that we welcome Leviton to our community,” said Lebanon City Mayor Don Fox.

“Leviton’s decision to build a distribution center in Lebanon speaks to the high quality of the area’s workforce.  Governor Phil Bredesen and I are thankful to Leviton for its investment in our citizens and state, and we look forward to working with them on future endeavors,” said Matt Kisber, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. 

The new distribution center will feature Leviton commercial-grade occupancy sensors, light switches, outlets and commercial networking devices. The center’s loading docks will be outfitted with dock seals to maintain HVAC levels and reduce energy consumption. Leviton is committed to serving the communities in which it operates as an environmentally and socially responsible corporate citizen.

Leviton is North America’s leading manufacturer of electrical and electronic wiring devices. Leviton stands at the forefront of its industry as a pacesetter with a century-long history of service and innovation. For more information, contact Leviton Manufacturing, 59-25 Little Neck Parkway, Little Neck, NY 11362, 800-323-8920, www.leviton.com .

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LEVITON PARTNERS WITH SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE TO PROMOTE CAREER OPPORTUNITIES TO YOUNG PROFESSIONALS


Industry trend setters join forces to bring content and career opportunities to Gen-Y’ers

Leviton and Brazen Careerist have joined forces in a strategic initiative to attract young, top talent to Leviton’s global workforce. As one of Brazen Careerist’s five Pioneer Launch Partners, and the first manufacturer to participate in the strategic venture, Leviton will provide continuous content, including job and blog postings, and commentary and insights to the social networking site which targets young, career-seeking millennials. 

As a Pioneer Launch Partner, Leviton shares the stage with other early adopters of social media as a human capital recruitment tool. Companies in the financial, food service, job placement, and career mentoring industries round out Brazen Careerist’s early sponsors, and give the career networking site a deep job pool with links to hiring managers at world-renowned companies. Each company’s mini-site consists of a company profile, listing of employment opportunities, blog posts, social commentary page, photos and write-ups of statement of philosophy and corporate culture.

“Leviton’s human capital initiatives are vital to our leadership and on-going success in our industry. It is essential that Leviton be positioned on the cutting edge of the latest Web 2.0 tools and technology as we engage our current and future employees. Brazen Careerist provides us a great outlet to reach the next generation of workers," said Mark Fogel, Vice President of Human Resources for Leviton.

"The opportunity for organizations to speak to their customers, clients, employees, or potential employees through blogging is the next step in recruiting and retaining Gen Y. It is a pleasure to partner with Leviton as it initiates conversations with Gen –Yer’s seeking to enter the workforce or those seeking to take their career to the next level," said Dan Healy, Brazen Careerist’s Client Relations Manager Brazen Careerist.

“Today’s job seekers want to gain knowledge about different companies’ offerings and engage in conversations with recruiters before they step a foot in the door to interview. This is an exciting opportunity for Leviton to spread its employment brand and engage the millennial generation in the workplace,” said Dina Anzalone, Corporate Recruitment Manager for Leviton.

About Brazen Careerist

Brazen Careerist is an on-line Gen-Y community of thought leaders and forward-thinking companies formed by Boston Globe Career Columnist, Penelope Trunk, author of Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success. This year, the Brazen Careerist website was expanded to bring together several  hundred bloggers from Generation Y who write on a variety of subjects as diverse as career advice, relationships, money and politics. For more information about Brazen Careerist, visit www.BrazenCareerist.com.

About Leviton Manufacturing

Leviton Manufacturing is North America’s leading manufacturer of electrical and electronic wiring devices. Founded at the dawn of electricity, Leviton has a 102-year long history of product innovation and service excellence. The company’s forward-thinking management practices and employee programs have received recognition from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and healthcare provider Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. Leviton has a long tradition of philanthropy and social responsibility programs, employee wellness programs and incentives for healthy living and a “green mandate” that supports energy efficient building construction, energy conservation and ecologically conscious business practices. For more information, contact Leviton Manufacturing or visit www.leviton.com.

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LEVITON Recognized For Its eCommerce Edge

Leviton, North America’s leading manufacturer of electrical and electronic wiring devices and systems, was recognized by IDEA, a leading eCommerce service provider and standards setter, for its leadership and innovation in the area of eCommerce. IDEA presented Leviton with its Richard Buzun Award at its E-Biz Forum 2008 in Washington, D.C, held earlier this month. Now in its second year, the award recognizes companies that take the initiative to implement new eCommerce programs and promote eCommerce throughout the electrical industry.

"In an increasingly competitive environment, eCommerce provides a means for manufacturers and distributors to reduce supply chain costs, while increasing the speed and accuracy of communication," said Donald J. Hendler, president and CEO, Leviton Manufacturing. “On behalf of Leviton and the members of our Supply Chain team, I thank you for recognizing our efforts. It is a deep honor to receive this award, which pays tribute to the memory of the late Richard Buzun, an eCommerce pioneer and icon.”

“Richard Buzun was one of the early visionaries of eCommerce in the electrical industry and this award honors his legacy. Industry leaders who follow in his footsteps deserve to be recognized for their efforts to move the industry forward," said Bob Gaylord, president, IDEA.

Leviton was recognized by IDEA for its versatile and flexible eCommerce programs. These intuitive electronic offerings make eCommerce an easy and efficient experience for Leviton customers. Customers who take advantage of these business process efficiency tools benefit from a dramatic reduction in paper transactions, quicker access to information and improved order accuracy. 

Available 24/7, 365, the system helps Leviton distributor customers enhance bottom-line performance through the elimination of high maintenance transactions and the reduction of processing errors. Data is obtained quickly and easily through a full complement of eCommerce applications, including data synchronization, electronic data interchange (EDI), Net Pricing, vendor managed inventory (VMI), and item replacement reports that provide a list of new items that replace older products and catalog numbers.

To further enhance its eCommerce suite of applications, Leviton recently introduced its ez-biz™, on-line order entry system. ez-biz (formerly B2B) provides Leviton customers with instant, secure access to real-time inventory levels, Leviton’s on-line catalog, order tracking data with links to freight carriers, and much more. Customers can check stock and place orders any time of the day or night, without having to remain on the phone on hold or wait for a fax to be transmitted.  More information about ez-biz is available at. www.leviton.com. 

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Molex Introduces New ModLink Plug & Play Copper Solution

Molex, a leading structured cabling system manufacturer, is pleased to announce the release of it’s ModLink Plug and Play Copper solution, a custom pre-terminated high density modular copper solution that is 100% factory tested.

www.molex.com

Factory terminated Plug and Play solutions offer enterprises a number of advantages over traditional cabling systems. All cabling is delivered to site pre-terminated and as a result the deployment is faster and smoother. Plug and Play solutions are ideal for installations where quality, security and speed of implementation are paramount, in most cases, high density environments. Typical applications for Plug and Play solutions are: Data Centers, Storage Area Networks (SAN’s), Disaster Recovery Networks or temporary cabling systems.

The ModLink solution utilizes the patented Molex iPass™ connector- a low profile slim line I/O connector designed specifically for high density applications. The connector is made from die-cast zinc alloy and has a narrow latch-pull design that enables swift and positive connect or disconnect. The connector accommodates a 24 pair cable and the overall cable diameter is significantly less than that of the multiple RJ45 cables used in traditional systems – this assists with airflow and cooling in cable-dense applications. The iPass connector provides a consistent & reliable performance up to Gigabit Ethernet speeds.

Each ModLink cassette supports 6 or 12 RJ45 ports in a 2 row format and easily slides in and out of the ModLink panels allowing speedy installations in switch or server applications. The simple design of the cassette allows for fast upgrades or expansion of systems in the future, with minimum installation time. The cassettes offer reliable Gigabit Ethernet performance and help keep the cost of ownership at low manageable levels as usage of critical capacity rack space is greatly reduced.

The ModLink solution also consists of Distribution Cables, used as the interconnection cable between cassettes (with an iPass to iPass assembly), and Hydra Cable assemblies (iPass to 6 RJ45 plugs) predominantly used for panel to panel or switch to Panel links.

All Molex Premise Network systems are backed by a 25-year Product, System Performance and Application Assurance Warranty when installed as a certified system by a Molex Certified Installer. When you specify a Molex Premise Networks solution you benefit from global resources, standards exceeding performance levels and innovative solutions. For further information regarding the Molex ModLink Plug & Play Copper Solution and supporting products, please contact Product Manager Jim Duran at jim.duran@molex.com.

About Molex:

Molex Incorporated is a 70-year-old manufacturer of electronic components, including electrical and fiber optic interconnection products and systems, switches and integrated products; with 58 plants in 19 countries in five continents.  Molex manufactures a wide portfolio of products specific to the transmission of voice, data and, video imaging signals. In supplying innovative structured cabling solutions world-wide, the Molex reputation is one of technological excellence. Molex offers a comprehensive range of both Category 5e and Category 6 products for virtually any application. These products exceed all relevant international performance standards, including TIA/EIA 568-B, ISO/IEC 11801:2002 and AS/NZS 3080:2002, maximizing user return on investment by extending the useful life of the system. www.molexpn.com.

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Legendary Football Coach To Address Nation’s Home Builders At 2009 International Builders’ Show

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) today announced that famed football coach, Lou Holtz will be the keynote speaker at its 2009 International Builders' Show® (IBS), the housing industry's largest annual trade show and exhibition. The show, held Jan. 20-23 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, will play host to professionals representing all facets of the housing industry from around the world.

Regarded as one of the most successful college football coaches of all time, Holtz is the only coach in history to take six different college teams to a bowl game. The West Virginia native began his head-coaching career in 1969 at the College of William & Mary, followed by head coaching positions at the University of Minnesota, University of Arkansas, North Carolina State University and then a season as head coach of NFL football team, the New York Jets. In 1985, Holtz became the 27th head coach of Notre Dame, where he spent 11 seasons. During his years at Notre Dame, he managed to take a then-struggling team and turn it around to achieve the longest winning streak in Notre Dame history. Retired from Notre Dame since 1996, Holtz currently serves as a college football analyst on ESPN. Earlier this year, Holtz was named to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Holtz's keynote address will take place on Jan. 20 during IBS Grand Opening Ceremonies. Attendees will also hear from some of the nation's top business leaders during a special daily featured speakers program. Representing a wide range of industry specialties, the speakers include renowned green business expert Andrew Winston, founder of Winston Eco-Strategies; Kevin Freiberg, notable professional speaker and founder and CEO of the San Diego Consulting Group Inc.; and Peter Hart, top public opinion analyst and founder of Peter D. Hart Research Associates.

"We are thrilled to have such extraordinary speakers presenting at the show this year," said NAHB Chairman Sandy Dunn, a home builder from Point Pleasant, W.Va. "Especially in these challenging times for our industry, attendees will benefit from hearing the advice of a legendary motivator and coach, as well as from some of the top minds in the business world on strategies for success in a changing marketplace."

The 2009 International Builders' Show is not open to the general public. Building industry professionals and their affiliates throughout the housing trades may register by visiting the show's Web Site at www.BuildersShow.com.

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New IPv6 Capabilities Make OptiView® Integrated Network Analyzer First Portable Analyzer to Identify IPv6 Security Risks

Growing threat from unknown IPv6 network devices solved by OptiView analyzer’s new address detection and management capabilities

Fluke Networks, provider of innovative Network SuperVision Solutions™ for the testing, monitoring and analysis of enterprise and telecommunications networks, today announced a new version of its award-winning OptiView Series III Integrated Network Analyzer.  The OptiView analyzer’s new IPv6 discovery and management capabilities make it the first portable network analyzer to identify and analyze IPv6 enabled devices and networks, including IPv6-IPv4 tunneling that could represent a security risk.

Many networking professionals are unaware of the risks associated with IPv6 and the default settings in many operating systems today, with dual stacks and tunneling protocols automatically enabled. Joe Klein, a security researcher with Command Information, a provider of next generation networking services to Fortune 1000 and government entities, says, “Many organizations have IPv6 enabled on their systems by default but don't know it. They also don't have protection in place to block malicious traffic, since some intrusion detection systems and firewalls aren't set up to monitor IPv6 traffic, presenting an avenue through which outsiders can attack their networks undetected. It’s like having wireless on your network without knowing it.”

Command Information tested the OptiView analyzer’s ability to identify and manage IPv6 addressing.  “Command Information is pleased to report that the OptiView Series III Integrated Network Analyzer is in full compliance with all IPv6 addressing requirements,” said Jerry Edgerton, CEO, Command Information.
The new OptiView analyzer uses advanced active discovery techniques and active testing to identify and document devices using IPv6.  This allows users to quickly recognize devices that are using IPv6, identify open IPv6 ports, expose IPv6 through IPv4 tunneling and differentiate legitimate tunneling from a security breach.

The new capabilities of the OptiView analyzer are also useful for organizations deliberately deploying IPv6. OptiView permits analysis of IPv6 router advertisements, spotting global and self-assigned link local addresses that cause configuration issues between network devices.  The new capabilities of the OptiView analyzer also quickly discover devices and applications that are incompatible in a dual-stack environment, essential knowledge for those organizations beginning the transition to IPv6.

Full support for 802.11n wireless LANs
The new version of the OptiView Series III Integrated Network Analyzer also offers an option for full analysis of 802.11n WLANs.  The OptiView analyzer now includes coverage of all wireless network technologies (802.11 a/b/g/n), making it the only tool needed for both wired and wireless troubleshooting and analysis.

Enhanced device discovery
Also new to this version of the OptiView analyzer is enhanced VoIP and wireless device discovery.  The OptiView analyzer now discovers IP phones and IP PBXs from all leading VoIP manufacturers, including Cisco, Nortel, Avaya and Mitel.  The device discovers call servers behind the VoIP phone and shows where they are connected on the network.  This provides users with a much more informed starting point when solving connectivity or call quality issues.

Also, detailed wireless LAN analysis is now available from the wired side of the network, identifying WLAN controllers, lightweight access points, intelligent access points and wireless clients.   This speeds identification of both wireless devices and wireless performance parameters (SNR, SSID, RSSI) when analyzing the wired side of the network, a task which formerly required a separate wireless analysis tool.

Product availability
The new version of the OptiView Series III Integrated Network Analyzer is available for immediate delivery from Fluke Networks sales partners worldwide.  Also available is the OptiView Wireless Suite that includes the OptiView Wireless Option 802.11 a/b/g/n, InterpretAir™ WLAN Site Survey Software and AnalyzeAir™ Wi-Fi Spectrum Analyzer.

About Fluke Networks
Fluke Networks provides innovative solutions for the installation and certification, testing, monitoring and analysis of copper, fiber and wireless networks used by enterprises and telecommunications carriers. The company's comprehensive line of Network SuperVision™ Solutions provide network installers, owners, and maintainers with superior vision, combining speed, accuracy and ease of use to optimize network performance. Headquartered in Everett, Washington, the company distributes its products in more than 50 countries. More information can be found by visiting Fluke Networks’ Web site at www.flukenetworks.com  or by calling (800) 283-5853

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PDI Releases The Wavestar™ 400, 625, and 750 KVA Mission Critical PDU

Power Distribution Inc (PDI), a leading manufacturer of mission critical distribution equipment for the data center market, has announced the addition of the Wavestar™ Mission Critical 400, 625, and 750 Kva Power Distribution Units (PDU's) to its PowerPak line. The announcement was made at Afcom Orlando. This release complements PDI's recent release of the Wavestar™ 500 Kva power distribution unit and establishes PDI as the market leader with the broadest PDU product line in the industry. PDI's Wavestar™ power distribution line ranges from 15 - 750 Kva. Each PDU has the unique ability to display both PDU critical functions and PDI's patented Branch Circuit Monitoring System (BCMS) in a single Wavestar™monitor. The Wavestar™ monitoring system can also provide these points remotely to the building management system via Modbus or SNMP.

"The Wavestar™ 400, 625, and 750 KVA PDU's complete the line of Wavestar PowerPak power distribution units and supplement the customized intelligent power solutions that PDI offers for data centers," stated Keith Schmid, President and CEO of PDI. "In addition, these extensions of the PowerPak line have incorporated market requested features such as a high-efficiency low-inrush transformer, front access design to allow for easy infrared scans, compression lugs, plug in style breakers, hinged panels with two point locks, and bus connections for the transformer and circuit breakers."

These three new Wavestar™ units build upon the successful release of the Wavestar™ static transfer switch and add to the award-winning PDI Q intelligent monitoring systems offered by PDI.

About Power Distribution Inc.
Founded in 1978, PDI is a leading provider of power distribution equipment and services. Principle products include Static Switches, Power Distribution Units, Remote Power Panels, Redundant Power Systems, Harmonic Cancellation technology, and Branch Circuit Monitoring Systems. The BCMS product is an option available with the other distribution products or it can be provided for retrofit in equipment already owned by the customer.

For more information about Power Distribution Incorporated and their complete line of power distribution and power conditioning equipment, please visit the PDI website at www.pdicorp.com

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Trapeze Networks Opens Second R &D Center in China

World-Wide Network of R&D Centers Expands to Four

Trapeze Networks (NYSE: BDC - News) is opening a research and development center in the Hangzhou, China that is focused on embedded wireless technologies. The center is the second in China for the company.

"Trapeze Networks continues to invest in China for three important reasons," said James Reeves, vice president of product operations. "China -- and the entire region -- is a huge market for Trapeze Networks so we want to ensure we're developing the right product with the right features for this market. Second, we think that tapping the wealth of world-class engineering talent in China is giving us a competitive edge. Finally, having a Mandarin- speaking team in Hangzhou working with our manufacturing partners in Taiwan will accelerate our time to market."

Trapeze Networks R&D Centers Circle Globe

The new Hangzhou R&D Center is initially anticipated to employ about 50 engineers and expects to more than double its staff during the next few years. The Hangzhou team will become an extension of Trapeze's global R&D network, which has development centers in the United States, Romania and China.

Hangzhou: Home of China's Largest Wi-Fi Network

In September 2008, Trapeze Networks announced it is building China's largest Wi-Fi network, a metropolitan area network in Hangzhou. "Locating an R&D center in Hangzhou gives our team an unprecedented opportunity to benefit from the real-life experience of implementing and maintaining the city' massive network," Reeves said.

Second Center Builds on Success of First

Trapeze Networks opened its Beijing R&D center in 2006 to tap into the growing talent pool of engineers and to be able to directly address the needs of the booming China market. The R&D center in Hangzhou will focus on developing embedded networking functionality for Trapeze Networks' products, and other organizational roles.

Innovation Building Business Benefits

With more than 50 patents filed, Trapeze Networks' R&D labs have already produced many innovations in wireless networking. RingMaster® software, Trapeze Networks' award-winning WLAN management suite, enables full lifecycle management of wireless networks. Most recently, Trapeze Networks brought to market NonStop Wireless, a breakthrough that makes wireless networks as reliable as wired ones. These breakthroughs add up to the reason that hospitals, schools, and businesses of every type around the world turn to Trapeze Networks for wireless networking.

About Trapeze Networks

Trapeze Networks, a Belden brand, is a leading provider of enterprise wireless LAN equipment and management software. Trapeze was the first company to introduce NonStop Wireless(TM) -- delivering unmatched reliability to the enterprise wireless LAN and its solutions are optimized for companies requiring mobility and high bandwidth such as healthcare, education, and hospitality. Trapeze delivers Smart Mobile® providing scalable wireless LANs for applications such as Voice over Wi-Fi, location services, and indoor/outdoor connectivity.


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WESCO International, Inc. Names Two New Board Members

WESCO International, Inc. (NYSE: WCC - News), a leading provider of electrical MRO products, construction materials and advanced integrated supply procurement outsourcing services, today announced the appointment of Messrs. John J. Engel and Stephen A. Van Oss to its Board of Directors, effective November 3, 2008. With the addition of Messrs. Engel and Van Oss, WESCO's Board of Directors now consists of 12 Directors.

John J. Engel has been Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for WESCO since July 2004. Previously, Mr. Engel served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of Gateway, Inc. and as an Executive Vice President and Senior Vice President of Perkin Elmer, Inc. Earlier in his career, Mr. Engel held management positions with Allied Signal and General Electric.

Stephen A. Van Oss has been Senior Vice President and Chief Financial and Administrative Officer for WESCO since July 2004 and, from 2000 to July 2004, served as the Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Van Oss also served as our Director, Information Technology from 1997 to 2000 and as our Director, Acquisition Management in 1997. Previously, Mr. Van Oss held executive positions with Paper Back Recycling of America, Inc. and Reliance Electric Corporation. Mr. Van Oss is a trustee of Robert Morris University and serves on the board of Cooper-Standard Holdings, Inc.

Chairman and CEO, Roy W. Haley, commented, "I am very pleased to welcome John Engel and Steve Van Oss to serve on our Board. In addition to their current roles as senior executives of the Company, John and Steve both have done a superb job in directing major portions of WESCO's total business. Their industry and WESCO-specific knowledge and experience will further strengthen our Board."

WESCO International, Inc. (NYSE: WCC - News) is a publicly traded Fortune 500 holding company, headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, whose primary operating entity is WESCO Distribution, Inc. WESCO Distribution is a leading distributor of electrical construction products and electrical and industrial maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) supplies, and is the nation's largest provider of integrated supply services. 2007 annual sales were approximately $6.0 billion. The Company employs approximately 7,300 people, maintains relationships with over 24,000 suppliers, and serves more than 110,000 customers worldwide. Major markets include commercial and industrial firms, contractors, government agencies, educational institutions, telecommunications businesses and utilities. WESCO operates seven fully automated distribution centers and more than 400 full-service branches in North America and selected international markets, providing a local presence for area customers and a global network to serve multi-location businesses and multi-national corporations. www.wesco.com

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ACA Conductor Accessories Acquires Dossert Corporation

Acquisition further strengthens ACA’s leadership in the power utility market

ACA Conductor Accessories, a division of AFL Telecommunications, announces the acquisition of Dossert Corporation, a privately-held premier brand supplier of substation accessories in the power utility market. The acquisition and new product offering further enhance ACA’s position as one of the leading substation suppliers in the power utility industry.

“The acquisition of Dossert reaffirms ACA Conductor Accessories’ commitment to the power utility market,” stated Steve Ferguson, General Manager. “Furthermore, with an enhanced substation product offering, ACA will be able to meet the demands of a market that is seeing continuous and escalating growth.”

Dossert has a proven history as one of the industry’s technological and innovative suppliers. Founded in 1904, Dossert introduced the first solderless electrical connection, virtually eliminating the use of solder in making electrical connections and splices. Since then, Dossert has been keeping pace with the progress in methods of both the generation and distribution of electricity.  Since 1980, Dossert has expanded its transportation business into the 'Light Rail' area by providing overhead catenary systems and components to some of the major rail companies in the United States.

The Dossert product family is designed for the Power Utility, Transportation, OEM and Electrical Distributor markets and consists of both copper and aluminum connectors for substations, switch yards, transmission lines, grounding systems, and industrial applications.

Dossert products will be available from ACA Conductor Accessories effective immediately. For additional information, visit www.ACAsolutions.com.

About ACA Conductor Accessories

ACA Conductor Accessories (ACA) is one of the world's foremost suppliers of aluminum conductor accessories. Product offerings include compression fittings for transmission conductors, bus conductor, substation accessories, motion control devices, joint compounds, hydraulic tools, AlumoweldÒ and CopperweldÒ. In addition to manufactured products, ACA offers engineering, training and testing services.

About AFL Telecommunications

AFL Telecommunications is an industry leader in providing fiber optic products, engineering expertise and integrated services to the Electric Utility, Broadband, Telco, OEM, Private Network and Wireless markets. It has operations in the U.S., Mexico and the U.K.  AFL Telecommunications is a division of Fujikura Ltd. of Japan.

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AFL Network Services Expands Market Reach and Capabilities with North Star Acquisition

AFL Network Services, Inc. (AFL) is expanding its telecommunications services business with the acquisition of the assets and related business of North Star Communications Group, Inc. (North Star), currently headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.  The acquisition not only develops AFL’s footprint into Alabama, Mississippi, California, and Nevada, but also enhances its service offering with North Star’s expertise in outside plant engineering.

North Star complements our existing business very well,” said Mike Booth, Executive Vice President of AFL Network Services.  “Their skills in outside plant engineering and wireless services, together with the enhanced footprint, provide the capability for us to continue growing.  Furthermore, we both share a strong commitment to quality and service.”

With a combined 30 years of industry experience, AFL Network Services continues to provide exceptional network engineering and installation services in all communication markets including access, enterprise, wireless and electric utility.  With AFL’s addition of North Star’s full scope of capabilities including engineering, network operations and maintenance, construction management, cable broadband and wireless, and expertise in outside plant distribution design, and route feasibility studies, AFL Network Services has a complete array of experienced professionals along with products and services designed to meet unique networking needs.

 

From design and consulting to installation and support, AFL Network Services utilizes the latest technologies available to create the most reliable and flexible network. www.AFLNetworkServices.com. www.NorthStar.net.

About AFL Network Services, Inc.

AFL Network Services is headquartered in Spartanburg, South Carolina. With 35 field offices in the U.S. and over 1300 employees, AFL provides telecommunications installation and maintenance services in the enterprise, wireline and wireless markets. For additional information on products and services offered by AFL Network Services and its affiliates visit www.AFLNetworkServices.com.

About North Star Communications Group, Inc.

Headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, North Star served as the stand-alone telecommunications subsidiary of BE&K, Inc., one of the nation's largest privately held engineering, construction, and maintenance companies. Prior to this acquisition by AFL, North Star offered a full suite of infrastructure, network, and outsourcing services to the communications industry at large.

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AFL Releases the Noyes OFL 280 FTTx OTDR Versatility at your fingertips!

Telecommunications introduces the new Noyes OFL 280, a hand-held, single-mode OTDR optimized for testing optical fibers in service provider metro areas and FTTx networks. With all the benefits of the OFL250, including Optical Power Meter, Laser Source, Visual Fault Location, and 12-hour battery life, the OFL280 comes in three models:  a basic three-wavelength model (1310, 1550, 1625 nm); an FTTx construction three-wavelength model (1310, 1490, 1550 nm); and an FTTx Live Fiber testing three –wavelength model (1310, 1550, 1625 nm filtered).

The filtered version of the OFL 280 tests live FTTx fibers from the customer ONT location at 1625 nm. The FTTx filter isolates the OTDR from downstream 1490 nm (data) and 1550 nm (video) signals found at the ONT in BPON, GPON, and EPON networks.  All OTDR lasers (except the VFL) are coupled to a single test port, including the FTTx filter version; therefore, a separate port is not required for live fiber testing.

With a 12-hour battery life, the new OFL 280 combines versatility and functionality into one small unit. For additional information, visit www.AFLtele.com. 

About AFL Telecommunications

AFL Telecommunications is an industry leader in providing fiber optic products, engineering expertise and integrated services to the Electric Utility, Broadband, Telco, OEM, Private Network and Wireless markets. It has operations in the U.S., Mexico and the U.K.  AFL Telecommunications is a division of Fujikura Ltd. of Japan.

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AFL Telecommunications Adds Four Splicers to the Fujikura Family

Redefines Splicing with New Rugged Features

AFL Telecommunications sets a higher standard with Fujikura’s new series of core alignment and fixed V-groove fusion splicers. Introducing the FSM-60 and FSM-18 series – fusion splicing is redefined! Offering unmatched versatility and reliability, the FSM-60 and FSM-18 series withstand a 30” drop test and continue splicing! With ruggedized edges, the new splicers are ideal for field splicing where accidents tend to happen.

“The Fujikura family of fusion splicers continues to excel, raising the bar with new features that enhance our current offerings,” said Greg Pickeral, product manager, fusion splicing systems. “Our goal is to provide the most durable and robust equipment in the industry, and we believe we’ve exceeded this goal.”

With the rugged construction, the new splicer series provide shock, dust and moisture resistance, further enhancing productivity in the field. New software provides the ability to download splice data to a PC for splice data reporting, download splicer operating software via the internet to maintain peak performance, and download video images from the splicer to enhance technical support. In addition, new features such as the user-selectable fiber clamping

method (sheath clamp or fiber holder system), simultaneous battery charge and splicer operation, automatic arc calibration and fiber identification, and auto-start tube heater, makes this the productivity tool to count on!

The new splicers are available from AFL Telecommunications effective immediately. For additional information, visit www.AFLtele.com.

About AFL Telecommunications

AFL Telecommunications is an industry leader in providing fiber optic products, engineering expertise and integrated services to the Electric Utility, Broadband, Telco, OEM, Private Network and Wireless markets. It has operations in the U.S., Mexico and the U.K.  AFL Telecommunications is a division of Fujikura Ltd. of Japan.

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Air Quality Standards for Lead Now 10 Times Stronger

http://www.eponline.com/articles/68731

EPA recently strengthened the nation's air quality standards for lead, improving public health protection, especially for children. The new standards tighten the allowable lead level 10 times to 0.15 micrograms of lead per cubic meter of air (ug/m3).

“America's air is cleaner than a generation ago," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "With these stronger standards a new generation of Americans are being protected from harmful lead emissions."

This decision marks the first time the lead standards have changed in 30 years. EPA strengthened the standards after a thorough review of the science on lead, advice from the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee, and consideration of public comments. The previous standards, set in 1978, were 1.5 ug/m3.

EPA's action sets two standards: a primary standard at 0.15 ug/m3 to protect health and a secondary standard at the same level to protect the public welfare, including the environment.

The existing monitoring network for lead is not sufficient to determine whether many areas of the country would meet the revised standards. EPA is redesigning the nation's lead monitoring network, which is necessary for the agency to assess compliance with the new standard.

No later than October 2011, EPA will designate areas that must take additional steps to reduce lead air emissions. States have five years to meet these new standards after designations take effect.

More than 6,000 studies since 1990 have examined the effects of lead on health and the environment. Some studies have linked exposure to low levels of lead with damage to child development, including IQ loss.

Lead can be inhaled or can be ingested after settling out of the air. Ingestion is the main route of human exposure. Once in the body, lead is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and can affect many organ systems including children's developing nervous systems.

Lead emissions have dropped nearly 97 percent nationwide since 1980, largely the result of the agency's phase-out of lead in gasoline. Average levels of lead in the air today are far below the 1978 standards. Lead in the air comes from a variety of sources, including smelters, iron and steel foundries, and general aviation gasoline. More than 1,300 tons of lead are emitted to the air each year, according to EPA's most recent estimates.

Since September 2006, EPA has strengthened air quality standards for lead, ground-level ozone and particulate matter.

Cables containing LEAD remain a problem as they shed LEAD dust during the aging process. This could be tomorrow’s asbestos type plague for building owners.

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Aktino Lands Top Sales Team to Spearhead Its Market Penetration in Europe, Middle East, Africa

Andy Charalambous Leads Former Worldwide Packets EMEA Sales Team

Aktino, a leader in delivering high bandwidth Carrier Ethernet and broadband services over bonded copper, has retained members of the same sales team previously responsible for the market success of the former Worldwide Packets to lead the expansion of its presence in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

The team of experienced sales directors and sales engineers is led by Andy Charalambous, a 20-year telecommunications industry veteran and former international vice president at Worldwide Packets when it was bought by Ciena in March 2008. With him on the team are Marco Berkheij and Dolf Godlieb.

“We are seeing a tremendous demand for Carrier Ethernet over copper in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and we chose to move decisively to capture this high growth market” said Lonnie Martin, Aktino’s CEO. “It was serendipity and good fortune that enabled us to land in one fell swoop a team with this kind of Carrier Ethernet selling experience and success in EMEA markets.”

Aktino has been recently building a presence in Europe, and its bonded copper systems have been in trials at three Tier 1 carries there. With the addition of this team, the company is now placing as much emphasis on the global market as it does in North America.

“Service providers in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa need bonded copper solutions that enable them to offer higher bandwidth, reliable Ethernet services throughout their networks that don’t interfere with existing ADSL services. Aktino provides this in a way that’s far superior to E.SHDSL, and that’s exactly what these providers have been looking for.” said Charalambous.

Aktino systems can provide up to 100 Mbps of bandwidth over existing copper infrastructure to a distance of 12,000 feet (3.7 km) from the central office, with fiber-like reliability. Aktino enables carriers to provide symmetric or asymmetric Ethernet services, and can double the reach of its systems with its latest repeater solutions. The asymmetric bandwidth capability allows bandwidth to be adjusted, which make it ideal for asymmetric Ethernet services as well as DSLAM and mobile backhaul applications.

With up to 10 times more bandwidth, and higher reliability, than legacy bonded copper solutions, the Aktino product line is in use by numerous North American service providers who need to maximize the potential of their existing copper loops and is well positioned to be a cost-effective and lasting solution for European, Middle Eastern and African service providers.

About Aktino

Aktino provides carrier-class bonded copper solutions that enable ILEC’s to respond to customer hunger for bandwidth fast and network-wide by leveraging their considerable in-place copper loop infrastructure. Aktino invented MIMO-on-DMT technology for the copper loop environment because of its superiority over earlier E.SHDSL approaches. In so doing, Aktino gave ILECs a real ability to postpone many fiber deployment investments and still remain very competitive in their service offering as well as drive their broadband service revenues.  Founded in 2003 and headquartered in Irvine, California, Aktino products are deployed worldwide for the transport and delivery of ATM, TDM and high speed Carrier Ethernet bandwidth and services. For more information, please visit www.aktino.com

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Anixter International Inc. Completes the Acquisition of the Assets and Operations of World Class Wire & Cable Inc.

Anixter International Inc. (NYSE: AXE - News), a leading global distributor of communication products, electrical and electronic wire & cable, fasteners and other small parts, today announced that it has completed the purchase of the assets and operations of World Class Wire & Cable Inc. ("World Class"). The company initially announced the execution of a letter of intent to acquire World Class on September 9, 2008.

As previously disclosed, World Class is a valued-added distributor of electrical wire and cable based in Waukesha, Wisconsin, with annualized sales of approximately $60 million. Anixter paid roughly $62 million in cash and assumed trade liabilities for all of the assets and operations of World Class.

About Anixter

Anixter International is a leading global distributor of communication products, electrical and electronic wire & cable, fasteners and other small parts. 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) 214 warehouses with more than 6 million square feet of space, and 4) locations in 248 cities in 50 countries. Founded in 1957 and headquartered near Chicago, Anixter trades on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AXE.

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Coleman Cable Expands Its Royal® Industrial Cable Product Line

Coleman Cable, Inc. (Nasdaq: CCIX) expands their industrial product line of Royal® Tray Cable THHN/PVC, Royal SOOW Control Cables, and Royal/Triangle® Bare Copper Wire.

Coleman Cable’s Royal brand of Type TC power and control cable is a 600 volt cable constructed with THHN/THWN (14 AWG and larger) or TFFN (16 AWG) conductors which are cabled together with fillers as required and covered with suitable binder tape as needed. An outer jacket of tough polyvinyl chloride (PVC) protects the cable assembly against mechanical damage, heat, flame, moisture, chemicals and corrosion. This tray cable THHN/PVC is approved for cable tray, raceway, direct burial and aerial installations when supported by a messenger.  In addition, these cables comply with the appropriate sections of NEC Articles 318, 340, 501, and 725

The Royal brand of SOOW multi-conductor general purpose control cables are suitable for long service life and water, oil and chemical exposure.  Construction provides flexible Class K stranding for all conductor sizes and ethylene propylene (EP) rubber insulation that meets UL and CSA requirements.  A tough, proven chlorinated polyethylene (CPE) jacketing compound provides extended service life in harsh environments.  The Royal SOOW Control Cables are for signal circuits and other general uses in; industrial plants, steel mills, breweries, theaters, process facilities, and construction sites, as well as, for wiring production line push button controls, systems, alarms, etc.

Coleman Cable’s Triangle brand of solid and stranded bare copper conductors are available (soft annealed copper) and sizes (14 AWG to 4/0). Electrolytic Tough Pitch (ETP) copper feed stock is used to draw solid conductors (and B3).  Solid and stranded conductors (per ASTM B8 or ASTM B787) are available in stock or customer specified packaging. For use in overhead transmission and distribution systems and for grounding grid systems.

According to Gene Stang, Coleman Cable Vice President of Product Management and Market Development, “The addition of these three new product categories will enhance our present control and power cable product offering which will further strengthen our position as the leading manufacturer of industrial cables.”

www.colemancable.com

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Draka Announces Bend Insensitive Connectorized Cable with HLC ScratchGuard® Technology

Draka Communications, a leader in fiber and fiber cable solutions, announces a major advancement in connectorized cables through the combination of Draka’s BendBright-XS™ bend-insensitive fiber cable and Megladon®'s Hardened Lens Connector (HLC) ScratchGuard® connector technology.

Available immediately in patch cord products, Draka and Megladon have combined two best-in-class technologies to deliver a high performance, highly scratch resistant, bend-insensitive fiber optic cable assembly to the market.  The product offering is diverse and includes riser, plenum, and low-smoke zero halogen (LSZH) cables available with ultra or angle polish hardened lens connectors.

Introduced in 2006 as Draka's second generation of bend-insensitive fiber, BendBright-XS has become a product of choice for customers desiring a solid-glass G.657 A&B compliant fiber.  With over 150,000 miles of BendBright-XS already in service, Draka is leading the efforts to bring bend-insensitive fiber to the global market.

Megladon's HLC process was developed to meet the growing need for a scratch resistant, highly durable fiber optic mating surface.  The ScratchGuard connector technology is a critical step forward in quality and durability.  With the fiber optic connector being a critical component, damage to the connector due to handling and repeated use has been a concern and point of failure for network operators.  Megladon’s HLC ScratchGuard technology has virtually eliminated this problem.

"This is truly a win for the customer. Combining a fiber cable that can tolerate 7.5 mm of bend radius with a nearly scratch resistant connector, the reliability and durability of connectorized cables has just taken a giant step forward," states Paul Baird, Business Development Manager with Draka.

About Draka® Communications
Draka, headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is a $4 billion, publicly listed (Euronext) company with 9,145 employees worldwide.  Draka is divided into three groups: Energy & Infrastructure, Industry & Specialty and Communications.  Communications is responsible for the production and sale of optical fiber, cable and communication infrastructure solutions globally. Draka Communications – Americas’ roots in North America run a century deep in names like Alcatel, ITT, Ericsson, Chromatic Technologies, and Phelps Dodge. Our clients are served from Draka's unique site in Claremont, North Carolina which is home to the 125-acre corporate campus & Americas headquarters, over 1 million square feet of manufacturing space and the only integrated optical fiber and cable facility in North America.  For more information please visit http://www.drakaamericas.com.

About Megladon®
Megladon Manufacturing Group Ltd., a subsidiary of TyRex Group Ltd.®, is recognized as a leader in the fiber optic marketplace. Founded in 1997, Megladon made it their mission to provide customers with fiber optic products that far exceed industry standards. As technology innovators, Megladon created the HLC (Hardened Lens Contact) termination, which has changed the market and taken it to the next level. For additional information on Megladon and their patented processes please visit the company's website at http://www.megladonmfg.com.

Draka Communications - Americas Media Contact:
Kim Hudson, Marketing Communications Manager

Phone: 828.459.8443
Fax: 828.459.8444
Kim.Hudson@draka.com

Scott H. Fairbairn
512-623-4737
sfairbairn@megladonmfg.com

Click here to view a demonstration video.

With lower signal loss and Scratch Guard™ protection, HLC® Patch Cables:

       Reduce costly delays due to damaged cables

       Increase Network Reliability

       Maximize Customer Satisfaction

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DRAKA Communications Announces Multi-Dwelling Unit (MDU) Drop Cable

New bend-insensitive fiber cable solves application challenges in Fiber to the Home applications

Draka Communications – Americas, one of the leading North American producers of fiber optic cable,  today announced the release of a new optical fiber cable product for use in FTTH MDU applications. Draka ezINTERCONNECT™ Ruggedized Indoor cables, available in standard and heavy-duty designs, will provide a robust solution to address all potential installation challenges expected in MDU applications.  Both cable designs utilize Draka’s BendBright-XS™ bend-insensitive singlemode optical fiber, which is the first and only all-glass fiber on the market that meets and exceeds the stringent ITU-T G.657.B standard bending requirements while maintaining backwards compatibility with existing singlemode fibers (ITU-T G.652.D).

When used per manufacturer’s recommended practices, the ezINTERCONNECT Ruggedized Indoor cables support a variety of installation methods, including stapling.  The standard design is 2.9 mm in diameter, provides excellent mechanical durability, and supports accepted installation practices. The heavy-duty design is 4.8 mm in diameter and provides an added level of protection for particularly rigorous installation conditions including small bend radii created by tight routing conditions. Both products are flame rated and available with or without connectors.

“With more emphasis being directed toward MDU applications we are confident that this new bend insensitive fiber cable product will dramatically simplify routing and installation practices,” states Greg Williams, Director of Marketing at Draka.

For complete product details, contact Draka Customer Care at 1-800-879-9862 or visit our website at www.drakaamericas.com.

About Draka Communications
Draka, headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is a $4 billion, publicly listed (Euronext) company with 9,145 employees worldwide.  Draka is divided into three groups: Energy & Infrastructure, Industry & Specialty and Communications.  Communications is responsible for the production and sale of optical fiber, cable and communication infrastructure solutions globally. Draka Communications – Americas’ roots in North America run a century deep in names like Alcatel, ITT, Ericsson, Chromatic Technologies, and Phelps Dodge. Our clients are served from Draka's unique site in Claremont, North Carolina which is home to the 125-acre corporate campus & Americas headquarters, over 1 million square feet of manufacturing space and the only integrated optical fiber and cable facility in North America.  For more information please visit http://www.drakaamericas.com. 

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Year-End Fiber Kit Specials Plus a New DTX Copper/Fiber Bundle

Fluke Networks announces a new product, the DTX-1800-MO. The DTX-1800-MO responds to the needs of cabling installers by combining the DTX-1800 CableAnalyzer™, two MFM2 Multimode Fiber Modules and the DTX Compact OTDR into one kit. The set of capabilities is ideally suited to anyone who installs cabling in datacenters where expansion, virtualization and network-based storage are placing complex demands on infrastructure.

Purchase this kit before December 31, 2008 and get a free Alien Crosstalk Kit (DTX-AXKIT) for Fluke Networks. Learn more.

In addition to the DTX-1800-MO introductory offer, Fluke Networks is offering a year-end special on three existing DTX-1800 Fiber bundles: the DTX-1800-M, the DTX-1800-MS and the DTX-1800-MSO. Buy any of these three bundles before December 31, 2008 and you are eligible for cash back directly from Fluke Networks.

What you buy…

What you get…

Year-end bonus…

DTX-1800-M

Copper + Multimode Fiber Certification

$750 cash back

DTX-1800-MS

Copper, Multimode + Singlemode Fiber Certification

$1,250 cash back

DTX-1800-MSO

Copper, Multimode + Singlemode Fiber Certification, plus OTDR

$2,000 cash back

To learn more, visit http://www.flukenetworks.com/dtxpromo

 All cash back and free-product offers are limited to the U.S. only.

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New Application Troubleshooting Guide Shows Network Engineers Best Practices for Troubleshooting Application Problems

”One of the best overall tutorials on network troubleshooting…ever…,” says Webtorials editor

Fluke Networks, provider of innovative Network SuperVision Solutions™ for the testing, monitoring and analysis of enterprise and telecommunications networks, announces the availability of a new publication, the “Application Troubleshooting Guide.”  This new guide helps network engineers understand how applications flow across the network and how they fail, and provides a five-step process for troubleshooting application problems when they occur.

“This paper is one of the best overall tutorials on network troubleshooting I’ve ever encountered,” said Steven Taylor of Webtorials.  “It starts with a concise yet amazingly complete section that covers all of the basic elements of today’s networks.  After all, you need to understand how the network operates in order to know how to fix it if something goes wrong.”

This new 94-page guide helps users solve the frustrating problem of identifying whether the cause of performance degradation is coming from the client, the servers, the network, or the behavior of the application itself.   The “Application Troubleshooting Guide” covers the basics with sections on the TCP Protocol, the life of a packet and DNS lookup, providing network engineers with the fundamentals needed to understand and triage problems.

A major section of this new publication is “Five Key Steps to Successful Application Troubleshooting.”  Network engineers who read the Application Troubleshooting Guide will learn how to:

1) Determine the domain of the problem and exonerate the network. 
2) Conduct an Application flow analysis. 
3) Fix the problem. 
4) Validate the fix. 
5) Document the fix.

Network engineers that follow the process described in this publication will solve problems more quickly and often learn that the network is not the actual cause.

 “The information in this guide will be a great resource for anyone who deals with real-world application issues,” said Dr. Phil Hippensteel, Professor of Information Systems at Penn State University and a major contributor to the Application Troubleshooting Guide.  “I plan to use it in my classroom, and give the students a glimpse of what network engineers face every day.”

Download the “Application Troubleshooting Guide” free of charge

The “Application Troubleshooting Guide” is available at no charge from Fluke Networks’ web site.  It is part of Fluke Networks “Application Troubleshooting Resource Center for Network Engineers.”  More details can be found by clicking on “Guide to Troubleshooting Application Problems.”

About Fluke Networks

Fluke Networks provides innovative solutions for the installation and certification, testing, monitoring and analysis of copper, fiber and wireless networks used by enterprises and telecommunications carriers. The company's comprehensive line of Network SuperVision™ Solutions provide network installers, owners, and maintainers with superior vision, combining speed, accuracy and ease of use to optimize network performance. Headquartered in Everett, Washington, the company distributes its products in more than 50 countries. More information can be found by visiting Fluke Networks’ Web site at www.flukenetworks.com or by calling (800) 283-5853.<

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New tool also reduces user errors through simplified operation

Fluke Networks, provider of innovative Network SuperVision Solutions™ for the testing, monitoring and analysis of enterprise and telecommunications networks, announces the availability of the new MicroMapper™ Pro VDV cable tester.  MicroMapper™ Pro, now with a one-button

“Quick Check” test, that reduces installation time and callbacks by simplifying the use of the test tool and helping reduce user errors.

Quick Check runs a full wiremap test for twisted pair cabling that shows the type of fault (miswires, reversals, split pairs, and breaks) plus the distance to the fault.  This reduces test time and speeds troubleshooting when faults are detected.  Quick Check is also easy enough to use, and its results so easy to interpret, that MicroMapper Pro can be used across a wider range of user skill levels than similar testers.

MicroMapper Pro eliminates the need for adapters when testing twisted pair and coax (F) cables.  This saves time with faster transitions between voice, data, and video cable testing, and eliminates costly replacement of lost adapters.

Analog toning is included in the MicroMapper Pro.  This allows installers to locate and isolates wire pairs during installation, and eliminates the need for a separate, dedicated toner in the installer’s toolkit.

Product Availability
The MicroMapper™ Pro VDV Cable Tester is available for immediate delivery through Fluke Networks’ sales partners worldwide.

About Fluke Networks
Fluke Networks provides innovative solutions for the installation and certification, testing, monitoring and analysis of copper, fiber and wireless networks used by enterprises and telecommunications carriers. The company's comprehensive line of Network SuperVision™ Solutions provide network installers, owners, and maintainers with superior vision, combining speed, accuracy and ease of use to optimize network performance. Headquartered in Everett, Washington, the company distributes its products in more than 50 countries. More information can be found by visiting Fluke Networks’ Web site at www.flukenetworks.com or by calling (800) 283-5853

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Honeywell has seen the strongest sales growth in its building controls business as IBS sales surge


Honeywell International has been spreading the wealth around ahead of dark clouds' descent on the global economy. The diversified manufacturer assured investors on Friday that it's poised to outperform despite slowed demand from once-thriving global markets thanks to its strategic positioning investments.

Honeywell, which develops technology and products for aerospace and building sectors, credited the quarter's better-than-expected earnings with strong sales from its building controls business. Acknowledging that some of its strongest businesses may be pressured by slowed orders, the company trimmed its year-end earnings guidance.

Investors, in turn, trimmed the company's share price, lowering it by $1.56, or 5.0%, to $29.37, on Friday. Shares of rival United Technologies were also lower on Friday, a day after the company reported third-quarter earnings. United Technologies warned of a possible slowdown in sales but raised year-end guidance. (See "United Tech Stands Strong On Diverse Portfolio.") Its shares fell 4.1%, or $2.17, at $50.71.

"We've positioned ourselves to participate strongly in robust macro-trends like safety, security, oil and gas, energy efficiency and defense and space," Chairman Dave Cote said during a conference call, adding that industries with long-term strength comprise roughly half of Honeywell's portfolio. The company has tried to maintain a nearly equal balance between long-term and short-term sales and non-U.S. sales represent a little more than half of total revenue.

"We continue to benefit from our large installed base, emerging regions presence and balance of long- and short-cycle businesses," Cote said.

Honeywell has seen the strongest sales growth in its building controls business recently as an international building boom created strong demand for the company's thermostats and security systems. According to Revere Data, sales of its automation and control unit grew 37.4%, to $3.6 billion, in the second quarter and 36.1%, to $12.5 billion, in 2007. Honeywell's aerospace systems rank a close second with sales growth of 33.9% in the prior quarter and 35.4% in 2007.

In the third quarter, Honeywell's net income rose 16.3%, to $719.0 million, or 97 cents a share, from $618.0 million, or 81 cents a share. Sales rose 6.0%, to $9.3 billion, from $8.7 billion, a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of 95 cents a share and sales of $9.6 billion.

Honeywell narrowed its earnings range to $3.76 to $3.80 a share, which matches what analysts have been expecting at the high end. The company guided for year-end sales growth 8.0%, to $37.2 billion, which is slightly lower than the $37.9 billion that analysts polled by Thomson Reuters have been anticipating.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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The Light Brigade’s November–December 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.

December 2-5

Oakland, CA

 

Little Rock, AR

 

Atlanta, GA

 

 

 

 

December 8-11

Seattle, WA

 

New Brunswick, NJ

 

Denver, CO

 

 

December 15-18

Portland, OR

November 3-6

New York, NY

 

Chicago, IL

 

 

November 10-13

Las Vegas, NV

Anaheim, CA

November 17-20

Orlando, FL

 

Advanced Hands-on Modules

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 hands-on exercises.

Module 1: Fiber Optic Cable Preparation, Patch Panels & Splice Closures

Module 2: Fiber Optic Connectorization

Module 3: Optical Loss Testing, Troubleshooting & Documentation

Module 4: OTDR Theory, Operation & Emergency Restoration

Module 5: Fiber Optic Splicing (Fusion & Mechanical)

November 10-14

Seattle, WA

November 17-21

Washington, DC

December 8-12

Miami, FL

December 15-19

San Jose, CA

FTTx for Installers and Planners

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

November 3-6

Seattle, WA

December 15-18

Minneapolis, MN

Fiber Optics for Intelligent Transportation Systems

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

November 17-20

Seattle, WA

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

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Interactive Intelligence Announces Winning Customer Service Story in Outrageous Interactions Call Center Contest

Tracy R. of Tennessee wins contest grand prize of trip for two to Hawaii for most outrageous customer service story

The public has spoken and the winner of the Interactive Intelligence (Nasdaq: ININ) “Outrageous Interactions” call center contest is Tracy R., a customer service specialist for a Tennessee-based bank.

Interactive Intelligence awarded Tracy with the grand prize of a trip for two to Hawaii. Tracy won the contest by “popular” vote with the following customer service story entry:

“I received a call from a gentleman who was very upset:
- Caller: Somebody painted the outside of my branch!
- Me: Okay, sir, how can I help you today?
- Caller: Why would they paint the wall?
- Me: Well sir, it could be that the paint was scuffed, or there may have been graffiti. We try to keep our buildings looking nice.
- Caller: Well now I don't have my PIN number! How am I supposed to get my money out?
- Me: I'm sorry? I said, completely confused.
- Caller: I wrote my PIN number on the wall beside the ATM, and now they've painted over it! Why would they do that?
- Me: It sounds like they were trying to cover up the vandalism. I'd be happy to resend your PIN number to you.”

Tracy’s customer service story entry beat out nine other finalists with 29 percent of the vote as a result of the online “people’s choice” voting segment of the contest. The winning entry was announced on-stage in Los Angeles at the Internet Telephony Conference and EXPO.

“I can’t believe I won,” Tracy said. “I knew I had experienced some truly interesting customer service calls, but I also knew that call center agents constantly undergo challenging customer interactions. It’s really gratifying to be part of a contest that brings to light call center agents’ patience, professionalism, and sometimes a much-needed sense of humor. I’m honored to be an example of that.”

With more than a decade of experience developing software to help call centers provide better customer service, Interactive Intelligence knows first-hand the issues agents face every day. It was in this spirit that the company kicked off the “Outrageous Interactions” contest in May, soliciting agents worldwide for their most bizarre, wacky and funny customer service stories.

“Our company is in a unique position to understand the challenges contact center agents face, but also to call attention to some of these difficult and often humorous issues they handle with grace every single day,” said Interactive Intelligence senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Joe Staples. “All of the customer service entries we received from around the globe, the 50-plus articles that were published by the media, and the more than 20,000 hits to the OutrageousInteractions.com Web site show how well people relate to these stories. We extend our admiration to the millions of hard-working call center agents who keep this industry thriving.”

Although the submission process for the “Outrageous Interactions” contest has concluded, the public is still invited to weigh in on all top ten customer service stories and name their favorite at www.outrageousinteractions.com.

About Interactive Intelligence

Interactive Intelligence Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ) is a global provider of unified business communications solutions for contact center automation, enterprise IP telephony, and enterprise messaging. The company was founded in 1994 and has more than 3,000 customers worldwide. Interactive Intelligence is among Software Magazine’s top 500 global software and services suppliers, is ranked among NetworkWorld’s top 200 North American networking vendors, is a BusinessWeek “hot growth 50” company, and is among FORTUNE Small Business magazine’s top 100 fastest growing companies. Interactive Intelligence employs approximately 600 people and is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. It has six global corporate offices with additional sales offices throughout North America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Interactive Intelligence can be reached at +1 317.872.3000 or info@inin.com; on the Net: www.inin.com.

Association News

ACUTA

ACUTA Moves Annual Conference, Strategic Leadership Forum Earlier in Year in 2009

Traditionally a mid-summer event, the annual conference of ACUTA, the Association for Information Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education, will move to the spring in 2009, along with its Forum for Strategic Leadership in Communications Technology.

ACUTA has scheduled the 38th Annual Conference for April 19-22, 2009, in Atlanta, along with the 13th annual forum. The move, according to ACUTA Executive Director Jeri Semer, is designed to enable more members to attend the important annual event. ACUTA, the only international association dedicated to serving the needs of higher education information communications technology professionals, represents nearly 2,000 individuals at some 780 institutions of all sizes.

“Summer is a very busy season for major technology projects on campus, so we were receiving feedback from our members that it was difficult for them to get to the annual conference in the summer months,” explained Semer. “Because the annual conference offers so many opportunities for education and networking, we are changing the dates to maximize attendance and increase the accessibility of the event to our members and others.”

ACUTA’s core mission is the sharing of technology and management information, and its annual conference is its largest event of the year. The Forum for Strategic Leadership in Communications Technology, which runs concurrently with the annual conference, is targeted at university executives, with intensive sessions led by higher education leaders and expert consultants.

The conference and forum will be held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, and both events emphasize technology and management education, information sharing, and networking among peers. For more information, visit www.acuta.org.

About ACUTA
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 information communications technology professionals in contributing to the achievement of the strategic mission of their institutions. ACUTA represents nearly 2000 individuals at some 780 institutions of higher education, with members ranging from small schools and community colleges to the 50 largest U.S. institutions. ACUTA’s Corporate Affiliate members represent all categories of communications technology vendors serving the college/university market. For more information, visit www.acuta.org

BICSI

BICSI Announces NxtGEN Program Timeline

Edward J. Donelan, RCDD, NTS, TLT, BICSI President, announced the BICSI NxtGEN Program timeline beginning with the unveiling of the ITS Design Fundamentals Program at the 2009 BICSI Winter Conference in Orlando, Fla.

“This is the beginning of a new era for BICSI and our credential holders as we look to be more inclusive of ITS and related industry professionals,” said Donelan. The BICSI NxtGEN Program fulfills two of the four main goals of the BICSI strategic plan. The credential goal calls for BICSI’s credentials to be regarded as the most coveted and premiere designations in the ITS industry. The knowledge transfer goal means BICSI will be a globally valued resource of information, insight and learning opportunities essential to achieving BICSI and other industry designations.

Key dates are as follows:

·         January 2009 – The ITS Design Fundamentals Program will be unveiled. This program will allow the student to take convenient electronic exams based upon self-study in preparation for the proctored specialty exam.

·         May 2009 – The Specialty Exams (Wireless, Outside Plant, and Network Transport Systems) will be offered to individuals without the Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) as a prerequisite credential.

·         September 2009 – The Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual, 12th edition, will be released.

·         January 2010 – The first RCDD exam based on the new NxtGEN prerequisite qualifications will be administered.

About BICSI NxtGEN Program:

In 2006, the BICSI Board of Directors asked a number of BICSI members and volunteers to take a look at the many changes that have occurred in the ITS industry since the inception of the RCDD program; and make recommendations for enhancements. In June 2007, this committee of members recommended that BICSI take a serious look at what the organization can do to maintain its leadership role in ITS, which resulted in an effort called the BICSI NxtGEN Program.

The BICSI NxtGEN Program will elevate the importance and recognition of existing RCDDs, make the RCDD and Specialty programs more inclusive of IT, engineering and other professionals; and modernize the BICSI credentialing programs to make them more consistent with how professionals are credentialed today.

###

BICSI is a professional association supporting the information transport systems (ITS) industry. ITS covers the spectrum of voice, data and video technologies. It encompasses the design, integration and installation of pathways, spaces, fiber- and copper-based distribution systems, wireless-based systems and infrastructure that supports the transportation of information and associated signaling between and among communications and information gathering devices.

BICSI provides information, education and knowledge assessment for individuals and companies in the ITS industry. We serve more than 25,000 ITS professionals, including designers, installers and technicians. These individuals provide the fundamental infrastructure for telecommunications, audio/video, life safety and automation systems. Through courses, conferences, publications and professional registration programs, BICSI staff and volunteers assist ITS professionals in delivering critical products and services, and offer opportunities for continual improvement and enhanced professional stature.

Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, USA, BICSI membership spans nearly 140 countries. For more information, visit www.bicsi.org.

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BICSI FALL CONFERENCE REPORT

BICSI Fall 2008 Report

Tampa, Fla., October 10, 2008— Events surrounding the 2008 BICSI Fall Conference have officially concluded after a full two weeks of BICSI courses, credentialing exams, educational presentations, exhibits and networking opportunities.

The conference hosted more than 4,400 attendees with record pre-conference seminar attendance totaling 1,310. In addition, over 20 BICSI courses in distribution design, cabling installation and telecommunications project management hosted 291 students.

BICSI credentialing exams taken during the conference resulted in 26 new registered communications distribution designers (RCDD), along with five network transport systems (NTS) specialists, two outside plant (OSP) specialists, and four new wireless design (WD) specialists.

Following several well-received presentations during the General Session on Tuesday, September 30, conference attendees had the opportunity to design their own schedules on Wednesday, selecting from over 16 concurrent session presentations. The wide assortment of session topics included access control and digital video, fiber optics for data center applications, hospital technology infrastructure, successful project management, CCTV network protection, biometrics, IP access control, the new TIA-606-B labeling standard, multimode optical fiber, AV installation in classrooms/conference centers, power solutions for blade server environments and safety in remote network equipment.

“I would say the mythbusting about shielded cabling session was excellent. In my opinion, it was the one which provided a lot of information that is of concern to many industry professionals,” said Michael Deal, RCDD, from Stanford University.

In the presentation, Herb Congdon II and Brian Davis with Tyco Electronics discussed several of the myths associated with shielded cabling and presented results of the research through experiments, hard facts and analysis. They covered such questions as “Will the ‘twice the time’ thumb rule for shielded installation win hands-down?”; “Can the concerns about ground loops pass the test?”; “Does the antenna effect hold water?”; “How do cable bundles really stack up?”; and “Is ‘the baked potato effect’ half-baked?”

The closing general session on Thursday, October 2, opened with the “Future Trends of the Industry” panel discussion, moderated by Bob Bader, RCDD, NTS. The forum-style presentation featured industry experts John Adams, RCDD, OSP; Chris DiMinico; Mark Harger; and Tony Whaley, RCDD, NTS, WD. Each of them addressed current trends and held a question-and-answer session with the audience in the key areas of outside plant, networks and wireless.

The closing keynote was delivered by Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, whose inspirational story of a dream to play football for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame and the obstacles he encountered along the way became the subject of the major motion picture “Rudy.”

Using clever quips and interspersed video clips from the movie, Ruettiger centered his motivational speech on four themes: courage, character, commitment and contribution. He encouraged the audience to never give up in anything they do because “you never know where the path may lead and the outcome.”

The BICSI Reception and Exhibits also drew big crowds each evening. In addition to the 2,014 registered ITS professionals, 1,004 one-day passes were purchased and 561 guests came to the Exhibit Hall to explore the latest ITS products and solutions.

“I thought it was a much better show for us than in recent years,” said Karen Stapleton, account executive for Outsource Telecom. “We definitely saw an increase in traffic and in new leads.”

-more-

BICSI by the numbers

Total attendees: 4,434

Total professional attendees: 2,014

Total exhibiting companies/exhibitors: 143 companies with 853 representatives

Total guests: 561

Total Exhibit Hall one-day passes: 1,004

Pre-conference seminars attendance: 1,310

First-time attendees at a BICSI Conference: 140

###

BICSI is a professional association supporting the information transport systems (ITS) industry. ITS covers the spectrum of voice, data and video technologies. It encompasses the design, integration and installation of pathways, spaces, fiber- and copper-based distribution systems, wireless-based systems and infrastructure that supports the transportation of information and associated signaling between and among communications and information gathering devices.

BICSI provides information, education and knowledge assessment for individuals and companies in the ITS industry. We serve more than 25,000 ITS professionals, including designers, installers and technicians. These individuals provide the fundamental infrastructure for telecommunications, audio/video, life safety and automation systems. Through courses, conferences, publications and professional registration programs, BICSI staff and volunteers assist ITS professionals in delivering critical products and services, and offer opportunities for continual improvement and enhanced professional stature.

Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, USA, BICSI membership spans nearly 140 countries. For more information, visit www.bicsi.org.

Contact:  Tom Damico, tdamico@bicsi.org, or Maarja Kolberg, mkolberg@bicsi.org

BOMA

Congress Passes CRE Tax Priorities

Today the House of Representatives followed the Senate's lead and passed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, H.R.1424, by a vote of 263 - 171. President Bush is expected to sign the bill into law. This represents a huge victory for the commercial real estate industry and BOMA!

In addition to the financial rescue plan, it includes three BOMA legislative priorities: the two-year extension of both the 15-year timeline for depreciating leasehold improvements and brownfields expensing and a 5-year extension of the tax deduction for energy efficient commercial buildings. The two-year extensions on brownfields expensing and leasehold depreciation are retroactive to January 1, 2008 and will go through Dec. 31, 2009, while the deduction of up to $1.80/square foot for energy efficiency improvements made to commercial buildings that achieve 50% reduction in energy use (compared to a base building defined by the ASHRAE 90.1-2001 Standard) will now expire Dec. 31, 2013.

BOMA International would like to thank all those that reached out to their Senators and Representatives in support of this legislation crucial to the commercial real estate industry.

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Plan to Attend the BOMA Winter Business Meeting

Join us at the 2009 Winter Business Meeting, January 16–19 at the beautiful Renaissance Esmeralda Resort in Indian Wells, CA. The Winter Business Meeting is open to all BOMA members and is your ideal opportunity to learn, network and participate in provocative discussions on the hottest topics in commercial real estate.

Keynote Session: An Economic Forecast for Commercial Real Estate
Renowned industry strategist Ray Torto, Ph.D, CRE, will examine the state of commercial real estate markets in today's challenging economy at the Opening Luncheon on Saturday, January 17, sponsored by AlliedBarton Security Services. Positioning properties during a down market cycle, the longer hold periods, difficulty in securing credit for capital improvements and a new White House and Congress are all contributing to an uncertainty for what lies ahead for commercial real estate. Torto, Global Chief Economist at CB Richard Ellis, will share insights and provide an outlook for the future.

BOMA Committees and Special Interest Group Meetings
Come together in interactive discussions with other attendees who share your responsibilities, challenges and perspectives. BOMA International committees and special interest groups share and dispense information on topics such as . . .

  • Energy efficiency and sustainability
  • Building codes and standards
  • Legislative and regulatory issues
  • New technologies in property management
  • Medical office buildings, mixed-use developments, and much more

Networking Events
You'll have plenty of time to mingle with your peers and meet new friends at the Welcome Reception, Regional Luncheons, and the Closing Reception. Special thanks to Naylor, LLC for sponsoring the Welcome Reception on Friday, January 16.

Golf Tournament
If you enjoy golf, plan to arrive early to participate in a fabulous Golf Tournament with your industry peers on Thursday, January 15 on the famous Celebrity Course at the Renaissance Esmeralda Resort, home of the 2008 LG Skins Game. A separate registration fee applies

Bring Your Spouse or Guest
Spouses/guests will be treated to a tour along El Peseo, known as the "Rodeo Drive" of the desert. El Paseo boasts world-famous art galleries, designer boutiques, unique shops and restaurants. The tour will feature four distinctive galleries, lunch and free time to shop. The spouse/guest registration fee also includes continental breakfasts, the Welcome Reception and Closing Party.

Registration Information
Conference registration fees are $595 for BOMA members and $295 for spouses/guests. Rooms at the Renaissance Esmeralda are discounted for BOMA attendees at $259/night. Visit our Web site for complete conference information including the schedule of events, registration procedures, and hotel reservation information, or call 202-326-6331.

Thank You 2009 Winter Business Meeting Sponsors

CABA

CABA to Launch Re-Designed Web site

The Continental Automated Buildings Association is pleased to announce that it has re-designed its Web site (http://www.caba.org) and will be launching it today: Friday, October 17.

The launch of our new Web site coincides with CABA's 20th anniversary celebration, which begins next month.

We re-designed the CABA Web site so that it would feature more up-to-date information and an appealing layout that would be easy to navigate. As a result of some forward-thinking, we have also deployed a more robust architecture for the site to facilitate the addition of updates and new tools in the future.

Anyone who was familiar with our old site will likely notice some obvious changes.  Firstly, members currently log in through CABA's Member Lounge section with a username and password.  With our new site, members will need to log in using their primarye-mail address and password as provided below.

The new login system will be available throughout the new Web site on the top navigation bar of all pages throughout the site.

Logging into the system will allow you to access private member sections and will also provide you with the opportunity to access new, integrated online discussion forums. 

To keep our industry informed of key happenings and emerging issues, our new Web site will include an "industry news" feature on our home page. This helpful feature will ensure that you are always updated with important information, provided from the CABA SmartBrief (http://www.smartbrief.com/caba/index.jsp), the organization's daily syndicated newsletter.  Keep checking our new Website since this section will be constantly updated.

In the coming days and months, we will continue to enhance the look-and-feel and features of the new Web site as we phase-in new services.  As you know, most Web sites are in a constant state of construction, and our desire is to ensure that new and meaningful services continue to be rolled-out.   If you have any concerns or require any assistance with accessing the new Web site services, please contact Rawlson King, CABA's Communication Director at king@caba.org.  Please note that the "change over" to the new Web site architecture will require several hours, as changes will need to propagate across the Web to reach your computer.  As a result the new site might not at some locations until the weekend or Monday.      www.caba.org 

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CABA Appoints Ellis Lindsay To Board Of Directors

The Continental Automated Buildings Association announced today that Ellis Lindsay of Alcatel-Lucent has been named to the association's Board of Directors. CABA is a nonprofit industry association that provides information, education, and networking to help promote advanced technologies for the automation of homes and buildings.

Ellis Lindsay leads the connected home program within for Alcatel-Lucent's Americas Strategy Group. Working closely with internal business units, Lindsay is responsible for defining and driving Alcatel-Lucent's role in the connected home as more industries intersect inside the home through the common adoption of IP connectivity.

"We are delighted to welcome Ellis Lindsay to CABA's Board," said Ronald J. Zimmer, President & CEO of CABA. "His industry expertise in the global high technology field, including Alcatel-Lucent, will provide valuable expertise and insight to our organization."

Prior to joining Alcatel-Lucent, Lindsay was Associate Director, Consumer Services Development at Bell Canada where he was instrumental in the development of Bell Canada's Voice over IP services capabilities. His contributions to Bell Canada's communications technology and application strategies bring a wealth of integrated services knowledge and experience to the organization. As a Director of Strategic Alliances for Ubiquity Software, he was an early participant in the evolution of SIP products and implementations within the service provider community. Lindsay also has extensive experience in the consumer and enterprise software markets from Corel Corporation and Cognos Inc. where he held Product Management roles earlier in his career.

Lindsay has a Bachelor of Engineering from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

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CABA Offers Free Building Intelligence Assessment

Building designers, owners and operators are now able to obtain one free building intelligence assessment and ranking using the Continental Automated Buildings Association’s (CABA) Intelligent Building Quotient tool.

By completing a short questionnaire, CABA members will be allowed to test the tool at no charge. www.caba.org.  Do you have a dumb building?

The tool permits property owners, managers and designers to rate a building's intelligence and provides design guidance to ensure that all relevant issues are considered when making a choice about subsystems and their level of integration. Owners and developers with multiple properties can also use the tool to assess and compare the building intelligence systems in their portfolio.

Because the assessment is completely online, owners, designers and managers have the ability to change input up to a year, with an option to extend.

To obtain a free ranking, contact Brian Daze, CABA's Business Development Manager at daze@caba.org .

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FOA

FOA Creates Comprehensive Online Reference Web Site For Fiber Optics

The FOA has created a new online reference site for fiber optics that is the most comprehensive collection of information on fiber optics available anywhere. This unique reference site was created as a complement to traditional textbooks like the FOA’s Fiber Optic Technicians Manual since it can be kept up to date more easily, can be accessed from anywhere and is much less expensive than printed books.

The new FOA site was created as a reference site for schools and students studying for FOA certifications and as a readily available reference for FOA- certified technicians needing a refresher course or to find information they need while on the job.

The site is comprised of basic reference materials in conventional web pages, topical tutorials in slide-show format and reference documents formatted for easy printing. For example, from the site you can read about fiber optic termination, watch a slide show tutorial on termination and see a “virtual hands-on” step-by-step lesson on how to actually perform the termination. Typical hands-on processes like cable preparation, termination, splicing and testing are covered in great detail.

The FOA fiber optic reference site is organized to make it easy to find information through a linked table of contents. Recognizing the growing use of portable web- enabled devices like the iPhone and other smart phones, the site is formatted simply so most  pages can be viewed easily on a small-screen device as well as a larger computer screen. Access by portable web devices means the site can be accessed from the job site by techs needing some information or advice.

The FOA website is available to FOA-approved schools and their students and current FOA CFOTs. For those interested in the site but not CFOTs, FOA associate membership will be available which includes unlimited access to the site.

www.thefoa.org

    A preview of the website is located at http://www.thefoa.org/preview/

The Fiber Optic Association, Inc. is an nonprofit educational organization chartered to promote fiber optics through education, certification and standards. Over 200 FOA- Approved schools around the world have certified over 25,000 fiber optic technicians since 1995. The FOA offers free online introductory fiber optic tutorials for everyone and training for instructors at FOA-Approved schools.

For more information on the FOA, email info@thefoa.org  or call 760-451-3655.

NAED

Nominations Open for NAED Annual Awards

Submission Deadline is December 15 for Awards Recognizing Outstanding Companies, Individuals

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) is inviting nominations for the association’s top honors, the NAED Annual Awards. The awards will be presented at NAED’s 2009 National Electrical Leadership Summit, to be held May 16-20, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

The NAED Annual Awards recognize the companies and individuals who have made significant contributions to the electrical industry and NAED. Submissions for the 2009 awards are due by Dec. 15, 2008. Nominations for the following awards will be accepted:

  • Arthur W. Hooper Achievement Award—presented to an individual who has had an exceptional career in distribution that covers the span of many years.
  • Associate Service Award—given to an individual associated with an electrical manufacturing firm, who has consistently been active in promoting and supporting the tenets and goals of NAED.
  • Industry Award of Merit—honoring an associate company that has been exceptionally active in promoting, supporting and/or improving the electrical distribution channel.
  • Distributor Distinguished Service Award—recognizing a distributor for outstanding and dedicated service to NAED and the electrical distribution industry.

To submit a nomination, go to http://www.naed.org/membershipinfo/award.asp?showtype=naed and download the award nomination form. NAED’s Web site also lists additional award criteria as well. After the nominations are received, NAED’s Awards Committee will review the submissions and decide on the final award winners.

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 4,400 locations internationally. www.naed.org

NECA

NECA-Backed Copper Theft Legislation Gaining Ground In Congress

Since commodity prices for copper have more than quadrupled in recent years (from about 83 cents per pound in 2000 to more than $4 per pound in 2008) and tight supplies have led to a thriving market for used copper, the theft of copper from telephone lines, electrical substations, highway infrastructure and residential homes has grown exponentially.

Law enforcement agencies say that thieves often rip out and sell metal commodities to finance illegal drug activity, pertaining particularly to methamphetamine. And, here lately, there have been a rash of electrocutions as thieves desperate for their next fix have begun trying to steal electrified copper wire.

However, everyone is affected by this rising crime wave. “Copper thefts are causing power outages, downing phone lines, disrupting the delivery of products and costing businesses and homeowners billions of dollars every year,” according to U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D, MI-1), a former police officer.

That’s why he and Rep. Jim Ramstad (R, MN-3) — both co-chairmen of the Congressional Law Enforcement Caucus — recently introduced the Copper Theft Prevention Act (HR 6831). NECA, along with other active members of the Coalition Against Copper Theft, was represented at the caucus briefing on the new legislation.

Under HR 6831, scrap dealers would be required to keep records of copper transactions for two years and make them available to law enforcement agencies upon request. These records would have to include the name and address of the seller, the date of the transaction, the quantity and a description of the copper being purchased, an identifying number from a driver’s license or other government-issued identification and, where possible, the make, model and tag number of the vehicle used to deliver the copper to the scrap dealer.

The legislation proposes civil penalties of up to $10,000 for scrap metal dealers that fail to document such transactions. The bill would also require them to perform transactions of more than $500 by check rather than cash or else face the same penalty.

Twenty-eight states have enacted similar copper and scrap metal theft laws. “But a patchwork of state laws is not doing enough to prevent copper theft and help investigators solve these crimes,” according to Rep. Stupak.  “A baseline federal law will provide the uniformity law enforcement agencies need and eliminate any safe haven that currently exists for copper thieves.” www.necanet.org

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Extension Of Commercial Building Tax Deduction

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, signed into law on October 3, has not yet accomplished its intended purpose of calming troubled financial markets but it does contain at least one beneficial provision that NECA (www.necanet.org )and allies have been striving to attain — an extension of the Energy Efficient Commercial Building Tax Deduction which was set to expire at the end of this year. Under the new law, the deduction is available for qualified property placed in service after December 31, 2005, and prior to December 31, 2013.

The deduction was created under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to provide an incentive for improving the energy efficiency of commercial buildings. It enables owners or tenants of new or existing commercial buildings  (or designers, in the case of government-owned buildings) to deduct up to $1.80 per square foot for the costs incurred in making changes that save at least 50 percent of the heating, cooling, ventilation, water heating, and interior lighting energy costs of a building that meets ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001.

Partial deductions of $.60 per square foot can be taken for improvements to one of three building systems—the building envelope, lighting, or heating and cooling system—that reduces total heating, cooling, ventilation, water heating and interior lighting energy use by 16 2/3 percent (16 2/3 percent is the 50 percent goal for the three systems spread equally over the three systems).

Building owners are encouraged under the law to focus first on lighting systems for two reasons: first, their ease and availability of upgrading, and second, the known achievements in energy efficiency that will be gained. In the case of a lighting system (including the retrofit of an existing system), the system energy savings target for the lighting system is deemed to be met by a reduction in lighting power density of 40 percent (50 percent in the case of a warehouse) of the minimum requirements in Table 9.3.1.1 or Table 9.3.1.2 of ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2001 (as in effect on April 2, 2003).

In the case of a lighting system that reduces lighting power density by 25 percent, a partial deduction of $0.30 per square foot is allowed. A pro-rated partial deduction is allowed in the case of a lighting system that reduces lighting power density between 25 and 40 percent. Certain lighting level and lighting control requirements must also be met in order to qualify for the partial interim lighting deductions.

For more information, go to www.efficientbuildings.org/

NEMA

NEMA and NGLIA Cheer New ENERGY STAR® Program for Solid State Lighting

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and the Next Generation Lighting Industry Alliance (NGLIA) welcomed the September 30 announcement by the U.S. Department of Energy that the ENERGY STAR® Solid State Lighting (SSL) Program has become effective. With consumers in mind, the program will label SSL lighting equipment – including undercabinet, recessed downlights and outdoor path, step and porch lighting – that meet high standards for energy efficiency and performance.

“DOE, NEMA, and NGLIA share a common interest in accelerating introduction into the market of high-quality, energy-efficient SSL products, and protecting the growing but fragile new market from low-quality products that can harm consumer first impressions of new technology,” said Kyle Pitsor, NEMA Vice President and NGLIA Administrator. “The DOE ENERGY STAR Program for SSL provides a reliable means of distinguishing quality products.” 

In its announcement, DOE acknowledged the important role played by technical standards and the NGLIA in the program’s development. Members of NEMA’s Solid State Lighting Section have been instrumental in the development of new industry standards for SSL efficiency and performance that are central to the ENERGY STAR product requirements. NEMA also serves as the secretariat for the NGLIA, DOE’s designated industry partner in SSL commercialization activities, of which the ENERGY STAR program is a significant part.

The NGLIA is an alliance of lighting manufacturers, administered by NEMA, formed to accelerate SSL development and commercialization through government-industry partnership. The NGLIA has provided valuable support to the DOE SSL program, providing input to shape DOE SSL R&D priorities and market-based programs such as ENERGY STAR®.

NEMA is the trade association of choice for the electrical manufacturing industry. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its approximately 450 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end-use of electricity. These products are used in utility, medical imaging, industrial, commercial, institutional, and residential applications. Domestic production of electrical products sold worldwide exceeds $120 billion. In addition to its headquarters in Rosslyn, Virginia, NEMA also has offices in Beijing, São Paulo, and Mexico City.

www.nema.org

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NEMA Applauds Congressional Ratification of U.S.–India Civilian Nuclear Agreement

As a leading advocate on behalf of the U.S.–India Civilian Nuclear Agreement, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) applauds Congress' end-of-session ratification of the accord. The House approved it by a vote of 298 to 117 on September 27, with the Senate House then voting in favor on October 1 by 86 to 13.

"This landmark agreement, which marks a very positive milestone in our bilateral relationship with New Delhi, is also extremely important for our industry," said NEMA President and CEO Evan Gaddis.  "Not only does it set a solid foundation for future cooperation in nuclear power research, technology, engineering and safety, it permits NEMA member companies to compete in supplying the transmission, distribution, and control technologies required to safely and efficiently deliver electricity to the millions of Indians who need it.  We very much appreciate the Hill's taking the time, amidst the financial crisis, to conduct the final voting." 

NEMA is the trade association of choice for the electrical manufacturing industry. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its approximately 450 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end-use of electricity. These products are used in utility, medical imaging, industrial, commercial, institutional, and residential applications. Domestic production of electrical products sold worldwide exceeds $120 billion. In addition to its headquarters in Rosslyn, Virginia, NEMA also has offices in Beijing, São Paulo, and Mexico City. www.nema.org

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NEMA Praises Congress in Passing the Economic Rescue Package; Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) today praised the House of Representatives for passing the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, H.R. 1424, by a vote of 263-171. House passage follows action by the Senate on October 1, which approved the legislation on a vote of 74-25. The package now goes to the President for his signature.   

Included in the rescue package are provisions lobbied by NEMA throughout the year that impact deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. In September, NEMA President and CEO Evan R. Gaddis, called on Congressional leadership to put partisan bickering aside and pass the energy tax provisions prior to Congress adjourning for the fall elections. 

The energy and renewable tax provisions include:

·         An extension through 2013 of the of energy-efficient commercial buildings tax deduction

·         Extension and modification of the renewable energy tax credit

·         Accelerated depreciation for smart meters and smart-grid systems

·         Extension of the tax credit for energy-efficient improvements to existing and new homes

·         Extension of the production tax credit for wind and renewable technologies

·         Renewal and extension of the research and development tax credit through 2009

“I am extremely happy with the action Congress has taken today,” Gaddis said.  “Not only did Congress pass a critical economic rescue plan, but it also provided a stimulus to our economy by extending many energy tax incentives that will support construction, contracting, and manufacturing jobs.  Many of the incentives contained in the legislation provide the private sector the needed longer-term certainty for business investment and planning, rather than past one-year patches that NEMA companies have been struggling to optimize.  Members of congress felt tremendous pressure to pass this legislation, and this pressure can be attributed to many of the NEMA companies that contacted their elected officials to voice support of these critical tax incentives.”

NEMA is the trade association of choice for the electrical manufacturing industry. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its approximately 450 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end-use of electricity. These products are used in utility, medical imaging, industrial, commercial, institutional, and residential applications. Domestic production of electrical products sold worldwide exceeds $120 billion. In addition to its headquarters in Rosslyn, Virginia, NEMA also has offices in Beijing, São Paulo, and Mexico City.

www.nema.org

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NEMA to Help Demonstrate the Value of Smart Grid Technologies

The National Electrical Manufacturers association will host a Department of Energy E-Forum on the consumer benefits of smart grid technology. “NEMA is pleased to help demonstrate how smart grid deployments deliver real savings to budget-conscious Americans,” said NEMA President Evan Gaddis. “This e-forum continues a long history of collaboration between the Department of Energy and NEMA on new technologies for energy efficiency.”

As utilities, manufacturers, and services providers begin to offer and install smart grid equipment, there is a need to demonstrate the consumer benefits of these advanced technologies. This E-Forum will present experiences from existing smart grid projects in order to help decision makers evaluate new investments. Speakers will discuss actual deployments on the transmission grid, distribution systems, and for end-use customers.

Ahmad Faruqui of the Brattle Group, will discuss the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) experiences of California utilities. Andres Carvallo of Austin Energy, will discuss the co-op’s AMI results. Ron Stelmak, the Valley Group, will discuss smart grid project savings on the transmission system for a Midwest utility. Anthony Star of Center for Neighborhood Technologies will discuss customer side perspectives from smart grid projects in Chicago

Allen Freifeld from the Maryland Public Service Commission will moderate the panel. He will be accompanied by Irwin "Sonny" Popowsky of the Pennsylvania Office of

Consumer Advocate and Stacy Angel of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The target audience for this E-Forum is state officials including utility regulators and their staffs, legislators and their staffs, energy offices, and consumers and offices of consumer advocates. But, the E-Forum will be open to everyone including utilities, manufacturers, developers, and environmental groups.

Members of the public are welcome to participate in the E-Forum by registering at http://www.nema.org/doeSmartgrid or emailing smartgrid@nema.org.

NEMA is the trade association of choice for the electrical manufacturing industry. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its approximately 450 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end-use of electricity. These products are used in utility, medical imaging, industrial, commercial, institutional, and residential applications. Domestic production of electrical products sold worldwide exceeds $120 billion. In addition to its headquarters in Rosslyn, Virginia, NEMA also has offices in Beijing, São Paulo, and Mexico City.

NEMA. Setting Standards for Excellence  www.nema.org

SCTE

SCTE FOUNDATION SUMMARIZES THIRD QUARTER ’08 GRANT ACTIVITY

The SCTE Foundation is pleased to announce today its summary of grants it approved for members of the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) during the third quarter of 2008.

Helping to fulfill the educational goals of SCTE members, the SCTE Foundation approved grants for seven individuals during the quarter, including major grants for Chris Gutel of Cox Communications and Dana Kring of Comcast Cable Communications that were previously reported.

Besides Gutel and Kring, the other five grant recipients were:

•  Mark Anaya, Cox Communications

•  Saul Colon, Time Warner Cable

•  William Hufnagel, Armstrong Group of Companies

•  Brent Sager, Broadband Solutions

•  Chris Waite, Comcast Cable Communications

These SCTE Foundation grants were earmarked for a variety of professional development opportunities, including courses toward a bachelor’s degree in business administration and Jones/NCTI distance learning courses in broadband technical management.

These grants were directly aligned with the portion of the Foundation’s mission that calls for assisting SCTE members in their educational pursuits within cable and telecommunications engineering. The SCTE Foundation, which was established by the SCTE Board of Directors in 2005 and began issuing grants in 2006, has helped numerous SCTE members by distributing grants totaling more than $85,000.

Details about the SCTE Foundation—including the grant and scholarship application and the 2008 Giving Campaign, “Fueling Cable’s Future,” going on now through Dec. 31—are available at http://foundation.scte.org.

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) is a non-profit professional association that provides technical leadership for the telecommunications industry and serves its members through professional development, standards, certification and information. SCTE currently has more than 14,000 members from the U.S. and 70 countries worldwide and offers a variety of programs and services for the industry's educational benefit. SCTE has 68 chapters and meeting groups and more than 3,000 employees of the cable telecommunications industry hold SCTE technical certifications. SCTE is an ANSI-accredited standards development organization. Visit SCTE online at www.scte.org.

TIA

Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) Hails Congress for Passing Extension of Research and Development Credit

President Bush Signs Package Extending Expired Tax Cuts

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the leader in advocacy, standards development, business development and intelligence for the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for passing a package today that includes retroactive extension of a two-year extension of the R&D Credit through the end of 2009. The package included an increase in the Alternative Simplified Credit from 12% to 14% beginning in 2009.

The extension was part of a package of other expired tax provisions that was included in the H.R. 1424 – Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, also known as the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 and the Tax Extenders and Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008 that passed the Senate on Wednesday and was signed by President Bush this afternoon.

“We will continue to work next year toward a permanent R&D Credit,” said TIA Vice President for Government Affairs Danielle Coffey, “but TIA is pleased that the Congress has acted to reinstate the credit for the entirety of 2008 and through 2009 with an expanded Alternative Simplified Credit limit.”

“The development of leading-edge communications applications is complex, requiring time, capital resources and a long-term vision,” Coffey continued, “which is why a permanent credit is so critical for companies’ ability to plan for the future and remain competitive in the global market.”

www.online.org

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TIA’s FOLS Presents at BICSI’s Fall Conference

The Telecommunications Industry Association’s (TIA) Fiber Optics LAN Section (FOLS) and several of its members will present on the benefits that optical fiber and related technologies can bring to enterprise networks at the BICSI Fall Conference (Las Vegas), Sept. 29 – Oct. 2. Copies of the presentations will be posted at fols.org after the conference. (Please visit the TIA/FOLS booth #247 at the conference.)

The presentations include:

MONDAY, Sept. 29th, Pre-Conference Seminar, 1:30-4:30 p.m.

"Cost Model From TIA FOLS Helps Users Identify Solutions that Offer High Performance, Cost Effectively," Andrew Oliviero, OFS, Norcross, Georgia; Rodney Casteel, RCDD, CommScope, Villa Rica, Georgia; and Robert Reid, Panduit, Orland Park, Illinois. Learn how to use the free premises cost model from FOLS to find the best structured cabling solution for your network. The Cost Model helps users compare the installed first costs of three standards-compliant structured cabling solutions using both fiber optic and copper cabling.

TUESDAY, Sept. 30th,  9:30-10:15 a.m.

"Are You Playing in the Zone?" Rodney Casteel, RCDD, CommScope, Villa Rica, Georgia.

"Because that is the way I have always designed it", does this sound familiar? While, "If it ain't broke don't fix it" may make sense in some areas, for the network infrastructure design this approach may just be out-of-date. In this presentation we will look at three different architectures addressed in the TIA-568 standards and evaluate why "playing in the zone" just might be your best approach.

TUESDAY, Sept. 30th, 2:15-3:00 p.m.

"10 GB Ethernet: Copper or Fiber," Paul Neveux, Ph.D, Superior Essex, Atlanta, Georgia.

Now that the requirements for category 6A channels have been published in TIA 568-B.2-10, end users now have to decide between implementing 10 GbE copper or 10 GbE fiber. This presentation discusses the advantages and disadvantages of each media type, including installation issues, the number of channels per cable, service environments and cost of active components.

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 1, 9:00-10:00 a.m.

"Modular Cassette-Based Fiber Optic Systems for Data Center Applications," Rudolph Montgelas, Ortronics/Legrand, New London, Connecticut. Today's data centers present a challenge in meeting critical business needs in the face of burgeoning transactions and exploding amounts of information that must be stored and managed. As data rates increase, the use of fiber-optic cabling in the data center is becoming more commonplace. Advances in optical technology make fiber more affordable, practical and easier to use in the data center.

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 1, 2:00-3:00 p.m.

"Save Time, Money and Aggravation-Install Multimode Optical Fiber in Your Premises Network," Sharon Bois, Corning, Inc., Corning, New York. As transmission speeds and data rates continue to increase more end users are switching from copper to fiber for telecommunication networks. This presentation provides an in-depth look at the advantages of installing optical fiber versus copper and multimode versus single-mode fiber in a premises network. Topics include installation and operation costs, testing requirements, network security, ease of handling, cable life-cycle, and EMI, as well as a demonstration of the differences in handling/connectorizing optical fiber vs. copper.

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About FOLS

The Fiber Optics LAN Section (FOLS) of TIA represents technology leaders committed to providing the most current, reliable, and vendor neutral information about fiber optics and related technologies for advancing new and better communications solutions. FOLS members are leading fiber cable, component and electronics companies including, 3M, Berk-Tek, a Nexans Company, CommScope, Corning, Corning Cable Systems, Draqa Comteq, Fluke Networks, OFS, Ortronics/Legrand, Panduit, Sumitomo Electric Lightwave, Superior Essex and Tyco Electronics. Visit the FOLS at fols.org.

About TIA

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) represents the global information and communications technology (ICT) industry through standards development, advocacy, tradeshows, business opportunities, market intelligence and world-wide environmental regulatory analysis. With roots dating back to 1924, TIA enhances the business environment for broadband, mobile wireless, information technology, networks, cable, satellite and unified communications. Members’ products and services empower communications in every industry and market, including healthcare, education, security, public safety, transportation, government, the military, the environment and entertainment. TIA co-owns the SUPERCOMM® tradeshow and is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Visit tiaonline.org.

TIA’s Board of Directors includes senior-level executives from ACS, ADC, ADTRAN, Alcatel-Lucent, ANDA Networks, ArrayComm, AttivaCorp, Avaya, Bechtel Communications, Inc., Cam Communications, Cisco Systems, Corning Incorporated, Ericsson, Inc., Graybar, Henkels & McCoy, ILS Technology, Intel Corporation, LGE, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia Siemens Networks, Nortel, OneChip Photonics Inc., Panasonic Computer Solutions Co., Qualcomm, Research In Motion, Sumitomo Electric Lightwave Corporation, Tellabs, Tyco Electronics, Ulticom, Inc., Verari Systems, Westell Technologies, Inc. and Zebra Technologies Corporation. Advisors to the Board include FAL Associates, Orca Systems and Telcordia Technologies.

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Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) to Revise Building Automation Systems Cabling Standard

Interested Parties Invited to Contribute to Proposed Project Development

for Commercial Buildings Standard

The Telecommunications Industry (TIA) TR-42.1 Subcommittee on Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling is developing a revision to ANSI/TIA/EIA-862, Building Automation Systems Cabling Standard for Commercial Buildings.

TIA is the leader in advocacy, standards development, business development and intelligence for the information and communications technology (ICT) industry.

The intent of the revision is to modify the document to follow the new structure in the release of the TIA-568-C series of standards developed by TIA Committee TR-42, Telecommunications Cabling Systems. It could also modify or add requirements that are not covered in the existing standard and will reflect technological changes since the standard was originally published. Areas under consideration include, but are not limited to: applicability of the new nomenclature and topology, application information and cabling infrastructure in general.

Also, it is important to note that the ANSI/TIA/EIA-862, Building Automation Cabling Standard for Commercial Buildings, is the standard for a structured cabling system that supports control and automated building/facility services such as lighting, security, HVAC, etc.. Although the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ focuses on Divisions 1-10 of the CSI MasterFormat™, BAS systems are currently recognized as being eligible for LEED credits. 

TR-42 invites interested parties, including users, designers and integrators, to contribute to this proposed project development. Other individuals and representatives who may wish to contribute to this revision are invited. If you have the experience and the knowledge of building automation systems cabling, your participation would be help in the creation of a usable and knowledgeable Standard.

For more information, please contact Henry Franc, chairman of TIA Subcommittee TR-42.1 Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling, at henry.franc@belden.com.

TR 42 members include: 3M Communication Markets Division, ADC Telecommunications, Inc., Agilent Technologies, Inc., Allied Telephone and Data Corp., Anixter Inc, AT&T, Avaya, Baxter Enterprises, Beast Cabling Systems, Bechtel Telecom, Bel Stewart Connectors, Belden Networks Division, Berk-Tek, Broadcom Corporation, BTR Netcom Inc, Business Communication Svcs., C2 Consulting, Chatsworth Products, Inc., CIENA Corporation, Cisco Systems, Inc., CommScope Network Solutions, Connectivity Technologies, Inc., Corning Cable Systems, CSI Telecommunications, dbi, Defense Information Systems Agency, Defense Supply Center, Columbus, Diamond USA, Inc., Dietrich Lockard Group, Inc., Direct Optical Research Co., Draka Comteq Optical Fibre, DYMO (RHINO), Emtelle US Inc, Erico, Inc. Caddy Fastener Div., EXFO E.O. Engineering, Inc., Experior Photonics, inc., FiberSource Inc., Fluke Networks, Furukawa Industrial S.A., GarrettCom, Gemalto INC, Genesis Cable Systems, Graybar, Greenlee Textron Inc., Harger, Inc., HARTING, Inc. of North America, Henkels & McCoy Inc., Hitachi Cable, Ltd, Homaco, Hubbell Premise Wiring, ICC, Ideal Industries, Inc., Intertek Testing Services, ITW Linx, J&M Consultants, Inc., JDSU, JPMorgan Chase & Co., KITCO Fiber Optics, Leviton Network Solutions, Luna Technologies, MC Communications, Megger, Molex Inc., Motorola Inc., National Technical Systems (NTS), NetGemini, Inc., NIES (Nexans Intelligent Enterprise Solutions), Nortel Networks, Northwest Information Services, Noyes Fiber Systems, ODVA Open Devicenet Vendor Association, Inc., OFS, Ortronics, Inc., Panasonic Electric Works Laboratory of America, Panduit Corporation, Phoenix Contact, Photon Kinetics, Inc., POFTO & Information Gatekeepers Inc, PPC, Quabbin Wire & Cable Co., Inc., RIT Technologies Inc., RTKL Associates Inc., Siemon Company, The, Signamax Connectivity Systems, Inc., SMP Data Communications Inc., Soapstone Networks, Solvay Solexis, Sumitomo Electric Lightwave Corp, Superior Essex, Surtec America, Telcordia Technologies, Inc., Tellabs, Inc., The Fiber Optic Association, The Siemon Company, The Wiremold Company, Timbercon, Inc., Tyco Electronics, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, UL Underwriters Laboratories Inc., US Conec LTD, Wiltec Technologies, Xtellus Dynamic Optics, Yazaki N.A., Inc. Y-Connect.

About TIA

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) represents the global information and communications technology (ICT) industry through standards development, advocacy, tradeshows, business opportunities, market intelligence and world-wide environmental regulatory analysis. With roots dating back to 1924, TIA enhances the business environment for broadband, mobile wireless, information technology, networks, cable, satellite and unified communications. Members’ products and services empower communications in every industry and market, including healthcare, education, security, public safety, transportation, government, the military, the environment and entertainment. TIA co-owns the SUPERCOMM® tradeshow and is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Visit tiaonline.org.

Sign up for TIA RSS news feeds on standards and other industry news.

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Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) Applauds EPA for Exempting Telephony Products From Inapplicable Rules

EPA Affirms TIA Position That ENERGY STAR® Standby Usage Requirements Do Not Apply to Devices That Are Never in Standby Mode

Washington, D.C. – The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the leader in advocacy, standards development, business development and intelligence for the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, lauded the EPA’s finding that its ENERGY STAR® Telephony “No-Load” rules do not apply to telephony products such as cordless telephones, answering machines, and combination cordless phones and answering machines.

On September 11, 2008, TIA called upon the EPA to ensure that an external power supply (EPS), used in conjunction with ENERGY STAR® qualified telephony products, would not be required to meet ENERGY STAR® energy consumption requirements of 0.3 or 0.5 watts when in standby or “No-Load” mode (No-Load requirements).

TIA noted that the new EPA requirements did not take into account the fact that cordless telephones, answering systems, and combination units are never in standby/No-Load mode and were thus inapplicable. 

“In embracing our position, the EPA has eliminated regulations that are inapplicable to and irrelevant for cordless phones, answering machines, and combination cordless phones and answering machines.” said Danielle Coffey, TIA Vice President of Government Affairs. “Our members’ efforts to employ environmentally sound practices will be enhanced by eliminating regulations that would not, in application to many of their products, be of benefit.  As we hoped, the EPA has understood this concern and risen to the occasion.  We look forward to working with EPA on this matter,” Coffey added.

For more information, please contact Patrick Sullivan at psullivan@tiaonline.org.

Sign up for TIA RSS news feeds on legislative and regulatory action.

About TIA

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) represents the global information and communications technology (ICT) industry through standards development, advocacy, tradeshows, business opportunities, market intelligence and world-wide environmental regulatory analysis. With roots dating back to 1924, TIA enhances the business environment for broadband, mobile wireless, information technology, networks, cable, satellite and unified communications. Members’ products and services empower communications in every industry and market, including healthcare, education, security, public safety, transportation, government, the military, the environment and entertainment. TIA co-owns the SUPERCOMM® tradeshow and is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Visit tiaonline.org.

TIA’s Board of Directors includes senior-level executives from ACS, ADC, ADTRAN, Alcatel-Lucent, ANDA Networks, ArrayComm, AttivaCorp, Avaya, Bechtel Communications, Inc., Cam Communications, Cisco Systems, Corning Incorporated, Ericsson, Inc., Graybar, Henkels & McCoy, ILS Technology, Intel Corporation, LGE, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia Siemens Networks, Nortel, OneChip Photonics Inc., Panasonic Computer Solutions Co., Qualcomm, Research In Motion, Sumitomo Electric Lightwave Corporation, Tellabs, Tyco Electronics, Ulticom, Inc., Verari Systems, Westell Technologies, Inc. and Zebra Technologies Corporation. Advisors to the Board include FAL Associates, Orca Systems and Telcordia Technologies.

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Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) Praises Congress for Passage of Broadband Data Improvement Act

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the leader in advocacy, standards development, business development and intelligence for the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, applauds both the Senate for final approval of the “Broadband Data Improvement Act” last night and the House of Representative for its passage of the bill Monday night. TIA urges President Bush to sign the bill as soon as soon as possible.

The new law will help to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable and reliable broadband services by providing the means necessary to benchmark and map broadband deployment through a strategic alliance of public and private entities.

The Broadband Data Improvement Act, which was sponsored by Sen. Daniel K. Inouye (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, includes language from HR 3919, the “Broadband Census Act” sponsored by Rep. Edward J. Markey, chairman of the House Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee, which calls for an international comparison study comparing “data transmission speeds and price for broadband service capability” in a total of 75 communities in at least 25 countries. It also includes S. 1965, “Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act,” which the Senate passed in May.

“Enactment of this bill will help to increase our knowledge about where the gaps in broadband coverage are today and will then help drive additional  broadband deployment, bringing the United States one step closer to Internet access for all Americans," said TIA President Grant Seiffert. “It’s clear that lawmakers share our broadband policy goals. They took assertive action in the push for a competitive, high-speed broadband infrastructure that is so important to the U.S. economy.”

It is estimated that over $1 trillion could be lost over the next decade due to constraints on broadband development. Whereas a seven percent increase in national broadband penetration could result in $92 billion through an additional 2.4 million jobs generated, according to a study published by ConnectedNation earlier this year.

Sign up for TIA RSS news feeds on legislative and regulatory action.

About TIA

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) represents the global information and communications technology (ICT) industry through standards development, advocacy, tradeshows, business opportunities, market intelligence and world-wide environmental regulatory analysis. With roots dating back to 1924, TIA enhances the business environment for broadband, mobile wireless, information technology, networks, cable, satellite and unified communications. Members’ products and services empower communications in every industry and market, including healthcare, education, security, public safety, transportation, government, the military, the environment and entertainment. TIA co-owns the SUPERCOMM® tradeshow and is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Visit tiaonline.org. 

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Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) Revises Standard on Connector Requirements for Terminal Equipment to Phone Network

Update Corrects Error in Depiction of Plug-In Figure Found in TIA-1096

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the leader in advocacy, standards development, business development and intelligence for the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, has published TIA-1096-A, Telecommunications, Telephone Terminal Equipment, Connector Requirements for Connection of Terminal Equipment to the Telephone Network.  The revision corrects an error to TIA-1096, in which figures identified as showing an 8-positioned keyed plug had actually depicted a non-keyed plug.

Connecting third-party terminal equipment to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and wireline carrier networks can potentially damage network equipment, cause billing equipment to malfunction or disrupt service to subscribers. To protect the wireline telephone network, TIA-1096-A provides standards, recommendations and testing methodology for the third-party equipment terminal connectors, including:

  • Physical requirements for individual plugs and jacks for different types of connectors
  • Contact requirements, such as gold and nickel barrier layer content  as well as alternative materials for 6 and 8 position connectors, mating and unmating force tests, durability, and contact resistance
  • Wiring configurations
  • Testing protocols (both informative and normative)

TIA-1096-A was formulated under the cognizance of TIA Engineering Committee TR-41, User Premises Telecommunications Requirement’s Subcommittee TR-41.9, Technical and Administrative Regulatory Considerations.

To obtain copies of the document, contact IHS International at +1.800.854.7179 (United States and Canada); +1.303.397.7796 (international) or visit global.ihs.com.

For technical information, please contact Ronda Coulter: rcoulter@tiaonline.org.  For media inquiries, please contact Mike Snyder: msnyder@tiaonline.org.

Sign up for TIA RSS news feeds on standards and other industry news.

TR-41 member companies include: 4-WINDS LLP, ADTRAN, Advent Instruments, Inc., AST Technology Labs, Inc., AT&T Labs, Avaya, Belden Networks Division, Berk-Tek, Bourns Limited, Broadcom Corporation, Catena Networks, Cisco Systems, Inc., CML Microcircuits (USA) Inc., CommScope Network Division, Corning Incorporated, CSI Telecommunications, Dietrich Lockard Group, Inc., EMBARQ Corporation, Ericsson Inc., FAL Associates, Fluke Networks, Fultec Semiconductor Inc., Gemalto INC, Hewlett-Packard (formerly BT&D Technologies), Industry Canada, Intel Corporation, Intrado, Littelfuse Inc., Maz-Sky Canadian International Group, Inc., Motorola Inc., National Communications System, Nokia Siemens Networks, Nortel Networks, Panasonic Computer Solutions Company, Plantronics, RTKL Associates Inc., Telcordia Technologies, Thomson Inc., Tyco Electronics, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, UL Underwriters Laboratories Inc., Uniden America Corporation, VTech Communications, Westell Technologies, Inc., and Wiltec Technologies.

About TIA

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) represents the global information and communications technology (ICT) industry through standards development, advocacy, tradeshows, business opportunities, market intelligence and world-wide environmental regulatory analysis. With roots dating back to 1924, TIA enhances the business environment for broadband, mobile wireless, information technology, networks, cable, satellite and unified communications. Members’ products and services empower communications in every industry and market, including healthcare, education, security, public safety, transportation, government, the military, the environment and entertainment. TIA co-owns the SUPERCOMM® tradeshow and is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Visit tiaonline.org.

USGBC

USGBC and Island Press launch GreenWorks:

A Book Club for Professionals in the Green Building Industry

October 2, 2008 – (Washington, DC) –Two leading nonprofit organizations – the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Island Press, have teamed up to launch GreenWorks, a book club that will offer the newest and best books on green building at discounted prices.  GreenWorks, created expressly for USGBC members, will offer a selection of featured reads each month, while also connecting readers to a vast selection of the latest green building industry books and noteworthy authors.  

“This book club is about starting a conversation,” said Peter Templeton, Senior Vice President, U.S. Green Building Council.  “USGBC members are full of ideas and solutions.  The book club will offer professionals a place to connect with others in the field, share their thoughts on various books, ideas and authors, as well as learn more about all things green building.”
 
“Island Press has been publishing resources on the built environment for almost 25 years.  By working with USGBC, one of the primary sources for planners, architects, and other professionals, we will be able to offer a wide range of ideas and solutions to those looking for expertise on these critical issues,” said Charles S. Savitt, president and publisher of Island Press.
 
Books are selected on a monthly basis by a panel of leading experts in the field, and are available for purchase from Island Press (www.islandpress.org/usgbc). USGBC members will be able to buy at discounted prices, including an opportunity for bulk purchase discounts.  From the array of books potentially of interest to USGBC members, those featured each month are evaluated by industry professionals and selected for their contribution of ideas and analysis of green building issues.  GreenWorks members are encouraged to contact Island Press via their web site (www.islandpress.org) to suggest potential titles, authors and topics.

The first four books to be featured are:
1.    Emerald Architecture, by GreenSource Magazine, a collection of 24 in-depth case studies of green buildings that are both sustainable and attractive;
2.    The Green Building Revolution, by Jerry Yudelson, a chronicle and manifesto of green building, showing why and how readers need to start thinking about designing, building and operating LEED-certified buildings on conventional budgets;
3.    Sustainable Construction, 2nd edition, by Charles J. Kibert, which guides construction and design professionals through the process of developing commercial and institutional high-performance green buildings in today's marketplace; and
4.    The Necessary Revolution: How Individuals and Organizations are Working Together to Created a Sustainable World, by Peter M. Senge with Bryan Smith, Nina Kruschwitz, Joe Laur and Sara Schley.  Senge and his co-authors reveal how companies are boldly leading the change from “business as usual” tactics to transformative strategies that are critical for creating a flourishing, sustainable world.

About USGBC
The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization whose vision is a sustainable built environment within a generation. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations. Since USGBC’s founding in 1993, the Council has grown to more than 16,700 member companies and organizations, a comprehensive family of LEED® green building certification systems, an expansive educational offering, the industry’s popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (www.greenbuildexpo.org), and a network of 78 local chapters, affiliates, and organizing groups.  For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.

About Island Press
Founded in 1984, Island Press works to stimulate, shape, and communicate the information that is essential for solving environmental problems.  Today, with more than 800 titles and some 40 new releases each year, is the nation’s leading publisher of books on environmental issues.  But Island Press does more than publish books.  It advances environmental science by nurturing the exchange of ideas across disciplines and sectors, and by helping to create a multidisciplinary literature on environmental problems and solutions.  The knowledge created is spread far beyond the range of a limited marketplace through sophisticated communications initiatives that reach journalists, academics, policymakers, practitioners and the general public. Through these efforts, Island Press is driving change by moving ideas from the printed page to public discourse and practice.  Island Press’s emphasis is, and will continue to be, on transforming objective information into understanding and action.

For more information and further updates be sure to check out our blogs and podcasts at www.islandpress.org.

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Mayors’ Alliance For Green Schools Announced Influential Mayors Partner With USGBC To Advance Green Schools


Mayor Manny Diaz of Miami and Mayor Greg Nickels of Seattle today announced the formation of the Mayors’ Alliance for Green Schools, a coalition of mayors seeking to strategically harness the leadership and creativity of mayors across the country to promote the benefits of green schools in their communities. Developed in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the Alliance will work to accelerate implementation of programs supporting the 2007 U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) resolution calling for green schools for all children within a generation.

“As mayors, we know all too well that schools are the heart of our communities, as they represent the promise we make to our children and future generations, a promise of learning and of opportunity,” said Mayor Diaz, President of the US Conference of Mayors. “With this alliance, we are coming together and reconfirming our promise to the health and learning of our children, and ensuring that future generations are mindful of the importance of protecting our environment.”

"I’ve seen the enormous impact mayors have when they unite around a common goal," said Mayor Greg Nickels of Seattle, who launched the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement in 2005, which advances the goals of the Kyoto Protocol and now boasts nearly 900 mayor signatories. "This new coalition of mayors will shine the light on the countless opportunities to make our schools greener, our students and teachers healthier and our communities stronger."
 
“As first responders to the needs of their communities, mayors are the vanguard of sustainable development in our country,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of USGBC, “and USGBC wants to do all we can to support them, especially in this critically important initiative. “We have Green School Advocacy Committees in 80 local USGBC chapters throughout the country, and we are putting them at the mayors’ disposal to advance opportunities, programs and initiatives that champion green school causes and help them publicly celebrate their successes.”

Together with Mayor Diaz and Mayor Nickels, Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco, Cal; Mayor Will Wynn, Austin, Texas; Mayor Sheila Dixon, Baltimore, Md., Mayor Frank Cownie, Des Moines, Iowa; and Mayor George Heartwell, Grand Rapids, Mich.; have put forth a call to mayors around the country to join this important effort to support green schools for all children.

“This new Alliance dovetails perfectly with Baltimore’s new Sustainability agenda,” said Mayor Sheila Dixon. “It also will provide more ways to support our ongoing efforts to promote the health and well-being of our students as we improve the energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of our school facilities.”

Mayors across the country are leading efforts to deliver the benefits of green schools to their communities. For example, EcoMedia is working with mayors in Miami and San Francisco to leverage innovative public‐private partnerships that create new opportunities for green school projects.

Other Alliance initiatives will work to:
• Develop and create public‐private partnerships with a local business to allow schools to plant a green roof, install a solar garden or start a recycling program.
• Help school districts green their existing facilities through the Clinton Climate Initiative’s K‐12 Retrofit Program.
• Encourage state legislatures to create policies and incentives for green school improvements.
• Engage in a national dialogue about green schools, green jobs and green infrastructure.


About USGBC
The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization whose vision is a sustainable built environment within a generation. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations. Since USGBC’s founding in 1993, the Council has grown to more than 17,200  member companies and organizations, a comprehensive family of LEED® green building certification systems, an expansive educational offering, the industry’s popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (www.greenbuildexpo.org), and a network of 79 local chapters, affiliates, and organizing groups. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.

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www.BuildingGreen.com

We encourage you to post these summaries and links on your website. However, please DO NOT post full articles without direct permission from Jim Newman at BuildingGreen, LLC.

When posting the summaries and links below on your website(s), please make it clear that the stories are coming from Environmental Building News and that the full article is available at www.BuildingGreen.com. Please include this byline:

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

All materials Copyright BuildingGreen, LLC 2008.

Breaking News from BuildingGreen.com:

 

Uncertain Future for ASHRAE Standard 189

Tristan Korthals Altes and Nadav Malin

What was supposed to be a new minimum, code-enforceable standard for green buildings now faces an uncertain future. In a move that came as a surprise to its partners, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has disbanded the committee that has been developing "Proposed Standard 189: Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings."

Link to the full article:

http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm/2008/10/17/Uncertain-Future-for-ASHRAE-Standard-189/

Current Stories from Environmental Building News:

Energy-Use Reporting Mandated in California

A law requiring annual energy-use reporting for all California's nonresidential buildings takes effect in January 2009. Beginning in 2010 owners of commercial buildings must disclose their energy usage and Energy Star rating to potential buyers, leasers, and financiers. The legislation, which is similar to a European Union (EU) requirement that took effect in 2006-7, was signed into law in October 2007.

Link to the full article:

http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm/ID/4031/

Foam-in-Place Polyurethane Insulation

Backpage Primer from Environmental Building News

Among the many insulation materials we can choose from are foam-in-place products for filling cavities or creating a continuous layer on a wall or roof system. The most common of these is spray polyurethane foam, referred to in the industry as SPF.

There are two types of polyurethane foam: closed-cell and open-cell, both of which must be installed by trained insulation contractors.

Link to the full article:

http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm/2008/9/25/Foam-in-Place-Polyurethane-Insulation/

Regulations Demanding Actual Data Are Leapfrogging LEED

Nadav Malin

"It's not how efficient the building is but how much energy it really uses that matters." That's the gist of many comments in a thread on BuildingGreen's blog (and, simultaneously, on several email discussion groups) about how to measure the actual energy performance of LEED buildings (see www.BuildingGreen.com/go/energy_data). Energy consumption surveys from the U.S. Department of Energy confirm that, despite more efficient building systems, average energy use per square foot in U.S. buildings has held steady since 1920. As building envelopes and mechanical systems get more efficient, we demand more of them, and we keep finding more ways to use energy in our offices and homes.

Link to the full article:

http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm/2008/9/25/Regulations-Demanding-Actual-Data-Are-Leapfrogging-LEED/

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U.S. Greenbuild Council

Dear USGBC Constituents:

When the second public comment period for LEED 2009 closed on September 2, almost 7,000 comments had been offered, signaling once again that USGBC's membership and the many stakeholders in green building are deeply engaged in this important work. The LEED Technical Advisory Groups reviewed comments and incorporated changes that improve LEED as a tool. With that work complete, the TAGs passed the rating system to the LEED Steering Committee. Pending its approval it is expected that LEED 2009 will go to member ballot this week. This will mark the culmination of two years of exceptional work by thousands of people who have been single-minded in their intent to make sure LEED's next evolution resets the bar for how we certify higher performance in buildings.

There are several key changes you'll see in this final version; among them:

Increased Minimum Energy Performance prerequisite requirements; update to ASHRAE 90.1-2007 for energy requirements; and other energy efficiency enhancements, including increased incentive for On-Site Renewable Energy

Language that addresses mixed use projects

More options for Low-Emitting & Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

A new Water Use Reduction prerequisite and increased incentive for Water Use Reduction

Expanded options for Heat Island Effect-Non Roof materials

Inclusion of requirements for non-carpet flooring

Inclusion of permanent monitoring system for thermal comfort verification

Alignment and clarification of Daylight and Views requirements

Additionally, how regionalization will work has been fleshed out to include incentives through extra points awarded to credits identified as priorities within a project's given environmental zone. And credit alignment provides harmonization across rating systems. In addition, LEED 2009 incorporates eight years worth of market and user feedback, in the form of precedent-setting Credit Interpretation Rulings, which will ensure clarity for project teams.

Perhaps most importantly, LEED has undergone a dramatic and scientifically grounded weightings exercise that allocates points to credits based on the importance of the environmental benefit realized by achievement of the credit requirements. This process fundamentally changes the way project teams will prioritize LEED credits but continues to leverage the existing industry knowledge on how to accomplish these credits.

Several other changes that are not part of the balloting process will accompany the adoption of the new rating system.

The organizational structure now being used to manage LEED makes many of the credits congruent across all rating systems. As such, it is no longer always necessary to pilot entire rating systems going forward. However, the pilot process has been a crucially important way that we make rating systems better by using the pilot process to gather more information, consider the impacts of ideas as they are used in the field, and in general inform our work in a more complete way.

So, the LSC is considering a new pilot credit process to allow us to put credits to the test in the field before bringing them fully into the rating system. The exact process is still being worked out by LSC, but the intent is to be able to gather additional information about a credit through "field-testing" before embedding it into a rating system. It also means a rating system or substantial changes to one can go forward in the review process even while additional issues are being investigated, allowing us to be more responsive to the marketplace.

As a process change, this does not require balloting but it's the kind of significant change we want to alert our members to because it directly relates to keeping a free flow of ideas always going forward so we can more quickly adopt that which will improve the rating system and encourage higher building performance.

Speaking of ideas, a wealth of them have come out of the public comments, and as we engage our new planned development cycle, many of these ideas will be part of the work we will do for LEED 2011, a process that's already underway.

As for LEED 2009, please look for an email alerting you to the opening of the ballot for vote. Primary contacts of USGBC member organizations will have 30 days to vote. In order to pass, LEED 2009 needs to reach a quorum of 10 percent of USGBC members and two-thirds affirmative votes.

And don't forget to mark your calendar for Greenbuild, Nov. 19-21, where we'll be giving you a lot more information about this and all the many programs and initiatives that your involvement and support make possible.

With gratitude,

U.S. Green Building CouncilS. Rick Fedrizzi
CEO, President and Founding Chair,
USGBC

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U.S. Green Building Council’s Education Provider Program Calls for Reviewers

The U.S. Green Building Council today issued an ongoing call for USGBC members interested in joining the team that provides peer review of the courses and content that make up the Education Provider Program. Green building subject matter experts and educators are sought for this team.

Given the exponential growth in the green building market, there is a proportionate demand for top-quality education opportunities to support that growth. USGBC facilitates access to this education through Greenbuild365, a new online education portal, which includes a catalog of courses offered by USGBC and Education Providers. Professionals seeking to go beyond LEED and enrich their knowledge of green building theories, techniques, and business trends want to know the content is accurate, timely and worth their time. Reviewers provide this important oversight.

“Education is the cornerstone of USGBC’s mission of transforming the building marketplace, and the Education Provider Program accelerates that mission by making top-quality courses that have been rigorously tested and reviewed available to the public,” said Peter Templeton, Senior Vice President of Research & Education, USGBC.  “An expanded reviewer base will help us more rapidly increase the number of courses in our catalog and ensure the ongoing excellence of the program.”

In addition to courses, Templeton noted that the program is launching a review process for conferences and one-time events, along with a new fee structure on October 13, 2008. 

USGBC developed the Education Provider Program to address the widespread need for green building education beyond LEED. All USGBC Education Provider Program courses are included in a course catalog on the Greenbuild365 education portal, http://www.greenbuild365.org. Reviewers are professionals from USGBC’s member companies, chapters and affiliates who are knowledgeable in the field of green building, sustainable design and instructional design. To learn about specific qualifications visit www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=1659

Reviewers receive benefits that enhance their own professional expertise. Reviewers are trained the basics of adult education, the review process and criteria. This training can be used to enhance their own courses which they create, and reviewers are eligible for a free review of one of their own courses annually after completing 12 course reviews. A current list of reviewers is listed on the program web page.

To view the catalog of available green building continuing education courses please visit the Greenbuild365 Web site: www.greenbuild365.org. For more information about the Education Provider Program visit www.usgbc.org/epp

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About USGBC

The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization whose vision is a sustainable built environment within a generation. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations. Since USGBC’s founding in 1993, the Council has grown to more than 17,000 member companies and organizations, a comprehensive family of LEED® green building certification systems, an expansive educational offering, the industry’s popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (www.greenbuildexpo.org), and a network of 78 local chapters, affiliates, and organizing groups. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.

Article Contributions

CARLINI

More Than Just For Revenue: The Reality With Red-Light Cameras

Published on 10/8/2008 at www.MidwestBusiness.com where you always read REAL perspectives

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

CHICAGO – If camera technology is being sold as an effective tool to make our roads safer, then we should also utilize it to identify and remove uninsured vehicles.

Many municipalities across the country are looking at red-light camera applications to slow down traffic at intersections and to reduce accidents caused by vehicles going through red lights. There’s a mapping database detailing where they’re currently in place. You can also see this map for locations around Chicago.

It’s Not Just About the Revenue

Some individuals view this as an element of Big Brother and are against it. Others say it’s only a way to make revenue from motorists. Those opponents don’t seem to see the safety reasoning as well as the cost-effective automation of law enforcement by adding these cameras at intersections to catch violators.

The reality of red-light cameras is they will eventually change the behavior pattern of those who figure they’re too important to stop and wait for the light to recycle back to green. Those politicians who think red-light cameras are the end-of-the-rainbow answer to declining revenues are sadly mistaken.

Are those who are the most vehement in their opposition actually chronic red-light abusers? I’m for cameras as a way to penalize those drivers who fly through an intersection after the light has turned red. They are a danger not only to themselves but to anyone around them.

Maximizing This Investment

Some say Illinois is looking to expand the authority of the camera to include speeding. While it sounds like a natural progression according to some police officials I’ve talked to, I don’t think that should be the next step.

Speeding tickets have always been a supplemental revenue generator for those municipalities that refuse to balance their budget by either cutting back or charging their residents what they need to provide services. The worst suburbs establish artificially low speed limits on high-volume streets and then enforce them to generate revenue.

That approach is not about safety. It’s about revenue.

In some cases, the rabid enforcement is so blatant that you feel you have been targeted by the sheriff of Nottingham to pay tribute as you travel through the area. If they are going to use cameras, then set the speed limit to a reasonable speed rather than one that tries to balance the shortcomings of budgets on ticket revenues.

Is “speed kills” fact or fiction? The hype about slowing down vehicles to avoid deadly accidents is a myth. Just look at the autobahn in Germany:

Germany has stretches of highway with no speed limit. Cars [there] are built for speeds [in excess of] 100 miles per hour.

They do it with fewer car-accident deaths per capita than people in the United States. [Information] from 1999 at NationMaster.com has the U.S. leading in “motor vehicle” deaths per 100,000 population at 15.5. Germany is 9.8.

Instead of speeding enforcement, the next logical step in utilizing the cameras should be to check for insurance once a vehicle is captured by the camera. Just like when you get pulled over for any violation, the first thing the officer asks for is a valid insurance card along with your license.

Automating the approach to the insurance-checking process should be instituted to check to see if the vehicle is insured. Getting uninsured motorists and vehicles off the road should be a priority. With the economy the way it is, don’t believe for a second that motorists have insurance on their vehicle even in those states like Illinois where insurance is mandatory.

Insurance is one of the first things people drop in order to save some money. While you might not do it because you have other substantial assets that people could come after for damages, there are many people who don’t have to worry about that.

Have you ever been hit by an uninsured motorist? Be prepared for a higher level of frustration than the already high frustration level with trying to sort through an accident. Uninsured motorists should not be on any highway. I’m surprised the insurance companies aren’t lobbying for this.

Highway Applications: Start With Lane Enforcement

Instead of speeding enforcement, if the state is looking for revenue it should set up cameras to enforce lane restrictions for trucks. How many times do you get slowed down in expressway traffic because a truck is driving slowly in the left lane?

This application was suggested by a person who isn’t for cameras but sees a huge value if cameras were used to enforce lane restrictions on expressways and alleviate traffic flows. He’s more frustrated by the frequent slowdowns on expressways due to trucks running in all the lanes when there are signs up restricting them to the two right lanes.

Isn’t the goal to improve traffic flows? We should start thinking of “how to apply the right technology right” instead of just applying the right technology as a way to prop up declining revenues.

Carlinism: If you make the investment, maximize the return on it.

Check out Carlini’s blog at CarlinisComments.com.

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

To be removed from mailing list - please contact the sender.

Copyright 2008 Jim Carlini

Reprinted with full permission of Carlini

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$700 Billion Bailout: If You Believe in Capitalism, There is No U.S. Bailout

  Published on 10/1/2008 at www.MidwestBusiness.com where you always read REAL perspectives

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

CHICAGO – “We’re in a big crisis. We need an immediate response. This could be a catastrophe.”

Where have we heard that before? It goes without saying that $700 billion is a lot of money. The U.S. put this bailout package together too quickly.

Giving a three-page document to two people to coordinate and manage without adequate (if any) oversight and without any court and judicial oversight is a very bad idea. It didn’t fly when it was first proposed. It didn’t fly when it was augmented with more than 100 pages of stipulations and restrictions.

Everywhere I have gone in the last week people have been talking about the financial bailout. The conversations haven’t been positive. Chicago mayor Richard Daley spoke at the Illinois Municipal League Conference at the Hilton Chicago on Friday. He mentioned the criticality of this crisis. He also said it’s a complex issue.

He also questioned who should be bailed out. Should it just be the financial institutions?

What about the individual homeowners? Which ones do you help? Do you help the ones who have reasons (like they lost a job and can’t make payments) or the ones who just overbought while trying to parlay it into a big payday? What about bailing out the ones who bought an extra house or condo as an investment? Mayor Daley made a great point. How far do you go?

At the breakfast civic series on intelligent infrastructure at the University Club of Chicago on Tuesday, this was also a concern of people who attended. We discussed the growth of the financial implosion starting with residential foreclosures. These have now mushroomed into defaults on car loans and student loans as well (not to mention a faltering market of the commercial real estate sector).

I pointed out that my first column about foreclosures ran back in Dec. 2006. At that time, many “experts” weren’t even focused on this rise of foreclosures let alone predicting anything as dire as a full financial implosion. Now we’re supposed to be on the brink of disaster. What if they just agreed to the original three-page strategy? What if we just hand out the $700 billion?

Who Really Benefits?

Who really benefits? Is it the average taxpayer or the failed CEO who made bad investments in the millions or even billions? Do these executives still expect a $30 million bonus for the year? I would put my money on the CEO getting his or her bonus.

“We have to act swiftly!” That is clear message being sent to the American people. What happens if we don’t? Who really gets hurt? Many people are against the bailout. What about the individuals who overextended their mortgage and bought a $800,000 house when they should have been more conservative and bought a house for $400,000?

They gambled by signing onto an adjustable rate mortgage with no money down. They thought they could dump that house in three years for $1.2 million and make a tidy $400,000 profit. While you could do that at one point in certain markets, those days are long gone. What happened to the free market? What about capitalism? This is socialism.

It’s funny how great cheerleaders for capitalism (like CNBC’s Larry Kudlow) want to see Wall Street get the bailout. A U.S. senator put him on the spot by pointing out that Kudlow would have vehemently objected if it was the government funding health care. That is socialism and would have been demanding the rejection of its passage.

It’s funny how he changes his tune when it comes to his friends on Wall Street. What about damages done to the American economy by these CEOs? Thousands of people suffer while a few wait to calculate their latest bonus that they didn’t earn. Do you hear much about investigations or indictments for corrupting the markets?

Where are the people clamoring for investigating some of these CEOs? They seem to be slipping off into the night with bundles of cash while everyone else has to figure out what to do now with the financial implosion. Where is the U.S. Department of Justice, the SEC and all the other regulators that are supposed to oversee the markets?

As one of my friends said, “enough is enough”. What about sending some of these CEOs to jail? They send a guy robbing a 7-11 to five years in prison for trying to steal a couple hundred dollars. What about the CEO guiding a company to rob from thousands of people millions if not billions of dollars?

Some of these investment bankers and speculators should be classified as economic terrorists. They have created havoc in the markets and should be dealt with accordingly. Let me and you take over. We could not do any worse than all these CEOs. To me, no CEO gets a parachute, no bonus sweeteners and maybe some heavy indictments.

What Happens in Las Vegas Should Happen on Wall Street

Gambling on Wall Street is just like going to Las Vegas. You put your money on the table, you thought you had a sure bet, you didn’t and you lose. End of story. This goes for individual investors as well as corporate investors. People talk about how bad it will be if this bailout doesn’t go through.

Who will that really hurt? Will it be bad for the guys holding all the “toxic” deals that were being packaged off internationally and hawked as great real estate investment derivatives? That’s too bad. They stayed too long at the craps table and the roulette wheel. There are no “doovers” in Las Vegas. There shouldn’t be any on Wall Street, too.

Do you ever see when someone gains a lot at a table, a wheel or even a slot machine? They get greedy and they eventually put it all back into the house and sometimes pull out another couple hundred dollars from an ATM machine thinking they might make it back. The stock market and housing are no different.

While people made some huge amounts of money on these financial instruments, they stayed at the table too long. They enjoyed all the trappings of success – including big houses, cars and comped vacations – but now the last wheel spin has come up empty and they tried parlaying their fortune one too many times.

If you believe in capitalism, there is no bailout. It’s a tough game. While everyone is happy when it’s working, it’s as fickle as being at that craps table. Just when you think the success is never ending and you keep betting everything on the table, that wrong number pops up and you lose it all.

Carlinism: If we are capitalists, let the market be the market.

Copyright 2008 - James Carlini

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Crumbling Infrastructure: How Can Sidelined Talent Be Redirected?


Published on 10/22/2008 at www.MidwestBusiness.com where you always read REAL perspectives

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

Billions of dollars could be spent on fixing failing infrastructure. Do those in power really understand the layers that need to be fixed?

Reading an article headlined “Note to Next President: Modern-Day WPA Will Save the Economy” on a Wired blog was an eye-opening experience not so much from the article itself but from the range of comments and assumptions made by readers. There are definitely people who think a 1930s solution will work in this new century.

This is Not the 1930s

While so many people have opinions on what to do to get our economy going again, many of their solutions are tied to concepts that were employed in the 1930s but would not work in today’s environment. One reader commented:

This is nothing like the Great Depression. We had idle factories then [and] today there are no factories. Hitler and [World War II] got us out of the depression and made us stronger. Today the [war in Iraq] made us weaker. No one had money then. Now no one has any money or credit. We’re screwed.

While it may not be as dire as this individual says, he does make some good comparisons that show there is not a true parallel. This is a different time with many who have more advanced skills and have been displaced by cheap labor. Some people want to revert back to something that worked 75 years ago in an Industrial Age economy. Why?

Go to the lowest common denominator of skills. Give everyone a pick and a shovel and have them dig roadbeds and rebuild bridges. That will put many back to work.

That may sound great to some as a government works program, but in reality, even roads and bridges need a work force with higher skill levels than what they had in the 1930s. More important, the layers of infrastructure that need updating include network infrastructure, the power grid and even airports with more modern air traffic control systems.

All of these areas need more sophisticated workers. While we actually have them, many have been underemployed since Sept. 11, 2001. Their skills are rusting away while the economy slides further into an abyss due to underemployment.

Job Programs Are Aimed at the Minimally Skilled

With many advanced workers going to state job counselors and placement offices, the solution is not to put a skilled Java programmer into a forklift driver’s job or a highly skilled executive into a position for low-level import/export paper shuffler.

Still, that is the best some placement offices can do because there is a lack of understanding the values of Information Age skill sets and other complex skills. These job placement centers have to be radically overhauled to be of any real value to today’s underemployed work force.

Many who have had more advanced training and skills have seen their salaries and their benefits shrink to a third of what they were making. Auto industry workers are going to find that out very quickly when they seek new opportunities.

Good luck to all those about to get laid off from the auto industry. There is no substitute for a heavily benefited union job. Minimal skill sets that were protected and excessively inflated over the years will see the blunt reality of today’s job market.

Another individual tries to convey that thought. This person, though, is off a bit about when the Great Depression took place. So much for his American history teacher.

[It’s] always the same story: build infrastructure [and] give people jobs. But this is not 1943. There are machines and tools that bums [can’t] operate. You need a bit more than to spell your name when you build a highway nowadays.

His blunt observation does have some bearing. He is absolutely correct in that minimal skills or even Industrial Age skills are not enough to fill complex jobs and maximize economic development. There needs to be a higher level of skills for many jobs.

Large infrastructure projects would employ many people at many levels as well as leave a legacy of a stronger platform for commerce. That would attract more jobs. As the reader suggests, though, it’s not enough to be able to spell your name on the employment form.

A Solid Infrastructure is a Platform For Commerce

This equation is what needs to be understood by many people at all levels of politics. Local, state and national politicians have to be focused on today’s crisis. They can’t be stuck in a mentality from the 1950s. Perhaps we need to have a checklist of the politicians who understand technology and its infrastructure applications.

I have said the following at many conferences and keynotes around the country: “Economic development equals broadband connectivity and broadband connectivity equals jobs.”

Perhaps I should add one more line to that: “Jobs equal votes.” You need a solid infrastructure platform on which to build a regional economy. Regional sustainability is something that more people are becoming concerned about as job erosion hits their areas.

We first need to get Americans back into good jobs. That should be the prime requirement of any jobs program or infrastructure endeavor.

Carlinism: There is no substitute for a clear vision in times of stormy economic chaos.

Check out Carlini’s blog at CarlinisComments.com.

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

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Copyright 2008 Jim Carlini

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How to Maximize Chicago’s Infrastructure For the 2016 Olympics

Published on 10/15/2008 at www.MidwestBusiness.com where you always read REAL perspectives  

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

CHICAGO – If the Windy City truly wants the Olympics in Chicago, then real upgrades to all layers of its infrastructure must be defined, planned and implemented.

There have been some recent setbacks to Chicago’s plans for the 2016 Olympics. We’ve seen the questionable acquisition of the Michael Reese Hospital site as well as the lingering unknowns from the national financial implosion. Now is the time to look at the Chicago plan to see what other potential flaws there are within it.

While so many people are eager to see the 2016 Olympics in Chicago for many reasons, many forget that the platform for this type of venue has to be solid at all levels.

Sure, there are many benefits that have been touted by pro-Olympic cheerleaders, but what can we build that can be a lasting legacy to the people of the Chicago area for decades to come? What will be used up in a relative instant like expensive fireworks on the Fourth of July?

Benefits that are listed in the city’s top 16 reasons seem to fall short in the eyes of many pragmatic Chicagoans. With all the money earmarked to build housing and various transportation infrastructure, what really remains as a permanent asset for Chicago?

All developments for the Chicago Olympics that can find a permanent position within the fabric of the infrastructure create more of a win-win situation for this costly undertaking.

This is a common question that’s becoming more resonant: “There are many infrastructure projects that can be planned and implemented for the Olympics, but which of these will have some lasting value long after the games are done?”

A new runway to accommodate increased traffic at O’Hare? Yes.

The proposed Olympic village (which is claimed to be able to be reused as mixed-use housing)? Yes.

A new rail line that transports volumes of people to an Olympic city and stadium but afterward doesn’t have much usage? No.

The infrastructure has several more layers than what most people discuss when it comes to adding new infrastructure to compete for the Olympics. I haven’t seen a detailed plan that addresses every layer of Chicago’s infrastructure. Infrastructure doesn’t stop at roads and bridges or even railway systems. See the chart below.

When you hear people only talk about the first three levels of infrastructure, you start to wonder if they even realize there are more layers to focus on in order to make this a successful endeavor.

Mass Transit: A Chicago Oxymoron?

Pieces of the CTA have been around for more than a century. Its routes are pretty much defined and permanent. Questions about moving large volumes of people for the Olympics, though, are being pondered:

Will a temporary and new CTA line be all that’s needed to address the traffic dynamics of the Olympics? Will it be more of a large permanent redesign that includes several new routes that will be reusable after the Olympics?

What about just adding a fleet of buses?

What roads and bridges will be needed to offload all the new traffic?

While these are all valid questions, this is where most people stop when they talk about the needs to upgrade infrastructure.

Too many planners and Chicago cheerleaders think of infrastructure as roads, bridges and railroads. From a typical approach, they might look at transporting a lot of people around. This would require some type of assessment like this:

In planning the Olympics venue, a total assessment of what is in place, what needs to be upgraded permanently (“P”) and what needs to be augmented (“A”) just for that event would need to be performed. A matrix like this might be created:

While mass transit is a true necessity, planning for an Olympics infrastructure doesn’t stop with mass transit. What about communications infrastructure? Some countries are well ahead of the U.S. in wireless communications infrastructure and the use of various handheld devices like the WiMAX-enabled Samsung Butterfly.

How many billions of dollars are going to be earmarked for this area in order to make sure reporters and as well as the average Olympic visitor all have true global connectivity when they come here? What we don’t want is for someone to come here and then go back with the impression that Chicago was nice but “my Butterfly-like device didn’t work while I was there”.

Walking away with a negative image like that will torpedo any glitzy, multimillion-dollar PR approach that emphasizes all the feel-good things about Chicago while overlooking the real roots of Chicago as “the city that works”.

Carlinism: For any economic development to flourish to its maximum potential, each layer of supporting infrastructure must work.

Check out Carlini’s blog at CarlinisComments.com.

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

Click here for Carlini’s full biography.

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Copyright 2008 Jim Carlini

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C I & M

Administration Of Equipment, Spaces Under Intense Review

Efforts underway within the TIA, ISO/IEC, and CENELEC yield some similarities and some differences.

PATRICK McLAUGHLIN is chief editor of Cabling Installation & Maintenance.

Development continues on the third generation of the Telecommunications Industry Association’s (TIA; www.tiaonline.org) 606 Administration Standard for Commercial Telecommunications Infrastructure, at the same time international standards bodies--including the International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC; www.standardsinfo.net) and the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC; www.cenelec.eu)--proceed with their own standards efforts.

Over the past year-plus, the primary driver of change within the administration/labeling environment, and therefore a significant impetus for change in the TIA’s 606 standard series, has been the data center (see “TIA labeling standard marked for changes,” March 2008). After affirming the 606-A standard in June 2007, the TR-42.6 Telecommunications Infrastructure and Equipment Administration Committee initiated work on the first addendum to the specifications, specifically intended to synch up the standard’s specifications with those of the TIA-942 Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard for Data Centers.

Addendum 1 to 606-A

The intention of Addendum 1 to 606-A is to reconcile the fact that the 942 standard handles data-center administration—as in planning and operating a facility—and the 606-A standard deals with telecommunications-system administration in the form of identification. “It made sense to bring the two together,” explains Todd Fries, market manager for identification products with HellermannTyton (www.hellermanntyton.com). Fries’ comments are from an interview that can be viewed at www.cablinginstall.com. Addendum 1 to 606-A allows data center managers to “administer everything from the basic to the specific, and eventually out to the work area,” Fries continues.

As of the TR-42.6’s June 2008 meeting, the group had resolved all industry-ballot comments and submitted the document for a default ballot.

While the final details of 606-A Addendum 1 are put into place, the 42.6 Committee is simultaneously working on a full-fledged next-generation set of specifications, TIA-606-B. “We’re taking all the data-center information in Addendum 1 and integrating it into 606-B to make that a more-complete document,” says Fries. “We’re also looking at other aspects that might be considered enhancements—not so much corrections as answers to the questions: ‘How can we do this better? What’s being done in the real world? What services the engineering side and the installer side?’ We’ll marry the two together to create and sustain a more-comprehensive document.”

Attempting global harmony

As for the legwork within TR-42.6 to get 606-B published, committee vice-chair Jonathan Jew of J&M Consultants (www.j-and-m.com) explains the efforts that have already been made to harmonize the specifications with those of other standards-making groups: “Before we started work on a 606-B draft, we were able to get the ISO/IEC task group working on their 14763-2 standard to agree they would establish an identifier standard based on 606-A, including Addendum 1.”

ISO’s 14763 standard is entitled Information Technology–Implementation and Operation of Customer Premises Cabling. Revision 1 (14763-1) has been in publication for several years and Revision 2 is currently in progress.

“The standard has chapters on specification, quality planning including planning of pathways and spaces, installation practices, testing, inspection, operation, maintenance and repair as well as documentation and identification,” says Jew. “The standard also has annexes on data centers, residential, and industrial. It will take some time for this document to be completed.”

As of the time of this writing, research was being done within the ISO standards group responsible for 14763-2 to ensure the adoption of 606-A-based specifications does not conflict with any existing ISO standards. Jew optimistically anticipates there will be no such conflict, particularly because the proposal within ISO calls for 606-A-based identifiers to be applied when no other identifiers are specified, or where those identifiers fail to meet the applications’ requirements. In other words, the 606-A-based identifier specifications would not supplant any existing specifications.

Those specifications within 606-A will be grandfathered into 606-B, and when published, the new standard will essentially include all the details of 606-A--and then some.

“The 606-B standard will identify space,” says Fries. “The standard will drill down from the data center or telecommunications room to what is in that room—racks and cabinets, which are not identified in 606-A.” The identifiers for racks and cabinets will be determined based on grid locations or simply by the row in which the rack or cabinet resides.

“The B standard will drill down further to the patch panel and the location of that patch panel, such as rack unit 45, or 37, or 28 for example,” Fries continues. “It will identify a port or a range of ports. But it will not only identify the ports—the A standard does that—it will also indicate where those ports are going.”

That is important in the data center, Fries points out, because the rack or cabinet is at a specific location, and it is beneficial to know the specific set of ports that are going to that rack or cabinet.

Furthermore, while 606-B will continue to use the designations included in 606-A, the new standard will also look at the broader picture. “As we move from the data center to the network operations center, we are administering different spaces, and eventually horizontal links to the work area,” Fries says. The ‘B’ standard, he explains, covers the full range of what must be identified.

Broader perspective

Jew also points out that within CENELEC, a proposal that came from the Swedish representative and is based on electrical rather than communications systems nonetheless exemplifies the expansion of the spaces that should be identified. “The Swedish proposal manages outside pathways and includes unique identifiers for manholes” and other outside-plant elements, he notes. That proposal, Jew adds, reinforces the TR-42.6 group’s expansion of scope to more than just buildings.

Moving ahead, the TR-42.6 committee meets (or met) this month—October 7--as part of the overall TR-42 Engineering Committee meeting taking place in Vancouver, British Columbia. Addendum 1 to 606-A will undoubtedly ease closer to finalization, and the liaison relationship between TR-42 and the ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee 1 Subcommittee 25 Work Group 3 Cabling Installation Task Group (JTC-1 SC-25 WG-3 CITG) will continue in an attempt to harmonize the North American and international versions of cabling-system administration standards.

HellermannTyton’s Fries summarizes the situation by stating, “It’s an exciting time to be involved with this. Many installers and engineers are excited about it; it has come of age that we have this information available.”

Through the efforts of Fries, Jew, and many others, more information will become available in the near future.

An installed cabling system that complies with the forthcoming TIA/EIA-606-B standard will have identifying information that drills down to the port level, and also the rack/enclosure location within a data center.

“The [606-B] standard will drill down from the data center or telecommunications room to what is in that room—racks and cabinets, which are not identified in 606-A.”

Reprinted with full permission of Cabling Installation & Maintenance  www.cablinginstall.com 

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Air-blown Fiber Helps Launch New Era At NASA

Sumitomo technology deployed for emerging mission-critical, safety, and high-bandwidth applications.

MATT VINCENT is senior editor for Cabling Installation & Maintenance.

Sumitomo Electric Lightwave's (www.sel-rtp.com)  FutureFLEX air-blown fiber LAN infrastructure system has been installed throughout major facilities at NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center, following an earlier installation at the Kennedy Center's Launch Pad A. Sumitomo says that use of the air-blown fiber system allows the Center to prepare its network for rapid implementation of high-bandwidth emerging technologies and other functions for NASA's Constellation Program, whose aim is to create a new generation of spacecraft for human spaceflight.

For delivery of communications and launch processing systems, as well as bandwidth-rich video capabilities to support the space program's current and future requirements, NASA engineers positioned empty blown fiber tubes throughout various facilities at Kennedy, including the launch control center, vehicle assembly building, and a newly remodeled manufacturing facility.

Fiber-triggered monitors

“The Shuttle program was upgrading their lightning monitoring system out at the pad, for better detection and indications of events that might cause damage to the vehicle power systems during the event, such as if EMF were to be induced in some way," explains Matthew Smisor, NASA's telecom systems engineer. "When they have the vehicle powered down, they don’t have active monitoring going on, so they’ve upgraded the system.”

Smisor adds, “That system requires a series of state-of-the-art optical sensors, using fiber to trigger the devices or to indicate that there’s been activity. They’ve greatly needed to expand the fiber resources, and the air-blown tubes have made it very easy to implement that.”

Lawrence Wages, an outside plant engineer for NASA, notes, "Many of our projects--such as the immediate transmission via fiber of digital images showing the status of ice buildup on the space shuttle Discovery--resolve costly delays and life and death situations, if it's a manned spacecraft. By adopting an air-blown fiber infrastructure,  Wages adds, "we can quickly and easily make necessary network reconfigurations and changes at nearly a moment's notice and at a fraction of the cost of a conventional fiber-optic system, providing us with the means to be more responsive to mission-critical situations while being fiscally responsible with budget dollars."

Smisor maintains that use of the Sumitomo air-blown fiber system has caused the Kennedy Center’s network to expand more quickly and efficiently than if traditional fiber had been deployed. “In the past, with the roll-out of additional services, we would have had to pull in more cable, because even though we thought we would have sized [the fiber footprint] for what might be handled in the next couple years in term of future growth…those folks outran that [projection] the first time they came to the table. They needed so much more than we would’ve ever anticipated. They’ve got like five sensors in there and, just for their sensor data, they needed seven singlemode fibers!"

Smisor adds, "We weren’t expecting to have to deploy 35 fibers all over the pad structure itself to feed these sensors. There’s no way we could have predicted that, and we would’ve had to pull in more cable. But with [the FutureFlex ABF], we just added to the tube distribution system we already had in place and blew in some more fibers.”

Smisor also notes that, to futureproof newly constructed larger facilities, NASA now instructs its fixed price contractors to factor in Sumitomo's air-blown fiber tubes along with premise wiring as part of the standard installation load. The Kennedy Center also specified the use of multi-user telecommunications outlet assembly (MUTOA) boxes for areas requiring large-scale concentration of connectivity.

Tubes at the MUTOA

Smisor continues, “At the large facility that will be processing the new Constellation elements, we used MUTOAs to service [approximately] 12 cubicles, and to the MUTOA, for aesthetic reasons, we had the fixed price contractor install two empty blown fiber tubes. When we’re designing facilities, now as standard we’re also making sure that we have the fixed price contractor put in tubes where it makes sense to. That’s how we can save some money as opposed to having my comm contractor go into the facility during activation, and try to put in these services. If we can get them to put [ABF] into the fixed price contract for the construction, then it’s cheaper for us to implement.”

Smisor says the Kennedy Center is also contemplating using the FutureFlex ABF system in the outside plant (OSP) to outfit certain older facilities that aren’t equipped with much or any singlemode fiber. “Everybody’s moving quickly toward Gig[abit],” he says. “Operational customers, mission customers, some utilities, even areas that aren’t traditionally on an admin network, those networks are growing."

He continues, "If I have to put in a switch of any size at these sites that didn’t have fiber, I’m getting hit with a real price tag for putting in 72 singlemode--that’s a standard install now--and that gets kind of pricey when they want to do a hub out and say, ‘We’re going to bring 216 to this manhole and then we’re going to run 72 into that facility.’ And I’m thinking, these [ABF] tubes are going to work in the manhole systems too, I can just blow in what I have to have and I don’t pay the big price tag of a big cable on the front end.”

Notably, since 2005, Sumitomo’s FutureFLEX ABF infrastructure has also been deployed at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, CA, serving as the facility's wireless infrastructure and backbone for high-speed sharing of information among research facilities and new program enhancements.

Arcata Associates, Inc. (www.arcataassoc.com) is the primary contractor on NASA’s research facilities and engineering support services (RF&ESS) contract. Arcata and Sumitomo worked together to accomplish the ABF deployment for NASA Dryden. John Pitre, field service engineer for Arcata, comments, “We put in seven tubes for these particular locations. We have two tubes full right now, and you figure 18 [fibers] per tube--that’s quite a bit of fiber.”

A twofold benefit

Assessing the value of using the ABF system over traditional fiber methods, Pitre estimates, “Your ROI is pretty much twofold. Once it’s in, the ease of deploying on the next tube, depending on what you put in as far as your tube cells, outweighs the cost of having it done with traditional means. For instance, on a small project, it only takes two techs a day and a half, maybe two days because of set up time, to make something done on the ABF; whereas the same project using traditional fiber would take four techs maybe four and a half days. So there’s a big difference there.”

"By adopting an air-blown fiber infrastructure,  we can quickly and easily make necessary network reconfigurations and changes at nearly a moment's notice and at a fraction of the cost of a conventional fiber-optic system."

"Once it’s in, the ease of deploying on the next tube, depending on what you put in as far as your tube cells, outweighs the cost of having it done with traditional means."

Reprinted with full permission of Cabling Installation & Maintenance www.cablinginstall.com 

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When Speeds Increase Exponentially, So Do Decisions’ Magnitude

Twenty pages worth of articles in this month’s issue exemplify this publication’s attempts to keep you well informed, hopefully well ahead of the time you need to make significant decisions about next-generation cabling infrastructures.

Beginning on page 11, freelance writer Betsy Ziobron dissects the issue of testing Category 6A twisted-pair cabling systems for their readiness to handle 10GBase-T Ethernet traffic. While this topic is hardly new to most professionals in the cabling industry, Ziobron’s article covers some relatively recent happenings in the Category 6A testing arena—most notably, that several manufacturers are offering application-support warranties without requiring alien-crosstalk testing. As you might imagine, opinions differ on the security of such assurances. Hopefully, you find the article covers all dimensions of the issue.

Then, two successive articles—one beginning on page 19 and the other beginning on page 29—leap ahead in transmission rate to 40 and 100 Gbits/sec. Each takes an angle on the in-development 40- and 100-Gbit Ethernet specifications from a fiber-optic perspective. As you read these articles, it likely will become apparent that the contributors take different positions on the relative importance of certain transmission-performance characteristics of OM3-grade multimode optical fiber.

Here’s the rub: If you read just one of those articles without reading the other, you’ll get just one perspective on the topic. If you read them both, you’ll see they don’t agree with each other on all fronts, and you may question the value of a publication that puts apparently contradictory information between its covers.

So what do you do? Of course, I hope you read all these articles (and everything else we’re publishing this month, next month, next year, and so on). But specific to this issue, I hope you’re able to use the information to help you plan for decisions that will be coming your way—some sooner and some later. The prospect of testing Category 6A systems is becoming quite real for growing numbers of structured-cabling system designers, installers, and users. The article discussing this issue would/could/should help you right now if you’re facing decisions related to 6A infrastructure. If it doesn’t, that means I’m not doing my job and I’m counting on you to let me know about it.

Hopefully, the dueling articles on parallel optics and future-generation networking (40- and 100-GbE as well as Fibre Channel and other protocols) will help to prep you for longer-range decisions when speeds as audacious as 100-Gbits/sec approach the enterprise. Some of the discussion in these two articles may bring back memories from more than a decade ago when Gigabit Ethernet was coming to fruition. It put multimode fiber to the test; some passed and some did not.

As networking speeds march ahead and the Layer One systems you build are charged with supporting those speeds, we at Cabling Installation & Maintenance aim to help you learn from the past, make informed decisions in the present, and prepare yourselves for the future. Please, let us know how we’re doing.

PATRICK McLAUGHLIN

Chief Editor

patrick@pennwell.com

Reprinted with full permission of Cabling INstallation & Maintenance  www.cablinginstall.com 

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Preparing for 100-GbE in the data center

Fiber performance and connectivity technology will be key factors in supporting 100-Gig networks.

JENNIFER CLINE is market manager for private-network data centers with Corning Cable Systems (www.corningcablesystems.com).

With the continued requirement for expansion and growth in the data center, cabling infrastructures must provide reliability, manageability, and flexibility. Deployment of an optical-connectivity solution allows for an infrastructure that meets these requirements for current applications and data rates.

Scalability is an additional key factor when choosing the type of optical connectivity. Scalability refers not only to the physical expansion of the data center with respect to additional servers, switches, or storage devices, but also to the infrastructure to support a migration path for increasing data rates. As technology evolves and standards are completed to define data rates, such as 40- and 100-Gbit Ethernet, Fibre Channel data rates of 32 Gbits/sec and beyond, and Infiniband, the cabling infrastructures installed today must provide scalability to accommodate the need for more bandwidth in support of future applications.

With the rising demand to support high-bandwidth applications, current data rates will not be able to meet the needs of the future. With Ethernet applications currently operating at 1 and 10 Gbits/sec, it is clear that to support future networking requirements, 40- and 100-Gbit Ethernet (GbE) technologies and standards must be developed.

Many factors are driving the requirement for higher data rates. Switching and routing, as well as virtualization, convergence, and high-performance computing environments are examples of where these higher network speeds will be required within the data center environment. Additionally, Internet exchanges and service-provider peering points and high-bandwidth applications, such as video-on-demand, will drive the need for a migration from 10-GbE to 40- and 100-GbE interfaces.

Standards status

In response to the aforementioned drivers, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE; wwww.ieee.org) formed the IEEE 802.3ba task group in January to address and develop guidance for 40- and 100-GbE data rates. The project authorization request (PAR) objectives included a minimum 100-meter distance for laser-optimized 50/125-µm multimode (OM3) fiber. OM3 fiber is the only multimode fiber included in the PAR.

Corning has conducted a data center length-distribution analysis that shows 100 meters represents a cumulative 65% of deployed OM3; the expectation is that the 40- and 100-GbE distances over OM3 fiber may be extended beyond 100 meters to address additional data center structured cabling length requirements. Completion of the standard is expected by mid-year 2010.

At the IEEE meeting in May, several baseline proposals were adopted for the purposes of establishing a foundation for generating the initial draft of the 40- and 100-GbE standard. At the meeting, parallel optics transmission was adopted as a baseline proposal for 40- and 100-GbE over OM3 fiber. Parallel optics transmission, compared to traditional serial transmission, uses a parallel-optical interface in which data is simultaneously transmitted and received over multiple fibers.

This baseline proposal defines 40- and 100-GbE interfaces as: 4 x 10 Gigabit Ethernet channels on four fibers per direction, and 10 x 10 Gigabit Ethernet channels on 10 fibers per direction, respectively.

The operating distance defined within this proposal is 100 meters--the same as the minimum objective stated in the PAR. Additionally, the connector-loss allocation in this proposal is 1.5 dB for the total connector loss within the channel.

Based on customer surveys, it is believed that the 100-meter distance defined in the IEEE 802.3ba PAR may not account for a large number of the structured cabling distances found in the data center. To address this, an ad-hoc group has formed to investigate methods of extending the reach of the 40- and 100-GbE interfaces over OM3 fiber. While the group is exploring extended distances up to 250 meters, distances over OM3 fiber will likely not extend beyond 150 to 200 meters.

Cabling performance requirements

When evaluating the performance needed for the cabling infrastructure to meet the future requirements for 40- and 100-GbE, three criteria should be considered: bandwidth, total connector insertion loss, and skew. Each of these factors can impact the cabling infrastructure’s ability to meet the standard’s proposed transmission distance of at least 100 meters over OM3 fiber. Additionally, with ongoing studies to extend this distance, performance can become even more critical.

Bandwidth. OM3 fiber has been selected as the only multimode fiber for 40/100-Gbit consideration. The fiber is optimized for 850-nm transmission and has a minimum 2,000 MHz∙km effective modal bandwidth. Fiber bandwidth measurement techniques are available that ensure an accurate measurement of the bandwidth for OM3 fiber. Minimum effective modal bandwidth calculated (EMBc) is a measurement of system bandwidth for OM3 fiber that offers the most desirable and precise measurement compared to the differential mode delay (DMD) technique.

With minEMBc, a true, scalable bandwidth value is calculated that can reliably predict performance for different data rates and link lengths. With a connectivity solution using OM3 fiber that has been measured using the minEMBc technique, the optical infrastructure deployed in the data center will meet the performance criteria set forth by IEEE for bandwidth.

Insertion loss. This is a critical performance parameter in current data center cabling deployments. Total connector loss within a system channel impacts the ability of a system to operate over the maximum supportable distance for a given data rate. As total connector loss increases, the supportable distance at that data rate decreases. The currently adopted baseline proposal for multimode 40- and 100-GbE transmissions states a total connector loss of 1.5 dB for an operating distance up to 100 meters. Thus, the insertion-loss specifications of connectivity components should be evaluated when designing data center cabling infrastructures. With low-loss connectivity components, maximum flexibility can be achieved with the ability to introduce multiple connector matings into the connectivity link.

Skew. Optical skew—the difference in time of flight between light signals traveling on different fibers—is an essential consideration for parallel-optics transmission. With excessive skew, or delay, across the various channels, transmission errors can occur. While the cabling skew requirements are still under consideration within the task force, deployment of a connectivity solution with strict skew performance ensures compatibility of the cabling infrastructure across a variety of applications. For example, Infiniband, a protocol using parallel-optics transmission, has a cabling skew criteria of 0.75 ns. When evaluating optical cabling infrastructure solutions for 40- and 100-GbE applications, selecting one that meets the skew requirement ensures performance not only for 40- and 100-GbE, but for Infiniband and future Fibre Channel data rates of 32 Gbits/sec and beyond. Additionally, low-skew connectivity solutions validate the quality and consistency of cable designs and terminations to provide long-term reliable operation.

Deploying in the data center

Recommended cabling infrastructure deployments in the data center are based upon guidance found in TIA-942 Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard for Data Centers. A star topology in a structured cabling implementation provides the most flexible and manageable infrastructure. Many data-center deployments use the reduced topology described in TIA-942, in which Horizontal Distribution Areas are collapsed to the Main Distribution Area (MDA). In this collapsed architecture, the cabling is installed between the MDA and the Zone or Equipment Distribution Areas.

For optimized performance in meeting data center requirements, the topology of the cabling infrastructure should not be selected alone; infrastructure topology and product solutions must be considered in unison.

Cabling deployed in the data center must be selected to provide support for high-data-rate applications of the future, such as 100-GbE, Fibre Channel, and Infiniband. Here, OM3 fiber is a must. In addition to being the only grade of multimode fiber to be included in the 40- and 100-GbE standard, OM3 fiber provides the highest performance for today’s needs. With an 850-nm bandwidth of 2,000 MHz∙km or higher, OM3 fiber provides the extended reach often required for structured cabling installations in the data center. OM3 fiber connectivity continues to offer the lowest-price infrastructure and electronics solution for short-reach applications in the data center.

In addition to performance requirements, the choice of physical connectivity is also important. Because parallel-optics technology requires data transmission across multiple fibers simultaneously, a multifiber, or array, connector is required. Using MTP-based connectivity in today’s installations provides a means to migrate to this multifiber parallel-optic interface when needed.

Factory-terminated MTP solutions allow connectivity through a plug-and-play system. To meet the needs of today’s serial Ethernet and Fibre Channel applications, MTP-terminated cabling is installed into preterminated modules, or cassettes. These modules provide a means for transitioning the MTP connector on the backbone cable to single-fiber connectors, such as the LC duplex.

Connectivity into the data center electronics is completed through a standard LC duplex patch cord from the module. When the time comes to migrate to 40- or 100-GbE, the module and LC duplex patch cords are removed and replaced with MTP adapter panels and patch cords for installation into parallel-optic interfaces.

Multiple loss-performance tiers are available for MTP connectivity solutions. Just as connector lost must be considered with such current applications as Fibre Channel and 10-Gb

E, insertion loss will also be a critical factor for 40- and 100-GbE applications. For example, IEEE 802.3 defines a maximum distance of 300 fiber for 10-GbE (10GBase-SR). To achieve this distance, a total connector loss of 1.5 dB is required. As the total connector loss in the channel increases above 1.5 dB, the supportable distance decreases. When extended distances or multiple connector matings are required, low-loss performance modules and connectivity may be necessary.

Additionally, to eliminate concerns of potential modal noise effects with total connector loss increases, solutions should have undergone 10-GbE system modal noise testing by the connectivity manufacturer. Selecting a high-quality connectivity solution that provides low insertion loss and eliminates modal noise concerns ensures reliability and performance in the data center cabling infrastructure.

MTP-based solutions

To best meet the needs of the future, MTP-based connectivity using OM3 fiber is an ideal solution in the data center. With inherent modularity and optimization for a flexible, TIA-942-compliant structured cabling installation, MTP-based optical-fiber systems can be installed for use in today’s applications while providing an easy migration path to future higher-speed technologies, such as 40- and 100-GbE.

 Reprinted with full permission of Cabling Installation & Maintenance www.cablinginstall.com 

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Certifying multimode fiber for 100-Gbit/sec Ethernet

The manufacturing process is a determining factor to a multimode fiber’s ability to handle high-speed parallel-optic transmission.

RICK PIMPINELLA, Ph.D. is the fiber research manager and GASTON TUDURY, Ph.D. is a fiber research engineer at Panduit Corp. (www.panduit.com).

To support the changing and fast-growing bandwidth demands of business-critical data centers and Internet service providers, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE; www.ieee.org) is developing a standard (802.3ba) that will support data rates for next-generation Ethernet networks. The standard, scheduled for ratification by mid-2010, is being written for fiber and copper cabling solutions and will cover both 40- and 100-Gbit/sec speeds.

To meet future high-speed demand for 100-Gbit/sec and above, data communications will likely employ multi-lane technologies, with each lane carrying a portion of the aggregate channel data stream. The advantage of multi-lane systems is that each lane operates at a much-reduced data rate. 

The prospect of deploying multi-lane optical interconnection for next-generation Ethernet has gained much recent attention and is raising concerns about fiber channel “readiness” to support higher speeds. This article discusses the key performance parameters affecting multi-lane transmission over multimode fiber as proposed for 40- and 100-Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) channels, and relates these parameters to channel performance.

Multi-lane technologies

There are two primary methods of implementing multi-lane optical interconnection: wavelength division multiplexing (WDM), in which discrete optical wavelengths are coupled into a single optical fiber; and parallel optics, in which discrete transceivers communicate in parallel over multiple fibers.  For communications requiring a 10-km or 40-km reach, WDM over singlemode fiber (SMF) is the technology of choice for the new IEEE standard. 

In short-reach applications, such as data centers, multi-lane parallel optics solutions over multimode fiber (MMF) will be specified. This approach is designed to leverage existing investments in high-grade OM3 fiber media while making provisions for extended reach or performance fibers. At the time of this writing, the MMF reach objective is 100 meters; however, the reach will likely be extended to 150 meters over OM3 fiber and 250 meters for MMF having an effective modal bandwidth (EMB) of at least 4,700 MHz·km (to be specified as OM4). 

Because 40- and 100-GbE data traffic will be carried over parallel lanes of 4 or 10 discrete fibers, respectively, differences in bit transport time over individual fibers must be kept to a minimum to ensure that multi-lane data traffic can be resynchronized at the receiver.  Ideally, bits transmitted through a fiber ribbon array arrive at the receivers at the same time. The difference between the fastest and slowest bit arrival time in a multi-lane link is called skew. More skew requires more electronic processing to correct for the skew, resulting in higher power dissipation and latency. 

Performance parameters

The total skew in a multi-lane optical channel is affected by intermodal and chromatic dispersion, differences in fiber length, and deviations in refractive index. Some of these parameters are inherent to optical fibers and may be caused by process variation or stress in the individual fibers during the manufacturing process. The better the fiber-manufacturing process and the tighter the control of process parameters, the better the quality and the more consistent the optical fiber.

To ensure that an OM3 (or OM4) cable will support parallel optics for 100-GbE and above, each of the following parameters must be well controlled:

• Intermodal dispersion: Different modes traversing different optical paths in the MMF spread in time, causing pulse broadening. The parameter used to express pulse broadening due to intermodal dispersion is differential mode delay (DMD). 

For a fiber to be classified as OM3, the DMD measurement must comply with one of six DMD mask templates specified in TIA-455-220-A and IEC 60793-1-49. DMD is measured by launching a test pulse into a MMF at highly controlled radial positions across the fiber core, from the core center to the cladding region. From DMD measurements, you can calculate the effective modal bandwidth (EMBc) of the fiber expressed in units of MHz·km. (The EMB of a fiber is specified as 1.13 times EMBc.)

• Chromatic dispersion: When light of different wavelengths propagates in a material, it does so with different velocities. Vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) used for multimode fiber have a finite spectral width and, as a result, a pulse of light containing spectral content will be dispersed. Chromatic dispersion describes this broadening of the pulse width and has the effect of reducing signal quality, thereby degrading link performance.

To measure chromatic dispersion, you adjust the wavelength of the DMD measurement system and analyze the wavelength dependence for a given propagating mode. This test data is then used to calculate intermodal dispersion and chromatic dispersion and, when compared against other fibers, total skew.

• Pulse delay: The velocity of light is determined by the refractive index of the medium.  Stress introduced during the manufacturing or cabling process, or during installation can result in variations in refractive index from fiber to fiber, causing bits to arrive at the receivers at different times. In addition, any variation in individual fiber lengths will result in large differences in bit arrive times. The relative difference between pulse arrival times at the receiver is called pulse delay.

Certifying at high speeds

Using a high-resolution DMD measurement system, Panduit analyzed intermodal dispersion, chromatic dispersion, and pulse delay in a 12-fiber OM3 ribbon cable typical of the type that might be found in a data center. Initial bit error rate (BER) system test measurements and DMD analysis of each of the individual fibers found that two of the 12 fibers were not, in fact, OM3 quality. Further investigation determined that the DMD system used by the manufacturer to characterize these fibers made inaccurate measurements.

Measurements then were taken for time-of-flight and for intermodal and chromatic dispersion, and each of these measured contributions to skew was totaled. This resulted in two significant conclusions. First, it was interesting to note that the largest contribution to skew is the time of flight, which is independent of fiber bandwidth. Second, although not all fibers in the cable met OM3 bandwidth requirements, the maximum time-of-flight difference occurred between two OM3 fibers.

In other words, these results indicate that use of high EMBc fiber cables (i.e., OM3 and above) will not automatically guarantee low skew or high performance. Certification testing of the ribbon cable is necessary to guarantee 40/100-GbE performance.

Fiber certification testing cannot be done with commercially available equipment, and it cannot be assumed that high-bandwidth fiber will mask inefficiencies due to dispersion and skew. It is the vendor’s responsibility to test the fiber media towards controlling uniform pulse delay and optimizing skew, so contractors and designers can specify fiber media that enables signal integrity across the channel.

How it affects you

We have described parameters (i.e., dispersion and skew) that affect MMF performance at higher data rates, and shown how these measurements can be used to characterize differences in fiber quality and certify fiber media capability. But the key to assuring multi-lane 40/100-GbE parallel-optic signal integrity is strong control over the fiber-media manufacturing processes—the better the fiber-manufacturing process (raw fiber, ribbonization, and cabling) and the tighter the control of process parameters, the better the quality and the more consistent the optical fiber.

Through our testing processes, Panduit has identified that control over one of the key parameters being developed for high-bandwidth MMF systems–skew–is not sufficient to ensure high-bandwidth performance, as there is not a close correlation between high EMBc values and skew. Also, although the maximum allowable skew for 100GBase-SR10 remains to be specified, it is important to note that transceivers can correct for skew and that skew ultimately may not be identified in the standards as a critical parameter. 

As customers develop future-ready cabling plants, they need to pay particular attention to the quality of the fiber being installed to guarantee future performance. Best-in-class cabling vendors will be able to certify MMF for reliable multi-lane 40/100-GbE performance through accurate characterization of fiber bandwidth, certification of BER system performance of raw fiber and cabled media, and establishing specifications for fiber-media partners towards retaining lane-to-lane skew.

Reprinted with full permission of Cabling Installation & Maintenance www.cablinginstall.com 

CNS

Of spectrum and smart phones

It will come as no surprise that Canada’s big three wireless network operators, namely Rogers, Telus and Bell, have the largest bar bills.

It was a busy summer in the Canadian wireless space and it is time for a recap.

First, the spectrum auction: When Industry Canada banged the gavel July 21st, it brought to an end more than 300 rounds of bidding that lasted almost two months and awarded approximately 280 licenses to use the airwaves to 15 companies.

To make those payments, the winning companies needed to dig deep, as this auction raised some $4.25 billion for the federal coffers.

It will come as no surprise that Canada’s big three wireless network operators, namely Rogers, Telus and Bell, have the largest bar bills. Rogers’ bids alone represent almost a quarter of the auction tab, at $999.4 million. Telus won licences totaling $879.9 million, while BCE’s commitment was $740.9 million.

Those bills might have been higher, except that the government set aside spectrum for new entrants, which in this case meant, “anybody with money — except you three”. Among the winners:

• Printing and media company Quebecor Inc., which locked up spectrum across Quebec.

• A subsidiary of Globalive Communications Corp., the telecom company behind Yak Communications, which won bids in every other jurisdiction.

• Cable and communications company Shaw Communications Inc., which netted spectrum in Western Canada and Northern Ontario.

Each of these players has only just paid for the right to approach the bottom of the mountain that is Canada’s wireless market.

Ahead, they face an arduous ascent, made all the more treacherous by the big three companies who are well up the hillside and, no doubt, eyeing the landscape for loose boulders to roll down at the new climbers below. It might lead readers to wonder why anybody would take on such a climb. The answer is as plain as the palm of your hand, especially if it holds a Black Berry, iPhone or other smart wireless device.

The auction just completed awarded licenses to offer broadband wireless data services in the 2 GHz band. It is expected the incumbent operators will use their new spectrum assets to add capacity to their existing networks and boost their wireless data transmission speeds to enable video, live television and other high-bandwidth applications.

New players will be trying to carve their own piece of that lucrative pie – and in the case of Quebecor, Globalive and Shaw, bundle their own wireless services with their existing communications offerings.

Unlike some spectrum awards in the past — such as the 24 GHz + 38 GHz auction in 1999 and the beauty contest that handed out 2.5 GHz MCS licences in 2001 — this time the equipment exists to take full advantage of the airwaves.

This summer, we’ve witnessed the introduction of the much-anticipated 3G (high speed) Apple iPhone and BlackBerry Bold from Research In Motion, plus smart phones from Samsung, Palm and HTC (among others) that have been touted as iPhone killers. Word is that RIM will launch its own touch-screen-driven iPhone killer – the BlackBerry Thunder – by year-end.

Whether these devices are enough to give new entrants a toehold on the mountain remains to be seen. The last time new entrants made a play in Canada was over a decade ago and we know how that turned out: Telus acquired Clearnet to take its regional wireless services national, while Rogers bought Microcell. Will we see a repeat of that experience? Time will tell.

While we are waiting, I encourage everybody with an iPhone (or an iPod Touch, for that matter) to check out the “Labyrinth” game. As the name implies, this application is a digital update of the classic game that required one to navigate a ball bearing through a maze full of sinkholes.

What I find most interesting about it is how it has taken advantage of the accelerometer built into these Apple devices: Players roll the ball bearing through the maze by tilting the device. It is not only a very cool time-waster, it is also an example of what happens when developers get creative with the devices on which their applications will run.

The mobile industry can only benefit when people think outside the box - and beyond the keypad.

Trevor 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 trevor@wordstm.com.

Reprinted with full permission of Cabling Networking Systems www.cnsmmagazine.com

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WLAN on campus

WLAN has been a part of campus life at Concordia University in Montreal for at least five years, says Andrew McAusland, associate vice-president of IT department. But in 2007, the time had finally come to begin major overhaul of the wireless infrastructure at both its Sir George Williams and Loyola campuses.

“We’ve been on wireless in some way or another for years and have tried to cover as much areas as democratically possible,” McAusland says. “But what we didn’t take into account was how heavily it was going to be used by students congregating in common areas. Our deployment simply wasn’t designed to accommodate that kind of service.”

Over time, the influx of concentrated usage laid bare a number of inadequacies in the patchwork attempts at wireless network expansion. Access points could only handle up to 10 connections before dropping connections.

“We had 802.11b and g and all varieties you could think of,” McAusland explains. “Basically we just kept plugging in access points to cover up holes. We knew that the problems we experienced were 20% configuration and 80% technology. It simply couldn’t carry off the volumes.”

The first phase was deployment at the Sir George Williams campus, where Concordia began deploying 802.11n technology inside all campus buildings to bump up the bandwidth and throughput for access points. The university has also scored a first when it took its wireless mesh configuration outside to encompass a one kilometre radius outside the campus where services are available to residents on a subscription basis. (On-campus wireless services are free). 

Internal access points communicate with a network of external antennas, each of which has a 200-yard reach. Each “core” antenna links to three additional ones to create an ongoing chain. Cisco Unified Wireless Network technology is used for the back-end hardware, while Bell worked with Concordia to perform the mapping and installation.

With the first campus fully loaded and the Loyola campus installation now under way, McAusland reports that up to 60 people can now connect on the same access point without dropping a connection. “The speed [with 802.11n] is highly noticeable. It gives us the ability to multiply connections to a large number of students congregated in one area. You can even walk across streets and maintain connectivity.”

A key to ongoing performance is constant traffic analysis and monitoring. “Unlike wall plugs and hard wire, WLAN environments keep changing. You always have to analyze where traffic is coming from and when it changes so you can manipulate your mapping techniques.”

Once all 400 access points are installed, the next stage is connecting the six kilometre corridor between the two campuses which will also capture a healthy share of the faculty and students living in the area.

“We looked at microwave and light path, but microwave doesn’t carry the speed, and they simply can’t go that far. We are using dark fiber for the backhaul,” McAusland says.

There is even talk of connecting with other campuses in the city. “If we can get another three universities involved, we can cover 76% of the city using their real estate.”

Reprinted with full permission of Cabling Networking Systems www.cnsmmagazine.com

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WLAN growing up – and growing out

When the first wireless LANs appeared on the scene, no one expected the ptake would be so fast and furious. As the mobile workforce takes hold and more and more of the population expects anytime, anywhere connectivity, WLAN  boundaries are constantly being pushed beyond their intended limits to accommodate their needs.

By Denise Deveau

Andrew Mitchell, regional manager of Wireless Solutions for Bell Canada in Toronto recalls that when the first WLAN was deployed at Union Station in the city’s downtown core, “We all wondered if it would take off. Obviously it has proven itself to be an invaluable asset to enterprises, small businesses and consumers. Now it is a utility that can support anything from commercial and manufacturing functions to retail POS (point of sale) applications.”

This steep adoption curve has been largely driven by the fact that equipment has proved itself to be remarkably easy to deploy and use, and the costs keep going down.

Over time, bandwidth, availability and security have also continued to improve to support more robust applications. 

“There are a couple of characteristics of WLANs that have been important drivers of their success,” Dragan Narandzic, CTO of Ericsson Canada in Toronto confirms. “First, they use open standards that are globally accepted. Secondly, they utilize unlicensed spectrum, which puts the end user in full control of both the equipment and spectrum use.”

These factors have allowed free wireless access and connectivity that is not dependent on operators or licenses. As a result, the entry barriers for establishing networks are very low and equipment production has now achieved very large economies of scale.

Given the relative economies associated with WLAN deployment, it comes as no surprise that more creative-minded network specialists are keen to push WLANs further to deliver continuous coverage over progressively larger geographical areas.

Recent projects in the works range from campus-level wireless networks (see sidebar) to the establishment of municipal wireless LANs.

Mesh has become an increasingly popular approach for backhauling traffic from one WLAN access point to another using the same signal. “The attractiveness of mesh relates to the fact that it’s an easy-to-deploy blanket solution for larger coverage areas,” Mitchell says. “If you are looking at an outdoor venue for example, the challenge of running cabling or fibre to access points disappears when you go with mesh.”

However, access point density and distance can create problems in some scenarios depending on the geographical area and bandwidth requirements.

Narandzic notes that where metro area networks have been attempted, many have yet to achieve ubiquitous coverage. “You need a very large number of nodes to establish that level of coverage, so it would simply be too cost prohibitive. Some U.S. and international cities that have deployed WLAN in metro area networks also found they had to deal with different types of complexities, including interference, signal strength and the inability of equipment to stand up to weather conditions.”

Meshing in Moncton

The IT department for the City of Moncton & Magnetic Hill were among the first to overcome the limitations for metropolitan area networks when they unveiled its community-wide WLAN initiative last year.

Director of Information Systems Dan Babineau reports that when it first deployed WLAN five years ago, the city’s focus was on enabling connectivity in its corporate buildings for employees and visitors.

“Having done that, we saw a greater need to extend outside the perimeters of the standard facilities to bring anywhere/anytime access to the people of Moncton and visitors. So we started with the brick and mortar part, and then decided to go outside the walls using Cisco wireless mesh technology.”

The downtown core pilot project has already grown to a one kilometer radius, with plans to triple that by the end of the fall season.

An important aspect of the mesh configuration is that it has allowed the municipality to keep the landscape — and the heritage buildings — intact.

The network uses an 802.11a radio system to transmit signals from the access points back to city hall where they connect to the Internet. “One big issue we had was around cabling and infrastructure costs,” Babineau says. “This approach helped us to streamline cabling and keep those costs down.”

Four Cisco controllers located at city hall are used to identify each access point on the mesh, record their location, monitor traffic and determine the best communications path back to city hall. The controllers also detect if an access point is down and intelligently reroute the signal, as well as looks for rogue access points and security violations.

Babineau adds that the biggest surprise in establishing the expanded WLAN services was the speed of deployment. “We simply identified the poles we wanted to use, mounted the equipment, plugged it in and turned it on. Within three days of starting work, we had it up and running. We were told it was quick and efficient but we didn’t quite believe it. We do now.”

The ability to stretch WLAN beyond building boundaries has been facilitated to a large extent by the evolution of standards, says Narandzic. “Many enhancements in the 802.11 standard have increased throughput and modulation schemes, which in turn have increased the potential size and reach of WLANs.”

With the added speed and performance of the latest standards however, comes the usual challenges when it comes to testing says Ron Groulx, product manager, Fluke Networks Canada in Mississauga.

“One of the biggest WLAN issues for the cabling industry right now is the emerging 802.11n standard,” he says. “That’s definitely a challenge for testing because it uses multiple streams for transmission that fundamentally represents a new approach for access point signaling. It makes it hard to know how to test it and understand where the bottlenecks take place.”

In addition to standards issues, Groulx notes that an equally significant challenge for WLAN deployment is security. “With the first wireless implementations about five years ago, security was very weak. Although encryption and security techniques have evolved considerably since those early days, the problem we are seeing now is that there are so many implementations of these (security) techniques. IT departments are struggling with understanding multiple encryption types and confused over what to use…or not.”

Another challenge is getting an understanding of how to marry internal security processes with wireless applications. “It’s difficult to know how to manage it all and take advantage of the right technologies,” Groulx says. “A lot of IT engineers think they are fully secured but not taking advantage of everything they could.”

One way to ensure a clear path to WLAN success is putting in the work upfront, advises Mitchell. “Anyone looking to WLAN deployment should never overlook the importance of robust design. It’s important to make sure you undertake a site survey and spectrum analysis so you don’t end up spending money later on mitigating problems and trying to get your network to perform at the expected bandwidth levels.”

The future is friendly: Despite the challenges, WLAN remains a “full steam ahead” proposition for the foreseeable future. As networking specialists continue to test WLAN boundaries, there is now talk of using Wi-Max (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) to push wireless access that extra distance.

Babineau says Moncton did look at Wi-Max at the outset of the project but wasn’t convinced of the need at the time. Next year all that will change. “Now we’ve built Wi-Max into the plan for backhaul because it’s more forgiving in terms of line of sight. This is very compelling for us since we have to deal with a lot of trees and infrastructure issues that pose a challenge to mesh and limit our growth.”

Wi-Max will definitely play a role in supporting WLAN deployments in the months to come as far as Sai Subramanian, director of marketing for Broadband Wireless Business Unit for Cisco Systems in Dallas, Tex. is concerned. “Wi-Max will do for broadband what cellular phones did for voice. It will deliver the same freedom to end users that have come to expect WLAN access at home, work or on campus. It has the potential to take wireless access to a larger scale. Over the next two to three years, I expect to see Wi-Max embedded in the same way Wi-Fi is today.”

Subramanian also believes the Wi-Max could be a significant revenue generator for cabling professionals looking to enter the wireless market space.

“By bundling cable as your broadband wired piece with Wi-Max as your wireless service, you can give customers broadband at or outside their homes/offices. Because Wi-Fi has been so popular and so successful in enterprise and home setting, we need to do the same in a wide area setting.”

An added bonus he adds is that for the most part, mesh and Wi-Max can easily operate in tandem.

“Wi-Max would never be used in a building. By the same token, you can’t use Wi-Fi to cover all of the country. Leaving those two extremes aside, they will meld to each other very well. In either case both have big role to play in delivering wireless broadband in the future.”

Denise Deveau is a Toronto-based freelance writer. She can be reached at denise@denised.com.

Reprinted with full permission of Cabling Networking Systems www.cnsmmagazine.com

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A tough day on Wall Street

As I write this editorial, Wall Street is being hammered. Investment bank Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., an organization that has been in existence since 1850, has just filed for bankruptcy and Merrill Lynch, a mainstay of corporate America, has been taken over by the Bank of America, ostensibly to avoid a similar fate.

To make matters worse, insurance giant American International Group or AIG is facing collapse as a result of the ongoing sub-prime mortgage crisis.

It does not take long for the pain to begin. Within minutes of the opening bell, the Dow Jones drops 300 points and stock markets in Canada, Europe and Asia all drop sharply. The losses mount throughout the day.

SmallCapInvestor describes it as a ‘financial rout,’ while Wikipedia reports that “former Lehman Brothers workers were shown leaving the Lehman Brothers building in Times Square, New York, with boxes of their belongings. Lehman Brothers (LEH) shares tumbled 80% in U.S. pre-open trade.”

Morgan Housel, a contributor with The Motley Fool, urges readers to buckle up, grab a drink and stay calm. This is a good time to remind yourself of a cardinal investing rule — it’s never a good time to panic, she writes in an article entitled Black Sunday on Wall Street.

 “Lehman has ended —the world has not. Nonetheless, it is also important to realize the severity and ramification of these events. It’s perfectly healthy for excessive speculation to get purged out, but in this case, the purging went into overdrive. The chickens tried to come home to roost …. They just got slaughtered by a mob of paranoid investors along the way.”

Marcus Droga, a Private Wealth associate director with the Australian investment services firm The Macquarie Group writes that “you’ve probably seen more in one day of financial history than we’ve seen since the great crash of 1929. I’m not suggesting the U.S. market will crash tonight, but in terms of landmark events, it’s an historic day.”

Not everyone considers the situation to be as dire. Among them is Toronto-based Charles Whaley, who founded ProfiTrend Enterprises (PTE) in 1989 a company that provides research and consulting services for Canada’s financial sector as well as tools and information resources for investors.

He points out that it is hard to call something a crisis now when the problems with asset backed commercial paper started well over a year ago.

“Nothing is new today other than one investment bank (Lehman) going into bankruptcy and one being bought by another (Bank of America/Merrill-Lynch),” says Whaley, who has a long history of investing in stocks, options, bonds and other securities.  

“There is no “Wall Street Meltdown”... just another routine bear market that happens to be led lower by financial services companies this time around.”

Is it? If consumer confidence diminishes, it could conceivably have a direct impact on any number of industries ranging from steel to automobiles and structured cable and wireless, the subject of this month’s cover story.

Earlier this year, I wrote in this space about the opportunities that still exist despite all the gloom and doom caused by a downturn in the economy. There is no doubt, for example, that WLAN is in growth mode. Infonetics Research is projecting double-digit annual revenue growth expected through 2010 as “end-user organizations across most verticals adopt WLAN equipment.

Much of it will come down to attitude. The winners will be those firms that maintain and increase their existing cabling, networking and telecom budgets even when the much anticipated recession hits land.

Reprinted with full permission of Cabling Networking Systems www.cnsmmagazine.com

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EC Mag

safety BY diane Kelly

Fire Proof Preventing and planning for workplace fires

Throughout U.S. history, there have been near-legendary workplace fires.
In 1911, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City caused 150 deaths. As recently as 1991, a fire at the Imperial Foods poultry processing plant in North Carolina caused 25 worker deaths and 49 injuries. Tragically, these deaths and injuries could have been prevented. Locked fire exits and faulty or inadequate fire extinguishing systems allowed the fires to rage out of control. The National Safety Council estimates that, in 1988, workplace fires led to $3.1 billion in losses and more than 360 fatalities. One of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s prime concerns is preventing fires, thus reducing injuries and fatalities. This is done through job site inspections that ensure standards dealing with fire safety (29 CFR Part 1910 Subparts E and L and Part 1926 Subparts C and F) are being followed.

Employers are responsible for training their workers on potential fire hazards in their workplace and what to do in case of a fire. Much of what the employees are to do in case of an emergency are covered in the employer’s emergency action plan. This will determine if the employees are to evacuate or stay and fight a fire. Either way, the employer must train the employees on how to escape the work site or supply the workers with training and equipment to fight the fire. Whether employees are to fight or flee, OSHA standards require work sites to be equipped with proper emergency exits, fire fighting equipment, and emergency plans to prevent fire-related deaths and injuries.

The evacuation portion of the fire safety plan should be reviewed periodically to ensure exits are kept clear and available in case of emergency. During the review process, it may be helpful to develop a punch list of the plan, which may include the following:

• All workers at the site need to know how to respond to a fire alarm signal.

• Evacuation procedures should mirror any changes in the physical layout of the work site and any changes in the fire alarm system.

• Any device used to signal the need for an evacuation should be audible above normal background noise at the site. The alarm also should be unique to signal a fire and be recognized by all working at the site.

• When possible, at least two escape routes should be provided.

• All escape routes must be kept clear at all times.

• Fire doors must be kept closed and clear for evacuation.

• If work is to be done at the site at night, the site needs to be fitted with the appropriate emergency lighting.

• When employees are working in isolated areas (mechanical or electrical rooms) provisions need to be made to alert them to any emergency situation.

There are two ways to look at the problem of fire safety: protection and prevention. Protection helps to ensure a minor event—e.g., a small fire in a trash can—doesn’t burn down the whole building. Protection is included in the portion of the emergency plan that deals with evacuation and fighting a fire already in progress. Prevention, on the other hand, sees that the fire is never started in the first place. There are aspects of fire prevention that are included in an employer’s safety program that aren’t specific to fire at all. Good housekeeping at the job site is a good safety practice that also helps prevent fire. During the construction process, any scrap lumber should be cleared out of the work area at regular intervals. If there is no wood lying around to catch fire, there won’t be a fire, or it will be more easily contained. Good cleaning habits also include flammable and combustible materials. These materials should be properly stored or cleaned if there is a spill.

Another aspect of fire prevention involves employee training. It is important to include housekeeping and the value of good work habits when training employees. If trained to include smart thinking about potentially dangerous situations, workers can help to keep themselves safe and prevent fires. For example, when welding occurs at a job site, a close eye should be kept on the area where this hot work occurred for several hours after the work is complete. This will
help prevent an injury from the hot surface as well as prevent a potential fire.

Regular work site inspections also will help prevent a fire from starting. These inspections help keep workers alert to their work habits and work areas and keep their attention on periodically removing any flammable materials.

Ideally, by focusing on fire prevention, fewer fires will start, taking some of the stress off fire protection. It is far easier and more cost effective to keep a fire from starting than to try to put it out and clean up afterward. Experts from Factory Mutual, a group of property and casualty insurance companies and safety engineering companies, state that close to 60 percent of fires and 75 percent of fire-related property damage could be avoided through preventive actions, including preventive maintenance, frequent inspection and testing of equipment. Fire prevention has many benefits for both employers and employees, including saving money, equipment and lives by not allowing a fire to start in the first place.

KELLY is a safety and health specialist with Intec, a safety consulting, training and publishing firm that offers on-site assistance and produces manuals, training videos and software for contractors. She can be reached at 800.745.4818 or dkelly@intecweb.com. Joe O’Connor edited this article.

Reprinted with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine  www.ecmag.com 

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A Partnership That Works Still Has Much Work to Do

The chance of an average worker sustaining a fatal injury on the job is slim. There were just 3.7 fatal occupational injuries per 100,000 workers in the United States in 2007, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But, for electrical line installers and repairers, the deadly odds are significantly greater.

The good news is the reasons behind the injuries and fatalities that plague workers in the electrical transmission and distribution (T&D) industry are becoming clearer and, therefore, easier to overcome. Thanks go to a powerful partnership of stakeholders that is systematically identifying and evaluating health and safety hazards among T&D workers and using its findings to develop “Best Practices” and new training programs nationwide.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) T&D Electrical Safety Partnership has been mentioned often in these pages. It officially began Aug. 20, 2004, with an agreement drawn up among OSHA, industry trade associations, a labor organization, and six of the nation’s largest line contractors.

Additional line constructors joined over time. The partnership now includes OSHA, the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), the Edison Electric Institute (which represents utilities), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Asplundh Tree Expert Co., Henkels & McCoy, MDU Construction Services Group, Pike Electric, MYR Group, and Quanta Services. The contractors on this list employ about 80 percent of all T&D workers in the United States.

The original charter was set to last only two years. However, the T&D Safety Partnership was renewed and expanded in 2006 and again recently. The extension will enable the partners to build on a solid base of progress.

By 2007, the partners already had identified the leading causes of fatalities in line work: not wearing rubber insulating gloves and sleeves while working near energized equipment, not properly insulating and isolating energized equipment, encroaching materials and debris, and falls. These findings were taken into account in the partnership’s development of industry-specific training.

Last year, OSHA conducted a specialized 10-hour course addressing safe procedures for high-voltage work, reaching a total of 12,016 T&D workers. This year, OSHA focused on supervisors and foremen with a special 20-hour program. This industry-specific supervisory and leadership outreach training course, emphasizing the responsibility to provide for employee safety, also was developed through the partnership.

To date, the partnership has approved best practices on these eight topics: Job Briefings, Pre-use Inspection of Rubber Protective Equipment, Administrative Controls, Qualified Observer, Insulate and Isolate Safety Performance Check, Lock-to-Lock Use of Rubber Gloves and Sleeves, Cradle-to-Cradle Use of Insulating Rubber Gloves and Sleeves, and Rubber Insulating PPE for the Live Line Tool Method on Distribution Lines.

Every employee working for a partner company is now required to follow these recommendations, thus alleviating some of the issues related to the T&D industry’s transient work force. The Best Practices and a wealth of other information is available on the partnership’s Web site, www.powerlinesafety.org.

However, the most significant measurement of the partners’ progress appears on the federal safety agency’s Web site. The osha.gov site reports that the fatality rate per every 100,000 T&D workers has been reduced from 67.24 in 2003 to 24.55 in 2007, a 63.5 percent reduction. OSHA also notes that the Total Case Incidence Rate (TCIR) and Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART) rate, both of which were above the averages for the industry when the partnership began, are now 25.3 and 31.3 percent below industry averages, respectively.

NECA honored OSHA with the Industry Partner Award this year for providing the framework and support that makes such ongoing progress a reality. As the citation that accompanied the award states, “NECA is proud to work with the safety agency in this special project that has real potential to prevent injuries and save lives.” And, we should all be proud and grateful for all the partners that continue to demonstrate leadership, responsibility and accountability in furthering worker health and safety.      

Milner Irvin, President, Neca

Reprinted with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine  www.ecmag.com 

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fiberoptics BY jim hayes

Project Documentation Network design for fiber optics, part 8

Documentation of the cable plant is a necessary part of the design and installation process for a fiber optic network. Documenting the installation properly during the planning process will save time and material. It will speed the cable installation and testing since the routing and terminations are already known. After component installation, the documentation should be completed with loss test data for acceptance by the end-user. During troubleshooting, documentation eases tracing links and finding faults. Proper documentation is usually required for customer acceptance of the finished project.

The documentation process begins at the initiation of the project and continues through to completion. It must begin with the actual cable plant path or location. Outside plant cables require documentation on the overall route and details on exact locations, e.g., on which side of streets, which cable on poles, where and how deep buried cables and splice closures lay, and if markers or tracing tape is buried with the cable. Premises cables require similar details inside a building for the cable to be located anywhere in the path.

Most of this data can be kept in computer-aided design (CAD) drawings and a database or commercial software that stores component, connection and test data. Long outside plant links that include splices also may have optical time domain reflectometer (OTDR) traces, which should be stored as printouts and possibly in computer files for later viewing in the event that problems arise. Of course, that works only if a computer with proper software for viewing traces is available, so a copy of the viewing program should be on the disks. If the OTDR data is stored digitally, a listing of data files should be kept with the documentation to allow finding specific OTDR traces more easily.

The documentation process

Documentation begins with a basic layout for the network. A sketch on building blueprints may work for a small building, but a large campus, metropolitan or long-distance network will probably need a complete CAD layout. The best way to set up the data is to use a facility drawing and add the locations of all cables and connection points. Identify all the cables and racks or panels in closets. Then you are ready to transfer this data to a database.

Fiber optic cables, especially backbone cables, may contain many fibers that connect a number of different links, which may not all be going to the same place. The fiber optic cable plant, therefore, must be documented for cable location, the path of each fiber, interconnections and test results. You should record the specifications on every cable and fiber: the manufacturer, the type of cable and fiber, how many fibers, cable construction type, estimated length, and installation technique (buried, aerial, plenum, riser, etc.).

It will help to know what types of panels and hardware are being used and what end equipment (if any) is to be connected. If you are installing a big cable plant with many dark (unused) fibers, some will probably be left open at the panels, which also must be documented. When designing a network, it’s a good idea to have spare fibers and interconnection points in panels for future expansion, rerouting for repair or moving network equipment.

Documentation is more than records. All components should be labeled with color-coded permanent labels in accessible locations. Once a scheme of labeling fibers has been determined, each cable, accessible fiber and termination point requires some labeling for identification. A simple scheme is preferred and, if possible, explanations provided on patch panels or inside the cover of termination boxes.

Protecting records

Cable plant documentation records are very important. Keep several backup copies of each document, whether stored in a computer or on paper, in different locations for safekeeping. If a copy is presented to the customer, the installer should maintain his or her own records for future work on the project. One complete set on paper should be kept with a “restoration kit” of appropriate components, tools and directions in case of outages or cable damage. Documentation should be kept up-to-date to be useful, so that task should be assigned to one on-site person with instructions to inform all parties keeping copies of the records of updates needed. Access to modify records should be restricted to stop unauthorized changes to the documentation.           

HAYES is a VDV writer and trainer and the president of The Fiber Optic Association. Find him at www.JimHayes.com.

The following are Cable plant data that should be kept:

Paths—where the cable plant is located and the link paths in every cable

Cable—manufacturer, type, length, fiber type and size

Splice and termination points—at distance markers, patch panels, etc.

Connections—types (splice or connectors and types) and fibers connected

Complete test data on every fiber

Dark fibers (unused)—should be documented, as well, for future expansion or replacement of failed fibers.

Reprinted with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine  www.ecmag.com 

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Focusby joe o’connOr

The Cutting Edge of Education

It’s hard to identify what’s new in safety training. Whether your attention is drawn to technique or topic, the message seems to be repetitive year after year. Toolbox talks are useful. Advances in technology increase training possibilities. Social and adult learning theory have been beaten to death over the last several decades, resulting in the same basic messages. Individuals learn by modeling others. Adult learning needs to be self-directed. Falls, electrocution, caught-in and struck-by are the primary construction topics regardless of how the training is delivered. So, why offer an update?

As experts begin to settle on theory and respond to the limitations employers have in trying to meet the overwhelming training requirements, more attention is being given to doing it better. The differences in the learning patterns of audiences, from baby boomers to generation next, are being looked at more closely. Studies on training are more detailed on how to be more effective with a given technique. And, each year, new resources are gradually being made available to meet specific industry needs.

With regard to the workplace audience, four generational groups have been identified. Veterans are those born in the years 1922–1943. Baby boomers are 1943–1960; generation X, or Xers, 1960–1980; and generation next, or nexters, 1980–2000.

Veterans respond to command-and-control management. They use wisdom to deal with changes. Boomers feel they have paid their dues under the veterans’ system. They pride themselves on their ability to survive sink-or-swim management. Both generations have adapted to traditional training.

Xers are cautious but will sidestep rules to get things done smarter, faster and better. They prefer a nontraditional training setting and building skills on their own. They are comfortable with the apprentice model of training.

Nexters believe they can do anything. However, they need more structure and attention than Xers. They prefer training that allows them to work in groups.

Of interest may be the training Xers and nexters say they prefer. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted a study of 88 miners regarding their preferences. They asked the individuals what three training methods they would enjoy the most. The options included computer-based, lecture, video (group activities), hands-on, discussion (games), and simulations or drills. The most popular was hands-on at 42.9 percent. Practice was second with 41.7 percent of the votes. Videos were 32.1 percent, and computer-based instruction was 15.5 percent.

Although computer-based instruction was not the top choice for instruction, it is well known that young workers are more comfortable with computers. They have been using computers for a variety of purposes, including education. Since computer-based instruction is readily available and a more cost-efficient method of instruction, it should not be overlooked. Initial studies- using three-dimensional simulations to train employees on hazard recognition show a significantly higher performance score for those exposed to the 3-D computer images.

As stated earlier, when it comes to technique—audience preferences aside—toolbox training is probably the most frequently used method for job site safety. It seems to be the easiest way to get information to workers. It also has the greatest potential for being done poorly. Studies have shown toolbox talks are best used to address a very specific hazard. For example, it would be inappropriate to discuss electrical safety in a 15-minute training session. This does not allow enough time to cover all the hazards and precautions. A 15-minute toolbox talk is better suited for discussing ground-fault circuit interrupter use. Topics must focus on a particular hazard and the precautions associated with it.

Toolbox training also is an opportunity for workers to share experience and knowledge. Storytelling has proved highly effective for toolbox training. It is entertaining while passing on valuable information.

In addition, toolbox training sessions should be delivered to small groups of fewer than 20. Members of the group should have similar functions. Offering a talk to line workers and electricians doing residential wiring would not be very effective. The trick for management- is to deliver the same safety message to all groups. The following may help.

Step 1—Identify a subject

Identify a topic that is relevant to the work. Accidents associated with the work, whether they occurred in your company or at other sites performing the same work, are excellent topics. Other topics are new rules, policies, equipment or procedures. Special or nonroutine tasks may be good subjects, but the tasks must be simple enough to be addressed in a short period of time.

Step 2—Describe the hazard

After the subject has been selected, make a list of the hazards associated with that topic. Describe the link between the circumstances that may create the hazard and accidents that can result from it. By offering the circumstances that create the hazards, a “what to watch for” list is created. Resulting discussions can help the workers do a mental audit of the hazards at the site.

Step 3—Use a story to improve empathy and interest

Using real accidents makes it easier to get the message across about the hazards and the consequences when precautions are not taken. The audience is able to empathize with the victim and more willing to accept the procedures to avoid accidents. A source for information on accidents involving electrical contractors is available on the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) Safety Web site at www.necanet.org/job/safety. The NECA and Intec joint site offers four new safety talks a month. At least one talk per month focuses on an accident analysis.

Step 4—Offer best practices

The key to the success of the story used in Step 3 is applying it to a current job site. After telling the story, offer best practices that can be used to prevent accidents while performing the tasks at the job site. This also can lead to discussion, which will help accomplish the next essential element of toolbox training.

Step 5—Elicit participation

Active participation may be the most important element of successful toolbox training. Workers will understand and retain more if they are involved in training. Discussions or instructor-led question and answer sessions will get audiences involved. Be prepared with questions about the toolbox in the event discussion does not occur. When using a story, ask workers what could have been done differently by those in the story and if the same accident could occur on your job site.

Step 6—Document

Although documentation won’t improve the session, it is essential. A log should be created with the names of those who participated. If the training is used to meet requirements, each participant should print and sign their names. Include date, time spent and location as well as a reference to the subjects covered. The person responsible for training should sign the log.

On the job

On the job (OTJ) is another popular type of training. Again, this form of training offers employers an efficient way to train while maintaining work activity. OTJ needs to be structured.

It needs a trainer to teach and assess skills. Be sure to pair employees with someone or pick a trainer who has the appropriate skills for OTJ training. They must have the right attitude, skills and knowledge. They should be friendly and willing to help others. Good communication skills are critical. Finally, the need for the instructor’s thorough knowledge of the job or safety precautions to be taught goes without saying.

OTJ also requires a written guide that breaks the job into tasks or a job analysis. The job analysis provides a framework for training. It can be detailed or general in nature. This depends on the sophistication needed for the task or safety rules being taught. But, regardless of the level, the analysis must provide a map to allow teaching to be accurate, logical and easy.

The training itself must include three basic elements: assessment, training and evaluation.

During the assessment, a decision is made on what the trainee knows. The next decision is what needs to be taught. The training should provide knowledge and procedural and motor skills necessary. Once training is complete, the employee is evaluated. It needs to be determined if the skills taught have been learned. The employee should be checked on an ongoing basis until he or she has mastered the skills.

As advances are made in technique, the industry has been able to turn its attention to topics. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) now offers Web pages (www.osha.gov) specific to electrical safety. It even provides an eTool on Ergonomics: Solutions for Electrical Contractors. An eTool is a stand-alone, interactive, Web-based training tool. In addition to the ergonomics eTool, there are other construction topics covered, such as scaffolding, lead, asbestos and cadmium, which may be useful to electrical contractors.

Groups, such as the Electrical Transmission and Distribution Construction Contractors and Trade Associations, have developed industry-specific programs. The partnership now offers an OSHA 10-hour construction outreach specifically for line workers.

Per the Web site, www.necanet.org/job/safety, NECA continues to offer more industry-specific training material. Its personal protective equipment (PPE) selector guide and Guide to NFPA 70E Lockout/Tagout CDs and manuals are resources for training.

So really, there is a lot of new stuff to find in safety training. Electrical contractors can be more particular in the resources they use for training. They also can raise their training to a higher level by using techniques that have been studied and proven. All contractors should think about what’s new in safety training and try to find the resources and techniques that can provide the most effective training, regardless of generational differences.

           

O’CONNOR is with Intec, a safety consulting, training and publishing firm that offers on-site assistance and produces manuals, training videos and software for contractors. Based in Waverly, Pa., he can be reached at 607.624.7159 or joconnor@intecweb.com.

Reprinted with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine  www.ecmag.com 

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Focus by jim hayes

CABLING WONKS

Premises cabling certification training

Training can be one of the best investments a contractor or installer of communications cabling can make. While many seek training to get certified, the real benefits are gaining the knowledge and skills to enter new markets, greater efficiency during construction projects, familiarity with new technology and a better basis for distinguishing hype from reality in the marketplace. The secret to getting a good return on your investment in training is to choose the right program. Doing so requires understanding what you can expect from various types of training organizations and what the certifications offered mean in the real world.

Cabling certification

Before we talk about training, let’s talk about certification. Certification is the primary goal of many people seeking training, but the goal of training should be to gain knowledge and skills, with the certification being proof of attaining proficiency in that field.

What does certification really mean? It means someone—basically anyone who wants to—gives you a certificate that indicates you have accomplished something. It is important to understand what is behind that piece of paper. In the case of cabling certification, unlike the cabling itself, there are no industry standards for training and certification. The standards for any certification are set by the organization offering it, and the quality of the certification depends on the requirements that organization sets for itself.

Cabling certification requirements must include tests of an applicant’s knowledge about the cabling specialties included in the certification and proof, usually in the instructor’s judgment, that the applicant has achieved acceptable levels of skills in the processes used for cabling installation. Merely attending a course is not acceptable for legitimate certification. Testing of students is mandatory.

Often the biggest issue is who recognizes the certification, because many training courses are chosen as a result of the certifications granted. Sometimes certification is required by manufacturers to be an official installer of their products and participate in their marketing and guarantee programs. Users who have been sold on a single manufacturer’s products and want the warranty may require that company’s certification.

The general recognition of a certification does not come easily or quickly. It takes time for users to test certified personnel and verify their competence and for word-of-mouth recommendations to become widely accepted. Certifications offered by independent organizations may not be widely recognized because the organization is unknown and the basis of the certification is suspect. Over the years, some trainers have created official sounding names for their certifications as an attempt to create credibility, but the real status comes out under scrutiny.

The most credible certifications come from professional societies that represent an industry and who fully document their certification programs. Industry experts, who have both the knowledge of the technology and experience doing the work to make the certifications meaningful, should create the certifications. Getting consensus from a group such as this requires a lot of work, but the results are worth it. Generally, professional societies will have a good following in the industry and many organizations teaching certification courses under their banner.

Training on cabling

For premises communications cabling, complete training needs to include copper, fiber and the cabling to support wireless access points. Some training only covers one or two of these subjects, especially training from manufacturers who teach you about their products or courses to update installers on particular subjects. Therefore, several training courses may be needed for completeness.

Training needs to focus on the design, documentation, installation and testing of products that meet industry standards, not the standards themselves. Too much premises cabling training focuses on cabling standards, such as TIA-568 (USA) or ISO 11801 (international), which are component standards written for the manufacturers of cabling products, not contractors or installers.

Cabling training may focus on three basic areas: designing a network, installing the cabling and testing it. Depending on the type of cabling and the scope of the installation, three different specialized people or crews may be working on the project. On small projects, the contractor may do everything. On large projects, design will probably be done by one person or group, installation by another and final testing and documentation by a third group. Training, therefore, may be divided up appropriately to the skills necessary for each job.

All training needs to focus on KSAs—knowledge, skills and abilities. Knowledge comes from classroom time. The secret of classroom instruction in cabling is to focus on the practical information needed for the job. Some fiber optic courses spend a day teaching classical optics to installers as though they were physics students. That wastes class time and may discourage many potentially good installers who get turned off by confusing college-level material. Training should focus on the practical knowledge needed instead: what is the jargon of the industry, what components are commonly used, how they are assembled into cabling systems, and what testing and troubleshooting is required.

Developing skills requires practice, so any training must include adequate hands-on labs to develop skills. Hands-on training can allow both the instructor and student to determine whether the student has the ability to perform the tasks required with sufficient skill—or if they should pursue another profession. About half the time spent in the course should be hands-on labs. Making the labs as realistic as possible will help the student cope with the real world, so schools that have their own permanent facilities should have hardware similar to real world installations.

Obviously, online training cannot provide the hands-on lab experience needed by installers. Online courses can be used to gain some knowledge about cabling or review material but cannot develop skills and prepare techs for actual installation. One online course claims you can develop skills in fiber optics in only four hours online. Don’t believe it.

Good training takes time, especially hands-on lab time. You are not going to learn everything about premises cabling in a half-day or one-day course. There is too much to learn for such little time. Training in unshielded-twisted pair copper takes at least two days, fiber another two or three days, and wireless probably another day. Since longer courses are less efficient and many installers hate to take too many days off at any one time, taking a course on copper, another on fiber and a short course on wireless may be more logical.

Perhaps the most important factor in the quality of the course is the instructor. Everyone remembers the great teachers (and the awful ones) from their past. A good instructor can make learning easier and more enjoyable.

What makes a good instructor? They must be knowledgeable about the subject, a good communicator and have a lot of patience. Some instructors think communications is one way—toward the student—but good instructors get feedback from their students and teach the material accordingly.

In cabling, good instructors may come from either an installation or a teaching background. A good teacher is used to learning new materials and communicating it to the students. Many installers know the material well and can explain it clearly to the students, and they can tell stories about real-world situations.

Many organizations that offer certification to students also offer instructor certification. Within The Fiber Optics Association (FOA), years were spent developing an instructor-certification program. We always required instructors to be technically certified with the FOA Certified Fiber Optic Technician (CFOT) program before they could teach a CFOT course at an FOA-approved school. We also require every instructor to have an Instructor Specialist certification. Our self-study course for instructor certification is especially helpful to installers who are learning how to teach.

If you are taking any certification course, ask if the instructor has been certified in the specialty of that course and by whom. That will determine for you what you’ll get out of the course.

Choosing a training program

Training can come from many sources: colleges and universities, apprenticeship programs, manufacturers, independent trainers and organizations, even contractors who run their own in-house training programs. These programs may have different points of view, cover different materials and have diverse goals. Choosing the proper one for you or your organization requires some work.

Choosing a training course requires investigating the curriculum to ensure the course covers the material of interest, provides adequate hands-on times for skills development, and offers reasonable facilities for the class. The school should have instructors certified in the specialty they are teaching. If certification is needed, the organization must offer one that is valid. And one way to evaluate the quality of the course is to ask what percentage of the students pass the certification exam the first time. If the number is low, the course may be substandard.

A final warning: In today’s business climate, the economic condition of the school is important. You are likely to make a substantial upfront payment for your course, and you would like some assurance that the company will still be in business when the date for the training course arrives. Use good judgment in evaluating the training organizations you consider.      

HAYES is a VDV writer and trainer and the president of The Fiber Optic Association. Find him at www.JimHayes.com.

Reprinted with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine  www.ecmag.com 

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BY Edward Brown

Networked Video Manufacturers work together to provide standards

Networked video is a huge success in the marketplace. Fiber optic cabling has allowed the widespread distribution of this valuable tool for security and control functions. There is much money to be made in video.

After Sept., 11, 2001, the demand for, and focus on, security shot up. Thanks to Internet protocol (IP), we can network security and many other services inside and outside the workplace.

At this point in the development of IP-linked building systems, security cameras are extremely popular. Since a typical security camera installation involves a number of cameras sending information that needs to be assimilated, IP is a natural. If all of the cameras and digital video recorders (DVRs) are linked to a single network, the images, live or recorded, can be scanned, compared and used to send information to other linked systems.

According to IMS Research, “Network video surveillance is without doubt one of the fastest growing markets in the security industry … the long-term outlook for the market is very positive. The trend from analogue CCTV to network video surveillance is still in the early stages … IMS Research anticipates that the trend to network video surveillance will be ongoing over a number of years, ensuring high growth for the long term.”

The lack of a universally accepted communications standard has hindered the progress of networked video. A recent joint press release from three major manufacturers—Axis Communications, Bosch Security Systems and Sony Corp.—indicated they are teaming up. According to the release, they “will be cooperating to create an open forum aimed at developing a standard for the interface of network video products … The new [proposed] standard is expected to comprise interfaces for specifications such as video streaming, device discovery, intelligence metadata, etc. The framework of the standard, incorporating the key elements of network video product interoperability, will be released in October 2008 at the Security show in Essen, Germany.”

Unless there is a commonly accepted open communications standard, users will not be able to interconnect components from different manufacturers. And an open standard will help developers design the software required to make the systems run.

A number of companies are expanding their offerings to take advantage of the possibilities. Speco Technologies (www.specotech.com) has added digital cameras and DVRs with IP connectivity using Speco Internet Protocol (SIP). Its components are usable on typical enterprise Ethernet networks and are compatible with other manufacturer’s equipment and most third-party software.

Johnson Controls’ Metasys system (www.johnsoncontrols.com) combines hardware and software to manage IP-based devices and also provides gateways to allow legacy devices not designed for IP control to join the network. Terry Hoffmann, director, BAS marketing, said there are three levels to Johnson Controls’ IP building system integration system: server, network automation engine (supervisory controller), and application controller (field controller). The applications and data server software is downloaded to a system computer and directly ties into the user’s existing building network. The automation engine supervises interactions between the network and specific devices by means of application controllers—for example, access control door locks. The building’s security IT department can arrange to have the surveillance cameras’ supervisory software send data and control commands to the Metasys Network Automation Engine, which can then appropriately interact with other systems throughout the building.

“The whole point of using IP-based controllers is to have a highway where standard protocols can communicate between devices. It enables people to apply standards to communicate across a network that, because it’s in the building, is open and accessible and is managed by a professional group—the IT department,” Hoffmann said.

Supervisory software is critical, since IP connectivity is only useful if software manages the interconnected devices. With many cameras and recorders connected to a network, there is a large amount of data to be organized and understood.

“What good is recording a shoplifting incident unless someone is observing it and can initiate an apprehension?” asked Eric Fullerton, chief sales and marketing officer, Milestone Systems, in an online white paper (www.milestonesystems.com).

Video analytics helps increase the productivity and efficiency of the security staff. “Video analytics, video intelligence and video content analysis are all terms for the ability to mathematically detect, recognize and analyze objects and events using digitized video,” Fullerton said.

On-Net Surveillance Systems Inc. (www.onssi.com) has introduced Ocularis surveillance software. It allows security professionals to identify incidents, notify and inform the appropriate personnel on- and off-site, and efficiently manage actions to be taken. It records all cameras for archival use and employs analytics to detect and filter events. Not only are fewer people required to monitor live activity, but also, less bandwidth is used.      

BROWN is an electrical engineer, technical writer and editor. He serves as managing editor for Security + Life Safety Systems magazine. For many years, he designed high-power electronics systems for industry, research laboratories and government. Reach him at ebeditor@gmail.com.

Reprinted with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine  www.ecmag.com 

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Focus by darlene bremer

All Together Now; Intelligent building campuses create opportunities for electrical contractors

According to the Continental Automated Building Association (CABA), Ottawa, Canada, intelligent buildings apply technologies to improve the building environment and functionality for occupants while controlling costs, increasing maintenance efficiency, and increasing the return on investment for the building owner. Intelligent building campuses take the technology one step further to provide greater control capabilities among two or more buildings.

“Colleges and universities began implementing energy management systems and some central monitoring and building operation control capabilities 30 years ago,” said Paul Ehrlich, president of Building Intelligence Group LLC, St. Paul, Minn.

Over the years, the technology has shifted from proprietary energy management systems to open architecture and communication protocols.

“An intelligent building campus begins with a robust cabling and network infrastructure that supports both current and future applications and systems,” said Darryl Benson, global solution development manager for Panduit Corp., Tinley Park, Ill.

Systems integrated within an intelligent building campus include electrical, lighting, security, computer, voice and data communications, life safety, building automation and control, energy management systems, and heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC).

“What makes the building campus intelligent is the integration, interoperability and ability to manage the data from these systems, creating a campus that is safer, more productive and that has long-term sustainable value,” Benson said.

Creating an intelligent building or campus, however, is not the end goal. Rather, it is a way to use technology to attain higher asset use, better cost structure and directly support the owner’s strategic goals, according to Tom Shircliff, co-founder of Intelligent Buildings, Charlotte, N.C.

“Having said that, the principles involved in an intelligent building campus include a common backbone, centralized management, flexible pathways, open communication protocols, security, reliability and organizational alignment that allows for continuous improvement,” he said.

Products, technologies and expertise

Nearly all of the technologies and products required for an intelligent building campus already exist, are reliable and are proven, and most good design, engineering and construction teams are able to make them work, according to Intelligent Building’s co-founder Rob Murchison.

“The missing link is a key consultant, progressive architect  or chief information officer to lay out the approach and communications plan,” he said.

However, some real estate investment trusts, large universities, and corporations have begun moving technology executives into roles that include facility and property management responsibilities.

“The expertise required for creating an intelligent building campus includes all of the traditional disciplines, such as mechanical engineer, electrical engineer, registered communications distribution designer, networking, design, and financial, construction and management skills. That is why intelligent building campuses need more of this top-down strategy that utilizes traditional team members and their expert skills,” he said.

For optimal control and for communication between different building subsystems and with the building management system, integration protocols are required. Integration protocols include LonWorks, BACNet, Modbus and object linking and embedding for process controls (OPC).

“OPC has historically been used in industrial facilities but is now migrating to commercial buildings,” said Greg Turner, director of global offerings for Honeywell Building Solutions, Minneapolis.

Historically, devices in a building communicated only to a central location for management purposes. The open communication protocols, such as OPC, BACNet and LonWorks, have enabled devices and building subsystems to also talk to each other.

“Security systems can talk to elevators, or video systems can talk to security and life safety systems and provide real time video in case of an alarm event,” Turner said.

Networking expertise is key for an electrical contractor acting as the integrator of an intelligent building campus to work with these different protocols and connect the systems.

Intelligent building campuses now also include Ethernet or Internet fiber cabling, according to Ehrlich. Some campus owners are connecting buildings through a dedicated facility network, which is operated separately from the information technology (IT) division, while others are combining the two for a campus-wide, single network.

“A single IT backbone across a building or a campus with systems and controls designed around it can be made as  reliable as necessary using dual power supplies, alternate paths or backup power generators,” Shircliff said.

Broadband and wireless connectivity

Having a wireless strategy is part of the required robust infrastructure for an intelligent building campus, and all of the owner’s wireless connectivity needs must be considered in the design phase to ensure that the solutions are appropriate to the building’s needs, Benson said.

“Wireless connectivity plays a critical role within an appropriately designed strategy and must maintain coverage, ensure life safety and security, and enhance the occupants’ utilization of the building,” he said.

These days, broadband connectivity is practically a requirement in an intelligent building campus. It is necessary for remote access and for managing most applications, especially Internet protocol security surveillance.

“Wireless is nearly the same. Besides the convenience of using Wi-Fi for traditional connectivity, there are some building systems that can use the technology to transmit information and images,” Shircliff said.

Additionally, wireless as a whole has moved into building infrastructure with distributed antenna systems (DAS).

“A DAS is a single wireless infrastructure that can broadcast multiple types of wireless signals, including Wi-Fi, cellular and first responder. It would be inefficient to install separate infrastructures for each wireless need,” Murchison said.

Using wireless technology in creating an intelligent building or campus also reduces cost, particularly in retrofit applications.

“Campus managers can use the technology to transmit operational and system data with fewer disruptions or changes to the existing wired infrastructure,” Turner said.

Wireless technology also enables managers to monitor buildings operations remotely from mobile devices, such as laptops, PDAs or smart phones. With operational information sent to a centralized location, facility and maintenance managers can better determine and resolve issues more quickly, efficiently and cost effectively.

“An important value of wireless broadband communication is a more mobile and flexible staff,” Ehrlich said.

Engaging the market

Generally, electrical contractors need to understand that all the systems in intelligent buildings and campuses are converging at different rates.

“Different industries, such as HVAC, controls, security, etc., are advancing their products’ network integration capabilities at various paces, so it’s important that the physical infrastructure take that into account,” Benson said.

Contractors also need to begin to understand, he said, the networking requirements of all the different building systems, endpoints, and devices, and the implications of their integration.

Turner said electrical contractors engaged in this market need to understand that while the underlying IT infrastructure is the enabler of building integration, the electrical, lighting and other building systems are the core intelligence of the campus.

“Technology doesn’t diminish the electrical contractor’s role but can actually increase the number of devices required,” Turner said.

This presents an opportunity for the contractor to use its core business expertise to install devices and then use specialized divisions to integrate them into an intelligent system and increase value for the owner.

One of the more interesting opportunities today for electrical contractors in this market is more active control of lighting systems, according to Ehrlich. Contractors are already installing and wiring the lighting and, as the control systems become more sophisticated, active control will be used in an effort to save energy.

“Building owners will want the electrical contractor to be a single source of installing lights, controls and integrating them into the campus’ automation system,” he said.

Contractors should gain the necessary knowledge of each building systems’ changing technology and how they  are manufactured, installed and managed. Go to conferences, research online, talk to manufacturers’ reps, and determine how the company can adjust to technological change and customer demands.

“An aware, cooperative contractor will be viewed very favorably by owners, architects and general contractors in this market,” Shircliff said.

The next step

The more intelligent a building campus, the more payback the owner receives from energy savings and increased productivity;  integrated systems enable better operational management.

“As the technology continues to advance, the network infrastructures will allow a multitude of different devices to supply information to the appropriate people more efficiently and accurately, allowing them to make even more effective use of their systems, increase sustainability and drive energy costs down,” Benson said.

Murchison said IP is becoming the universal data standard toward which nearly all communication is heading; it is the future of all the systems in intelligent buildings and campuses.

“It’s only a matter of time before building system data is all just universally formatted packets of information, and the IT network doesn’t care what’s inside those packets, whether it’s e-mail or set points, temperature readings, light levels, meter readings or system status,” he said.

Ehrlich said there will soon be dramatic changes in how buildings in an intelligent campus are designed and operated.

“The building sector today is the largest contributor to global warming in the U.S. Buildings will have to dramatically change how much energy they use,” he said.

There is, in fact, a broad commitment from the building industry to the concept of net-zero energy buildings, which are up to 70 percent more energy efficient than today’s facilities and, on an annual basis, consume as much power from the grid as they generate from on-site generation technology, such as photovoltaics.

“Such hyper-performance buildings are a response to the need to be carbon neutral as environmental concerns increase worldwide,” Ehrlich said.

Intelligent building campuses require an interesting mix of high- and low-voltage systems to be successful.

“Electrical contractors are in an excellent position to leverage their expertise and to be both the installer and integrator of both,” Turner said.      

BREMER, a freelance writer based in Solomons, Md., contributes frequently to ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. She can be reached at 410.394.6966 or darbremer@comcast.net.

Reprinted with full permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine www.ecmag.com 

S & LSS

Inhospitable Fire Alarm Environments

by Wayne d. moore

Providing fire alarm systems to
hospitality venues poses unique challenges

Hospitality venues, such as casinos, resorts and gaming facilities, present interesting challenges to contractors that provide life safety and security systems. The owner’s fire protection and security goals for these establishments always include providing a facility in which occupants feel safe and secure. But, those same occupants must remain completely unaware of how management provides that safety and security. Another important owner goal includes providing a false-alarm-free, code-compliant fire detection and alarm system.

These large venues present the challenge of how to properly integrate all of the fire detection, building management systems and security systems effectively and reliably. Proper integration of these systems helps make them easier to operate and use.

As any professional contractor might expect, to meet these challenges requires careful planning, awareness of other system interfaces and constant coordination during installation to ensure reliable system integration and operation. During the planning stage, you should review what variables might affect the design and operation of the detection and notification components of the fire alarm system. You should always consider the following:

  • Ceiling height
  • Ceiling configuration
  • HVAC operation—type of vents to be used
  • Lighting
  • Size of the space being protected
  • Interface with other building management systems
  • Interface with security systems
  • Ambient noise levels

Ceiling height and ceiling configuration present the most difficult issues to deal with in a detection system design. First and foremost, you should understand that the higher the ceiling, the larger the fire would have to be before detection will occur.

Most owners expect that a fire alarm system will detect an event as small as a wastebasket fire on a casino floor. Detection must occur before such a fire will affect the occupants. However, a casino with 40-foot ceilings presents a challenge on two fronts. First, the contractor must place detection devices in such a fashion that they can overcome the stratification that will occur as the column of heat and smoke rising from a fire begins to cool and reaches equilibrium with the air around it. Once the column of heat and smoke cools, it stops rising when it encounters an air layer with a temperature equal to or warmer than the temperature of the heat and smoke.

If you have designed spot-type smoke detection for these high ceiling environments, you will likely have missed the goal of early detection. Placing spot type smoke detectors on high ceilings also will make it difficult to maintain the detectors. Both NFPA 70, National Electrical Code (NEC), and NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code, require that devices and equipment remain accessible for servicing.

In any case, upon a more careful examination and a more thorough discussion with the owner, you may agree that detecting a wastebasket-sized fire in a large space such as a casino may represent an unrealistic fire protection goal.

Linear projected beam-type smoke detectors provide one type of smoke detection that has proven effective in high ceiling environments. A contractor can place these detectors on multiple levels to help overcome the stratification effects in the protected space.

The effects of the HVAC system on smoke movement during the early stages of the fire are equally important for the contractor to consider. In many cases, with proper placement of linear beam smoke detection, a proper design can mitigate these effects.

Fire on film

Video smoke detection offers another option in large spaces. NFPA 72 has recognized these devices in the 2007 edition of the National Fire Alarm Code. Because these are specialty detection devices, a contractor must base the location and spacing of video smoke detectors on the detector’s principle of operation and on an engineering survey of the conditions anticipated in service. The contractor should consult the manufacturer’s published instructions for recommended detector uses and locations. Heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems tend to affect video smoke detectors somewhat less, as the device looks at the protected area much in the same way that a person would view that area.

Video smoke detection offers the benefit described in NFPA 72-2007, section 5.7.6.3: “Video signals generated by cameras that are components of video image smoke detection systems shall be permitted to be transmitted to other systems for other uses only through output connections provided specifically for that purpose by the video system manufacturer.”

This feature can offer a benefit when providing both security and fire detection from the same camera. However, the camera must always remain stationary. This will limit its use in a security system to areas where the camera covers a specific portion of a space, such as a door.

In addition, both linear projected beam smoke detectors and a video smoke detection system will accommodate ceiling configurations that contain beams and pockets. However, lighting in the space affects both of these options somewhat differently. Obviously, bright lights will enhance the ability of video detection to perform as expected. However, bright lights shining directly at a transmitter or receiver of a linear projected beam smoke detector may deteriorate the detector’s ability to perform as expected. Low lighting, such as in a lounge, will negatively affect some video smoke detectors. A contractor should always consult the manufacturer as to what effect lighting will have on a detector’s ability to detect smoke in the early stages of fire development.

The size of the space will dictate how many devices the contractor will need to meet the owner’s detection goals. Most casinos will consist of large spaces for the gaming and slot machine areas and smaller areas for specialty gaming or lounges. Each of these areas will face the challenges associated with ceiling height and configuration, lighting, and HVAC system airflow. In addition, the contractor may have to interface the fire alarm system with the HVAC system in order to prevent the forced migration of smoke.

NFPA 72-2007 provides the requirements for interfacing a fire alarm system with an HVAC system. The code requires that “connections between fire alarm systems and the HVAC system for the purpose of monitoring and control shall operate and be monitored in accordance with applicable NFPA standards. Smoke detectors mounted in the air ducts of HVAC systems shall initiate either an alarm signal at the protected premises or a supervisory signal at a constantly attended location or supervising station.”

In many assembly occupancies such as casinos, smoke control will help meet the egress requirements of the building or NFPA 101, Life Safety Code. If the fire alarm control unit actuates the HVAC system for the purpose of smoke control, the code requires that the automatic alarm-initiating zones coordinate with the smoke-control zones they actuate.

The code also requires that, where interconnected as a combination system, a firefighter’s smoke control station (FSCS) must perform manual control over the automatic operation of the system’s smoke control strategy. And, where interconnected as a combination system, the smoke control system must be programmed to make certain that normal HVAC operation or changes do not prevent the intended performance of the smoke control strategy. The smoke control system will often present the most difficult system for the designers and installers of the two interfaced systems to coordinate.

As most contractors know, if these systems do not perform as required during the acceptance testing, witnessed by the authorities having jurisdiction, the building will not receive its certificate of occupancy and will not open on time.

Audibility

Finally, because of the abnormally high ambient noise levels, alarm notification offers one of the most difficult challenges in a casino environment. Based on the large assembly characteristics of the occupancy, a contractor will most often have to provide an emergency voice/alarm communications system.

In gaming situations, the patrons will not readily focus on hearing an alarm signal. In fact, patrons constantly hear ringing bells and other sounds emanating from slot machines as well as loud shouts from fellow patrons playing other games in the casino. So how does a professional contractor meet this challenge?

First, you must recognize the problem and know that you will need to install more speakers placed on the ceiling throughout the casino. Second, you will need to set the power level of the speakers to overcome ambient noise levels. And third, you must make a provision to shut off or significantly reduce the ambient noise level from a loud local source, such as a band playing in the middle of the casino.

The code provides guidance for all of these challenges. But, you may prefer to consult with a fire protection engineer who has a background in dealing with such issues to assist you in meeting this challenge.

In many cases, the uniqueness of a fire alarm system installation in a hospitality venue will encourage a professional contractor to partner with other professionals to ensure a profitable and reliable fire alarm system installation. The challenges of such jobs are great, and the aspects of the job you must consider will far exceed a typical fire alarm installation. If you do not have experience installing fire alarm systems in hospitality settings, partnering with other professionals may be a good idea. 

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, R.I., office.

Reprinted with full permission of Security & Life Safety Systems Magazine www.ecmag.com 

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By timothy r. hughes & alison r. mullins

Exploring Uncharted Waters Planning for Green Building Liability

The movement for green building is charging ahead so fast the law surrounding this type of construction has not been able to keep up and remains largely uncharted territory. It is difficult to predict which standard will rule and how the court will interpret that standard.

Simply put, green building is environmentally friendly design and construction, also known as sustainable building. Different standards currently regulate green building, including the popular U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, the Life Cycle Assessment, the National Green Building Standard, and Green Globes, to name a few. The common goal among all of these standards is to promote construction that protects the environment, encourages healthier places to both work and live, and maximizes the efficiency of natural resources and energy.

The law surrounding green building is largely unsettled. Multiple government entities at all different levels around the country are encouraging or requiring sustainable building and design, but the court cases construing these issues simply have not been tried. Therefore, the law slowly but surely will have to catch up.

Uncertainty = increased risk

New and evolving standards not previously tested in courts translate to unpredictable and uncertain risks. Not only is the law unsettled, the green building community has yet to collectively agree on which standard to follow. As a result, there are areas of potential liability related to green building, including the following:

  • Which standards will the project -conform to?
  • How will these standards be interpreted by the code and the courts?
  • Who is responsible for obtaining required certifications?
  • Who is responsible if there are delays in certification?
  • What if there is a lack of sufficient numbers of trained/qualified certification inspectors?
  • Who is responsible for selection of materials or equipment to meet certification and performance criteria?
  • Who is responsible for delays on
    green building materials if demand outstrips supply?
  • Who is ultimately responsible for design or construction relating to specific certification points, and what damages will there be if there is a failure to meet that level of certification?


What, if any, statutory, contractual or implied guarantees or warranties are created when being involved in the green certification and construction processes?

AIA takes a position

The newly updated American Institute of Architects (AIA) owner and architect form contracts discuss sustainable design but provide little definition. The final decision remains the responsibility of the owner. Yet, the 2007 AIA form B101 contract specifically requires that architects “shall consider environmentally responsible design alternatives, such as material choices and building orientation.” “Consider” is a very elastic term that may have unintended consequences.

Protecting yourself

Clarity may help. To protect yourself and your company, your contracts should be reviewed and updated regularly to adjust to risks associated with green building. Given the current level of uncertainty and the changing landscape, you should view this as an ongoing iterative process. The contracts should expressly address and assign all responsibilities associated with green building and certification. Another protection tool is investing the necessary time, money and energy into becoming familiar with green building and receiving sustainable building training. Finally, designers should resist the temptation to sign certification form documents if possible. These certifications may be viewed as guarantees or warranties that may invalidate your errors and omissions insurance coverage.

Surviving uncharted waters

Green building is here to stay. The legal and liability consequences are unknown and present serious risks. You should educate yourself and update your contracts and practices to reduce those risks.    

This article is not intended to provide specific legal advice but, instead, as general commentary regarding legal matters. You should consult with an attorney regarding your legal issues, as the advice you may receive will depend upon your facts and the laws of your jurisdiction.

HUGHES is the principal of the Northern Virginia law firm of Hughes & Associates, P.L.L.C, www.hughesnassociates.com. He may be reached at tim@hughesnassociates.com. MULLINS is an associate with Hughes & Associates. She may be reached at alison@hughesnassociates.com or 703.671.8200.

Reprinted with full permission of Security & Life Safety Systems Magazine www.ecmag.com 

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By richard p. bingham

A Healthy Serving of Greens Saving money while saving the world

These days, you can’t turn on the TV or read the newspaper without noticing that the world is seemingly “going green,” or at least talking about it. Congress is creating legislation to address energy and environmental issues. The presidential candidates have each announced their support of green policies and are competing with their proposed plans for change. Federal agencies are instituting eco-friendly initiatives, and Hollywood and the media endorse going green all the time.

Is this merely hype and idealistic rhetoric, or is there real progress? As it turns out, many industries within the United States are jumping on board to do their part and finding that eco-friendly measures can often add green to their bottom line while helping the environment. The hospitality industry is doing more than just serving greens on a plate. It is incorporating policy changes and installing equipment that measurably reduces their carbon footprint. Resorts, hotels and restaurants also are considering the growing consumer concern about the environment and believe their approach to sustainability is increasingly becoming a factor in their guests’ choices.

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) estimates the U.S. restaurant industry will see more than $558 billion in sales from more than 945,000 locations this year. It also estimates that restaurants use five times more energy per square foot than other commercial buildings and five times more energy in the kitchen than in the rest of the building. The NRA and other groups, such as the American Hotel and Lodging Association, have developed green initiatives and are providing their members with information on how to apply these initiatives. These groups are convincing their members to adopt green measures by showing them how they can save money at the same time.

According to the NRA, energy costs represent 30 percent of a typical building’s annual budget, and energy costs have been increasing at a rate of 6 to 8 percent each year. By making small changes, such as replacing an incandescent lamp with a compact fluorescent, a resort or restaurant can save up to $30 in electricity costs over the bulb’s lifetime. Compared to incandescent lamps, CFLs consume 75 percent less electricity, last 4–15 times longer and generate 74 percent less heat. Less heat also means a lesser load on the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to remove that heat from the buildings in the summer. Something we often overlook is the exit sign, which can cost $60 per year to operate. Switching to a light-emitting diode sign costs only $1 per year, according to ideallygreen.com. Research also is showing that occupancy sensors can reduce energy costs by as much as 50 percent.

Other benefits to restaurants and resorts going green are energy tax deductions. A federal tax deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot is available to owners or designers of new or existing commercial buildings that save at least 50 percent of the heating and cooling energy of a building that meets American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 90.1-2001. Partial federal tax deductions of up to $.60 per square foot are available for green measures affecting any one of three building systems: the building envelope, lighting, or heating and cooling systems.

The restaurant chain, Subway, which began to work with the U.S. Green Building Council, is a restaurant going green. The company has started to build Subway Eco-Stores to conserve energy and protect the environment. Some of the features in the new restaurants include high-efficiency HVAC; energy-efficient LED track lighting and pendant lights with compact fluorescent bulbs; solar tubes on the roof that convert sunlight for auxiliary lighting; and motion-sensor restroom lighting.

Choice Hotels International Inc is also getting into the green movement. With more than 10 brands and 5,000 hotels open or under development, Choice is modifying its new construction brands to support Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. The goal is to reduce energy consumption, conserve water and reduce waste.

Finally, Hilton’s 2006 green initiative to reduce energy and water consumption avoided more than $9 million in costs.

Though restaurants make up just one piece of the hospitality pie, they represent 4 percent of the U.S. economy (with  close to a million locations and $558 billion sales). Coupled with hotels, motels, resorts, casinos and other hospitality establishments in the industry, there are significant opportunities for them to use alternative energy sources to help put the green on your plate, while adding more green to their bank accounts.          

BINGHAM, a contributing editor for power quality, can be reached at 732.287.3680.

Reprinted with full permission of Security & Life Safety Systems Magazine www.ecmag.com 

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By russ munyan

Light Patrol fiber optics enhance security

A largely untapped security opportunity has emerged for low-voltage electrical contractors: fiber optics on perimeter fences. This relatively small field could provide new growth opportunities for low-voltage electrical contractors who already perform fiber optic work, because it uses tools and skills that contractors already possess.

As fiber optics installation contractors understand, fiber uses pulsing light to transmit data. Disturbances in the fiber channel disrupt those light pulses. When running a network over fiber, disruptions cause problems.

But those same disturbances make a fiber optic perimeter intrusion detection system work. If a perimeter fence—and the fiber optic cable attached to it—-begins to move or is cut through, climbed over or otherwise agitated, the pulses will be disrupted, and those disruptions can trigger an alarm system.

“The fiber optic cabling functions as a vibration sensor,” said Bob Wrzesniewski of Fiber Patrol by Optellios Inc.

Multiple options

Manufacturers of this type of security solution each have proprietary elements to their systems, however, they all require fiber optic cabling to be attached to pre-existing chain link fence around the perimeter of a restricted area.

“The most labor intensive part is stringing the cable through the fence,” said Mark Ellsworth, vice president of sales and business development for Smarter Security Systems, which manufactures the SmarterFence system.

Once the cable is attached to a fence, technicians field terminate the fibers and plug them into fiber transceivers. Preterminated fiber is available from some manufacturers, while some require fusion splices.

Next, the technician calibrates a software interface, which is unique to each manufacturer. The software includes an alarm signaling program that responds when it senses a disruption or intrusion. Sometimes, lights or sirens are set off along the stretch of fiber that has been disturbed with the intent to startle and scare away a would-be intruder.

Depending on the manufacturer, additional features include tie-ins to an owner’s security notification system, possibly occurring through direct cable connections if there is a computer network at the same location as the cable. If the point of disruption is at a remote location, such as a distant communications tower, the alarm can be sent using a dialup or cell phone service.

If the disturbed location has electrical power and broadband access, some systems, depending on the manufacturer and grade, can respond by e-mail with a GPS-pinpointed disruption location. Some systems can distribute Internet protocol data transmissions over the same fiber optic line, which can allow for transmission of video images from a disturbed location. That can show responders if the disruption is caused by, say, a deer merely scraping its antlers along the fence or if there is a true threat.

A fence with valuables inside

Likely customers would include clients that regard perimeter security as important, including military installations, correctional facilities, refineries, food processing plants, utility substations, chemical production storage sites or any place where there is a fence with valuables inside.

“This is a huge potential market,” Ellsworth said, “but timing is everything. Facility owners need to know about us when they have a problem. Nobody seems to have money for perimeter security until they get stung.”

Another potential market is retrofits of existing telecom installations, as some solutions can alert system owners if fiber lines are being tampered with or disturbed.

In addition, these solutions can be used by multibranch banks that have their own dedicated fiber lines for secure data transmissions, or on (or between) military installations, where there is the risk of intelligence tampering.

Or, its value could be as simple as alerting an IT department that vibrations from a backhoe are getting dangerously close to its buried fiber optic cables. Similarly, fiber optic cables can be laid alongside buried pipelines to provide advanced warning of a pending disruption and also can pinpoint exact locations if there is an unauthorized penetration.

Manufacturers generally have training and certification options for third-party installers. Interested contractors should inquire with manufacturers to determine those companies’ solutions’ features and how—or if—they can become a certified installer of those solutions. Some states require contractors to obtain a license prior to installing security equipment.

Fiber optics in perimeter fences may be a way for low-voltage contractors to use their existing equipment, staff and client lists to increase revenues with a minimum of new investment.      

MUNYAN is a freelance writer in the Kansas City, Kan., area, specializing in business writing and telecommunications. He can be reached at www.russwrites.com.

Reprinted with full permission of Security & Life Safety Systems Magazine www.ecmag.com 

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by frank bisbee

Chemical Reaction ; The dangers a fire Can put in the air

U.S. Building codes have emphasized flame spread and smoke generation. On the surface, this seems to adequately address fire safety. However, in the European Union (EU), codes also address toxic gases that can kill and incapacitate building occupants before they can safely exit a burning structure.

Today’s workplace is a canned environment. Most new high-rise buildings, especially those more than five stories, have sealed windows, part of a sophisticated air quality system intended to make occupants more comfortable and productive. If there is a fire, the smoke detectors should activate the air system dampers to keep the smoke from spreading. But, what about the deadly gases that are, most often, clear and odorless? Those threats are not recognized or controlled by smoke detectors and dampers.

In a typical office building, there are carpets, desks, furniture, paper and a host of modern plastic materials that are flammable and could generate toxic gases. However since they all lie below the drop ceiling, the office sprinkler system would douse flames before dangerous heat levels are reached. Above the drop ceiling, there is a return air plenum space. The ducted cool or heated air is vented into the space below, and the return-air flows back through the open area above the ceiling. All building materials used in the return-air plenum space are supposed to be labeled limited combustible, except communications cabling, which is plenum rated (CMP).

In case of fire …

During a fire, occupants of the structure should try to exit immediately. However, they may be blinded and choking from either heavy smoke or acids from invisible gases. Typically, fire injuries and death occur as a result of a two-stage process. The first stage is incapacitation, which results from exposure to fire effluent, consisting of smoke and a range of toxic products. This is followed by the second stage of death resulting from continued exposure to heat and toxic gases, with carbon monoxide particularly being an ultimate cause of death.

For many years, U.S. experts have acknowledged the importance of reduced flame spread and low smoke generation. The cables located in the plenum space (usually above the ceiling) are potential concealed highways for a fire to spread. Reduced flame spread is an important part of the safety formula. The low smoke generation property of the cable is designed to inhibit the obscuration factor associated with thick smoke. We need to see the exit signs and the pathways to safety. Smoke also has a choking effect when inhaled, which is one more reason to limit the smoke. Both flame spread and smoke are part of the testing criteria (UL910/NFPA 262 for CMP) for communications cables for use in return air plenum space.

Since 1975, the communications industry has installed nearly 9 million miles of communications cable in the workplace. Most of the cable is CMP, which has never been tested by code-making organizations for toxicity in a fire. But, communications consumers aren’t likely to pull out 9 million miles of toxic cables from air systems in the workplace.

So what is the safest alternative? Toxic gas sensors can be added to the same system used for smoke detectors. Several  manufacturers of gas sensors identify carbon monoxide and chlorine gases. In addition, a few sensors will identify toxic gases generated by fluorine materials.

Several of the world’s leading sensor manufacturers are exploring products that will identify hydrogen fluoride (HF) gases. HF is perhaps the most reactive material known to man. It can change to hydrofluoric acid on contact with moisture (even humidity) and can even eat glass. Imagine what it would do to the eyes, nose and throat of a building occupant trying to escape a fire.

Honeywell Analytics, Lincolnshire, Ill., manufactures a few products that can identify HF. Monitors, such as the company’s Vertex and CM4 models, have a central monitoring instrument that accepts inputs from a number of sensors that can be mounted on ducts. Honeywell also has single-point monitors, such as the Apex and Midas, for $1,500 or less. One of these devices mounted alongside the air return port of the HVAC air handler could cover the area of a typical office and might be just as effective as the multipoint system.

Sierra Monitor Corp., Milpitas, Calif, also makes gas sensor modules that provide continuous trouble-free monitoring of hazardous gas conditions to protect personnel and facility. The modules condition the sensor signal and provide an industry standard 4 to 20 mA output that can interface with single or multichannel controllers and distributed control systems.

Honeywell Analytics said the company would be happy to work with designers or installers on identifying the optimum solution for a given application. This is an exciting opportunity that can significantly enhance life safety and also provide a wide-open opportunity for forward-looking contractors.          

BISBEE is with Communication Planning Corp., a telecom and datacom design/build firm. He provides a free monthly summary of industry news on www.wireville.com.

 

Reprinted with full permission of Security & Life Safety Systems Magazine www.ecmag.com 

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By wayne d. moore

The Importance of Follow-Up Inspection, test and Maintenance

Many contractors have decided that performing the inspection, test and maintenance (ITM) of fire alarm systems can be a lucrative business. However, often after establishing their customer base, they forget a few very important considerations. Someone in your company should regularly review all customer test and inspection reports to determine any indication of trends in deficiencies and to ensure follow up proposals are issued to repair or replace the items found deficient during the tests.

In addition to developing more business opportunities, your customers will learn that they are dealing with a professional who understands the importance of a reliably operating life safety fire alarm system.

It also is important to ensure that testing personnel does not copy a previous test report, assuming that if something worked last time, it is OK to skip it to meet time constraints. The reason fire alarm systems are required to be tested is because they sit as a sentinel, and although the wiring and power supplies are monitored for integrity, most of the devices and appliances are not. Testing is the only way to ensure a device, control panel function or a notification appliance is working. Work orders that accompany a test report should be clear and honestly depict what has been tested as well as what has not.

If devices are skipped for any reason, these devices should be highlighted for the next test. If access to an area is controlled or if the technicians performing the tests must have a background check before being allowed into a specific area, then ensure these issues are addressed before they arrive to conduct the test. Also, assign the same technicians for future tests to avoid similar problems.

In some large systems, especially when conducting your first test, some devices or notification appliances may be difficult to locate. When that happens, follow up with the owner’s representative to ensure these devices or appliances will be tested next time and that their locations will be added to future test reports to avoid similar problems for other test technicians.

In large systems, it often is more economical or efficient for the owner to conduct quarterly tests to mitigate interruption to the owner’s clients. Depending on the issues found, ensure they are corrected within a defined period of time (generally 24–48 hours from discovery).

When a work order describing the tests conducted is an exact duplicate of the information provided on a previous report, it can be considered suspicious, especially if the same deficiencies are reported. You should make every effort to differentiate between each test cycle report. And a deficiency should never appear in a subsequent test report without additional information as to why it still is listed. Also ensure that, when deficiencies are repaired, there is a paper trail attached to the test report to indicate the follow-up is complete.

Most owners will appreciate a fair warning that certain large ticket items may need replacement soon. For example, all of the system batteries should be properly labeled in accordance with the National Fire Alarm Code (NFPA 72-2007, Section 4.4.1.8.1 states, “Batteries shall be permanently marked with the month and year of manufacture, using the month/year format.” It also states, “Markings for month and year can be applied by the manufacturer or in the field on the basis of the manufacturer’s date code”). The replacement date is specified in the manufacturer’s literature. Then, you should provide the replacement information and estimated costs well in advance, allowing the owner to budget for the replacement.

If, when reviewing test reports, you find devices not tested because they are not accessible, the owner should again be notified. The National Electrical Code defines “readily accessible” as that which is “capable of being reached quickly for operation, renewal, or inspections without requiring those to whom ready access is requisite to climb over or remove obstacles or to resort to portable ladders, and so forth.” Inaccessibility does not excuse any device or component in a fire alarm system from being tested, so follow-up is important.

Make every effort to ensure the system devices and interfaces are tested in accordance with National Fire Alarm Code requirements. This includes testing all interfaced systems, such as elevator recall, smoke damper closure, and the unlocking of doors. It is equally important to test the audibility and intelligibility of all notification appliances where applicable.

A review of work orders and test reports can eliminate the concern that no one has shirked the responsibility to follow up on issues raised during tests and will provide the owner with peace of mind that their fire alarm system is truly being maintained properly.           

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, R.I., office.

Reprinted with full permission of Security & Life Safety Systems Magazine www.ecmag.com 

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TED Magazine

NAED conferences: A solid investment

By Dick Waterman

You are cordially invited to the 2008 Eastern Region Conference in Marco Island, Fla., Nov. 12-15.

I extend the same invitation to our Western Region members, whose conference will be Jan. 21-24 in Palm Desert, Calif.; and to our South Central Region members, whose conference will be Feb. 25-28 in Orlando, Fla.

Of course, we are all aware that we’re not living in the best of economic times—and convincing NAED members to attend conferences during a time when travel costs are on the rise is a challenging task. Airline baggage fees, gas prices, and hotel expenses have gone through the roof. Everyone is trying to conserve funds—but those who react by not attending their regional conferences could potentially miss some golden opportunities. Companies that understand the importance of what NAED conferences have to offer not only survive times of economic downturn, but also strengthen their operations for future growth and profitability.

The bar was set pretty high for the NAED team to plan a program that would validate the cost of attending. My principal objective here is to persuade you that we have met this test. Thanks to a dedicated staff and generous vendor sponsors, we have put together an exciting and educational line-up of events and speakers that will leave you informed, refreshed, and inspired to energize your business and expand your horizons. Educational sessions on Using the Supply Chain Scorecard to Take Costs Out of the Channel, Improving Your Trading Partner Relationships, The Energy Efficiency Market Opportunity, and Value-Added Service Liability Exposure are just a few of the dynamic sessions to look forward to.

We have also recruited top

talent for our keynote presenters, including Stuart Varney of Fox News (Eastern Region Conference), who will discuss his belief that the era of wealth creation has ended, and that wealth redistribution is the coming trend. He will explain what wealth redistribution means for your organization and how it can be used to benefit your business. And because the meeting is being held one week after the presidential election, you’ll hear what Varney has to say about the impact our new president may have on the nation.

Certainly, the stage is set for a series of highly productive NAED Regional Conferences. However, these are not just conferences; they are opportunities to build your professional network—and what you take away depends on what you contribute. To capitalize on this opportunity, as many members as possible need to not only attend, but also bring their “A game”—which includes offering insightful comments, posing critical questions during the sessions, and exchanging ideas with colleagues during the breaks and social events. Arguably, there has never been a more important time to come together and share our collective wisdom about the challenges facing the industry.

I recognize that attending an NAED meeting is a significant expenditure, but those who make the trip will enjoy a stimulating program that will more than compensate for these costs. Indeed, purely from a professional development perspective, considering the value of these educational sessions, the superb quality of the keynote presenters, and the opportunities to network with colleagues from across the country, an NAED Regional Conference is a solid investment opportunity. (For more detailed information on the conferences, visit naed.org.)

Hopefully I have met my objective and persuaded you that the benefits of attending a regional conference far exceed the costs—and I’ll see you at the upcoming regional conference.

Waterman is senior advisor to International Electrical Supply Corporation (IESC), the holding company of Rexel U.S. and Gexpro. Reach him at dwaterman@rexelusa.com.

Reprinted with full permission of The Electrical Distributor Magazine  www.tedmag.com  

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Hartmann Settles In At IESC

By Darlene Bremer

Chris Hartmann, named as executive vice president and CEO of International Electrical Supply Corporation (IESC) in January, brings decades of experience to the holding company of Gexpro and Rexel Inc., the dual banners of the Rexel Group in the United States.

Armed with a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MBA from Milwaukee’s Marquette University, 47-year-old Hartmann began his career in the electrical industry in various sales, marketing, engineering, and strategic planning positions for Rock-well Auto­mation, AB Electrolux, and General Electric.

From there, Hartmann worked for Affiliated Distributors (AD), where he was responsible at different times for affiliate relations, supplier agreements, marketing programs, and national accounts and integrated supply business for independent distributors.

Hartmann became president and COO of AD in 2000 and was responsible for managing the plumbing, industrial, electrical, and pipe, valve, and fittings divisions. He later moved to Thomas & Betts as president of the electrical division, and then as executive vice president and COO, where he was responsible for global manufacturing, marketing, and sales.

Having worked for both manufacturers and distributors, Hartmann has a unique perspective of the industry. “I’ve had the opportunity to work for excellent companies in both manufacturing and distribution, and that experience has underscored the fact that we have a great industry with really good people,” he observed.

Hartmann’s experiences have also provided him with a clear understanding of what drives both the top and bottom lines of distributors and manufacturers.

“Having been exposed to all facets of the industry, I’ve learned the value of developing partnerships and focusing on common goals,” he said. His deep appreciation of the benefits of cooperation has made him more apt to find creative and mutually beneficial ways to do business and to try to instill that perspective in others.

“I have always had a genuine respect for IESC, Gexpro, and Rexel Inc. and am excited to be in a position to build on the foundation laid by Dick Waterman and the management team,” he said.

Toward that goal, Hartmann is focused on providing leadership for all three entities and optimizing their geographic and commercial presence. “My job is to unify strategies, improve synergies, and properly target key markets to best service our customers and maximize the return to our stakeholders,” he explained.

In the short-term, Hartmann plans to focus on adjusting costs to match the current economic climate and allocating resources to higher-growth segments, as well as focusing on building retrofits around energy savings and large projects in the entertainment, government, and healthcare segments.

“We will be moving quickly to implement processes and metrics to measure customer service performance improvements, define programs based on LEAN enterprise methodology, revitalize strategic supplier programs, and improve employee training and development initiatives,” he noted.

Together with IESC’s banner CEOs Mitch Williams at Gexpro and Jeremy DeBrabant at Rexel Inc., Hartmann plans to continue to pursue selective acquisitions to strengthen the company’s market position. Finally, he will continue to implement process and system enhancements to improve operational excellence.

Hartmann lives in Dallas with his wife, “Owen,” and their younger son Allen. Their elder son, Rob, is a freshman at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. Hartmann spends his free time with his family, playing golf, and riding his motorcycle.

Bremer is a freelance writer based in Solomons, Md., and a frequent contributor to “TED” magazine. She can be reached at darbremer@comcast.net.

Reprinted with full permission of The Electrical Distributor Magazine  www.tedmag.com  

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Inside Jobs

By Carolyn Heinze

While most companies account for some margin of shrinkage, repetitive theft can have serious effects on the bottom line. This is especially true when those doing the stealing are the same people entrusted to do the work. While internal theft is not something that employers like to think about, having some prevention policies in place can help minimize the chances of it happening at all.

The first line of defense in preventing loss is a rather obvious one: Recruit those who are unlikely to steal. Caroline Austin, an attorney and partner in the employment services department at WolfBlock in Philadelphia, noted that one way of weeding out bad candidates is to conduct credit and criminal background checks and drug tests.

“Check to see whether a potential employee has any criminal history that has to do with dishonesty: burglary, theft, shoplifting—if it’s any of those things, you’re not going to want to hire that person, particularly for a position that allows access to money or product,” she said. And, while employers must be careful not to stereotype, Austin stressed that it should be recognized that those with drug problems or credit issues may be prone to erratic behavior or a tendency to do whatever it takes to make ends meet.

Honesty questionnaires are another way to determine a job candidate’s credibility, according to Terence Shulman, attorney, consultant, and founder of The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft and Spending in Franklin, Mich., and author of Biting the Hand That Feeds: The Employee Theft Epidemic.

“There are questionnaires that are designed to elicit certain answers that may show that a person is not such a good candidate,” Shulman explained. He also urges employers to follow up on references—both personal and professional—and to take the time to conduct proper, face-to-face job interviews to get a feel for the individual. “Doing these things is not a guarantee that somebody won’t steal from you, but with every step you take, you are reducing the odds,” he said.

Organizations that apply good internal theft prevention tactics implement a system of checks and balances that provides oversight for key functions, such as anything having to do with accounting. “This ensures that employees are performing tasks that can be checked by others,” Austin said. For example, the individual in charge of invoicing should not also be tasked with collecting money.

Most businesses conduct annual audits of both their books and their inventory, and while this is a good practice, holding unscheduled inspections offers an added layer of protection. Austin noted that this not only enables the company’s management to identify any questionable developments, but also acts as a deterrent. “When people know that there is a risk of an unscheduled audit, they can’t plan against it,” she said.

Preventative measures are of little use when employees aren’t aware they’re in place, and Austin encourages owners to educate their workforces about company policies concerning internal theft. “Internal controls do you no good at preventing theft if the presence of the checks and balances is not known by those who might be tempted to steal,” she said. These policies should be in writing, and should cover not only how the company is preventing internal theft, but also the consequences associated with cases where an employee steals.

Advances in technology have made theft detection easier, and some organizations utilize video surveillance as a means of both preventing and detecting it. Before employing this technology, it’s necessary to check your state and local laws to confirm whether or not employees must be notified that they are being recorded (it’s usually mandated, especially if the cameras also pick up sound).

GPS technology is also being used in fleet management, enabling companies to monitor their delivery trucks to confirm what route the driver is taking—and whether the drop-off point is legitimate. “It gives you the opportunity to monitor and control what drivers are doing and where they are going,” Austin said. While state laws may vary, there is currently no federal law on GPS monitoring.

While internal theft ultimately hurts the company, it can also burden honest employees who may have witnessed something but are reticent to report any wrongdoing for fear of reprisal from their coworkers. To address this, Austin suggests that organizations set up a system—such as a confidential hotline or a drop box—that gives personnel a forum in which they can speak up without having to be concerned about retaliation.

Get proof, then police

When an employee is suspected of committing theft, the situation must be thoroughly investigated before the authorities are contacted—fail to do so and run the risk of that individual filing a counter lawsuit.

“You don’t want to base it on reputation or suspicions; you want to look at the records and see if they prove it,” Austin advised. “If you have done due diligence, and have determined that something is wrong, call the police and let them look into it.”

In preparing the investigation for the police, Shulman cautioned against searching or seizing an employee’s property—such as raiding a locker or desk. He also advised that if other employees will be interviewed in an attempt to find out if they know anything about the situation, make sure that there are at least two other people in the room, that there is a record of the meeting, and that the employee has been asked to keep the exchange confidential.

As Shulman stated, even if steps are taken to prevent theft, it can still occur. Tim Furbay, president of Furbay Electric Supply in Canton, Ohio, learned this in 1997, when he and his team discovered that a high-level employee had been embezzling money and selling off company equipment for a period of five years. Furbay noted that before making the hire, the company did everything the recruiting experts advise—including verifying that the resume was legitimate and checking both personal and professional references. But because this individual was positioned high within the company and had access to financial records and documents, the employee had the opportunity to commit the crime and then cover it up.

“You’ve got to divide up parts of your structure, whether it’s cash management, sales, or the processing of documents,” Furbay said. “Computers have stopped a lot of this, because they force you to go through a process, they originate the numbers, and if the numbers are missing, they force you to search for them. However, somebody still has to look at it to make sure that everything is the way it should be.”

Eventually, the stolen money was recovered, but it was a time-consuming process. After the theft was discovered, the distributor enlisted its accounting firm to conduct a company-wide audit of its procedures, and asked for suggestions on how it could change its processes so that it was less vulnerable to internal theft—an endeavor that Furbay urges companies to make.

“Have a specialist go through and critique your systems and set up an internal accounting control structure that improves upon what you have,” he said. “They will point out any weaknesses and supply recommendations.” Once that’s done, be sure to act on this information and put new systems into place. “If you get loose on your procedures and your internal accounting structure, that’s when things can happen,” said Furbay.

Heinze is a freelance writer and editor. She can be reached at carolynheinze@free.fr.

Reprinted with full permission of The Electrical Distributor Magazine  www.tedmag.com  

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Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

By Tom Naber

Every year on Halloween millions of people dress up as someone or something else—ghosts, goblins, movie stars, or the scariest of all: presidential candidates! And while pretending to be something else on Oct. 31 is all in good fun, there are some things lurking out there every day of the year disguised as the real thing that aren’t fun at all: counterfeit electrical products.

Electrical products made overseas and failing to meet government, UL, or CSA standards—or any standards at all—are trying to enter the country disguised as products from some of the most reputable and thorough manufacturers out there. And these products aren’t just a threat to your business—they can be deadly.

This is why NAED is working with NEMA and other associations on efforts to educate the industry about the dangers of counterfeit products. Last May, the NAED Board joined NEMA and NECA and signed a statement against counterfeiting. NAED and NEMA also began running a joint counterfeit product awareness ad in various industry publications—including Electrical Advocate, Electrical Contractor, Electroindustry, EC Insights, Marketfocus, and TED—to warn readers about the potential dangers of counterfeit products.

If you want to educate your own customers, NAED also is making the joint NAED/NEMA counterfeit product awareness ad (see image below and on pg. 81) available to our members for their own publications or customer handouts. In addition, Bernie Heinz, author of “Mitigating and Managing the Risks of Product Liability in the Global Market”—the newest white paper from the NAED Education & Research Foundation’s Channel Advantage Partnership—has appeared both at NAED meetings and on NAED Research in Action webinars explaining the dangers of counterfeit products and the risks of not paying close enough attention to product liability policies. Last but not least, watch for the “Anti-Counterfeit Initiative” supplement, published jointly by Electrical Contractor and TED, in the December issue of both magazines.

Let’s make sure that this Halloween, the scariest things you encounter are costumed children looking for candy and not products that could take your business—or a life.

Naber is president of NAED and publisher of “TED” magazine. Reach him at 314-812-5312 or tnaber@naed.org.

Reprinted with full permission of The Electrical Distributor Magazine  www.tedmag.com  

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Security: A sure shot

By Carol Katarsky

There’s a viable security solution for every type of construction project—the only hurdles for distributors are determining which application is best for a particular building and navigating any integration issues that arise. At Federal Signal, John Pens, senior product manager, is seeing an increase in security systems sales, especially those that can cut costs. “For example, if by upgrading to an automated system a company can reduce its security staff from three people to one, it will likely be a cost savings,” he said. “Or, in the case of a new construction, a system that has a faster response time may reduce losses from a security breach.”

Pens noted that he is also seeing more need for security products in municipal applications, including education.

“The biggest use is in higher education, where they’re looking at campus-wide emergency phone systems and detection of weapons at building entrances. At smaller K-12 schools, the right system is more likely to be a software package. They’re using programs that can alert parents of incidents via email or phone,” Pens said. Depending on the school district’s needs, the type of incidents covered can range from violent crimes to severe weather warnings to relatively minor events such as burst pipes that could close a school and require parents to pick up their children.

Increased security goes far beyond alarms and lights. Ensuring that vital building functions continue uninterrupted even in an emergency is an important goal for any facility manager. Back-up systems for HVAC and emergency lighting are no-brainers, but Joe Hiett, director of customer service for Matrix Systems, pointed out that true 100% security should include entry and exit points as well.

“Anywhere that access would need to be controlled during an emergency—especially hospitals, office buildings, etc.—it’s important to have a true fault tolerant door controller,” Hiett said. “If part of the network goes down, the door hardware can automatically reconnect to allow access—or provide security—depending on the need.”

For industrial applications, the risks are bigger—and so are the solutions.

“Substation security is an increasingly important issue in the electrical industry,” said Steve Birkmeier, vice president, Arteco Vision Systems. “A substation is a dangerous environment for any trespassers who find their way on-site. And, if they make one wrong move, they could knock out power to thousands of people.”

But he encouraged distributors to think creatively when assessing risks and potential targets: “If you can think it, they’ve already thought about it—and it should be an area where you should look at bumping up security,” said Birkmeier.

For substations and other industrial sites that may be too remote for frequent staff patrols, Birkmeier recommended video systems that can alert a security base when someone breaks a perimeter.

“The software we have now can ID someone who shouldn’t be there, but also ‘knows’ to ignore other moving objects—like a stray dog, or blowing litter—that don’t pose a threat,” he noted. “When the surveillance ‘sees’ a person, it can either alert a security station on-site, or send jpegs of the incident to a mobile device so off-site security can verify and respond to the threat.” Birkmeier also noted that for a remote substation, or other sites that aren’t on the network, the system can be designed so that when tripped, spotlights and/or audio alerts saying the police have been called will be automatically switched on in order to faster chase off trespassers.

Integration issues

No matter if a given security application is relatively basic or extremely high-end, to be truly successful, security products have to be properly integrated with the rest of the building’s systems. To prevent any integration problems from rearing their heads, a distributor’s most powerful tools are communication and the insight that comes from building a solid relationship with the customer.

“You have to begin every project with a proper risk analysis of the security need,” said Pens. “Facility managers are obviously going to be a key contact point, but getting the IT manager’s input is now critical to system success. As sophisticated as these systems are, they require a lot of bandwidth.”

Hiett urged distributors to “make sure you and the client get good specs and really understand what you’re getting, because modifying the system later is where the biggest costs can arise.” Once there is a seemingly workable design in place, he said the key to success is testing, testing, and more testing.

“The systems test has to be thorough and show that the system as designed can handle all the scenarios that are possible,” Hiett cautioned. “Often systems tests run through the most common or most likely situations and aren’t fully vetted for the every situation. When dealing with safety and security, an oversight like that can have massive repercussions.”

Katarsky is a freelance business writer based in Philadelphia. She can be reached at ckatarsky@earthlink.net.

Reprinted with full permission of The Electrical Distributor Magazine  www.tedmag.com  

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The AIA on 2009

At mid-year, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) contacted the usual suspects—construction economists—and put together an early 2009 forecast for nonresidential construction (as well as a full-year 2008 estimate). Unfortunately, the picture isn’t pretty.

As shown in table one, the consensus numbers—assembled by well-regarded AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker—are, in a word, ugly. This is especially true as we move into next year, as the nonresidential total moves from -1.2% for 2008 to -6.7% for 2009. (See the re­port, including specifics from each forecaster for each niche within nonresidential, at tinyurl.com/5j7wya.)

The range of forecasts—specific outlooks for the nonresidential sector from each of the various forecasters contacted—can be found in table two. Note that for 2009 nonresidential construction, the forecasts go from 4.3% to -14.5%.

Most people won’t recall ever seeing such a range of forecasts—at least not in the past 15-plus years.

Table one: Consensus of forecasters at mid-year 2008

               2008  2009

Commercial total            -4.5%    -11.1%

Office    -3.7%    -12.3%

Retail/other commercial  -8.3%    -9.9%

Hotel     +6.6%   -9.9%

Industrial           +4.6%   -5.5%

Institutional total            +1.5%   -0.2%

Health   +0.2%   +1.1%

Education          +2.7%   -1.1%

Religious           -11.7%  -1.2%

Public safety     +5.9%   -1.9%

Amusement/recreation   +3.6%   -8.5%

Nonresidential total        -1.2%    -6.7%

Table two: Individual forecasters’ outlooks for 2008-2009

                                 Nonresidential total

            2008     2009

FMI Corp.          -2.4%    -8.7%

Global Insight    +3.1%   -14.5%

McGraw-Hill Construction           -7.2%    -5.5%

Moody’s Economy.com  +1.4%   -2.9%

Portland Cement Assn.  -7.7%    -12.7% 

Reed Construction Data  +5.8%   +4.3%

Consensus        -1.2%    -6.7%

 

Reprinted with full permission of The Electrical Distributor Magazine  www.tedmag.com  

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Ups And Downs Abound

By Joe Salimando

Even distributors who sell little or nothing into the residential segment might find what’s going on with big box retailers of DIYproducts of interest. After all, some electrical manufacturers move major quantities of products via The Home Depot and Lowe’s, and an advantageous performance in the DIY segment certainly puts suppliers in a slightly better negotiating position—doesn’t it?

That seemed like a logical assumption—at first glance. See the table below, from the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS; jchs.harvard.edu). It’s not encouraging, for many reasons:

• “Households are reluctant to undertake major improvements in the context of falling prices,” said Nicholas Retsinas, director of the JCHS.

• “Weak home sales and a growing inventory of unsold homes have discouraged upper-end remodeling activity in many areas,” said Kermit Baker, a noted construction economist who works at the JCHS (he also works with the American Institute of Architects).

On the other hand, some believe that home repair (as opposed to improvement) is seeing an uptick.

From Carol Tome, executive vice president and CFO at The Home Depot (as quoted in The New York Times, Aug. 20): “Customers are moving away from discretionary projects and are spending money on small repair projects.” She noted that “trans­actions for $25 and un­der were down ‘a lot less’ than items over $600.”

And in the same article, Michael Souers, an analyst with Standard & Poor’s Equity Research, said: “Repairs do not cost as much, and consumers can afford those—especially with the boost the stimulus checks brought.”

But wait. All rebate checks have, at this point, been cashed and spent (or deposited). Will DIY repairs continue to benefit from U.S. government largesse? Maybe not.

Over at the Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI; hiri.org), the outlook is not optimistic. The organization recently told the world:

• The decline in 2007 sales of home improvement products was the first since 1991. Note from where the decline came: Consumer market sales showed no growth over 2006 in nominal dollars and a 2.4% decline in constant prices. Based on data for the first three quarters of the year, it is estimated that professional market sales declined by 7.5% in 2007 (10.2% in constant prices).

• The forecast for 2008: The consumer market is down .7% in nominal dollars; professional market sales “are expected to be down another 4.0%.”

• For 2009, a rebound is seen—with consumer up 3.5% and professional up just 1.2%.

The Home Depot’s Decline

First-half sales at The Home Depot were almost $39 billion, down 4.7% (put inflation losses on top of that). But note the gross margin comparison: The first half of 2008 was 36.5%, up from the 30.3% of one year earlier.

Despite improvements and changes, the market is giving the company ab­solutely no respect. According to Yahoo! Finance, at one point in July its stock traded below the $21/share mark, at which point the dividend yield topped 4.3%.

Here’s what The Home Depot is saying, formally, as of the company’s Aug. 19 conference call with stock analysts:

“We see modest improvement in some of our markets,” said Frank Blake, CEO, who noted that 7.5% of the company’s top 40 markets had positive comparisons in the second quarter (vs. one year ago), an improvement from the first quarter. However, 7.5% of 40 is three. And Blake himself noted that “Some of that is undoubtedly due to the economic stimulus…and may not be sustainable.”

“We saw unit share gains against the market in several categories, including roofing, toilets, hardware, power tools and accessories, and electrical, on a rolling 12 months, and all of these categories are essential to basic repair,” said Craig Menear, senior vice president of merchandising.

But the facts were dismal. Same-store sales in the second quarter were down 7.9% vs. one year earlier. The composition of that included a down month of 7.3% in May and negative 8.1% in June and July.

Lowe’s gains share

Lowe’s, the No. 2 to The Home Depot, hasn’t felt the market’s decline as sharply as its competitor: First-half sales of $26.5 billion were nearly $200 million higher than the one-year-earlier results, and gross margins were 34.5% in the first half of 2008 (they were 34.71% one year earlier).

In part, Lowe’s benefits from being smaller than The Home Depot; it still can gain sales (and increase market share) by opening stores, something no longer readily available to its larger competitor. Lowe’s also is in the midst of focusing attention on the professional segment, something it went into later than The Home Depot did.

Here’s what this company’s executives were saying, as of an Aug. 1 conference call with analysts:

“Based on external estimates of spending within the home im­provement channel and our own consumer surveys, we feel the [tax rebate] stimulus payments benefit second-quarter comps [comparison with Lowe’s second-quarter sales one year ago] by 100 to 150 basis points, slightly more than we expected heading into the quarter,” said Robert Niblock, chair/CEO.

“Our solid market share gains continued this quarter. According to third-party sources, we added 120 basis points of total store unit market share in the second calendar quarter, which represents our largest unit share gain in eight quarters.”

Lowe’s reported that it probably would open 120 new stores during 2008 (driving chain-wide square footage up by as much as 8%). But on the same-store end, the company expects a decrease of 6% to 7%.

Joe Salimando writes regularly for tedmag.com and eleblog.com. Find him at eddot.com@gmail.com .

Reprinted with full permission of The Electrical Distributor Magazine  www.tedmag.com


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