December 14th, 2017

For most bricks and mortar retailers, ‘tis the season for high-volumes of foot traffic through stores. The last two months of the year are make-or-break, and understanding how customers are moving through retail space, where they are stopping to look, how long they are waiting for help or waiting in line are all key to maximizing sales.

Did you know that security video systems can do double-duty as merchandising analytics tools?

It’s possible using Bosch Security Systems’ In Store Analytics. The cloud-based service uses position data generated by its cameras to provide detail on how shoppers move through a retail space.

Bosch panoramic IP cameras are installed and positioned to take in as much of the retail floor space as possible, so the maximum amount of data can be captured. Shopper position data is captured and transmitted to the cloud, where it is further analyzed and delivered back to merchandising managers for review via a customized dashboard. The interface is designed to be easy to use, and doesn’t require any advanced query or data mining capabilities on the part of the user.
From the position data, merchandising managers can see how shoppers are moving through the retail space. They can see which displays are attracting shoppers, at which are not. They can identify peak times of day for traffic down to the display level, and position staff appropriately. The data also reveals how long shoppers linger in different areas, and how strongly they are engaged with merchandise or sales personnel. The intelligence gathered can be used to reposition displays or personnel to maximize sales.

In Store Analytics may be just the tool bricks and mortar retailers need to better compete with online retailers. Online retailers have the distinct advantage of being able to collect large amounts of significant customer data, including the purchasing journey. Bricks and mortar retailers often miss that piece, and have difficultly pinning down just how customers move through the process to purchase. In Store Analytics can help close that gap by providing actionable insights on customer flow and helping identify missed opportunities.

The In Store Analytics platform is suitable for large footprint retail spaces and scalable across multiple sites. Bosch also plans to roll out In Store Analytics dashboards for operations and loss prevention managers.

December 6th, 2017

As 2017 winds down, trend watchers are looking ahead to 2018 and thinking about the trends taking shape. Artificial Intelligence is top of mind for many.

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI), and what is the difference between AI, Machine Learning and Deep Learning? According to techopedia, “Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans.” AI computers might be used for speech recognition, learning, planning and problem solving.

Machine Learning takes AI a step further, allowing computers to be challenged by and learn from new scenarios for testing and adaptation. The goal is for the machines to use pattern recognition and trend detection to “learn” so that it can make independent decisions about similar situations in the future.

Deep Learning collects what Machine Learning computers have learned and uses those algorithms to develop larger networks that mimic the high-powered decision-making capability of the human brain.

AI, Machine Learning and Deep Learning all have significant potential for real-world application, particularly in video security.

The boom in digital video means a voluminous amount of data is available to analyze. Couple that data with more data available via API – weather data, financial data, etc. – and the possibilities for pulling together patterns and making predictions is nearly endless.

“While the technologies aren’t particularly new, this year they have more than ever captured the attention of the market due to various factors: an increase in data that’s available for meaningful analysis, the emergence of hardware devices with high computing power, as well as the maturity of networking infrastructure for both landline and wireless transmissions,” wrote William Pao of a&s International in a recent post on asmag.com.

Some are predicting a boom in AI-driven analysis. “The next step in video analytics is to dive deeper to gain very specific insights into video content, including analyzing human behavior through the use of neural network video analysis. Video will not only be used to track the usual movement of cars and people or detect items left behind, but will also be relied on more frequently to bring behaviors of interest to the attention of security personnel,” said Jammy DeSousa, Senior Product Manager for Security Products for Building Technologies and Solutions at Johnson Controls in the post.

Others are slightly more conservative in their outlook. “Machine or deep-learning is mostly used for video analytics, but I expect the technology will be an important component in many different applications and products in the future. Over time it will become a common tool for software engineers and will be included in many different environments and devices,” said Johan Paulsson, CTO of Axis Communications in the post. “However, the surveillance industry has a history of sometimes over-promising with video analytics, and we are especially conscious of that when it comes to deep learning. We think deep learning has to mature further before it is ready for market in a broader perspective.”

Interested in learning more about new products and integrations on the horizon for 2018? Contact us at (502) 632-4322.

November 30th, 2017

Just before Thanksgiving, after killing his wife and two neighbors, a man in Northern California with a long history of violence and mental illness set out to make a bad day much, much worse.

The shooter set out for nearby Rancho Tehama Elementary School, apparently intent on continuing his killing spree. When he arrived at the school, he found doors locked and his entry blocked. He repeatedly tried to enter one classroom door, but could not get through. He shot in frustration at walls and windows, but was unable to gain access to the children and teachers locked away inside. Stray bullets seriously injured one student, but a hundred others were saved.

How was a more serious crisis averted? Authorities are crediting the quick actions of teachers, janitors and administrators.

As soon as they heard gunfire in the distance, school staff initiated a lockdown and alerted authorities. They hustled children under desks and worked to keep them calm.

The safety procedures weren’t dreamed up in the spur of the moment. According to this NPR report , nearly all schools have active shooter safety plans, and nearly two-thirds of school districts regularly conduct active shooter drills.

It’s easy to see why drills are necessary. Since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, there have been 160 more school shootings.

Schools are vulnerable, but they are far from the only places vulnerable to mass shootings. This year alone, there have been 318 mass shootings in the U.S. in places ranging from businesses to outdoor festivals to churches.

What used to be nearly unthinkable now happens with numbing regularity. What should you do to prepare for an active shooter event in your facility? Here are a few simple steps:

Have a written plan in place, and communicate it. At the very least, draft procedures for an active shooter event and review with staff. Using the Run Hide Fight model, identify escape and shelter in place strategies, and review with staff.
Conduct regular safety drills. Just as with other emergencies such as tornadoes or fire, practice response with your team. Preparedness is key.

Consider adding shooter detection systems to your building systems. The Guardian system from Shooter Detection Systems automatically detects gunshots and can instantly notify authorities and trigger other responses, including text alerts, video and door locks. Quick automated actions cut down response times and save lives. This video demonstrates the basics of the system.

Interested in learning more? Register for our Live Fire event.

November 29th, 2017

Shooter Detection Systems continues to gain recognition from security experts for its Guardian Indoor Active Shooter system.

SDS was honored with the award for Best Gunshot Detection Solution in the American Security Today 2017 ASTORS Homeland Security Awards at the ISC East show earlier this month. The ASTORS awards program honors security vendors, law enforcement and government agencies for homeland security efforts. ISC East is the largest security vending show in the northeast.

Shooter Detection System’s Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System uses acoustic and infrared sensors to instantly identify gunshots inside a facility. The precise location of the gunshots is noted, and authorities are alerted immediately. The instantaneous response significantly cuts response time and reduces the opportunity for human error.

Warnings can also be sent out instantly to people in the facility and vicinity advising them to evacuate or take cover. The system can also be integrated with a number of other systems, including text alerts, incident management dashboards and building systems like door locks and video surveillance.

Judges cited several key factors in their decision to recognize the Guardian system with an ASTORS award. Among the reasons was the system’s speed and reliability. Guardian accurately pinpoints the location of an active shooter and sends alerts to authorities and other key stakeholders in less than a second. Not only is the system fast, it’s incredibly accurate. Across dozens of applications in a variety of settings, the system has yet to issue a single false alarm in over 17 million hours of installed time.

Judges also cited SDS’s strong footprint in the market. Guardian is the most widely installed indoor gunshot detection solution available. It’s installed in corporate offices, schools, government buildings, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, utilities, retail and entertainment venues and transportation hubs. The variety of applications and strong performance in each indicate the strength and quality of the system.

Guardian’s strong integration with other systems was also a factor. Guardian integrates with video, access control, mass notification, alarm, public address, emergency lighting, radio and mobile systems, providing 360 degree coverage in the event of an active shooter situation.

Guardian is also the only indoor active shooter system to be awarded the SAFETY Act certified by the Department of Homeland Security.

Interested in learning more about the Guardian active shooter detection system? Register now for one of our Live Fire events to see a live demonstration, or call us at (502) 632-4322.

November 16th, 2017

The recent arrival of cooler temps dovetailed with the end of Daylight Savings Time, making it feel like the world suddenly went dark and cold and the same time. Is your business or organization still making the adjustment?

These tips will help you maximize energy efficiency during the winter months:

Contact your energy provider and ask if they will help you conduct an energy audit. Many providers provide free audits to customers.

Review your energy usage from last winter season and set targets. How much energy did you use? What was the average daily temp and other conditions? Setting a goal for reducing use might help you keep costs in check.

Check insulation. Make sure it is adequate to meet your needs. Check seals on all duct work to make sure it is sound and air isn’t leaking.

Schedule regular maintenance for your HVAC system to keep it running at peak efficiency. Be sure to change or clean filters, too. Dirty filters make systems worker harder and less efficiently.

Check all vents and returns to make sure they are clear of obstructions. Arrange furniture so air flow is maximized, and keep paper and other debris clear.
Look for leaky doors and windows and seal them. Use caulk and/or weather stripping to seal up energy-sucking gaps throughout your facility. Gaps around plumbing access, electrical outlets and lighting fixtures are often leaky, too. Seal them up and you’ll better maintain temps in your facility.

Use programmable thermostats to maintain temps. Set temps no higher than 67 degrees when your facility is occupied, and drop temps several degrees overnight or when facilities are not in use. You’ll realize substantial savings by dropping your thermostat just two degrees.

Limit the use of space heaters. Not only do they present a fire hazard, they use significant energy and make it difficult to regulate temperatures. Encourage layering clothes or wearing sweaters for personal comfort.

Maximize use of natural light. Open blinds and curtains to allow sunshine in during the day, and close them at night to retain heat.

Monitor lighting use. Use sensors or timers to turn lights on and off automatically. Switch to LED lighting wherever possible. Use smart power strips and sleep settings to operate office equipment efficiently.

Need help monitoring and integrating your HVAC and other key building systems? We can help. Call (502) 632-4322 to learn more.

November 8th, 2017

An all too familiar scene unfolded once again on Sunday.

A mass shooter entered the sanctuary of First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. He gunned down 26 people and injured many more before fleeing the scene. He was later found dead with a gunshot wound.

His victims range in age from 5 to 72, and include the pastor’s 14-year-old daughter.
The church is a very typical for Southern Baptists, the largest denomination in the United States. It averages just under 100 in worship on any given Sunday. The congregation is likely made up of many family members, and many others who feel like family.

The population of Sutherland Springs, an unincorporated community southeast of San Antonio, is just a few hundred. The loss of these 26 people is incredibly deep in this community and in this church.

According to a story posted by Christianity Today, the incident is the 14th mass murder at an American house of worship since 1963. It is the worst church shooting in U.S. history, according to church security expert Carl Chinn. It’s the worst mass shooting in Texas history.

According to Chinn’s analysis, attacks of all types on houses of worship have become more frequent in recent years, and more deadly.

What can churches and houses of worship do to protect themselves? Resources are available from a variety of sources. Most major church insurers offer comprehensive guidebooks and training (see here and here), as do many denominational organizations. Houses of worship should also work with local law enforcement agencies for advice and training.

Houses of worship may also consider enhancements to facilities by adding security features such as video surveillance and gunshot detection, both of which are offered by ECT Services.

The Guardian gunshot detection system developed by Shooter Detection Systems, which works by using acoustic and infrared sensors to instantly identify gunshots. The precise location of the gunshots is noted, and authorities are alerted immediately. Warnings are also instantly sent out to people in the facility and vicinity advising them to evacuate or take cover. This video demonstrates the basics of the system.

Interested in learning more? Register for our Live Fire event.

November 1st, 2017

Building Automation System Controls Programmer 

We are actively seeking a qualified DDC Tech / Programmer / System Integrator to join our team, with experience using the Alerton, Distech, Tridium and Niagara platforms.  This individual will utilize programming tools, standards and procedures, and their knowledge of building systems and applications to develop program instructions for DDC controllers and graphical front-end user interfaces.  The BAS programmer will work alongside Project Managers, System Engineers, and Field Installers to fulfill the project requirements. Programming will include setup of user interface and/or browser based systems using Tridium/Niagara. The ideal candidate will be able to incorporate a sequence of operation into a device and/or workstation application that meets all project requirements.  The BAS Programmer is responsible for creating such computer programs by converting project sequencing requirements into code as well as modifying, troubleshooting and repairing existing programs for commercial HVAC environmental control systems.  This role will additionally require system integration along with control startup & checkout, commissioning and project closeout.

ECT Services background:

 

ECT Services was established in 1981 and is a diversified technology leader, serving customers throughout Kentucky and Indiana with Building Automation HVAC Controls and Security System products, systems, and services for their buildings.  ECT Services installs and services the systems that help keep buildings and facilities comfortable, safe and secure.  Our mission is to provide excellent customer satisfaction and maintain relationships by providing quality installations. We set the bar high for excellence in our industry and pride ourselves in maintainability and sustainability of our integrated systems. Our standards have been adopted as protocol with our customers, architects and engineers.

 

  • Job Type:Full-Time
  • Experience Level: Entry Level – Experienced
  • Location Louisville, KY
  • Salary: Dependent upon experience
  • Company Benefits available: Health, Dental, Simple retirement IRA, paid vacations and Major holidays, along with short term and long term disability options.

 

Role Expectation:

 

  • At the highest level, program Building Automation Systems.
  • Convert project requirements into computer program code… use Direct Digital Control (DDC) code creation for: sequencing, trend logs, zones, alarms, reports, back-up, and graphics.
  • Confirm program operation by conducting tests and modifying program sequence.
  • Coordinate details & time-frames of the startups with mechanical/electrical/general contractor on site.
  • Must verify functionality of DDC controlled components.
  • Must perform equipment and system testing, installation, inspection, troubleshooting and problem determination, control panel wiring and checkout, and repair of computer automated control systems.
  • Startup and commissioning will consist of field device inspection, testing and calibration, hardware operation verification, software configuration programming and testing of equipment sequence of operations.
  • Performing service and repair on existing DDC systems.
  • Utilize a multimeter for advanced system diagnostics and tracing out wires & circuits
  • Preparing and submitting any required commissioning documentation.
  • Documenting all changes related to as-built drawings.
  • Assists personnel with solutions to systems problems, either troubleshooting the system or advising others on how to resolve problems.
  • Provide consistent and clear communication with internal and external customers.
  • Provide technical guidance throughout development, construction, and project commissioning phases of projects.
  • Lead and manage the coordination of integration activity and providing technical support of DDC based hardware and software including working with other engineers to create and/or verify control and integration point lists.
  • Conduct graphics engineering functions which include: creating graphics submittal packages as required, reviewing graphics as a completed package, for completeness and accuracy, develop and maintain graphic library, and participate in solution of job-related graphic problems.
  • Creating and maintaining backups of customer databases in accordance with company procedures.
  • Set up and configuration of PC Workstations, user interfaces, data servers, IP Networking devices, protocols, routers, switches, mass storage devices and hubs. Confirms proper network performance.
  • Coordinate startup services: Work with customer’s IT Department to coordinate network drops, ip addresses, and monitoring tools. Work with equipment vendors to coordinate communication protocols and any requirements to integrate with their systems.
  • Train customers on system operations.
  • Attend routine progress meetings with the client, vendors or subcontractor to discuss project updates, concerns, and resolution of issues.

 

 

Qualifications & what you need to be successful:

 

  • We are looking for someone who easily adapts to new worksites and projects quickly, as priorities can change based on workflow and urgency of customer need.
  • Understand this is a hands-on technical position that requires use of a laptop, hand tools and multi-meter performing startup and commissioning of computerized temperature control system, which controls HVAC equipment such as roof top units, air handlers, VAV boxes, heat pumps, chillers, pumps, cooling towers, boilers, heat exchangers.
  • Experience with BACnet, LON, Modbus, Alerton, Distech, Visio, Tridium, Niagara, or other Building Automation Systems is a requirement.
  • Technical school or Associates degree (2 year) preferred, although a combination of education and experience will also be considered.
  • Above average computer skills required
  • Strong attention to detail.
  • Field experience in service & repairs of HVAC equipment.
  • Working knowledge of electrical systems, low voltage controls & building automation systems.
  • Strong communication and customer service skills, oral and written.
  • Ability to read and understand mechanical drawings, control drawings, wiring diagrams, specifications, sequences of operation, and installation and operation manuals.
  • Analytical thinking and technical ability for the troubleshooting of device failures and or control wiring problems.
  • Commercial HVAC and/or Mechanical Systems knowledge a plus.
  • Experience with electronics and basic electrical circuits.
  • Positive and professional attitude
  • Must have the ability to work without direct supervision.
  • Willingness to learn new HVAC controller lines, software and new concepts.
  • Experience in block or line programming.
  • Computer networking and Wireless Experience is a plus.
  • Valid driver’s license, a good driving record, and a reliable vehicle with proper insurance
  • Frequently travel to out-of-town work assignments with occasional over-night stays
  • Able to pass drug screen & security clearance required by clients.
  • Willing to work flexible hours as needed.

To apply, please contact David Stumler at (502) 636-2402 (Ext. 120) or dstumler@ectservices.com.

 

October 31st, 2017

Mass shootings have become such a phenomenon in the United States that they now have their own television series.

Showtime launched a new documentary series “Active Shooter: America Under Fire” this fall. The show airs on Friday nights at 9 p.m. Eastern. The producers include documentary veterans Eli Holzman (“Undercover Boss”), Aaron Saidman (“Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath”) and Star Price (“Penn & Teller: Bull—t!”).
The series pieces together archival footage, interviews and more to explore significant mass shooting events through the eyes of first responders and survivors.

The show was inspired when producers heard about the experiences of a 911 operator haunted by the 2013 shooting spree in Santa Monica, California, Saidman told a reporter with the Orlando Sentinel.

“Eli and I looked at each other and said, ‘Oh, this is an epidemic that is affecting people we never think about, and it’s affecting them in these cruel and immeasurable ways,’ ” he said in a recent interview with the paper. “The series is a way to consider these people as relatable human beings who have suffered a horrible tragedy — not just statistics.”

Mass shootings have left deep and lasting scars on first responders.
“As a first responder’s spouse, your biggest fear was, ‘Are they going to come home?’ ” Jessica Realin, wife of a former Orlando police officer who responded to the Pulse nightclub shooting, said in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “You never realize the fear of, ‘Well, they came home, but they’re not the same person anymore.’ ”

The producers hope the series sparks constructive conversation around ways to reduce gun violence in the United States.

“Something has to be done,” Price told the Review-Journal. “We don’t suggest that we have all the answers, but we have to start talking about this and being open about what the issues are, and how all of us as a country can come together to try to stop this from happening.”

Episodes feature mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado; San Bernardino, California; Charleston, South Carolina; Washington, D.C.; Orlando, Florida; Santa Monica, California; Oak Creek, Wisconsin; and Columbine, Colorado.

All signs indicate series producers will continue to have subjects for future episodes. Just two days after the series premiered, an active shooter opened fire on concertgoers in Las Vegas, Nevada, killing 58 and wounding hundreds more. It is the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

At least it is for now.

According to the Mass Shooting Tracker project, there have been 369 mass shootings so far in 2017.

Until we can figure out how to prevent the problem of mass shooter incidents, the next best thing we can do is protect people from mass shooter incidents. One way to do that is through rapid, effective shot detection.

The Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System uses acoustic and infrared sensors to automatically detect shots fired and initiates response, including alerting authorities and those in the vicinity. Guardian integrates with other systems to trigger alerts, lock doors and more. Guardian reduces emergency response time significantly.

Interested in learning more about the Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System? Call (502) 632-4322 or register now for a Live Fire event to see a demonstration of Guardian’s capabilities.

October 26th, 2017

Maybe you’re getting ready to dive into a new build, and you want to make sure all you are designing, installing and documenting the best building control systems for your new facility.

Maybe you’ve just moved in to a new-to-you location, and you’re not quite sure what/when/where/why/how all of the building systems were installed or how they work together.

Maybe you’ve been in your current facility for a long time, and you’ve added building systems over the years, but you are not sure you’ve got what you need in place, and you’re not sure everything is working together at peak efficiency.
Whatever your reason, it’s always a good idea to approach your facility’s HVAC, security and safety systems as a design project, and not simply discrete equipment purchases. Unlike other elements of your facility – like floors and walls – these are “living” systems that grow and change over time.

Innovation brings new changes every year, and each new piece of equipment you introduce to any of these systems has the potential to bring both benefits and risks. For instance, a new badge system might bring additional capabilities, but your current IT infrastructure may not be able to fully integrate with it and take advantage of all its features.

ECT Services offers complete end to end design services for all types of building systems. What are the benefits of using design services? Here are a few:
You’ll get a fresh, complete set of plans that tells you exactly what you have. A complete set of plans will help you make adjustments to the system later, and help you upgrade or add on to systems with confidence.

You’ll know why you’ve got what you’ve got, and how it all works together. We can translate your requirements into systems that meet your needs while maximizing efficiency.

Stronger security. End-to-end system design helps identify security gaps and risks, reducing vulnerabilities and system failures.

Take full advantage of the latest IoT opportunities. Internet of Things innovation means more opportunity than ever before to monitor and analyze systems for business benefit. But all that opportunity goes to waste if systems aren’t designed to support devices and collect and manage the data. Well-designed systems maximize opportunities to get the most out of the data offered up by IoT devices.
Want to learn more about system design services? Call (502) 632-4322.

October 20th, 2017

… It’s on Axis’ radar, too.

The network video leader recently rolled out a new offering: motion-detecting radar.

The Axis D2050-VE uses radar technology to minimize false alarms triggered by spiders, small animals, shadows and light reflections. Once motion is detected, the device can trigger camera recording and/or activate a horn or lights to deter unauthorized access to property or a facility. The radar can be used alongside cameras with video motion detection, and can be used to track movement with PTZ cameras.

Reducing false alarms is key to good security. Not only are false alarms annoying, they impact operational readiness. Repeated false alarms fatigue personnel, and can make it possible for more credible threats to be disregarded.

“Radar closes a gap as it offers good area coverage, detects movement with high accuracy, and reduces false alarms,” explained Andres Vigren, Global Product Manager, Axis Communications, in a press release. “Compared to simple motion detectors, AXIS D2050-VE provides additional information of detected objects which allows for auto tracking with Axis PTZ cameras. Customers can now easily add proven radar technology to their existing or new surveillance systems to protect their premises.”

The radar detector was designed to be used in medium industrial installations. While its effectiveness is maximized when part of a complete surveillance system, it can also be used as a standalone tool. It integrates with other Axis products, including cameras and management software, and is also compatible with other systems thanks to its open interface design.

The Axis D2050-VE Network Radar Detector is wall mounted detector and designed for outdoor use. It offers detection coverage of 120 degrees and 164 feet, and is powered by Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+). The Axis D2050-VE has IP66, IK08 and NEMA 4X ratings for tough environments, and can be operated in temperatures ranging from -40°C to 60°C (-40 to 140°F), well within the typical temperature range for the Ohio Valley.

Interested in learning more? Contact our team at (502) 632-4322 for more information about Axis products.