March 21st, 2017

Two seemingly unrelated healthcare stories out this week suggest a common theme: integration.
In a story released during the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Annual Conference & Exhibition 2017 earlier this week, ECT Services partner HID Global highlighted several key technology trends in the healthcare sector.


Among the trends were integrated systems that allow for secure, compliant dispensing of controlled substances; integrated systems that allow for trustworthy, secure, accurate tracking of people and resources; and integration of biometrics to verify patient and provider identity.
“Healthcare organizations are increasingly seeking to improve the physician, staff and patient experience by employing a combination of strong authentication and new IoT applications to address their challenges,” said Sheila Loy, Director, Healthcare Industry with HID Global in the release. “Trusted identities will simplify and connect all aspects of healthcare operations, from opening hospital doors, accessing healthcare records and e-prescribing of controlled substances, to how healthcare professionals interact with patients and log their activities.”
Did you catch that? Simplify and connect. Value and results for healthcare providers will by the ability of systems to communicate in a way that delivers a streamlined, secure experience for the patient and the provider.
Here’s the other story out this week that suggests integration is a key theme in healthcare: the latest edition of the Grumman/Butkus Hospital Energy and Water Benchmarking Survey reveals that overall fossil fuel usage in healthcare facilities continues to trend downward. Electricity usage and carbon footprint remain steady, however.
How can healthcare facilities make headway in driving down electricity usage and reduce their carbon footprint? The key might be stronger system integration.
According to this report from the Alliance to Save Energy, “systems-integrated intelligence can drive enhanced efficiencies, and thus energy savings – as well as lower carbon footprint in buildings” through analysis of consumption patterns and adjustments to the algorithms which control systems.
Want to learn more about systems integration and the possibilities for healthcare? Call us today at (502) 632-4322 or connect with us at the upcoming Healthcare Coalition Conference on September 26-28 at the Hyatt Regency Lexington Center in Lexington, Ky.

March 14th, 2017

Louisville’s Jewish Community Center was the target of a bomb threat and had to be evacuated recently.


The threat appears to be part of a recent wave of threats and vandalism aimed at Jewish organizations. Since the first of the year, at least 134 bomb threats have been made against 100 locations across the country. Targets include Jewish Community Centers, schools and offices of the Anti-Defamation League.
The Jewish Community Center of Louisville is a vital part of the community, hosting an array of recreational opportunities ranging from swimming classes to art classes to theatre productions. The activities are open to all.
Why would anyone target such an institution?
It’s actually not unusual for religiously-affiliated institutions to be targets of violence and threats. Some are targeted for their beliefs, ethnic or religious makeup. Some are targeted because they are open and accessible by design, so it’s easy for those who wish to do harm to gain entry. Some are simply caught up as collateral damage in situations of domestic violence.
What can religiously-affiliated organizations do to protect themselves and the communities they serve? Here are a few ideas:
Gather stakeholders. Bring together organizational leaders, key staff, community members, legal counsel, insurance representatives and law enforcement. It is important to have a variety of perspectives represented; the different points of view will help you balance addressing risks with the purpose of your organization.
Assess potential threats. Think as comprehensively as possible about risks, which may include bomb threats, active shooters, vandalism, arson or more.
Develop response plans. Local law enforcement and insurance companies may be a good resource here, as well as your facilities maintenance team. Once you’ve developed response plans, communicate them appropriately. Hold regular emergency response training and drills, and distribute plans among key staff members in several locations.
Evaluate monitoring and response systems. Is your security system adequate and up to date? Are cameras, alarms and other elements fully integrated and securely accessible from remote locations? Should your facility consider a shot detection system that automatically detects gun shots and alerts first responders?
ECT Services can help you evaluate your security monitoring and response systems. Call us at (502) 632-4322 for details.

March 8th, 2017

Has your organization staged an active shooter preparedness drill? If the answer is no, you are not alone.


According to a recent story in HR Daily Advisor, most companies have not. Despite strong perceptions that an active shooter incident is a top threat, 79 percent of those surveyed don’t fee adequately prepared for such a scenario, and 61 percent have never conducted an active shooter preparedness drill.
In additional, 44 percent don’t have a plan to communicate and escalate alerts.
Need to get your active shooter preparedness efforts off the ground? Take these steps:
Bring stakeholders to the table
Stakeholders will vary based on context, but consider including facility managers, security personnel, local law enforcement and other first responders, employees with significant contact with the public. Each will bring a different, valuable perspective.
Research resources
The Department of Homeland Security has developed education materials including a video, pamphlets and posters aimed at educating the public about what to do in an active shooter situation. Click here for details.
Assessment and education is also available from ECT Services. Contact James Burton at 502.632.4322 or email sales@ectservices.com.
Enhance systems
Consider adding an active shooter detection system to your facility. The award-winning Guardian Shooter Detection System significantly reduces response time by automatically detecting when shots are fired, then instantly reporting the activity to authorities and alerting people in the area.
Interested in learning more? Register for a Live Fire Event to see the system in action.
Get it in writing
Just as will all other emergency policies and procedures, your plan should be written, distributed to all appropriate personnel, and reviewed and updated regularly.
Practice makes perfect
Coordinate with local law enforcement and first responders to conduct an active shooter drill. Communicate to participants and the public when and where the drill will take place, and what they can expect. Surprises drills can set off panic and lead to public safety issues.

February 24th, 2017

School plant operators already have a tall order. They must keep school buildings clean and in good working order, often with limited resources in aging facilities, all while surrounded by hundreds of busy little mess-makers.

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But the job doesn’t stop there for many plant operators. They take their role a step further, supporting students and teachers with joy and enthusiasm that brings a warmth and light to a school that the systems they monitor can’t even begin to generate.
Jefferson County Public Schools highlighted one such plant operator recently in a video on their Facebook page. Mickey Bridwell, plant operator at Blue Lick Elementary School in Louisville, Ky., greets children in the car rider line each day and leads them in a special chant. He sits with students at lunch, ties shoes, cheers up children who are having a tough day, and does whatever he can to help “make teachers’ jobs easier.” Best of all, he does it all with a warm, grandfatherly smile on his face.
Bridwell recognizes that he is a role model for students, and embraces that role with enthusiasm.
What can administrators and communities do to appreciate and encourage plant operators, custodians and other school support staff personnel? Here are a few ideas:
Include them in decision-making. Plant operators and custodians should have a place at the table when key decisions are being made, from supply changes to process changes to system changes. Their front-line experiences yield valuable insights, especially in the highly variable context of school buildings. Including plant operators and custodians in decisions will ensure successful implementation later.
Honor their contributions. Set aside time on the school calendar to honor plant operators and custodians. October 2 is National Custodial Worker’s Recognition Day, so that might be a good start. Appreciation also might take the form of features on excellent plant operators or custodial staff in school or district-wide newsletters, or even video profiles like the one produced by JCPS. Don’t underestimate the power of “surprise and delight” opportunities, too, such as bringing in a hot breakfast for plant operators and custodians who must show up early to de-ice sidewalks on cold days.
Support networking and learning opportunities. Connect plant operators and custodians to organizations and opportunities that help them grow, such as the Kentucky School Plant Management Association. The KPSMA offers a conference and workshops every year. ECT Services will be participating in the KPSMA conference this year, which will take place Oct. 18-19 at the Embassy Suites Hotel at 1801 Newtown Pike in Lexington.

February 15th, 2017

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Day to day operations are demanding. Resources are stretched thin. Budgets are shrinking. Lots of news and learning resources—blogs, podcasts, communities — are available for free online.
Why attend a professional conference? Three reasons:
Focus. Stepping out of your day to day job offers you a physical and mental break from your routine. It affords you the opportunity to take a step back and consider your work at a higher level. Use this new perspective to consider long term goals, evaluate the current state, and plan next steps.
Network. Good conferences attract a variety of professionals from across your industry. You’ll meet others in similar and complementary roles, as well as consultants and vendors. All offer different perspectives and experiences that might help you solve a problem that’s been dogging you for months.
Discover. You don’t know what you don’t know, and you can’t necessarily Google what you don’t know, either. Conferences give you the opportunity to encounter new approaches, products, services and ideas that can spark your imagination and help you take your organization to a new level.
ECT Services is planning to attend four upcoming conferences. We’d love to connect with you!

NAFSA Annual Conference and Expo, May 28 – June 2 in Los Angeles. NAFSA: Association of International Educators is the world’s largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange. NAFSA’s 10,000 members represent 3,500 institutions from more than 150 countries.

2017 Healthcare Coalition Conference, September 26 – 28, Hyatt Regency/Lexington Center in Lexington, Ky. The event is planned by the Kentucky Society of Healthcare Engineers, the state chapter representing the American Society of Healthcare Engineering and Association for the Healthcare Environment.

Kentucky Association of Housing Officers Annual Conference. Dates and details have not yet been announced, but the event is usually held in early October and will be hosted this year at Berea College in Berea, Ky. KAHO provides personal and professional growth opportunities for college and university housing and residence life officers.

Kentucky Plant Management Conference, October 18—19, Embassy Suites Hotel at 1801 Newtown Pike in Lexington, Ky. The event is sponsored by the Kentucky School Plant Management Association, and typically draws more than 300 attendees to breakout sessions, round tables and more.

February 10th, 2017

Peaceful assembly is a time-honored and Constitutionally-protected right in the United States, and many Americans have exercised that right in recent weeks.

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While the majority of protests have been peaceful, some have attracted participation by a few violent outliers. The activities of these few have disrupted otherwise peaceful actions, threatened public safety and resulted in property damage.

What can you do to keep your facility, staff and customers safe in the event of a public protest? Here are a few steps you can take:

Review emergency plans. You’ve probably got plans in place for tornados, fires and active shooters, but do you have a plan in place for protests? Plans should include key staff members, emergency exit routes, communication channels and more. Local law enforcement and insurance carriers are good resources for developing plans.

Review your insurance coverage.  Does your coverage extend beyond property damage? Do you need a rider to cover damage to special features like plate glass? Does your coverage include business interruption? Nailing down these details now, especially if your facility or one nearby is likely to be the object of a protest, could potentially save you a lot of headaches and expense later.

Review security equipment and systems.  Do security cameras cover all building access points? Are they vulnerable to tampering? Does your system allow secure remote access and monitoring? Are storage systems adequate? Keep in mind that you may not lose access to your facility, and may not regain access for some time. Being able to keep an eye on activity remotely and capture data might be essential.

Review social media and news coverage.  Maintain situational awareness online. Follow protest hashtags, and watch conversations for indications that protests may shift from peaceful to violent. Know how you can contact law enforcement quickly in event of an emergency.

February 3rd, 2017

Are you retrofitting an existing building with a new security system? Or perhaps you are embarking on a new construction project, which will include integrated building controls?
Maybe you’ve already put a great deal of thought into your system needs, and perhaps you’ve even done some research into the products and features you want, and discussed your vision with your architect.
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Those are great first steps. Being an informed consumer is always an excellent idea, and working with a knowledgeable professional is well worth the investment of time and other resources.

But when it comes to specialized systems such as access control, temperature control, security and building integration, and additional level of expertise is necessary, too. With the introduction if the Internet of Things, system complexity is increasing exponentially. Having these types of systems designed by someone who specializes in them will ensure quality and performance, and reduce the risk that systems won’t perform up to full potential due to design flaws.

ECT Services will partner with your architect to design and draw a plan for your temperature control, building integration, security and other systems. We don’t compete with your architect; we complement their services for maximum value.

Our design engineers track every element of the systems they design – down to the last plug and screw – and deliver clear, precise, detailed drawings. If design elements are changed during the building process, we update the plans accordingly, so changes can be tracked later.

What does that mean for you? It means updating, expanding and troubleshooting systems will be a much easier process later on, even years after installation. It means you’ll know exactly what elements are included in your system, and you’ll have a complete picture of how they all work together.

Interested in learning more? Call us at (502) 632-4322 to discuss your needs.

January 27th, 2017

HID Global’s Personal Identity Verification (PID) platform was recently recognized as the “Best Identity Management Platform” in the 2016 Homeland Security Awards.

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The Homeland Security Awards are sponsored by Government Security News, a leading trade publication.
HID is one of ECT Service’s trusted partners. HID offerings include physical access control; IT security, including strong authentication/credential management; card personalization; visitor management; government ID; and identification technologies for a range of applications.
“Identity management is the backbone of ensuring sensitive operational capabilities across a myriad of systems and environments,” says Chuck Brooks, a security expert and lead judge of the awards, according to a press release. “HID PIV is a solution providing an innovative technological edge and HID’s authentication technology is already well appreciated by a variety of government users.”
The HID PIV platform, which includes HID PIV Express™, HID PIV Enterprise™ and HID PIV IDMS™ (Identity Management,) is the industry’s first end-to-end identity access management solution, according to the release. HID PIV is suitable for contexts which require higher security to use a single credential for accessing doors, IT systems, networks and data.
HID PIV provides complete identity lifecycle management, including identity proofing, secure credential issuance and use and deprovisioning. The platform unifies physical and IT security systems, and applies trusted credentials and other advanced security capabilities.
Judging was based on the increase in the client organization’s security, technological innovation or improvement, filling a recognized government IT security need, and the flexibility of solution to meet current and future organizational needs.
“HID Global partners with several government agencies, helping to secure the identities of millions of government employees and contractors, so it is gratifying to receive this Homeland Security Award for a new innovation that we are excited to bring to customers,” said Brad Jarvis, Vice President and Managing Director of the IAM Solutions business with HID Global, in the release. “HID PIV provides trusted identities for accessing both IT and physical domains in a more efficient and effective way than was previously available.”
Shooter Detection Systems, another ECT Services partner, was also recognized in the 2016 Homeland Security Awards. SDS Guardian system earned the inaugural “Best Active Shooter Gunshot Detection Solution” award.

January 23rd, 2017

2017 is off to a big start across central and northern Kentucky, thanks to a hiring boom.

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Amazon announced plans to hire 100,000 additional workers in the next 18 months, including 1,000 in its locations across Kentucky.
Charter Communications plans to hire 50 customer service representatives in the greater Cincinnati area, while Cincinnati Bell plans to add another 300.
As companies prepare to scale up operations, it may be time to consider scaling up identity technology.
HID, a leader in secure identity solutions, recently made several predictions about what top trends will heat up the identity technology industry in 2017. The list offers several cues as to what companies might want to be on the look-out for as they seek to upgrade their access controls for expanding workforces. A few notable trends include:


The use of mobile devices as access cards. You can scan your way to discounts using Target’s Cartwheel app on your phone; why not let your phone serve as your access card to your office, too?
Consumer trends are having a big influence on the industry, and using smartphones for just about everything is a leading trend. According to Pew Research, 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone, and many are never more than a few feet away from their smartphones at any given moment. It makes sense to consider using an app on a smartphone to manage access.
Move management to the cloud. As complexity grows, administrators want to be able to manage integrated systems from the cloud, allowing for agility, easier monitoring and updating and more.
Tracking presence and proximity. Companies are looking to use access controls and ID technology not just to control who can go where in a facility, but to track who is going where an d how often. The information gathered can be used to improve energy efficiency, productivity and safety.
Interested in learning more about identity solutions? HID is a trusted partner. Call us at (502) 632-4322 to find out more.

January 13th, 2017

Just days after a gunman killed five and wounded several others at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, a major international airport in the United States has decided to include the Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System as part of its overall upgrades to strengthen its security.

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The airport is currently not being named, but will be announced when the initial project is complete in the next few months, according to a press release from Shooter Detection Systems (SDS). The system will be integrated with the airport’s paging, access control and video management systems over the next year.
“When the news reports about a deadly shooting at the Ft. Lauderdale airport came in, we had just gathered for the kickoff meeting for this airport project,” said Christian Connors, SDS CEO, in the release. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and families of the tragedy in Ft. Lauderdale. We look forward to continuing our conversations with governing agencies and customers and being a part of the solution to enhance security against the active shooter threat.”
SDS was formed by a team of soldiers that supported the Boomerang Gunshot Detection System in the field in Iraq and Afghanistan, added Connors, and sniper incidents and casualties decreased where the system was used.
According to the release, recent incidents have prompted several airports and other agencies to contact SDS for tests in travel terminals, administration buildings and municipal facilities. Guardian performed well in the tests, detecting 100 percent of all shots fired and triggering no false alerts.
Guardian was named the Best Active Shooter Gunshot Detection System in the 2016 Homeland Security Awards sponsored by Government Security News.
Learn more about Shooter Detection Systems at an upcoming Live Fire event.