August 17th, 2018

Europe has spent most of the summer broiling in the grip of a sustained, record-breaking heatwave. Temps have soared into the 90s and stayed there in places that usually only see high temps in the 70s, like Sweden and the British Isles. Northern Ireland and Wales just recorded the hottest June on record, while Sweden logged its hottest July in 260 years.

The region is generally ill-equipped to deal with sustained high temperatures, as most facilities don’t include air conditioning systems. The heat has caused sickening algae blooms to choke water ways, and has sparked deadly wildfires.

The heatwave covers more of Europe and includes more intense temperature readings than previous heatwaves, and is considered by many to be a harbinger of things to come thanks to global climate change.

Kentucky, Ohio and surrounding states have endured their share of heat waves over the years, but that doesn’t mean heat should be taken lightly. Sustained heat waves can be deadly events and deserve the same thoughtful preparation as other disasters.

What can you do to be prepared for a heat wave? Suggestions from Ready.gov align with best practices for energy efficiency, and can be scaled for office or other large facility settings. Ideas include:

  • Cover windows with light and heat blocking drapes or shades during daylight hours. Consider using reflective material that reflects heat back outside. The window covers will keep out the heat and keep rooms from heating up.
  • Add weather stripping to doors and windows to minimize air leakage. Weather stripping will keep hot air out, and cool air in.
  • Add insulation in attic and other areas to keep cool air in and hot air out.
  • Use attic fans to clear out hot air. Don’t use electric fans in high temps; while they might provide some sense of comfort, they don’t actually reduce body temperature and could result in heat illness.
  • Insulate around window air conditioning units.
  • Encourage hydration and cooling off periods for workers who must be outside in the heat. Know the signs of heat related illness, and monitor closely for symptoms. Wear loose, light-weight, light colored clothing.
  • Keep on top of routine maintenance for all HVAC and other cooling equipment. Keep filters fresh and monitor for efficiency.

Have questions about how integrated systems can help you keep an eye on energy efficiency, and spot early signs of trouble? Call me at (800) 567-1180 for a consultation.

 

August 1st, 2018

It’s a nightmare scenario.

A lone gunman holes up in your facility and uses it to stage a horrifying attack on the public, killing scores of people and striking terror in the hearts of the entire nation.

In the aftermath of the event as the public begins to sort out what happened, questions begin to arise about your organization. Should you have done more to prevent the attack? Were your safety and security measures adequate?

Experiencing the attack was agonizing, but those questions are even worse. Did you miss something key in planning? Would another system or tool have stopped the unthinkable from happening? Could you have foreseen this and prevented it?

Is your facility now liable for the loss and injury of so many innocent people at the hands of a terrorist?
The SAFETY Act might hold some answers to both issues:

1.) how can organizations evaluate their efforts to safeguard their facilities against terrorist attacks and

2.) how can organizations protect themselves against legal action in the event that those efforts fail to stop a terrorist attack.

According to a recent article posted on LATimes.com, the SAFETY Act allows companies to seek verification from the Department of Homeland Security that their security products and services are useful. If approved, the verification can limit the liability in the event the company is sued after an attack.

A quick scan of the SAFETY Act list of approved technologies reveals that not only have products received designations, but office parks, entertainment venues and public park systems have received designations, too, for their policies and procedures.

Even if you are not pursuing verification from the Department of Homeland Security for your facility, it’s worth your time to peruse the list and note the product vendors represented there. It’s a good starting place for considering vendors to enhance the safety and security of your facility.

You’ll see that our partner Shooter Detection Systems, LLC is listed there for their Guardian active shooter detection system. Guardian instantly detects gunshots inside a facility, pinpoints the location and notifies authorities, cutting response time significantly.

Want to know more about making your facility safer and more secure? Contact us at (800) 567-1180 to start the conversation.

July 18th, 2018

Major purchasing decisions are complex and take a lot of thought and consideration. Which purchase represents the best value? What is the best price? Who came in with the lowest bid?

What doesn’t often show up in the procurement process is people. While installation, training, and service hours may be included on paper, the actual value of service is only revealed in the people who deliver it.
That’s what differentiates ECT Services.

Here’s how:
We thrive on new challenges. When asked about his favorite part of the job, John, service security technician answers “No two days are the same.”

His job might take him around Louisville, or up to Cincinnati or west to St. Louis. It might involve a simple fix or helping a customer solve a significant business challenge. The customer might be a school system, a retailer, an industrial facility.

“I really enjoy working with the wide variety of customers each day,” adds Jake, inside security sales. Working across industries in a variety of contexts gives our technicians a broad knowledge base of experiences to draw from when solving new challenges.

We build relationships, not transactions. “My favorite part of the job is the opportunity to build relationships and see customers satisfied,” says Kevin, senior service technician.

That includes going above and beyond. Kevin recently installed a security system and trained the customer’s staff to use it. They, in turn, would train residents to use the system. Kevin could see that staff were hesitant and unsure, so he volunteered to return for the resident training session and field questions.
Service extends beyond what we’ve installed. Recently, staff turnover at a local business left no one with working knowledge of their systems, which were installed by an out of town vendor. ECT Services staff inspected the system, then trained the current staff on its use, says Glenn, security service technician.
“Service is an opportunity to build relationships with our customers,” adds Kevin.

Service doesn’t end with the call. After he’s helped solve a customer’s problem, Glenn follows up to make sure things are running smoothly and the customer continues to be satisfied with the solution.
That commitment to excellent customer service is a natural extension of the relationships on our team. We company culture which values relationships between team members and mutual respect.

“My favorite part about working with ECT is working with the people here,” says Tom, senior estimator. “Everybody is real friendly, very knowledgeable…very enthusiastic. Very nice to work with.”
“Everybody here genuinely has an interested in helping the customers out and doing the best job they possibly can, and making it more like a career than a job. They don’t want to just get paid and get out of here, they want to make sure that people get the results they deserve.”

Want to know more about our team and how they can help you? Call (502) 567-1180 today.

June 27th, 2018

Axis Communications, a market leading network video provider, is innovating again with new product offerings that build on its core video capabilities.

In addition to announcing the release of two new rugged, fixed-dome outdoor cameras, Axis also recently announced the launch of a new cloud-based monitoring platform and an audio management tool. The new products build on Axis’ extensive line of security video cameras, platforms and more.

Axis has added two new video cameras to its Q35 series, the AXIS Q3518-LVE, the AXIS Q3517-SLVE.

According to a press release from Axis, the two new cameras includes support for Axis OptimizedIR illumination, Forensic WDR and Lightfinder technology, as well as Zipstream technology, which preserves important details in full image quality while significantly reducing storage and bandwidth needs. The cameras also include sophisticated onboard analytics for proactive surveillance; the ability to insert additional condition information into the video feed; external sensors that detect tampering and trigger alarms; relays to light activation and access control; redundant power and Ethernet; and easy installation.

The cameras are designed to operate in extreme temperatures from -50 C to +60 C and can withstand 50 joules of impact, with image stabilization that provides steady video even during intense impact.

The AXIS Q3517-LVE delivers 30 fps in 4K, while the AXIS Q3517-SLVE offers 5 MP. The SLVE offers a marine-grade stainless steel casing resistant to damage from salt, detergents and other chemicals.

Axis Communications also announced the release of its new AXIS Audio Manager C7050 Server. According to a press release from the company, the new Manager offers a complete audio management hardware and software package that allows users to manage and control all their network audio devices – including network speakers, audio bridges, microphones and horn speakers — from a single user interface.

Use cases include multi-site retail and educational environments. The manager allows users to control an entire network system from a desktop, tablet or mobile device.
Axis Communications also announced this week the release of its Guardian cloud-based remote monitoring solution. Guardian enables security vendors to partner more strongly with customers for off-site monitoring. Guardian easily integrates with existing systems, and is easily scalable to meet changing needs. The system allows remote monitors to accurately check alarms and deploy appropriate resources, reducing the need for onsite personnel. The system is fully accessible to customers as well, allowing for efficient collaboration.

Axis Communications has been a long time partner vendor with ECT Services. For more information about Axis’ innovative solutions and how they can meet your needs, call ECT Services at (800) 567-1180 for a consultation.

June 14th, 2018

Purchasing a major system typically involves a great deal of preparation and research. When preparing for the purchase of a new HVAC or security system, you might spend weeks or even months identifying your needs, surveying the market for solutions, pricing options and reviewing bids from top vendors.

Most of the focus during the research phase is on products and installation.


But service after the sale is at least as important. Reliable service is key to keeping your new system up to date and fully utilized.

But how do you shop for service? What do you look for in a service partner? Here are some questions to ask:

1. Communication skills. Does the service provider have strong listening skills? Do they document all conversations and actions consistently, accurately and thoroughly? Do communicate well verbally and in writing?
2. Capacity. Does the service provider have the right people with the right skills available to address your needs efficiently? Do they guarantee response times? Do they do what they say they will do, when they say they will do it?
3. Flexibility. Is the service provider rigid in their response? Do they look for reasons to say no, or reasons to say yes?
4. Partnership. Does your service provider consider themselves an extended member of your team? Do they invest in coaching and teaching your internal teams so their skills can be enhanced, and they can troubleshoot and get the most value out of the system?
A few more words of advice: ask for references, but also check for reviews on Google, Facebook and Yelp. Ask for certifications, if applicable, and follow up with accrediting agencies to verify.
ECT Services offers around the clock service support for environmental controls, security and monitoring systems, as well as preventative maintenance packages and remote support.

Interested in learning more? Call ECT Services at (800) 567-1180.

May 31st, 2018

Spring and summer often mean severe weather in the Ohio Valley. In addition to the typical storms caused by weather fronts rolling in from the west, the remnants of tropical storms and hurricanes occasionally sweep up from the south. Both can bring deluges and flash flooding.

 

Flooding brings a particular set of safety risks. The National Fire Prevention Association offers these six tips for managing electrical risks brought on by storms:

• Keep in touch with local authorities, and be prepared to turn off utilities and propane tanks as instructed.
• Don’t ever drive into flooded areas, even if water is only a few inches deep. The current could be much stronger than you realize, and the water can conceal or distort hazards like holes and washed out roadways.
• Every downed wire is a live wire, whether you see sparks or not. Call the utility company immediately if you spot any downed wires in your area, and do not approach. Downed wires are a risk not only in flash flooding situations, but in storms with high winds.
• If you smell gas in your area, do not turn on any lights or equipment. Even the smallest spark could trigger an explosion.
• If your facility is flooded, don’t turn power back on until you it has been inspected – including equipment – and either been remediated or declared safe to operate.
• If you choose to use gas generators to power equipment, be sure to operate it safely. Carbon monoxide poisoning due to improper ventilation is a real risk. Operate generators outdoors only, well away from doors, windows and other openings and well away from air intake for HVAC systems.

Review these safety tips with your team, and be sure to add them to your emergency plans and procedures with other safety policies. All emergency plans should be reviewed annually and updated as necessary.

Fire safety systems should be reviewed and updated regularly, too. An updated, integrated system runs more efficiently and offers better protection. Interested in learning more about our fire systems? Call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation.

May 29th, 2018

Paige Curry wasn’t even surprised when a gunman made his way into her Santa Fe High School outside Dallas, Texas on May 18 and took the lives of ten people.
In the aftermath of the latest school shooting, a reporter asked the young teen if she was surprised that such a thing could happen at her school.
With a rueful laugh, Curry said she wasn’t.

“It’s been happening everywhere. I’ve always felt it would eventually happen here too,” said Curry.

It’s easy to see shy she feels that way.

Recent analysis in the Washington Post revealed that 2018 has been deadlier for students than for members of the military.

As of May 18, 31 people have died this year in school shooting incidents while 29 U.S military members have died in combat and non-combat incidents.

While it is important to keep the numbers in perspective – there are far more school children than there are service members, and service members are far more likely to be killed while serving – the analysis shouldn’t be overlooked. This year has been more deadly than previous years, and it’s understandable that students would feel at risk.
According to the Post, “the number of deaths and school shooting incidents through May 18 are each higher this year than at any point since 2000. There have been three times as many deaths in school shootings so far this year than in the second-most deadly year through May 18, 2005.”

Integrated security systems are key to quickly detecting and responding to threats. The Guardian indoor shot detection offered by Shooter Detection Services uses acoustic and infrared sensors to automatically detect and instantly report shots fired. The highly-accurate automated response eliminates reliance on human response during high-pressure, stressful and physically dangerous situations.

Guardian also integrates with a variety of other systems to show live video feed and floor mapping during an event, so shooters can be accurately tracked even from off site. Door locks can be triggered that trap a shooter in a particular area.
Guardian also can be integrated with communication systems to send out mass notifications via social media, audio systems, computer monitors, telephones, mobile devices and fire alarms systems.

This video demonstrates the basics of the system.
Interested in learning more? Please click here.

May 15th, 2018

With the weather warming up and the Kentucky Derby in the books, many are turning their attention to America’s favorite sport: baseball!

Little league fields across the country are humming with activity, and while the vast majority of the kids playing just dream of making the catch or scoring the winning run, some legitimately have their sights set a little higher.

In mid-August, talented teams of 10-12 year olds will take the field Williamsport, Penn. for the Little League World Series. For ten days, hundreds of thousands of players, coaches, parents, grandparents, fans and dignitaries from around the world will converge upon the small town of 6,500 to watch the action live.

But who will be keeping an eye on them?

Axis cameras will provide security teams with insights into all that’s going on across the 72-acre complex, which includes 2 stadiums, the World of Little League® Museum, parking, concessions, retail shops, sponsor booths, dormitories and other facilities. Strategically mounted AXIS Q60 PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) Network Cameras will allow teams to keep a pulse on crowds and zoom in on any activity of special note. Even activities that take place away from the glaring, bright lights of the outfield will be in sharp view; Axis Lightfinder technology enables the cameras to produce high resolution, colored images in almost complete darkness. Thermal camera and radar capabilities also enhance security around the complex’s perimeter.

Axis delivers these capabilities on a budget, too. Little League International is a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping the experience as affordable as possible for families to attend. There’s no entrance fee for the games, so there’s no gate to underwrite the security budget. Even so, Axis capabilities are efficient enough to provide maximum coverage and extend the reach of security teams. The cameras are integrated seamlessly with network and access control systems, maximizing coverage and efficiency.

Interested in learning more about how Axis can provide efficient, effective, integrated security solutions for your venue, too? Call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation.

April 23rd, 2018

It looks like HID is going to have to add a few new shelves to its trophy case. The identity solution provider raked in five awards from industry groups and publications in recent weeks.

Campus Security and Life Safety Magazine recognized HID’s cloud-based FARGO® Connect™card issuance offering with its 2018 Secure Campus award in the Cloud Solutions and Services category. HID FARGO Connect replaces the old paradigm of standalone printers tied to a dedicated PC workstation for ID issuance with the ability to issue ID cards from anywhere, from any device via a web interface in a trusted end-to-end encryption in a cloud environment. The FARGO Connect card issuance solution also tracks consumables use and helps control ID supply inventory.

HID Approve™ mobile authentication application was awarded New Product of the Year at the Info Security Global Excellence Awards gala ceremony during RSA 2018. HID Approve is a multi-factor authentication solution that equips users to authenticate and verify transactions.

HID’s Mini Tamper-Evident Beacon was recognized with the 2018 RFID Journal Live! Best New Product award. The beacon is the touted as the industry’s first Bluetooth beacon to provide anti-theft protection for IoT-based location services and conditioning monitoring applications. Use cases include monitoring gateways and portals and note when tagged assets approach; tracking temperatures, motion and vibration of machines for health and performance; and tracking inventory and equipment with 1 – 2 meter accuracy.

HID Trusted Tag Services for fire and safety compliance won Sales & Integration (SSI) magazine’s 2018 MVP award. The solution combines HID’s NFC trusted tags with their cloud-based authentication platform to add unique and trusted identities to everyday objects in the IoT, bridging the gap between physical maintenance and inspections and online management systems.

Cyber Defense Magazine also named HID Risk Management Solution the “Most Innovative Product” in the category of cyber security discovery during RSA 2018. The solution is a real-time cyber risk profiling technology that uses data analytics to protect transactions against cybercriminals. It combines evidence-based detection capabilities and behavioral biometrics, supported by machine learning, according to a release from HID.

What does this mean for ECT Services customers? It means you can trust us to partner with recognized industry leaders to provide the most innovative building automation and integration solutions available.

If you are interested in learning more about HID and our other partners, call us at (800) 567-1180 for a consultation.

 

 

 

April 16th, 2018

Industry events are worth the time and resource investment for a couple of reasons:
Events offer the opportunity to learn and be inspired by the best in the industry. Organizers work hard to plan programs that include top notch keynote speakers and workshop leaders. Conferences offer attendees a one-stop shop for a wide range of issues, plus the opportunity to learn alongside your peers.

Conferences offer invaluable networking time with your peers. Who is struggling through the same challenges you are facing? Who has already figured it out and is ready to share what they have learned? What are best practices? Peers often have the answers, and the relationships formed in person may last long after the event has ended.

Companies often roll out new products at industry conference. For instance, Axis rolled out a new line of Infrared Illumination (IR) cameras at ISC West earlier this month. Attendees got a look at the new cameras, which feature, pan, tilt and zoom (PTZ) and fixed dome cameras, bullet, fisheye and panoramic cameras, and discreet sensors units.

There’s a lot of value to be discovered in exhibits. The exhibit hall alone is worth the price of admission at an industry conference. Fun freebies and swag aside, exhibits often offer you the chance to see the best products in your industry in action. Best of all, you’ll have the chance to meet knowledgeable company representatives in person to discuss the products and solutions they offer, and your specific needs. It’s often like having a free consultation on your terms, and offers you the opportunity to kick off key conversations and relationships.

We’ll be attending the North American State Facilities Administrators National Conference and Resource Expo on June 3 – 6 in Santa Fe. NAFSA members are responsible for the planning, development, operations and maintenance of state facilities, and include facilities professionals in the departments of administration, transportation, real estate, parks, corrections, human services, and colleges and universities. That’s a really diverse group, and we’re looking forward to the educational and networking opportunities, and we’re also looking forward to greeting visitors at our booth in the expo hall.

What conferences do you plan to attend this year?