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BUILDING INTEGRATION

Posts Tagged ‘Temperature Controls’

ECT Services partner HID rakes in five awards for excellence and innovation

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.

 

 

 

It’s time for seasonal maintenance

Weren’t we shivering under a blanket of snow just a couple of weeks ago? Then temps became warmer, with sunshine abundant, and spring fever started setting in. Of course, then it snowed last night.

Spring will officially start on March 20. Between now and then we could see several inches of snow, afternoon highs in the 80s, tornadoes, floods and just about anything in between. If you have any doubts, just check your Facebook memories and you’ll probably see evidence of all of these weather conditions on this day over the last several years.

With spring on the way, now is the time to tackle some routine maintenance and seasonal tasks. Put these on your to-do list now:

Check outside lighting. Walk your parking areas and around the outside of your facility. Look for outside lighting that may have been damaged during snowy, icy weather. Look for light bulbs that have burned out and replace them.

Check landscaping. Flower beds, parking lot islands, sidewalks and lawn areas might have taken a beating when being plowed, scraped and salted this winter. Look for signs of damage and note needed repairs. Look for potholes in parking lots that need repair, and significant gaps or cracks in sidewalks that can cause slips and falls.

Check security cameras and alarms. Review the placement and condition of all inside and outside cameras. Inspect wiring, and check placement to be sure views haven’t shifted or otherwise been compromised.

Clean or change HVAC filters and schedule routine maintenance. Pollen is already flying, and more will be in the air soon. Cleaning or changing out filters is a must to keep allergen levels down inside your facility. Plus, the system is likely to have trapped a lot of debris over the winter months; cleaning or changing the filter is a must for keeping the system running at peak efficiency.

Review severe weather policies and procedures. Tornado season is already underway. Schedule a drill with your team and make sure they all know what to do in the case of severe weather. Update checklists and rosters, especially is you’ve welcomed new team members or made other personnel changes since your last drill.

If you’d like to know more about how you can optimize and integrate your building systems, call us at (800) 567-1180 for a consultation.

Will the Internet of Things take new ground in 2018?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to be awesome and change the way we do everything.

Just as soon as we figure out what it is.

That’s one finding from a study conducted earlier this year by trade groups in the UK. According to the study, more than 40 percent of respondents were unfamiliar with the term “Internet of Things.”

So, what exactly is IoT? According to Techopedia, “The internet of things (IoT) is a computing concept that describes the idea of everyday physical objects being connected to the internet and being able to identify themselves to other devices. … The IoT is significant because an object that can represent itself digitally becomes something greater than the object by itself. No longer does the object relate just to its user, but is now connected to surrounding objects and database data. When many objects act in unison, they are known as having ‘ambient intelligence.’”
In lay terms, that means that all sorts of appliances and equipment and tools can now talk to each other, making it possible to optimize for efficiency, gather data and more.

IoT has been at the top of annual trend lists for several years running, according to Energy Manager Today, but still has a ways to go before fully taking hold as the way commercial, industrial and manufacturing facilities are built and operated.
What are the barriers to full IoT adoption?

Legacy systems and piecemeal approaches. Retrofitting existing systems is a challenge.

Security. Some IoT products and tools have been used to exploit internet security weaknesses and launch attacks. That’s on top of the risk of having sensitive internal data available on the internet for exposure. It’s a concern for facilities managers and security professionals that must be overcome.

Funding. Upgrading can be an expensive proposition, especially if the business case isn’t clear.

What’s keeping you from fully embracing IoT for your facility? Where does it make sense to move forward with proven applications? How can IoT be installed securely? We can walk you through these questions and more. Call us at (800) 567-1180.

Will 2018 be the year artificial intelligence makes a big impact on your business?

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 (800) 567-1180.

10 energy-saving tips for dark, cold months

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 (800) 567-1180 to learn more.

Summer time is prime time for school maintenance

Summer break is just weeks away, and teachers and students are both looking forward to an extended break.

Not so for building maintenance personnel. Summer is the time to catch up on cleaning and maintenance projects that had to be put off during the school year. Their hard work will pay off; studies indicate that well-maintained facilities have a positive impact on student achievement.

On the agenda for many schools:

Floor maintenance. Floors take a beating during the school year, and now is the time to clean and protect them in preparation for next year. Furniture can be moved out of the way and products can be applied with proper drying time.

Window maintenance. Windows do more than let the sunshine in. They also aid in scientific exploration, showcase art, and serve as the starting line for day dreams. All of those activities lead to everything from smudges to cracks and defects. Windows can be thoroughly cleaned and replaced during summer months.

Deep cleaning surfaces. Tabletops, counters and bathroom surfaces get wiped down during the year, but summer is the time to do the job more thoroughly.

But summer is also a good time to address larger system needs, too. School maintenance personnel should take the opportunity to inspect, clean and review:

HVAC systems. Filters and ducts should be inspected, updated and cleaned. Systems should be evaluated to ensure they are operating at peak efficiency.

Fire safety and emergency alert systems. Equipment and systems should be inspected and tested.

Security systems. Worn or outdated equipment should be replaced. Camera placement should be evaluated and adjusted, if necessary.

School staff should also take the opportunity to revisit emergency plans, too, particularly if the facility is has made significant changes, such as room reconfigurations, additions or other building projects. Summer is also a good time to investigate adding new systems and processes.

Well-maintained systems are key to building maintenance, and important for the development, health and safety of students and staff.

We’re always happy to discuss how our solutions can help. Connect with us at the Kentucky School Plant Management Association conference and workshops Oct. 18-19 at the Embassy Suites Hotel at 1801 Newtown Pike in Lexington or call us at (800) 567-1180 to discuss your needs.

Could facility improvements help improve student performance?

Maintaining school facilities is a challenge in nearly every school district. Most districts don’t have the funds to adequately resource regular capital improvements, and maintenance is sometimes deferred and systems and equipment are repaired long after they should have been replaced.


It’s no different for Jefferson County Public Schools, which has 155 school buildings, shifting population and a $1.3 billion list of maintenance and new construction projects.
Addressing the maintenance and construction issues is a complex challenge, but the payoffs are considerable, including improved energy efficiency and better utilization of resources, among other things.
But the most important payback of all might be improved student performance. How?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, schools without a major maintenance backlog have a higher average daily attendance of 4 to 5 students per 1,000 and a lower annual dropout rate by 10 to 13 students per 1,000 compared to schools with backlogs.
Check out these other benefits and impacts the EPA cites:

  • Studies that measure school conditions consistently show improved scores on standardized tests as school conditions improve.
  • Controlled studies show that children perform school work with greater speed as air ventilation rates increase, and performance of teachers and staff also improves.
  • Higher ventilation rates have been shown to reduce the transmission of infectious agents in the building, which leads to a drop in sickness and absenteeism.
  • Moderate changes in room temperature affect children’s abilities to perform mental tasks requiring concentration, such as addition, multiplication and sentence comprehension. Poor temperature and humidity regulation can lead to problems with focus.

Well-maintained systems are key to building maintenance, and important for the development, health and safety of students and staff.
We’re always happy to discuss how our solutions can help. Connect with us at the Kentucky School Plant Management Association conference and workshops Oct. 18-19 at the Embassy Suites Hotel at 1801 Newtown Pike in Lexington or call us at (800) 567-1180 to discuss your needs.

School plant operators energize schools

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.

Include professional conferences in your plans for 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.

We can help you get the picture when it comes to system design

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 (800) 567-1180 to discuss your needs.