November 3rd, 2020

As quickly as the world is changing, so is the technology. At ECT Services we are already on version 2 of our newest product: ScreenerTi. We first began telling you about our thermal temperature screening system back in June.

Now that we know more about how the virus works, we continue to update and improve the product.  Fever continues to be one of the most key symptoms in diagnosing Covid-19.  As such, it is critical for organizations to quickly and accurately check each mployee’s temperature and demonstrate these cheks are being completed each and every day.

Screener Ti serves as a preliminary screening device. Picture the entryway to a building with a Screener Ti system. One at a time, individuals will stand in front of the scanner, receive a pass light and proceed to work. The time to get screened takes no longer than digital toll devices do on highways, and no longer than it does to swipe a cardkey and proceed through a turnstile.

Today, that cardkey can be fully integrated with the ScreenerTi system. Consider an office building with a large lobby, several banks of turnstiles and social distancing mandated. It would be difficult to have each turnstile station “manned.”

Today, if an individual does not receive a “pass” indication, the card key of that person can be locked to prevent access to the building. The system can also be set up to send an email to the employee and an employee’s supervisor alerting them of the failure and cardkey lock. In order to remain HIPAA-compliant, a code assigned to employees is utilized rather than name-sharing. The HR department, for example, with appropriate authority for access to the information would have access to names.

We’ve had a few inquiries as to whether or not facial recognition software is included in our product. Due to HIPAA regulations, it is not. Privacy is still a very important thing to consider on this matter, while we try to navigate public safety as a community.

If your company or building is looking to integrate a temperature scanning system to help keep your employees safer, we’d love to speak with you about it. Contact us at (800) 567-1180 or via our website.

September 8th, 2020

The nationwide community is split on its opinions as to whether or not to send kids back to school right now. Some say we’re better waiting it out as numbers continue to grow in some communities. Others say the kids need school and their parents need school so they can go to work and school is necessary, now.

What we can all agree on is IF schools are to reopen in-person, the list of recommendations must be followed for the safety of everyone – students, teachers, faculty, administrators and all those who work in the school.

ASHRAE, The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers is an American professional association seeking to advance heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems design and construction. They have weighed in, specifically, on the recommendations around HVAC systems in buildings such as schools. ASHRAE’s Epidemic Task Force’s position on the subject is as follows:

Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air is sufficiently likely that airborne exposure to the virus should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning [HVAC] systems, can reduce airborne exposures.

In July of 2020 the task force published its recommendations and guidance. In that document, they clearly state:

This guidance has been formulated to help designers retrofit and plan for the improvement of indoor air quality and to slow the transmission of viruses via the HVAC systems. The underlying effort of the designer should be to increase outside air to the spaces and treat return air. The designer should also be concerned with mechanical filtration of the supply air and maintaining indoor comfort as defined by the design temperature and relative humidity.

Recommendations include:

  1. Create a committee for the district or campus, focused on health and safety. The committee should have recommendations from environmental health and safety, administration, education staff, operations staff, local healthcare providers, and all stakeholders with a responsibility to the campus and its community.
  2. Develop PPE regulations.
  3. Where semi-annual / annual scheduled maintenance on the equipment can be performed safely, do not defer this maintenance cycle.
  4. If workers will be in an unsafe situation, defer maintenance if possible.
  5. Review Checklist No. 1 provided by ASHRAE to be handled during the summer months.
  6. Operate all HVAC in occupied mode for a minimum of one week prior to occupancy.
  7. During the week prior to occupancy perform Checklist No. 2 Startup Checklist for HVAC Systems Prior to Occupancy – provided by ASHRAE.

For more information regarding these checklists or other recommendations published by ASHRAE, please feel free to reach out to us at (800) 567-1180 or via the contact form on our website. We will be more than happy to help get your school ready to go, no matter where you are located.

June 8th, 2020

Lately, while companies are opening and preparing to reopen, we’ve offered solutions and advice for how to safely do so. As we continue to hear from customers about their needs, we continue to fine-tune our suggestions and solutions packages.

We’ve shared thoughts about temperature scanners but once an employee is inside, either on the manufacturing floor or in a corner office, do your systems allow you to know if they have traveled lately and are putting others at risk? Do they insure that employees are following proper social-distancing guidelines? This brought us to another set of questions regarding building space, in general.

How do you know not only if your spaces are safe, but if they are being used efficiently? Are there areas in your building which lend themselves to higher productivity levels? Do you know why?

ECT Services has developed the space Vi Facility Visualization Application to accomplish all of this. Recently, a customer discovered an entire FLOOR of their office was not being used. By taking a deeper look at the space, they are now able to spread teammates out, making it safer for them to return to their workspaces.

The spaceVi® Facility Visualization Software is a set of software services, apps, and connectors that work together to turn your unrelated sources of data into coherent, visually immersive, and interactive insights. Your data may be Excel® spreadsheets, human resource databases, accounting databases, access control systems, video surveillance databases, building automation systems, or a collection of cloud-based and on-premises data warehouse repositories.  spaceVi® will enable you to connect to your data sources, visualize, analyze, and discover what is essential, and share the results with anyone or everyone you want.

The software platform allows you to graphically visualize space efficiency, resource allocation, people traffic flow analysis, and event tracking and response. spaceVi® utilizes the latest in graphic technology to immerse you into the activity of your building’s space providing you with key data to make critical business decisions quickly.

We see this software as a highly useful tool in the immediate future as we all work to get back to work, keeping our team healthy while doing so. We also see this has a tool going forward to plan, design and adjust space usage within companies to be sure the space is optimized for each job.

If your company is preparing to return to work and you are looking for solutions, please contact ECT Services at 800-567-8810 or visit our website to contact us by email.

February 12th, 2020

The waning months of 2019 brought news of a several attacks on churches and religious gatherings, including an attack on a Hanukkah gathering in New Jersey and an active shooter at a church in Texas.  

In the wake of these attacks and others, Congress has appropriated an increased amount of $90 million to fund grants for enhanced security programs and churches, synagogues, mosques and other nonprofit organizations. President Trump signed the bill into law at the end of January.

The Nonprofit Security Grant Program expands access to funds that will enable nonprofit organizations to enhance their security systems using fencing, surveillance cameras, enhanced entry ways, windows, alarms and communications systems, staff and personnel training, and contract security guards.

Applying for a federal grant can be intimidating, but the Department of Homeland Security is hosting a series of free conference calls and webinars to help potential applicants understand more about the grants and the application process. To register, click the webinar title below:

February 20th, 2pm: Protecting Your Organization: The FY2020 Nonprofit Security Grant Program and other Resources to Help Keep Your Facility Safe (No call-in, webinar audio only through the link).

February 26th, 2:30pm: Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview, 877-446-3914.

March 5th, 2:30pm: Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview, 877-446-3915.

March 12th, 2:30pm: Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview, 877-446-3916.

March 19th, 2:30pm: Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview, 877-446-3917.

March 26th, 2:30pm: Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview, 877-446-3918.

ECT Services also offers security training and complete security system enhancement and servicing, including access control, video and gunshot detection. For a free consultation to review your organization’s current security systems and look for opportunities to enhance your capabilities, call 800 567-1180.

August 14th, 2019

One of our core values at ECT Services is innovation. One of our greatest strengths is in creating solutions that solve problems for customers, just as we did with our VR Tenant product.

It’s back to school time for many students and observing as teachers and students embark on a new school year has sparked some insights for me about innovation. I’ll share a few:

Assemble the basic tools. Walk into any retailer that carries school supplies and you’re sure to see racks of supply lists for local schools displayed. Pencils, crayons or markers, glue, scissors, paper, folders, notebooks and the like are all basic tools for every student from Kindergarten through college. From these basic tools students will write essays, create art and solve problems every day. Students who lack these basic supplies will be at a disadvantage. Teachers are pressured to solve the problem and fill the gap, which may in turn distract them from their objective for the lesson.

What are the basic tools that equip and empower your organization to run efficiently and effectively? Are those tools supplied to every team member? Is every team member properly trained on how to get the most out of these tools?

Insufficiently supplied teams put team members at a disadvantage and place stress on leaders. Teams can innovate solutions to bridge fundamental gaps, but wouldn’t you rather spend that energy on solving bigger, more complex problems?

Standardization can lead to efficiency gains and greater leverage for the entire organization. One thing I’ve noticed in recent years is that some teachers specify which products to purchase – particular brands, colors and counts perhaps. The reason is often that supplies are stored and used collectively. Rather than have students keep their individual supplies stored in their own desk or cubby, markers or glue sticks or whatever are stored in bins and distributed to students as needed. Standardizing these supplies – making sure all binders are a uniform size and color, for example – streamlines storage, ensures interoperability and guarantees quality. Teachers know which products work best to meet goals, and how those products work together.

Interoperability and integration reduce friction and leverage efficiencies, both of which may lead to innovation. We see this every day in the systems we integrate. When access control, video, fire detection and suppression, gun shot detection and communication systems and others are all integrated, the entire system becomes greater than the sum of its parts. Data can be gathered and analyzed to discover opportunities to better position resources or make energy consumption more efficient, for example.

Networks invite collaborative innovation. This time of year, social networks like Facebook and Pinterest are rife with ideas shared by teachers. From bulletin boards ideas to classroom management tips to fundraising, teachers freely share their innovations with others within their own networks and beyond.

It’s important to network within your vertical, and without. While some industries must be cautious about giving away competitive secrets or losing advantage, many innovations fall well outside any area of risk or concern. Be generous and genuine in sharing your ideas, and let others inspire you.

We strive to be generous and genuine with all our partners, from our customers to our vendors. Do you have a security or access control problem to solve? Call us at (800) 567-1180 to discuss.

July 2nd, 2019

This week, a new law takes effect that will allow eligible Kentuckians to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.

Even under the new law, however, concealed weapons are still not allowed in police stations, law enforcement offices, jails and courthouses; federal offices; or private businesses that have posted signs banning guns.

How might this effect your facility? If your facility is open to the public, it may mean that customers, vendors, and other members of the public are carrying concealed weapons in your facility. It may also mean that employees are carrying concealed weapons, too.

You may choose to allow concealed carrying of weapons in your facility, or you may choose to ban them.

What should you consider when making that decision?

Check the legal requirements in your state and municipality. Your attorney should be able to help you identify any applicable law. If you are seeking to restrict the carrying of weapons in your facility, most states require signage and other clear communication, such as mention in an employee handbook. Some states also specify that employees are allowed to carry weapons in their personal vehicles under certain restrictions.

If employees have shared opinions with you about why they do or do not want weapons banned in your facilities, seek to understand their point of view. Consider your company culture carefully, and whether or not such actions would disrupt your staff. Gun ownership, possession and restrictions are hot button issues in the United States, and many people have strong opinions on either side of the issue. Most people simply want a respectful hearing of their concerns.

Check in with your insurance company about any decisions that might impact coverage. Do your current practices expose you to risk? How would changes to your current practices impact your risk exposure?

Review all policies and procedures to make sure they align. If you decide to change your practices related to concealed weapons in your facility, make sure those changes are clearly and adequately communicated in your signage, employee handbook and other applicable documentation.

February 20th, 2019

It might seem fundamental, but controlling access to doorways into and through your facility might just be the most important security decision you make. Doors are the primary way people and goods move through your building, and the ability to control when, where and how people move through doorways is key to security.

How have you chosen to secure the doors in and through your facility? Let’s review some basic tools:

Keycard access.

Physical keys. Humans have been securing doorways with rudimentary pins and locks since the technology first emerged in ancient Mesopotamia around 4,000 years ago. Physical keys are simple and reliable; you must have the correct key to fit into a correct lock to gain entry.

Some of the problems with keys are as old as the technology itself. Keys can be lost, leading to costly replacement of both locks and keys. Keys can also be duplicated fairly inexpensively, making it easy for access to quickly become uncontrolled.

Other problems are fairly new. Keys don’t enable any level of sophisticated tracking, which is a feature we’ve come to expect in the modern world. They don’t reveal exactly who operated the key, when they accessed the door, or when they left. They only allow a door to be locked and unlocked.

Even so, a traditional key and lock may be an adequate solution for doors which require some access control but don’t require a great deal of sophistication.

Keypads. Keypads work much the same as a physical lock and key, but rather than require a physical key to open the user must enter the correct code to gain entry. Codes can be shared among many users, making it simple to allow access to a number of people. Codes can also be changed regularly, maintaining some level of access control without the expense of changing locks and keys.

These same features can also be a drawback. Codes can be distributed too widely, allowing access to the wrong people. Changing codes can cause people who should have access to suddenly not have access.

Much as with traditional locks and keys, keypads don’t necessarily track who has entered and exited a doorway.

Even with the limitations noted, keypads may be an adequate solution for areas that don’t require a significant level of security but do require broad access.

Keycards. Keycards step up the sophistication considerably and solve a number of challenges posed by traditional and keypad locks. Users present a unique keycard before a reader at the door way. The reader scans the information encoded in the card and verifies whether or not the holder of the card should be allowed access.

Keycards tighten access considerably and are easily activated and deactivated without disruption to other keycard users. Keycard systems also enable sophisticated tracking, allowing managers to gain valuable insights into how people move through a facility.

Biometric access. Fingerprint scanning and facial recognition take security to an even higher level, and overcome some of the challenges posed by loss, theft or damage of other access control systems.

These options represent a broad range of solutions available to secure doorways. Options are available along every price point and need, and systems can be integrated and customized to fit your use case perfectly. Need help navigating your way through access control options? We have decades of experience and a expertise in the latest, most innovative products. Call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation today.

February 5th, 2019

Did last year’s tax overhaul benefit your business? Do you now have more capital to invest in improvements? If you’ve been holding off on green investments because you are concerned about the short-term cost, now may be the time to consider taking the plunge.

If you invested in green energy upgrades in 2018 – installing solar, geothermal, or wind to power your business – you might qualify for up to a 30 percent corporate tax credit rebate on your investment.

If you are considering installing green energy options, you’ll want to consider acting quickly because tax credits will be diminishing over the next several years.

According to the schedule posted on energy.gov, solar projects will be eligible for up to 30 percent corporate tax credits through 2019, will drop to 26 percent in 2020, and 22 percent in 2021. Geothermal projects are reimbursable up to 10 percent, and that credit for certain projects will go away after 2021.

The credit has been around for more than a decade, and the program has overgone significant changes several times. Currently, building owners in the commercial, industrial, utilities and agricultural sectors can take advantage of the credits. The credits are only available to those who originate the use of the green energy – you can’t simply buy energy from a green supplier – and must be installed by qualified contractors and meet certain standards for quality.

The use of this tax credit can be combined with other credits, too, to maximize benefits. Check with your tax professional for details. You might be able to quickly redeem some of the upfront investment in green energy, and also see reduced energy costs long term as well.

Interested in learning more about how your green energy efforts can be tied together with integrated building solutions? We’re leaders in innovative building integration and we can help. Call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation today.

January 24th, 2019

In January 2017, five vacationers lost their lives in a shooting in a baggage claim area at Ft. Lauderdale’s airport. The violent act robbed travelers nationwide of their sense of peace.

Two years later, authorities at the Abilene Regional Airport are hoping to restore some peace to travelers with the installation of the Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System.

Don Green, director of transportation services for the airport, became interested Guardian after the Ft. Lauderdale airport

“I think this is a good system to have,” said Green. “It provides a little bit of extra confirmation that something is happening in the terminal and gives you at least a few seconds at least head-start in response.”

Guardian uses acoustic and infrared sensors to detect the sound and flash of gunshots. If a gunshot is detected, Guardian immediately alerts authorities, cutting response time significantly. Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System also integrates with other building systems like door locks, video and communication systems to identify a shooter’s location and disposition, isolate a shooter, and warn facility occupants about the presence of a shooter.

The purchase of the system was made possible by a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration. The grant program, known as the Airport Improvement Program, “provides grants to public agencies — and, in some cases, to private owners and entities — for the planning and development of public-use airports that are included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS).” Funds can be used to enhance airport safety and security.

Thanks to the grant, Abilene Regional Airport only has to pay around ten percent of the total cost of installing the Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System. In addition to installing Guardian, the airport also invested in updating its dated video and audio public address system.

Interested in learning more about how the Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System enhances public safety and restores peace of mind? Contact ECT Services at (800) 567-1180.

January 11th, 2019

When it comes time to select a college, you might think that prospective students and their parents focus on factors like academics, cost, beauty of the campus and even the quality of the football and basketball teams. Another important factor? Safety.

Campus safety is a significant factor in choosing a college, particularly for parents. A recent poll conducted by CollegeBoards.com found that 86 percent of parents ranked safety high on their list of requirements, edging out even academics.  

It’s not surprising that 28 percent of colleges and universities highlight their video cameras in their marketing material, according to the 2018 Campus Safety Magazine Video Surveillance Survey.

Video plays a crucial role in campus safety, expanding the reach of campus safety officers into nearly every physical space on campus. A solid 96 percent of survey respondents use video surveillance daily or weekly to keep campuses safe. Top use cases on college and university campuses include theft, crime from community members coming from off campus, and incidents during evenings and off hours.

Video surveillance is used in real time, and for later review. According to the survey, 59 percent of campus security professionals report using video to investigate crimes, while 26 percent report that they are used to deter criminal activity in the first place. Video surveillance is also used by 52 percent of respondents to monitor live events where safety and security issues could arise, like concerts, sporting events and protests. Thirty three percent of respondents find video surveillance to be a force multiplier.

Given those use cases, image quality and reliability are key factors in choosing video surveillance tools, along with integration with other systems and data analytics tools to extend the reach and insights even further.

ECT Services partners with leaders in video surveillance cameras like Axis. We build integrated systems that connect seamlessly with other tools like access control solutions offered by HID and active shooter alert systems like The Guardian by Shooter Detection Systems.

Want to learn more? Contact us at (800) 567-1180 for a consultation today.