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BUILDING INTEGRATION

Posts Tagged ‘integration’

Controls that control.

Who doesn’t want a system that can learn your habits and anticipate what you’ll do? Automating home temperature controls came to the forefront with products like The Nest and now there are systems to “think” for your commercial space in the same way. 

We’ve written about AI before. We’ve shared the Internet of Things and how automating systems can streamline processes for your organization. 

Today we are introducing a new product for which we are an authorized dealer: Brainbox AI. This system is currrently available through ECT Services and is changing the game for our customers who have already installed it. 

The system not only automates temperature controls, it does so much more, including  automatically adjusting humidity levels. Still, there are even more options available. Here are some examples: 

Think about a building that takes into account the temperature and humidity outside of the building to benefit the interior.  If the eastern facing part of the building knows the sun will rise with no clouds, the building may not require as much needed heat.  The AI then may be able to notify the system the heat is not required as long.  This pro-active approach then allows the equipment to not run so hard, so long, and turns into savings.  If a building can learn the elements before they happen, such as predicted temperatures or humidity, sun or clouds, it can then use natural resources to help make the tenants more comfortable.  It can also determine the outside temperature and know on which days that sink water should be heated versus room temperature. Things building managers may not have considered altering a few years ago are now the norm – and it’s affecting energy bills. 

Ever had one of those co-working situations where every morning someone turns up the heat and every afternoon someone else turns it down? What about the people who get the sun’s heat in the morning versus the afternoon? All of these situations can be learned to maximize efficiency and balance comfort. 

Brainbox AI runs through the temperature control main system, but again, it can help automate water usage and also light usage. 

It can take approximately 3-6 months to learn how these systems are being used but will lead a savings in energy use and energy cost. It can be organized by a building as a whole or can be broken down by floor, side of building, etcetera. 

For more information about automating your building systems, please contact us here or call us at 800-567-1180.

What Back-to-School Time Teaches Me About Innovation

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.

What makes a good service partner?

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.

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.

Shooter Detection Systems now integrates with Everbridge

Shooter Detection Systems recently announced a new technology integration between the Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System and Everbridge’s leading Critical Event Management (CEM) platform.

Guardian, developed by Shooter Detection Systems, automatically identifies gunshots using acoustic technology and relays that information automatically to key systems, dramatically reducing response time.

Everbridge’s Critical Event Management (CEM) technology suite integrates situational intelligence and threat assessment, the ability to locate impacted people and assets as well as responders into one platform. The integration adds automatic gunshot detection to the data points collected for incident management, reporting and analysis.

By leveraging the Everbridge platform capabilities, Shooter Detection System’s gunshot detection alerts are sent with customized information based on the event, according to a press release. For example, a corporation can choose to send immediate location-aware Active Shooter emergency alerts to occupants of the building with shelter in place or evacuation instructions depending on the proximity of the individuals to the threat. With the Everbridge integration, a corporate enterprise may also choose to send automated alerts to executives, crisis management and security teams with additional instructions and procedures to keep all stakeholders informed as the event unfolds.

“The partnership with an industry leader in Critical Event Management like Everbridge complements our mission to align the Guardian System with innovative technology companies passionate about mitigating the active shooter threat,” said Christian Connors, Chief Executive Officer for Shooter Detection Systems, in the release. “Our offerings appeal to the same customer base of large corporate enterprises and municipal governments who are proactively addressing the active shooter threat to their organizations.”
The integration is expected to reduce response times further, and provide key personnel with critical information.

“Organizations continue to face a challenging environment when it comes to improving response times and gaining accountability of their people during active shooter incidents,” said Imad Mouline, CTO, Everbridge. “This new integration with Shooter Detection Systems represents an important step in improving communication by ensuring that the right people are notified, regardless of their location, as soon as a gunshot is detected.”

Integration a strong theme for healthcare

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 (800) 567-1180 or connect with us at the upcoming Healthcare Coalition Conference on September 26-28 at the Hyatt Regency Lexington Center in Lexington, Ky.