Why AV over IP

This post is last in Berk-Tek’s AV blog series. Our first post focused on the HDBaseT Alliance and SDVoE Alliance, and our second let you in on the dirty little secret about my slow reflexes (along with the latency challenges inherent in AV systems). Before we dig into this final post (warning: shameless plug ahead), don’t forget to register for Berk-Tek’s upcoming webinar: 3 Key Essentials for Moving AV to the LAN on December 12.

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My Latent Brain and the Future of AV Technology

The second in a 3-part series on AV over IP

FI_Brain

Image Credit: Franklin Institute

Last weekend I took my kids to the Franklin Institute, a science museum located right in the heart of Philadelphia. For me, the best exhibit there was Your Brain, which explores the complex inner workings of the brain and how it makes sense of the world around us. I learned all about how neurons send electrical and chemical signals, which parts of the brain control which parts of the body, and how the brain constantly processes everything going on around us.

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AV Technology Advancements: Try to Keep Up!

Berk-Tek is preparing to launch our new LANmark-HD cable – a revolutionary new shielded Cat 6 cable specially designed for high-definition AV transmission. In honor of this exciting announcement, our next few blog posts will talk about the rapidly advancing technologies surrounding AV over IP. This is the first in our three-part series.

Antique TV sets background. 3D rendering

The recent advances in AV technology have been nothing short of amazing.  Up until about the year 2000, standard definition was the norm for every television, computer monitor and laptop in America. Fast forward to today, and high definition (HD) video has taken over the market. (I’m dating myself here, but I remember when it was HUGE deal to have an HD cable box in your house!) Continue reading

The Top 5 Reasons to Integrate Smart Lighting in the LAN

Berk-Tek recently rolled out a new initiative with Cree, a leading manufacturer of LED and smart lighting solutions, to help our customers better understand smart lighting and how to best integrate it into their IP networks.

LTG-ExtremeNetworks-CorporateCampus-MorrisvilleNC-031414-014Most people we talk to are familiar with smart lighting. They know what it is and the benefits that come with it. They’ve read articles and heard other suppliers talk about lower energy costs, reduced maintenance, and better productivity. But most times, these sources lack details and present only a portion of the big picture.

The most common feedback we get from customers is, “I want to learn more, but I’m not really sure where to start.” Most people are looking for someone to “stitch it all together” for them so they can fully understand WHY and HOW they should integrate smart lighting into the LAN.

Let’s start with the WHY. Below are the top 5 reasons why you should integrate smart lighting into the LAN:

  1. Centralized Control. No more trucking down hallways to go from room to room to adjust your light fixtures. From the comfort of your laptop or other IP device, you can adjust color tuning, max lumen output, the sensor sensitivity to movement, and much more.
  2. PoE. We look at the benefits of PoE first in terms of CAPEX, then in terms of efficiency.

CAPEX of PoE vs AC: Installing a PoE-powered smart lighting system costs about 15-20% less than installing a similar system powered via traditional AC. PoE is less complex, it is less labor, and the labor itself is less expensive per hour (low voltage contractor vs electrician).

Efficiency: A PoE-powered system is relatively efficient when care is taken in selecting the right infrastructure solution. Selecting the right cabling products – those with optimized twist rates and AWG size, and made with premium materials that minimize heat rise – can significantly reduce the losses inherent in a 100m channel.

  1. System Integration. An integrated smart lighting system serves as the communication channel for building automation systems to talk to each other via a common Ethernet language, and without the need to human interaction. This is relevant to a host of building automation systems, including HVAC, access control, security cameras, and more.
  2. LiFi. Light Fidelity (LiFi) is several years off from being adopted in any sort of scale, but it holds promise. LiFi uses light waves to carry digital information and is meant to complement existing WiFi LAN inside your facility. LiFi requires LED lights and they need to be connected to a network. Therefore, installing a smart lighting system integrated into your LAN is preparing your organization for future LiFi capability.
  3. Actionable Analytics. Arguably, one of the greatest benefits of a smart lighting system is the ability to act on the data collected from the sensor network embedded in the lights themselves. In addition to identifying and acting on energy savings, opportunities, you could use sensor data to identify underutilized spaces and reconfigure your layout to maximize the space you have instead of buying or renting space you thought you needed. For example, if your analytics are showing that your space utilization is only 60%, the system can make recommendations on how to relocate personnel to maximize space.

Want to learn more? Register for our upcoming webinar – Realize the Future: How to Integrate Smart Lighting into Your Network – on October 4!

How’s Your Lighting Right Now? Making the Most of Workplace Productivity

Tone Up at the Terminals

Office ergonomics have come a long way since 1988’s “Tone Up at the Terminals with Denise Austin.”

The average person spends about 35% of their waking hours at work. I know; it’s a little jarring. That’s a LOT of time in the office. Go ahead…take a minute to recover.

You good? OK, let’s continue…

Because of all that time people spend working, over the past several decades, there’s been more and more focus on making that time better for our employees. Office ergonomics have come a long way since they first became a thing in the 1980s. In workplaces across the world, efforts have been made to increase productivity, reduce injuries, and generally keep people happier at work.

In our offices, we’ve got stand-up desks, wrist-support mouse pads, ergonomic keyboards, and chairs equipped with enough bells and whistles to fly themselves to Mars.

But how about the lights? Let’s face it; typical fluorescent office lighting leaves a lot to be desired and a lot of headaches to be had. Literally.

The impact of lighting on workplace productivity has been well-documented over the past several decades. In the late 1980s, the lighting systems in a U.S. post office in Reno, Nevada, were renovated to make the building more efficient. The renovation was successful, saving $50,000 a year in energy and maintenance costs. But the improvements didn’t stop there. Working in a more naturally lit work area, postal employees did their jobs better and faster – to the tune of an 8% increase in productivity. The productivity gains equated to $500,000 in additional revenue per year.

Fast forward 30 years. Lighting systems – and the way we connect and power them – have evolved. IP-connected lighting – or smart lighting – is an emerging technology that leverages the energy efficiency of LED light bulbs with the cost-savings benefits of power over Ethernet (PoE).

Maybe you’re already familiar with the cost savings benefits of smart lighting. Those benefits are significant, but there’s more to it than that. Integrating a smart lighting system into your LAN can provide you with actionable data to improve the efficiency of your business.

Berk-Tek can help you understand all the benefits of smart lighting. We are working with Cree, a leading manufacturer of LED and smart lighting solutions, to help you better understand this emerging technology and provide the solutions that work best for you.

Learn more here

 

Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out…

Confession: When I first started in this industry, I had no idea that my WiFi network was connected by cables. I’m not sure how I thought all that data travelled back and forth: Invisible magic laser beams? Alien sound waves? On the backs of dust motes? Truth be told, I had never given it a single second of thought. It all just kind of, well, worked (most of the time).

Fast forward three years, and I’ve almost wrapped my head around wireless technology and how it’s deployed. Emphasis on the almost.

However, in keeping with the breakneck pace of change in our industry, just as I’ve just about figured one thing out, there are new Wi-Fi developments underway and a new player in the mix – 5G.

Skater5G is making a lot of waves in the trade pubs. Intel has been marketing their 5G solution heavily, using the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang as their testing ground. (Although some thought leaders are suggesting that Intel’s claims are all smoke and mirrors, and the technology isn’t nearly as far along as Intel says it is.)

Regardless of these arguments, 5G being heralded as the next great technology, with a potential impact large enough to bring about a new industrial age. 5G is poised to have a significant influence on how we’ll communicate, travel, purchase, and manufacture things.

But wait, get this…This latest generation of wireless grabbing headlines is based in cellular technologies.

Say what?! It’s like they’re trying to confuse me on purpose.

I think PC Magazine explained it best: “Like other cellular networks, 5G networks use a system of cell sites that divide their territory into sectors and send encoded data through radio waves. Each cell site must be connected to a network backbone, whether through a wired or wireless backhaul connection.”

Some big claims have been made about 5G. It brings the promise is greater speeds (to transmit more data), lower latency (to be more responsive), and the ability to connect a lot more devices at once (like sensors and smart devices). Some say it’s the only form of wireless we’ll need.

But 5G also brings with it quite a few unanswered questions and some uncertainty about the feasibility of its deployment. Will it replace Wi-Fi? If so, how? And who’s going to pay for it?

Register for our next webinar on March 21st to learn how 5G technology will fit in with the other wireless developments on the horizon. Register now. 

Come see us at BICSI Winter 2018!

BICSI2018Are you going to BICSI next week? Come visit us at Booth #901. Berk-Tek, along with our partner, Leviton, will be exhibiting our latest market-leading system solutions, highlighting key applications and trends.

Stop by our booth to learn about the latest from Berk-Tek Leviton Technologies, including these products and solutions from Berk-Tek:

  • Practical applications for enterprise connectivity, including evolving technology such as PoE, wireless networks, and enterprise fiber optic networks. Highlighted products include Berk-Tek’s LANmark-XTP Category 6A cable.
  • OneReach, a unique PoE extender system that enables the deployment of up to 3,600 feet to connect and power remotely-located devices such as security cameras, blue light phones and wireless access points. Download our OneReach brochure to learn more.

Learn more about the event here: 2018 BICSI Winter Conference and Exhibition, February 4-8, 2018.

Hope to see you there!