Making the Smart Building Simple

Part 2 in our 3-part uLAN series

Berk-Tek recently hosted a smart building webinar called The Emergence of the uLANTM in the Connected Enterprise. In it, we focused on the emergence of an ecosystem of non-traditionally Ethernet-enabled devices that, with the growth of the smart building, are now being connected and powered by the IP network. We call this ecosystem the uLAN, which stands for Utility LAN. You can read more about the emergence of the uLAN in last week’s post.

In this fast pace of technology advancement, it seems like there’s a new device or system being added to the network every other day. All of this convergence can be overwhelming. To address this challenge, Berk-Tek has joined forces with Cree Lighting and Transition Networks to offer a solution to make the smart building simple.

Nervous systemWe like to think of our uLAN solution as the nervous system of the smart building.  Lights are the brain. Yes, I know it sounds odd to call the lights the brain of the whole operation. But the reason for that is that smart lighting provides a sensor network to capture data, as well as the software (and the API) that allows us to integrate other systems so they can all work together.

Cree’s SmartCast software not only gives you real-time visibility into your systems, but it provides actionable analytics that can be used to make better business decisions. For example, learning that you don’t really need to rent that that extra office space; you just need to redistribute your employees to even out your occupancy levels. SmartCast also comes with an option to add an open API that allows you to get your smart lighting system talking to your other building systems – automatically turning on your air conditioning when the lights turn on, for example.

Then of course we have the cabling, which serves as the nerves that connect everything together and sends signals back and forth. Berk-Tek Leviton Technologies offers several cabling systems that are specially designed for the higher levels of PoE that many smart building systems require: CX6850, CP5300, and UP1000, the industry’s first 1G system with 140-watt PoE delivery capability.

Finally, the muscle, which is the switch that provides the power. Since the uLAN is enabled by PoE technology, we’re specifically talking about a PoE switch here. With utility applications, you don’t need the latest and greatest electronics, but at the same time, the switch has to be reliable. Your security system can’t go down, and your lights need to turn on. We recommend Transition Networks’ PoE++ switch because it’s the perfect balance of price (25% lower than a Tier 1 switch) and performance, tech support, warranty, etc.

If you want to learn more, I invite you to check out this resource page, which is chock full of information on our uLAN solution, as well as specific info on each of our companies.

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