It’s Vegas, Baby!

Vegas pic for blogA few weeks ago, I went to Las Vegas for the first time ever. It was just as big and bright and exciting as I’d imagined; probably a little too exciting for this 40-something mom from the Pennsylvania ‘burbs. After 5 days in Sin City, I’m proud to report that I didn’t accidentally get married or lose my life savings at the blackjack table. A pretty good outcome if you ask me.

But enough about that. This is a technology blog, not a travel blog. And besides, you know what they say about things that happen in Vegas…

What brought me to Vegas in the first place was the BICSI Fall Conference & Exhibition, where Berk-Tek Leviton Technologies was showing off our latest and greatest solutions. One of the things I was most excited to share with the BICSI crowd was Berk-Tek’s new uLAN™ Extender Series. And it definitely drew a crowd!

I can’t tell you how many people came up to us and said something like, “I hear you have a new extended PoE product.” Or, “What’s this network extender I’m hearing about?” Or my favorite: “Where’s the new PoE thingy you guys have?”

What they were all asking about was Berk-Tek’s uLAN Extender Series – a new line of solutions that enables you to transmit data and power to devices located more than 100 meters from your switch.

At this stage of the game, most people understand the benefits of PoE. Being able to deliver power and data over a single connection is both convenient and cost-saving. But PoE has been limited to the standard 100-meter reach of Ethernet over a twisted-pair cabling system. What happens when you need to connect and power devices that are more than 100 meters from your switch?

For example, if a company wanted to add a security camera to monitor the parking lot, or a university wanted to provide WiFi in an outdoor common area, they would need to build another communication room or install a switch every 100 meters, which can be expensive.

Berk-Tek’s uLAN Extender Series offers another way, with both economical and feature-rich solutions for extending data and power to your remote device.

PG Kiosk 1

EXT-100 is the most cost-effective product in the series, perfect for when you need to hook up a single device that doesn’t need a whole lot of bandwidth (up to 100 Mbps). It supports PoE (15W) up to 2,000 feet and PoE+ (30W) up to 1,200 feet. EXT-100 is ideal for security cameras, VoIP phones and access control devices, both inside and outside the building.

PowerGIG™-OAC is an outdoor managed PoE switch that comes already-installed in a NEMA enclosure, so it can be used in any environment. Installed with local power, PowerGIG-OAC has four PoE ports that support a combined 240W of PoE, and up to 1Gbps transmissions. It’s equipped with easy-to-use management software, making it simple to remotely manage your PoE-powered security cameras, wireless access points, digital, signage, PoE lighting and more.

OneReach: This one isn’t new (Berk-Tek first launched it about 10 year ago), but it’s proven to be a very effective solution for extending the network. OneReach uses a composite copper/fiber cable to extend PoE a whopping 8,500 feet (roughly 2.5 km) if you choose the single-mode one-port option.

If you want to learn more about the all-new uLAN Extender Series, check out our website: www.berktek.us/extendedPoE.

If you want to learn more about my trip to Vegas, you’re out of luck. I’m not talking.

It’s an Honor Being Nominated…

… but it’s even better when you win!

va-winner-fn-4c-v1-hi-resWe’re beyond excited to announce our uLANTM solution was recently awarded a Vision Award from FacilitiesNet.com!

What is the uLAN, you ask?

The uLAN is an emerging ecosystem of utility applications (lighting, security, AV, HVAC, etc.) that traditionally haven’t been IP-enabled, but are now being connected and powered by the IP network.

Earlier this year, together with Cree Lighting and Transition Networks, Berk-Tek launched the first complete solution for connecting and powering the smart building’s uLAN. This coalition collectively offers the smart building’s nervous system: Cree’s SmartCast® Intelligence Platform is the brain, Transition Network’s PoE switch technology is the muscle, and Berk-Tek’s cabling, along with Leviton’s connectivity solutions are the nerves.

The Vision Awards recognize best-in-class products, systems and technologies in 10 different facilities management categories, judged by an independent panel of facilities executives. The uLAN won in the Smart Buildings/IoT/Software category.

This award is especially sweet.

We’re especially proud of this award because it’s a nod to the significance that cabling infrastructure plays in the smart building. The Vision Awards honor innovation and excellence in products that contribute to the efficient and profitable operations and management of institutional and commercial buildings. That’s not typically a sandbox that cabling plays in. But with increasing IP-enabled system convergence, that’s changing.

While the term smart building can mean many things to many people, the essence of a smart building is really about connections. These connections enable building systems to collect data about its occupants and environment, respond automatically to conditions and activities, and communicate with other systems both inside and outside the building.

The effectiveness and overall success of a smart building hinges on its ability to collect, share and analyze data. And it’s pretty awesome to be a part of that!

Read the full press release.

Learn more about the uLAN and our solutions.

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.

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Smart Building Connections that Matter

“As our phones and apps shape our thoughts and feelings, new technology is shaping the way we feel about comfort, security, and enjoyment of our built environment. We are connected to each other in a way that was never before possible and now we can connect to our environment.”

They believe in constant innovation to impress their clients

That great quote is from an even better article from IOT for All that discusses smart buildings and the impact they have – and will continue to have – on our lives.

Working for a cable manufacturer, I’m used to talking and writing and reading about…well, cable. The copper conductors, the jacketing material, the dBs above standard. X hooks into Y, then Y connects into Z….et cetera…et cetera…

But is that what really matters when we’re talking about a smart building? Yes and no. It matters that your cabling infrastructure – the nervous system of your smart building – is optimized to protect your data and deliver the power you need to adjust the lighting in patient rooms. It matters that the signal that gets sent from the fire detection sensors, is delivered intact to the mechanism that turns on the sprinkler system. All of that matters, of course.

But what REALLY matters is the effect all of that has on our daily lives; the way we interact with our environment and each other. What can be more important than creating an environment in which patients can heal faster, or where children can learn to the best of their ability? That is the mission of the smart building.

Berk-Tek has been studying the web of applications that work together to make a smart building smart. As more and more applications and devices are connected and powered by the LAN, organizations are investing heavily in network convergence.

Connecting and powering once-disparate building systems (lights, security cameras, sensors, and more) via the IP network improves efficiency, automates processes, and produces actionable analytics that can be used to improve user experience. But it also stresses your network with a lot more power- and bandwidth-hungry devices. How will that affect your core LAN? You can’t afford to have your WiFi network, workstations or phones go down.

Berk-Tek has a solution. Check it out here.

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!