4 barriers to tech adoption in the healthcare industry

Are you equipped to deliver the healthcare of the future? In our new blog series, we explore key areas of consideration to help you make the decisions that will improve the lives of patients, doctors, and nurses.

Whether it’s the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), virtual reality, AI or blockchain, new technology promises to revolutionize healthcare from the ground up.

To stay competitive, implementing these technologies is no longer optional for providers, it’s a requirement. But, saying and doing are two different things; digital transformation is not that straightforward.

As we discussed in our previous blog, Can your cabling support the demands of the future, wireless networks – and the infrastructure working in the background – are a necessity to support the latest medical technology. Added to that are four huge challenges for healthcare providers looking to adopt new tech.

Interoperability

In her 2018 study published in BMC Health Services Research, Anabel Castillo, a researcher from Carnegie Mellon University, found that “without interoperable systems, the full potential benefits of adopting electronic health records cannot be achieved,” adding that “patient-centered treatment requires collaboration, coordination and accountability.”

Whether it’s patient-facing technology or back-office operations like supply chain, finance or HR, the ability for systems to ‘talk’ to each other are crucial to the adoption of new technologies. This demand isn’t solely on healthcare organizations, of course. Third party software providers need to fall in line, allowing data and information to flow between their solutions and others. Interoperability needs to be friction-less to truly improve operational efficiency and patient experience.

Upkeep of old technology

Digital transformation is not an overnight solution, it’s a constant evolution, driving organizations towards innovative ways of working. This means new technology inevitably must work side by side with the old, and legacy systems still need care, attention and investment to keep them operational in the short to medium term.

Often these older products still work well and have been integrated into the facility’s workflow over several years. As time goes on, however, the original vendor may no longer support the tool or develop patches for it. As systems get older and support dries up, it becomes more expensive to keep these systems fit for purpose. Investment in new tech, then, also needs further investment in the old.

Culture

Tech solutions don’t replace staff, they’re there to help them. But all too often, transformational decisions are made from on high and cascaded down to a front line that hasn’t been involved in any decision-making or testing of new tech.

In Deloitte’s “Future of risk in the digital era” report, Carey Oven, a partner with Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory, says: “Technology is definitely a part of digital transformation, but unless leaders can ‘win hearts and minds’ throughout the process, efforts can stall or not be as successful as they could be.”

Perhaps the biggest challenge for digital transformation in healthcare is getting staff to embrace new solutions and use them to their full potential. Fail, and that investment will barely see a return.

Cabling

There is no digital transformation without physical infrastructure, and the cable plant of many hospitals is simply unable to handle the demands of new healthcare technologies.  

Organizations won’t enjoy the full benefits of expensive software and hardware upgrades if they don’t consider the strength of the cable plant that supports them. A transformational program can leave hospitals with cost overruns and quality of service issues if attention isn’t paid to both the physical and digital demands of the changes.

Choose an agile, future-proof partner

The partner you choose for your infrastructure design will directly impact the success of your future technology investments. As time goes by, technology vendors may no longer support products that have been integrated into your facility’s workflow over the course of several years. This can result in a ‘rip and replace’ situation, which can be costly and highly complex.

Panduit and their fully vetted and trained ecosystem of installers, integrators, and specifiers have collaborated with numerous organizations to achieve near-perfect reliability, which is critical in healthcare environments. They can help organizations quickly scale up to accommodate additional users, computers, and new technologies. The powerful network provides standardization across the networking environment, and a foundation for continuous technological advancement.

Constant evolutionary change requires a foundation with the ability to evolve with you and a partner that can facilitate those changes.

To discover more about how ‘Generation Data’ is shaping the future of healthcare IT, download our new healthcare eBook.

Infrastructure Talent Needs for Cutting-Edge Data Centers

Part 2: Insights from industry expert Peter Kazella

In the second of our two-part blog series with industry expert Peter Kazella of Pkaza, a 12-year Data Center Facilities recruiter, we discuss what it takes to go live with a newly built data center and what to look out for when building your team in an ultra-tight market. 

As more data centers are getting constructed and going online, what staffing needs contribute to going live?

Having the right team on board including partnering with the right vendors is crucial as you need a team who is constantly staying current as new technology is introduced.

Right now for Pkaza, one of our highest demand jobs is that of the Commissioning Agent. It is their job to test the many mechanical (HVAC), electrical, and building controls systems of the data center to make sure they are operating to specs before the data center goes live. Many data center operators (i.e. end users), will contract third party commissioning firms with electrical, mechanical, and controls engineering expertise to test and inspect these systems to make sure they operate and perform to spec. before they flip the “On” switch.

They will test the backup power system equipment like generators and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS’s) as well as the components that make up the massive cooling systems like the computer room air conditioning units (CRAC), chillers and cooling towers.

Many of these professionals are degreed mechanical and electrical engineers, but don’t have to be.

Very bright and experienced power and cooling technicians with expertise in equipment repair and maintenance are very good candidates for these rolls. Military veterans from the Navy’s Nuclear Engineering program (EMN’s, ETN’s and MMN’s are the most sought after) or any other branch that supports power generation are typically solid candidates post active duty.

Their background in a critical environment that revolves around stringent operational procedures is a good match for these roles. Besides the expertise that is needed for this job, a large amount of travel is required for this role which makes it a challenge to find the right people.

Many data centers will also start to hire their facility operations teams during this process. These are the managers and critical facilities technicians that will be monitoring and maintaining the equipment (electrical, mechanical, and controls) once the data center is up and running.

By observing the commissioning process, these technicians will have a deeper understanding of the procedures needed to keep the equipment running and what to do in the unlikely event of equipment failure. These techs are also able to give suggestions on equipment if they observe issues in the initial startup phase. They create the MOPs and SOPs to maintain and operate the equipment which is a very important part of being a commissioning agent as well.

What potential challenges and opportunities exist for data centers looking to hire as their infrastructure modernizes?

Having the right team on board including partnering with the right vendors is crucial as you need a team who is constantly staying current as new technology is introduced.

The data center industry has a shortage of specialized training / education programs that focuses on the data center market. Over the last 15 years or so, many training and educational programs have been developed to offer content with a focus on data center management. Some examples are The Marist College Institute for Data Center Professionals (IDCP) that was founded in 2004 and offers a college-level accredited education designed specifically for those who wish to advance their data center careers. It’s a 100% online learning program and includes important areas like cybersecurity and data center infrastructure. Another recognized program is Uptime Institute’s Accredited Tier Design program for licensed professional engineers. We also like what we are seeing with a brand new data center educational program called CMCO (Certified Mission Critical Operator). This is the core curriculum being used at North Virginia Community College and other community colleges and universities. This new degreed program offering is called Engineering Technology: Data Center Operations Specialization.

Attending data center industry events like DCD, AFCOM’s Data Center World or 7×24 Exchange Conference is also a great way to stay current with new technology that is constantly evolving. These events offer the opportunity to discuss changes in the industry with peers and the chance to see firsthand, the new technologies developed by manufacturers that support our industry. Otherwise, the opportunity exists with companies such as Pkaza that specialize in placing these types of data center experts with vendors and colocation providers for both full time or consulting for the critical facilities industry.

Conclusion

A big thank you again to Peter Kazella for all his insight on current trends and keeping us informed on what look for in the future. At Panduit, we know that redundancy in electrical power components and cooling backups are the core of reliability for data center. For more information about improving your operation through wireless monitoring, check out our white paper, Improved Reliability Through Wireless Monitoring and Control.

Thanks for checking out our new expert Q&A series. Follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook or sign up for Panduit’s mailing list to get alerted when our next conversation with an expert goes live.

Data Center Infrastructure Trends & Talent Needs

Part 1: Insights from industry expert Peter Kazella

As you modernize, upgrade, and invest in your data center, your team needs skilled technicians and leaders if you want to take full advantage of the new trends and technology available to you. Hiring and retaining people who have the skills and experience to keep pace with the evolution of technology is crucial.

We spoke with industry expert Peter Kazella of Pkaza, a twelve-year veteran Data Center Facilities recruiter, to learn about the most relevant opportunities and challenges on the horizon in data center solutions. In the first of a two-part blog series, we discuss recent innovations, the shortage of specialized talent, and how to find the best people for your data center.

Pkaza’s recruiting niche is staffing for the mission critical facilities market. Pkaza has a focus on the facilities side as it pertains to the power and cooling systems within the data center. This includes engineering design, commissioning, construction, field service, as well as facilities operations of these critical environments that “allows the IT side to operate ceaselessly without experiencing any type of outage.”

Let’s dive into our recent Q&A:

What kind of infrastructure innovations are you seeing your data center clients moving toward?

First off, thank you for the opportunity to discuss hiring needs in the data center industry.

We have been seeing a steady movement of enterprise users migrating towards the colocation / cloud market as the cost of maintaining their data center continues to rise and keeping up with changing technologies is getting more challenging and expensive. It’s easier for companies to realize these technical advances through a data center colocation provider.

A colocations data center is typically able to implement these innovations since their expertise is providing uninterruptible power and cooling and the network infrastructure to send and receive data. Whereas in the enterprise market (companies that own the data center, but the data center is not their primary business), implementing new technologies might be harder to gain traction as the data center supports the primary business of that company. We are also seeing a big play on hyperscale, custom modular builds, with BMS (building management systems) controls taking a bigger part in optimizing cooling and power efficiency.

Describe why you’re seeing an increase in data centers being constructed and going online, yet you’re seeing a shortage of available talent.

The short answer is a supply and demand issue in that our data center clients require professionals that have deep experience with constructing these critical facilities. Building a data center is very unique because of the enormous amount of electrical and cooling equipment that is installed.

This requires someone with expert MEP (Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing) experience and project experience in the 50-500 million dollar range. Since the market requires such specialized talent, where the talent pool is low, it has created a talent vacuum which has driven up the salary levels for candidates in this market.

Most companies realize this and still have trouble sourcing talent since actually finding these candidates, regardless if you are open to paying more, is still hard. This is obviously a good thing if you are a recruiter in my shoes, as this issue keeps my company extremely busy.

You help hire for a variety of data center positions, ranging from field service, CF operations, construction, commissioning, etc. What are some of the infrastructure pain points leading to these hires? What new skills do you look for in new hires?

One of the biggest challenges that the data center industry has to deal with is controlling and monitoring these critical facilities to ensure continuous reliability at a competitive price point. The equipment needed to run the data centers is expensive and products tend not to communicate with each other which is why controls and BMS / BAS Systems are increasingly sought after.

There is not “ERP” or Enterprise Software available that allows companies to monitor and control all their equipment on a single platform as is available on the IT side with products such as SAP – hence the push for Controls and Automation hiring.

Our clients are hiring people with BAS (Building Automation System) or EPMS (Electrical Power Management Systems) expertise. When optimized, these systems can significantly bring down the cost of powering the building. Any cost savings found will contribute to a company’s bottom line.

Conclusion

Panduit would like to thank Peter for taking the time to chat with us and our readers, and to help us see beyond the horizon of this evolving industry. To learn more about the use of both on-premises and hosted data centers, check out our white paper, Optimizing Infrastructure for Hybrid Data Center Strategies.

There’s certainly a lot to consider when finding the right talent for your growing business, and we hope that Peter’s insights helped you to better understand what your next move should be. Join us next time with Peter when we discuss what it takes to go live and new opportunities and challenges.

Thanks for checking out our new expert Q&A series. Follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook or sign up for Panduit’s mailing list to get alerted when our next conversation with an expert goes live.

Panduit Accepts Three 2019 Innovators Awards

Innovation is one of those words that gets tossed around a lot. A. LOT. In fact, an expert just recently included it on a list of words that should never be used to describe yourself. However, for companies like Panduit, where our first focus is on scientific research and the development of new products to solve problems, that word – innovation – is a perfect fit.

Yesterday, Cabling Installation & Maintenance announced the honorees in the 2019 edition of their Cabling Innovators Awards. For five years now, CI&M has been recognizing innovators in the structured cabling space. And, for five years now, we’ve been proud to bring some of those awards home to our trophy case.

Without further ado, presenting Panduit’s 2019 Cabling Innovators Awards:

PoE Extenders – Platinum honoree

PoE Extenders are a new offering from Panduit that extend Power over Ethernet (and data) beyond the 100-meter channel. If you’re looking for a way to connect and power a remote security camera or access gate in a parking lot, or perhaps a suite of devices within a building entrance, this is the solution you’re looking for. PoE Extenders will extend the reach up to 610 meters. This solution solves huge connectivity issues for our customers while being simple and inexpensive to install.

Panduit and Atlona representatives accepted Cabling Innovators Awards during a reception in Las Vegas Tuesday night. Shaun Burnette (left), regional sales manager for Atlona, accepted the Gold award for Lucas Oil Stadium; Panduit Product Line Manager Frank Straka (second from left) accepted the Platinum award for PoE Extenders; and Andres Vicente (right), business development partner with Unitedtec IoT, accepted the Gold award for Codisa Data Center’s intelligent lighting solution by Panduit and Igor. Patrick McLaughlin (second from right), chief editor of Cabling Installation & Maintenance, presented the awards.

Lucas Oil Stadium – Gold honoree

Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, upgraded their digital signage recently with a solution from Atlona, a Panduit company. OmniStream™, Atlona’s AV over IP solution, is the foundation of that installation. OmniStream delivers the performance and dependability of traditional AV distribution, plus the unrestricted scalability and cost-efficiency of integrating over data networks. The upgrade project is highlighted in the Lucas Oil Plaza, a public congregation area for events and concessions. OmniStream, paired with Velocity™ control, now delivers content to 13 single displays and a 16-screen video wall within the plaza.

Codisa Data Center – Gold honoree

Located in Costa Rica, Codisa is a highly-regarded technology partner throughout Latin America. Last year, Codisa began development of their latest data center, in San Jose, Costa Rica. One of their key drivers was to build an environmentally-friendly and sustainable building. So, Codisa partnered with Igor to introduce a PoE lighting solution throughout the Network Operations Center and office space. Igor’s flagship product, Nexos, is a PoE Internet of Things smart building platform that incorporates hardware, software, and cloud analytics to form a digital building backbone. This system was layered onto Panduit physical infrastructure.


Both of these case study honorees exemplify the great work that our customers and partners do in this space. When Cabling Installation & Maintenance first introduced the Cabling Innovators Awards in 2015, Panduit jumped at the chance to submit stellar projects that we were part of, to shine a spotlight on the great, innovative work that our partners and customers are doing. Since that first round in 2015, we’ve continued down that path, choosing – more often than not – to highlight our partners and customers for their projects.

We know that we can’t do this alone. When we combine our innovative products with the ideas and expertise of others – like Igor – the sum is always greater than working alone.

We’re proud to be called innovators by CI&M. And, we’re not done innovating yet. Some of the industry’s best and most curious minds are already hard at work developing innovative solutions to tomorrow’s problems!

The Floating Cloud Trend

For financial services institutions, the competition to gain competitive advantage is fierce. Many factors can set you apart from the pack: a few microseconds of advantage in a digital trade; your network uptime; the responsiveness of your customer service; or the ability to quickly and rapidly scale operations to meet market demand.

These are also some of the reasons why financial services firms are shifting to a hybrid IT model, and moving away from solely operating on-premise infrastructure. The new model incorporates on-premise systems along with colocated facilities, private cloud and public and multi-cloud services.

Organizations that have this combination available can select the most appropriate architecture for each individual workload, based on cost, speed, latency, performance and other factors.


Network evaluation

As an industry, financial services has a reputation of being risk averse when it comes to IT, and for good reasons. In a highly-regulated industry where privacy and security are non-negotiable, financial services businesses have historically operated their core applications in-house, on-premise or at a colocation environment. It meant they could implement end-to-end security and retain a high level of control over their data and applications.

However, competitive pressure from digitally-transformed rivals, or cloud-centric start-ups, drove many organizations to transfer certain workloads to the cloud. It offered new advantages and a way to extend the functionality of legacy IT and evolve the company’s network architecture.

More recently however, financial services businesses have evolved further, pursuing a more diverse hybrid IT strategy. Yugal Joshi, Practice Director at Everest Group, says, “Our research indicates that 77% of enterprises are actively pursuing a hybrid cloud strategy, with 1 in 3 migrating their production workloads to the cloud.”

As a result, the selective deployment of applications within cloud, colocation or on-premise environments signals a shift toward a more rounded and mature approach to IT, rather than a one-size-fits-all, “cloud or bust” strategy.


Hybrid advantages

Hybrid IT infrastructure delivers the best of all worlds: secure and low latency on-premise networking for the workloads that require it; the ability to scale or boost processing for applications that need the flexibility of cloud; and the operational cost advantages and manageability of colocation facilities.

Hybrid cloud is also proving to be an effective platform for running particular data-centric applications, such as blockchain, AI and machine learning, and big data and analytics solutions where data scientists run sophisticated queries on big datasets.

In addition, cloud infrastructure offers automated API-driven processes, enabling end users to request, configure and manage a range of resources and services themselves, with minimal input from IT. This could be anything from database and storage provisioning to AI and analytics on demand.

Furthermore, hybrid cloud adoption fosters innovation, empowering firms to reach beyond geographical, industry and organizational barriers. IBM Research Director, Lynn Kesterson-Townes, says that over 75% of bankers surveyed for IBM’s Tailoring Hybrid Cloud for Banking report said their most successful cloud initiatives had already achieved inroads into new industries; new revenue streams, and expansion of their product or services portfolio.

In its report, IBM cites a leading Australasian bank, which identified customer experience as a priority focus area. It deployed a hybrid cloud solution to reduce time to market and delivered an enhanced mobile experience to its customers in just 12 weeks.

Lastly, hybrid cloud offers cost savings, which is another important driver behind the trend. Research has found that financial services firms gain greater cost flexibility with hybrid cloud by shifting fixed to variable expenses. Public cloud services also enable businesses to operate workloads that require massive data, storage and processing, on a pay-as-you-go basis, instead of having to invest in their own data center technology.

For these reasons, a traditionally risk averse industry has calculated the value of evolving its networking architecture, and is reaping the rewards of a hybrid IT infrastructure.

Partnerships with technology experts like Panduit are an important part of the puzzle. We work closely with our clients, offering our expertise to help them build a flexible, scalable and secure hybrid platform that can encompass on-premise, colocated and public cloud design. Our ability to support your transition into a hybrid IT model will enable you to future-proof your tomorrow, today.


Does Your Lockout/Tagout Program Need to Evolve?

Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) programs have become a common practice for safeguarding employees. Yet the incident rate of electrical workplace injuries has remained relatively unchanged over the past decade. According to a new study conducted by EHS Today and Panduit, 40% of companies have reported electrical incidents over the past five years and nearly seven out of ten have reported near misses.1


The Hierarchy of Risk Controls is used to determine how to implement feasible and effective control solutions. Control methods at the top of the graphic are potentially more effective and protective than those at the bottom.

Many LOTO programs aren’t as effective as they should be because they are still primarily focused on manual risk mitigation at the lower tiers of the Hierarchy of Risk Controls—PPE and administrative controls—which are considered the least effective methods for preventing electrical incident injuries and fatalities.

To truly minimize hazards, your LOTO program likely needs to evolve to focus on the higher tiers of the Hierarchy of Risk Controls, and doing that requires collaboration and input from across the organization.

Common Shortcomings

PPE is only effective if worn properly, yet a study of construction workers found that although 82% of participants believed wearing PPE could protect them from injury, 58% of participants were reluctant to wear it and 53% reported seeing coworkers without it in dangerous situations.2 The time it takes for a worker to determine what PPE is required, obtain and inspect it, and then put it on is significant, especially when workers are under pressure to meet deadlines. Even after all that, PPE doesn’t do anything to prevent hazards in the first place.

When servicing electrical equipment, workers must comply with safety regulations that require a voltage verification test to validate the absence of voltage. This process includes a number of stages that can be complex and time-consuming when using hand-held portable test instruments.

Employees performing Lockout/Tagout procedures must verify the absence of voltage in order to establish an electrically safe work condition.  However, using traditional methods with a manual voltage testing device still exposes workers to electrical hazards. One survey found that over a five-year period, 55% of respondents reported either an injury or an injury near miss with voltage test instruments at their facility, and 11.7% reported a disruption to plant operations.3 The underlying causes identified included hardware deficiencies, human error, and inadequate systems for managing the selection and use of the test instruments.

The manual voltage testing process itself relies on the expertise and diligence of the person doing it. The process has been described by some as “easier said than done,” with one survey at a large chemical company finding that 90% of the organization’s electricians and technical personnel did not know how to perform a thorough test.4 Manual processes are difficult to track and leave the person performing the task on his or her honor to execute each step; there are no warnings or indications if a step is forgotten or skipped.

Moving Up the Hierarchy of Risk Controls

The NPFA 70E 2018 standards now explicitly state that the priority of any safety program needs to be the elimination of the hazards. Two areas of improvement in particular can go a long way in moving the focus of your LOTO program from mitigation toward elimination.

Collaboration

Reducing hazards isn’t possible without all employees adhering to the program, and safety procedures can’t be developed in a vacuum. That’s why the most effective LOTO programs are built in collaboration with multiple departments. In addition to helping increase buy-in, attacking a problem from multiple angles can reveal hidden stumbling blocks and provide new insights for overcoming them.

It’s also important to keep in mind the different groups of employees affected by your LOTO program:

  • Authorized employees, who are responsible for implementing energy control procedures and performing the required servicing or maintenance.
  • Affected employees, who operate equipment or work in an area in which an energy control procedure is being implemented.
  • Other employees, including office or warehouse personnel who work in an area where an energy control procedure is utilized.

Each group must understand their purpose and role in the LOTO program. For example, while affected employees are not responsible for locking out or tagging out, they need to clearly understand not to start up or use equipment during these procedures.

Bringing each group to the table to gives them a real sense of ownership over the program’s design and ensures that all teams understand, support, and follow the proper procedures.

Safety Technology

The more manual steps you can eliminate from any process, the more you can reduce exposure to possible risks and potential individual errors. This is especially true for a LOTO program that depends on using handheld testers for voltage verification, which expose the person performing the test to the very electrical hazards they are trying to avoid.

Incorporating more engineering control technologies moves your LOTO program up the Hierarchy of Risk Controls by creating barriers between workers and electrical hazards.

The VeriSafe™ – Absence of Voltage Tester minimizes risk by verifying the absence of voltage before equipment is accessed, making it easier for qualified electrical workers to verify an electrically safe work condition has been established.

One example of an engineering control solution is Panduit’s Absence of Voltage Tester (AVT), a device that can be permanently mounted on a control panel and that can indicate if the panel is de-energized before opening.

As with any process, the easier your LOTO procedures are to implement, the more likely they will be followed. Anything that can reduce the time needed to look for proper tools, devices or PPE should be considered. This can be as simple as having dedicated lockout kits or lockout stations.  Another option is to use lockout devices that can be installed without tools, such as Panduit’s PowerLOK™ circuit breaker lockout device.

Finding the Right Partner

Research has proven that just having a LOTO program in place isn’t enough to protect your employees and business from the risks associated with electrical hazards. Today, it’s crucial to strive for the more effective, higher tiers in the Hierarchy of Risk Controls. Yet, evolving a LOTO program to reduce hazards can seem overwhelming.

That’s why at Panduit we work closely with you to understand the unique needs of your business. In addition to offering industry-leading safety solutions, Panduit can also help your organization with safety services and OSHA-compliant training to help you build a better, more effective LOTO program.

For more information on how to improve your electrical safety programs, read our eBook How Understanding the Hierarchy of Controls can Lead to Reduced Electrical Incidents.

FOOTNOTES:
1 EHS & Panduit: Industry Insights: Electrical Safety Considerations: https://bit.ly/2W3XHlD
2 R. U. Farooqui, S. M. Ahmed, K. Panthi, and S. Azhar, “Addressing the issue of compliance with personal protective equipment on construction worksites: a workers’ perspective,” in Proceedings of the 45th ASC Annual Conference, Gainesville, FL, 2009.
3 H.L. Floyd and B. J. Nenninger, “Personnel safety and plant reliability considerations in the selection and use of voltage test instruments,” IEEE Transactions on Industry Applications, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 367–373, 1997.
4 K. Crawford and N. K. Haggerty, “Test before touch: Seems easier said than done,” IEEE Industrial Applications Magazine, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 32–39, May/ June 2008. doi: 10.1109/mias.2008.918503.

Trends Shaping the Future of Connected Smart Buildings: Sustainability

Part 3: Insights from industry expert Casey Talon

In the final part of our three-part blog series with building innovation Research Director, Casey Talon of Navigant, we explore the challenges of implementing today’s technology in yesterday’s buildings and look to the future of sustainable smart buildings.

There is a rapid uptake of wireless, what impact does this have on the energy efficiency of a building?

Wireless has a lot of appeal to building owners because of the low cost, low to no disruption installation. The sheer volume of wireless devices projected to be deployed in commercial buildings with IoT begs the question of how to manage the energy requirements in light of energy efficiency expectations for sustainability.

Why is it vital to have an infrastructure that seamlessly delivers data and power, in a size that makes the most of the available space?

The vast majority of commercial buildings we will use in the next couple decades are already built; in many cases, these buildings are old and operating without cohesive smart building solutions. So, while PoE has a value proposition in new construction, it can be a critical component of infrastructure design in retrofits. PoE also offers higher data transfer rates than wireless and data reliability without the concern of interference that can come with using Bluetooth or cellular. Data velocity and reliability are important considerations in the smart building context and especially for solutions deployed in facilities that support critical operations such as healthcare or financial services. Operational savings are another benefit of PoE that can help drive investment in retrofit scenarios, particularly in budget-constrained markets like healthcare and education.

What trends are you seeing in energy efficient technologies being created and adopted by commercial and residential buildings?

Navigant Research has been exploring the future of smart buildings in the broader ecosystem of digital transformation and our view of the emerging Energy Cloud. Optimizing systems within the building to perform in coordination with other onsite resources such as solar, EV charging systems, or energy storage is the next frontier for the smart building.

This next stage is positioned to shift the building from an energy end use to an energy asset, from a cost center to a low carbon profit generator.

PoE lighting controls, as an example, allow for load shedding that can be used for a demand response program. Utilities can engage building owners to shed their energy use during peak periods that risk grid outages in exchange for financial incentives.

Additionally, DC power systems are gaining popularity as distributed energy resources (DER) become more widespread.

Benefits of sustainable smart buildings

In addition to collecting actionable data, creating a better customer experience, and a more productive workspace, sustainability will continue to drive business gains in a connected enterprise. In a recent article, Navigant explores how companies can use sustainability to strengthen financial resilience: How Climate Risk Mitigation is Changing Corporations.

Panduit would like to thank Casey for taking the time to chat with us and helping to inform our readers about the trends shaping the future of connected infrastructure – few things move at the speed of innovation, and we hope Casey’s insights help prepare you for future technology trends that will shape the layout of smart buildings.

BICSI Fall 2019: What You’ll See from Panduit and General Cable

BICSI’s annual Fall Conference and Exhibition is less than a week away and we’re packing our bags, double-checking our travel plans and brushing up on our card and dice skills. We have a lot in store for Las Vegas, and have many, many reasons for you to stop by the PanGen booth to see us!

Get to Know PanGen

As always, Panduit and General Cable will be sharing a booth and sharing our expertise on all things copper related. The PanGen partnership is 15 years in the making, providing contractors and end users with an end-to-end cabling and connectivity solution, featuring the industry’s smallest Category 6A copper cable (0.250” diameter). That cable is recognized in the industry as having the best thermal properties to manage the heat rise from Power over Ethernet. Devices like security cameras and wireless access points are already on the network, so using PoE to power them via the same copper cable just makes sense. One of our most popular demonstrations at every BICSI shows the temperature rise that occurs in cable that is running PoE, and how this cable manages temperature rise.

From the Panduit side of the partnership, look for a myriad of connectivity choices on display. Everything from standard, shuttered, and angled jacks to the ever-popular Field Term Plug, along with patching solutions will be on display.

Going the Distance

Among the newer products that Panduit will be demonstrating is the PoE Extender, which delivers data and PoE beyond the 100-meter channel. This innovative solution extends PoE up to 600 meters! This solution is ideal for applications like remote security cameras or building entrances that are more than 100 meters from the nearest TR. Check it out first hand in the booth.

A New Fix for CyberSecurity

Panduit will also be introducing SmartKeeper, a simple solution to a big problem. SmartKeeper block-out devices block open USB and RJ45 ports to prevent unauthorized access. A single tool is used with all devices, making it easier for the right personnel to have access to the tool when it’s needed. Stop by the booth for a demo.

Check out the AV Solutions

Taking center stage in the booth will be Panduit’s new end-to-end AV solution, featuring active devices from Atlona, a Panduit company, built on a Panduit infrastructure. We’ll be ready to demo and answer questions about the Atlona OmniStream AV over IP system, Velocity Control, and Atlona’s SW-510W, a BYOD switcher that allows wireless connection from any presentation device, including phones, tablets, and laptops, with no dongles, apps, or connectors needed! Infrastructure components like cabling, wall-mount cabinets, Above Floor Raceway, table boxes and wall boxes round out the AV demo.

Cable Management Dreams

If you haven’t seen Panduit’s newest vertical cable managers, you will want to stop by the booth just to see them! We’ll be showing both our standard and enhanced PatchRunner Vertical Managers, which both feature integrated push-to-close doors, optimized manager fingers, and more space. Lightweight and easy to install, the doors are quickly gaining popularity in the market. The enhanced version features options that allow for zero RU patching to be mounted within the cable manager, for the ultimate in space optimization within the telecom room. These cable managers will transform your TR nightmares!

A Powerful Power Solution

We will also be demonstrating our expanding line of Power Distribution Units and accessories. The SmartZone PDUs have features that go beyond power distribution, to provide local and remote monitoring of aggregate power and environmental and physical access data.

The Full Network Infrastructure Suite

Rounding out the display will be components for connecting the factory floor and data center solutions, showcasing the portfolio breadth that makes Panduit the partner of choice for so many contractors and end users.

Beyond what you want to see from us, we want to see YOU! Conversations with so many of you give us insight into what types of issues you face on a daily basis and helps stoke the innovation fires, to figure out new solutions. We love hearing first-hand about what people are struggling with, the successes they’ve had, and the ways they’re using our products.

Learning Opportunities

If you’re still trying to decide what presentations to attend during your time at BICSI, we have a couple of recommendations. On Wednesday, October 2, Panduit Product Line Manager Frank Straka will be participating in two presentations:

  • 9-10 a.m. – An Illuminating Discussion on Digital Lighting Design & Cabling Challenges, presented by Frank Straka and Harry Aller of Innovative Lighting
  • 10:30-11:30 a.m. – IoT Takes a Village: Building the Single-Pair Ethernet Ecosystem, where Frank will be part of a panel looking at Single-Pair Ethernet

Trends Shaping the Future of Connected Smart Buildings: Power over Ethernet

Part 2: Insights from industry expert Casey Talon

Power over Ethernet. Automation. Wireless. The future of connected infrastructures and smart buildings are being shaped today. What do building owners and managers need to overcome to convert commercial facilities into smart buildings? In order to keep up with the latest infrastructure technology trends, we spoke with Casey Talon, a Research Director at Navigant and consultant specializing in market research. In the second part of a three-part series, we ask Casey about the true value of today’s most intelligent infrastructure.

Question for Casey

Power over Ethernet (PoE) is poised to become the new power grid in modern buildings. How will your clients benefit from PoE? What infrastructure considerations should they make as they adopt PoE?

Casey’s response

PoE holds a lot of promise for the smart buildings market. The reduced installation costs, real-time data, and scalability of PoE makes it an attractive technology for smart buildings. While PoE first entered the commercial buildings scene with VoIP phones, the IEEE 100W standard opens the door to more compelling applications relative to smart building goals that benefit from integrating point of sales machines, digital signage, smart lighting, cameras, and other devices as IoT becomes mainstream. Integrating the data streams from smart lighting and cameras, for example, can offer building owners new insight into space use that can inform decisions around leasing or safety.

Building owners will rely on their IT staff or technology partners to define the requirements for their network as they look to implement PoE smart building solutions. Choosing the right cabling and management strategies will help future-proof their buildings as they look to an era of exponential growth in IP-connected devices that need to be integrated for the data analytics that come with IoT. Again, many organizations will struggle to manage a cohesive strategy across their IT and OT systems with existing staff, but understanding the importance of data and the opportunity of smart buildings opens the door to new engagements with service providers.

Benefits of Power over Ethernet

Power over Ethernet promises flexibility for growth, operational efficiency, improved network control and easier, more cost-effective installation. Customers that deploy PoE will also benefit from devices that operate ongoing without the worry of unexpected failure when batteries need to be replaced. To learn more about its significance in today’s smart buildings and how to navigate the opportunities and obstacles of adapting PoE, read our eBook The Role of Power over Ethernet (PoE) in the Modern Connected Enterprise.

There’s more to discover about the latest trends and tech in smart buildings. Join us next time with Casey when we discuss wireless, retrofitting and the emerging Energy Cloud.

Trends shaping the future of connected smart buildings

Part 1: Insights from industry expert Casey Talon

In order to keep up with the latest infrastructure technology trends, we spoke with Casey Talon, a Research Director at Navigant and consultant specializing in market research. As the first part of a three part series, we ask Casey about the true value of today’s most intelligent infrastructure.

Navigant Research’s Building Innovations program focuses on the design, construction, and maintenance of efficient commercial and residential buildings. As Research Director, Casey manages Navigant Research’s Intelligent Building Management Systems research service. This service is focused on assessing market opportunity for data-driven tools for energy and operational efficiency in commercial buildings, go-to-market strategies for intelligent building solution providers, and other major market dynamics.

Question for Casey

 As buildings become more automated, new systems and technologies are finding a home on the network. In what ways does your research suggest this will optimize building functions?

Casey’s response

Best practices in network design and cybersecurity are critical elements of a successful smart building strategy. Deploying individual smart systems that run in isolation can only deliver so much benefit. Facilities management is transformed when systems are integrated, data is accessible, and analytics deliver real business insight and direct automated improvements.

IT/OT convergence is a necessity for smart building success. The market is still maturing when you consider the people side of the equation—this is where the significant challenges lie. A secure, seamless, and future-proof network requires cross-domain knowledge, a bridge between legacy facilities and IT teams. Many building owners and managers struggle with this change management process. There is a lot of room for new partnerships and services to support the conversion of commercial facilities into smart buildings.

Today, building owners look to two core value propositions for investing in smart buildings: optimizing system performance and customizing the occupant experience. New applications translate data from diverse building systems, occupancy, weather, energy, and IoT and building equipment into actionable information on strategic business challenges.

Smart building solutions offer a unified approach to deliver energy savings and other business goals such as tracking customer flow in a store, occupancy rates for rented offices, and time for locating shared assets in healthcare to maximize asset value; these are often challenges that may be even higher priority than saving energy.

There is an important link between optimized building systems and the occupant experience. Optimized performance delivers metrics that satisfy demands for sustainability and occupant-centric operations that increasingly represent brand, thereby connecting investment in smart building solutions to the bottom line. Loyal customers equal sales, happy employees equal productivity, and healthy students equal school success.

Benefits of smart buildings

Advantages of smart buildings go beyond energy savings and optimized building operations. For many organizations, the true benefit of a highly connected building is a more satisfying customer experience, higher employee productivity and satisfaction, better student performance, or even improved patient health. To learn more about the key systems found in digital buildings, the benefits of converging systems onto the IP network and the infrastructure that supports it, check out our eBook The Agile and Efficient Digital Building.

There’s more to discover about the latest trends and technology in smart buildings. Join us next time with Casey when we discuss Power over Ethernet.

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