Wednesday, May 28, 2008

And the Winner Is...

Spent the eve before the opening of Lightfair attending the 25th Annual GE Edison Awards ceremony. The competition is for lighting professionals who use GE lighting sources in a design project.

Drum roll please...
The overall winning project went to the Office of Visual Interaction Inc. (Enrique Peiniger and Jean Sundin) who designed the lighting for the United States Air Force Memorial in Arlington, Va.

The award was well deserved, in my opinion, as I am constantly noticing this striking memorial from everywhere around my D.C. home. The lighting definitely makes it stand out.

Congratulations to all the winners, for whom I'll post a link on Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Lighting the Way to Lightfair!

Tomorrow dawns once again in Las Vegas, once again for Lightfair in the West. Electrical Contractor magazine once again will be exhibiting and there's quite a bit on the agenda. We'll be meeting and seeing what is happening at TCP, Schneider Electric, Philips Lumileds and other Philips divisions. We'll also be at GE Consumer and Industrial's lunchtime press event and visiting Lightcontrol's press setup at the Wynn.

Check back for updates tomorrow night, Pacific Standard Time.

Friday, April 4, 2008

ISC West Wrap Up

Editors in attendance: 3
Bags full of giveaways and product releases, information, etc.: 3
Meetings attended: 25
Impromptu meetings: Many
Business cards gathered: hundreds
Electrical Contractor bags distributed: 3,000
Electrical Contractor bags seen in airport: 5-10
Miles walked: likely close to 36
Blisters on feet: 5 on each
Sleep: close to zero
Calories consumed: undisclosed
Beverages consumed: ????????
Status: Success overall

The ISC West show is always a challenge to cover the entire thing, as there's just way too much interesting things for the electrical contractor. However, we did your bidding, ran our feets to the bone and did all we could to find stories and trends to bring you in the coming months.

Always an education, ISC West gives us a broad view of the security industry. We're lucky to have been in attendance.

More tales have come up, especially in the areas of electronic locks and CCTV. My last meetings today, at Ingersoll Rand and Samsung, stressed the importance that the electrical contractor think beyond just the connection; you should continue installations and specifications all the way to specifying and installing the end products. This would make you even more the valuable and create great dividends. Why would you want to leave all that money on the table?

The Samsung executive talked about training available to contractors on surveillance and cameras, which might be a helpful way for the EC to get the information to make those profits.

Much more was gleaned from every meeting, and additional wrap-up thoughts may show up here from time to time. Keep checking back or sign up for the RSS feed.

'til Lightfair,

Impressions of a First-Time Visitor

First impression: This is huge; both the number of exhibitors and the number of visitors are overwhelming. It confirms my belief that security is an incredibly expanding market. And I got the same message as Andrea, that the manufacturers (and I would also bet, the end users) are looking to electrical contractors to handle installation, but also to serve as advisors, take care of maintenance and updating of systems, and even to arrange for monitoring services. It seems to me that the contractors who get there first are going to have a head start on a lucrative market.

Some notes from the education sessions: 
One item that I am guessing will make biometrics a more acceptable technology, is a smart card that stores the user's bio-data template, transmits it to the reader, which then compares the template to a live scan. That way you won't need a complicated system to transmit the live data from any of possibly many scanners to the head end where the template is stored. 

Another presentation I went to was given by Larry Mathias of the GSA. He is working on a project to improve the ability of the federal government to specify and purchase security systems, by creating an architecture showing the relationships among various security needs and solutions. I'm betting that this can be converted into a really useful resource for all of the vertical markets that have a need for security.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Who's Watching? Anyone Out There?

Last year's theme at ISC West was Internet protocol, which is still very present when making booth visits, at least on Day 1. However, a new theme has emerged this year, and that is surveillance.

Of course surveillance has been of primary concern for many years, especially since 9/11. But for some reason at ISC West, many products have been centered around this topic, specifically in the area of what to do with the data gathered from cameras, IP and otherwise.

So what's the deal, and what's it mean to electrical contractors? The manufacturers of these products seem to consider you all a viable market, so, to me, that means that you must be doing some monitoring or at least working with your end-user customers to develop surveillance systems and negotiating some of the monitoring aspects. Drop me a line and let me know:

Crane Count, Part 2

According to today's count of the construction cranes in Las Vegas, the building boom is continuing.
This trip's number from one window: 27

It's amazing to see so much work going on at one time. All this dire reporting of the economy—it seems not to be the case here.

The Security Market

Guess what, electrical contractors? You're in.

According to conversation after conversation today on the ISC West floor, the electrical contractor is fully considered a player in the security market.

Good for all of you and your industry. Keep up the good work.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

More Appointments Added, Plenty of News to Come

Plenty of electrical contractors know that you tend to be more productive when you're busy—no time for leisure—and that will soon be either proven or disproven in the upcoming ISC West Show. The editors will be busy scurrying from booth to booth and we're planning to provide as many updates as we can manage. With 3 of us there, we'll have plenty to discuss.

More appointments were added to the editor's schedules today. Companies that include Digital Acoustics, Honeywell Security, Phihong and Silent Knight.

It's a big show and we're betting on this market through our editorial coverage of it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

ISC West Show Coming Soon

Ed Brown, managing editor of Security + Life Safety Systems; Tim Johnson, senior associate editor of Electrical Contractor and S+LSS; and I are soon packing our bags to head back out to Las Vegas for a very large, very comprehensive security, life safety and other integrated building systems show... There's even a Smart Home village. This show floor is packed with exhibitors and attendees, so we're going to be some busy editors.

Check back all next week for updates to this blog. We'll be heading out on Tuesday, April 1 (no joke!) and returning at the end of the week. With three of us out there, we'll be adding quite a bit to this blog.

Here's a preview. Already on our schedule:

For Wednesday—Axis, APC, IOImage, Dortronics, American Fibertek, Morse Watchmans, Avocado Security, Seagate and OnSSI
For Thursday—System Sensor, Fire-Lite, Honeywell Power Products, Arteco, Samsung, Assa Abloy and Sony
For Friday—Altronix, Panasonic and Ingersoll Rand/Schlage

We'll be scouring the floor for technologies and information that electrical contractors need and cool new tips. We'll also be updating with our commentary on the opportunities for electrical contractors in these areas, based on all the conversations we have out there.

Friday, February 29, 2008

From the Show Floor, Day 2

Day 2 revolved all around meetings, first with E-Mon/D-Mon, then with MEP Jobs, then with Woodhead. Also spent some time at the Maxis booth, and various manufacturers of meters and testers.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Construction, Construction Everywhere!

Looking out my window of the hotel that borders the Las Vegas Convention Center, I counted 18 construction-related cranes. And that's facing north, toward old Las Vegas. Imagine if I were facing the other direction, toward the new part of the Strip.

This place is hopping, and it's not just the nightlife.

From the Show Floor, Day 1

The show opened at 11:00 a.m., which is a superb opening time for Las Vegas, as bleary-eyed attendees seemingly spent long hours at the gaming tables last night.

The story for the show so far: New products are in the works, on their way to you, or currently released. Many of the product stories are perfect for busy contractors looking to maximize their time on each job. Efficiency. Productivity. Money and labor savings!

Met with a slew of different companies, from Greenlee; to GE Consumer & Industrial Electrical Distribution and Lighting; TradeService, which is taking its products online...very exciting stuff for you out there who uses them; Lithonia; Bridgeport; Cal Conduit Products; Specified Technologies Inc.; EFI Electronics. It was a wide-ranging assortment of products and stories.

Also met in person one of our favorite contributing editors, Rich Bingham, who has some new ideas for his Power Quality column.

Monday, February 25, 2008

First Stop on the Tour: Electric West

Packing my bags, heading for the open skies. I'm off to Electric West, in desert-y Las Vegas. ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR and Security + Life Safety Systems is exhibiting at the show, and I'll be out there attending sessions, talking with other exhibitors and finding out what's in, what's out, what those in the electrical contracting industry need to know.

In the next few days, check this site for these bits of news and information. I'm planning on updating this as often as I can, perhaps several times daily.

Andrea Klee

Off and Running!

We did it! ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR magazine is now blogging our experiences on the road. Come along with us through this blog, as we supply news and share experiences we have when traveling to trade shows, industry meetings, etc.

Best of all, we can save you the hassle of airport security checkpoints with the 2 oz. or less liquid requirements!