Integrated electrical and low-voltage systems of all types—inside and outside a building—encompass the range of work that electrical contractors do. The articles in this section highlight different types of work, from security, fire and life safety, to traditional electrical power and distribution, to lighting, cabling and more. 

Are your low-voltage and security customers concerned over “hanging” security cameras on the enterprise network and opening it to potential vulnerabilities? Or are they looking at protecting other parts of their commercial facility that may be housing data and other privileged information? reported in October 2014 that the United States has more electrical grid blackouts than any other developed nation and that, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), demand for electricity has outpaced transmission rates by 25 percent every year since 1982.

As projects become more complex, electrical contractors need high-tech management methods to ensure more efficient results. Here are just a few examples to help you get headed in the right direction. 5pm

The dark fiber providers that most people are familiar with are private companies that were started to offer fiber connectivity for a profit. Today, there is a major movement toward building fiber networks as a public-private partnership.

More on Systems

Integrated Building Systems Today...and Tomorrow

Chances are, the buildings of tomorrow will be smarter, safer, more automated and computerized than the buildings in which we now live, work, shop and play. Sunlight will be used with maximum efficiency to boost indoor lighting. Lighting will work in concert with security.

Lessons (to be) Learned

Consider the following statements summarized from a description of a “recent” blackout: • Needles on meters in utility control centers were swinging wildly.

Electrical Power - A Right We All Treasure

North America received an earsplitting “wake-up call” last month when the biggest blackout in U.S. history darkened eight American states and two Canadian provinces, driving millions out in the streets and closing more than 100 power plants across the country.

The Mysterious dB of Fiber Optics

Whenever tests are performed on fiber optic networks, the results are displayed on a meter readout in dB. Optical loss is measured in dB while optical power is measured in dBm. Loss is a negative number (like -3.2 dB), as are most power measurements. Confused? Many fiber optic techs are too.

Extreme Installations

Often an electrical contractor will be asked to install a fire alarm system in what some would define as a “harsh” environment. In these cases, the contractor must be ready to satisfy his or her customer’s request for an adequate, code-complying system.

ECs and eBay

U.S. consumers fall into two camps: Those who have used eBay, and everybody else. Most of the first group—whether regular users or not—are fairly enthusiastic about the experience.

Retrofit Market Eyes CCTV

If you are an electrical contractor who offers voice/data/video, fire or other low-voltage systems and services, you’ve probably been getting more inquiries from end-users who want to retrofit their aging security systems.