Firms Join Up For 'smart' Buildings

By Andrew Gray, posted Dec 21, 2012

Editor's note: This version corrects the spelling of the company name for Brady, company president Jim Brady's last name and Access Control Consultants president Larry Blumenfeld's last name.

Most people would not see a connection between building security and the HVAC systems that keep the occupants comfortable, but Larry Blumenfeld, president of security system company Access Control Consultants, and Jim Brady, president of commercial HVAC company Brady, have found that the two work together nicely.   

By connecting a building’s security systems to the heating, cooling and lighting systems, “you are making the building smart,” Blumenfeld said. 

“In a building, there is HVAC services, lighting, energy control. On the security [side], there is alarm monitoring, cameras and access controls.”

He said there was a platform to combine all those services into one entity.

“You go to work in a big building. You would use your access control to gain entry, power off alarm system, light the lights, control the temperature. We can turn your thermostat so you are not affecting everyone else,” Blumenfeld said.

Blumenfeld explained that Access Control Consultants and Brady − both North Carolina companies with offices in Wilmington − formed a strategic partnership because they both believe that building automation is the future of security and energy management and that the two companies were positioned to take advantage of the opportunity. 

“The building of the future will have a degree of automation where the systems will work together. One brain [to] control the building services,” Blumenfeld said.

Also important was that neither company provided services in the other’s areas of expertise. Blumenfeld explained that other companies have been working on similar systems for more than a decade, but many of the previous attempts were not successful.  

“Companies tried to do this 10-12 years ago, and it did not work. But today, the software is more advanced,” he said.

The two companies have worked together on building automation projects for New Hanover County, University of North Carolina Wilmington and New Hanover Regional Medical Center, Blumenfeld said.

“All buildings have applied systems for their controls and HVAC, and they have their own fingerprint,” Brady said. “We are making unique solutions, and we are integrating them with common technologies to make the building work more effectively. The buildings we are working in are not cookie cutter.”  

Brady also emphasized that the integrated systems allowed for remote management and reduced labor costs.

When you “monitor energy and security in one system, ultimately it gets us to where we increase the operational efficiency. Picture a facility that has an issue on the weekend and being able to do diagnostics remotely without having to roll a truck to the site − being able to manage a building from a smart phone,” Brady said. 

“You will eventually roll a truck if you cannot figure it out. We are going to do a lot of the diagnostics and alarming over the Internet.” 

PPD virtual learning model wins tech award

PPD was recently recognized by Scrip Intelligence with its 2012 award for Best Technological Development in Clinical Trials for deploying cutting-edge solutions advancing clinical research.  PPD received the honor at the annual Scrip Awards ceremony in London, marking the second year PPD won for best technology after receiving the 2011 Scrip Award for Best Contract Research Organization (CRO). 

Scrip Intelligence is an international pharmaceutical news magazine published online.

“Winning this award for the second consecutive year is a testament to the people of PPD,” David Simmons, chairman and CEO of PPD, said in a press release. 

“In today’s evolving health care model, CROs must be able to adapt to clients’ changing needs and proactively meet their challenges. PPD connects talented people and innovative solutions to exceed the needs of our biopharmaceutical industry clients, who are constantly seeking ways to increase productivity and efficiency.” 

The Scrip Award for best technology recognized PPD 3D, a virtual learning environment PPD created with ProtonMedia to provide a scalable and sustainable global training model. 

PPD 3D improves how PPDtrains clinical research associates to monitor clinical trials, which is vital for enhancing the quality of site management and clinical monitoring for clients’ research programs, and can contribute to faster project startup.   

With the software, users can talk, send instant messages, view and interact with presentation and media content, record notes and access the Internet. 

“PPD were worthy winners of this award,” Mike Ward, chief content officer for Datamonitor Healthcare and Scrip Intelligence, said in a press release. 

“Their PPD 3D technology has improved the cost-effectiveness, speed and quality of clinical trial training for the life sciences, and our judges were impressed by the novel use of this type of technology in clinical research, saying it has huge potential.” 

According to PPD’s website, the product also won an award from Microsoft in 2011 − the Microsoft 2011 Life Sciences Innovation Award. 

The Scrip Awards acknowledge achievements across a broad range of areas in the biopharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical, biotech and contract research organizations compete for awards in 15 categories, which are decided by an expert panel of judges.   

According to the Scrip Awards’ website, the panel is made up of independent, senior industry experts from around the world, and each category is reviewed by at least three judges.

Wilmington company wins Verizon innovation award

Verizon recently announced that a Wilmington small business won 1st place for innovative use of wireless technology in Verizon’s Wireless Technology Innovation Awards.

RimGuard Xtreme Inc. took the award in the small business category for its implementation of wireless technology to improve efficiency and customer experience, according to a news release. 

The award recognized innovation at small- to mid-sized organizations in North Carolina from the coast to the Triad. This is the second year of the awards program, with the 2011 awards available to businesses in Florida and Louisiana. In addition to the eastern part of North Carolina, the contest this year was hosted in South Carolina, central Texas and Houston.

Wilmington-based RimGuard Xtreme repairs automobile rims that have been damaged by striking curbs or other otherwise bent or damaged. The company received a cash award of $10,000 and will be highlighted in Verizon advertising.

Derek Mickler, sales and operations manager for RimGuard Xtreme, explained that the company uses Verizon services to keep his fleet of mobile repair trucks communicating, get photos of customers’ rims to provide quotes and scan special bar codes to track sales materials. 

The award for medium business went to Fayetteville-based Vance Plumbing. Cisco, Ericsson, Alcatel Lucent and Motorola also sponsored the awards.


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