Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Engineering PLUS Technology Consultants advise clients on how to integrate, implement, and best use technology to benefit their business. Browse the list below for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs).
IT Infrastructure FAQs
Structured Cabling Infrastructure is the telecommunications cabling known as the Physical Layer comprised of twisted pair copper cabling, Fiber Optic backbone cabling and various termination hardware that are installed in a systematic and universal methodology compliant per industry wide standards based that make up the backbone of all inter-connectivity for all things IP.
Wireless (Wi-Fi) Network Infrastructure is a telecommunications architecture used for computing and communications which can be connected to wirelessly or doesn’t require a wired connection.
The four primary types of Wireless (Wi-Fi) Network Infrastructures are:
- Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPANs)
- Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs)
- Wireless Metropolitan Area Networks (WMANs)
- Wireless Wide Area Networks (WWANs)
The Electrical Infrastructure refers to the network architecture used to deliver AC and DC (Power over Ethernet) power to the various network components.
Converged Network Infrastructure, usually comprised of copper or fiber, allows for multiple networking services – voice, data, and video – to be delivered over a single network. A Converged Network Infrastructure lets providers offer more services and gives users more service providers to choose from and greater access to a wide range of services.
Distributed Antenna System (DAS) uses a network of spatially separated antenna nodes, connected to a common source to provide wireless service coverage in a building, structure or limited geographic area. It can be deployed both indoors (iDAS) and outdoors (oDAS).
Distributed Antenna System (DAS) provides and/or expands network connectivity to areas that are unable to or have difficulty reaching with more traditional network infrastructures.
A Gigabyte Passive Optical Network (GPON) is a network that transmits data through a single fiber, utilizing a point-to-multipoint architecture which allows for higher transmission speeds.
ERRCS is the abbreviation used for Emergency Radio Responder Communications Systems. This type of network infrastructure is used to boost signals which allows emergency responders to maintain constant communication, even in areas with no radio signal such as stairwells.
Redundancy in Network Design essentially means duplicating and\or building in alternative devices, equipment, connections, paths, processes, etc., that should the primary device/route fail an alternative is available, preventing downtime or interruption of service.
AV is a generic term used for audio-visual. It is commonly used to reference technology that has audio (sound) and/or visual components or capabilities.
An Audio-Visual system refers to a wide range of devices with audio (sound) or visual (sight) capabilities. An audio-visual system is the synced combination of these devices that emit audio and/or video components for communications purposes most commonly through electronic media.
The main components of an audio-visual system include:
- An Audio Component: This is the part of the system responsible for verbal communication. Microphones and speakers are the most common components used for verbal communication in an audio-visual system.
- A Visual Component: This is the part of the system responsible for non-verbal communication or visual communication (communicating through sight). Displays and cameras are the most common components used for visual communication in an audio-visual system.
- Audio Visual Conferencing Technology: This is the technology or platform(s) that allow two or more people to communicate in real time using audio and visual components.
- AV Control Panel: This is a component of the AV technology that allows the user to interact with the hardware and software features of an audio-visual system. Control panels make managing and interacting with audio-visual system components easier for the user by consolidating them into a single interface.
- Connectivity: This simply refers to the IT infrastructure that supports audio-visual communication, transporting communications between network users, components, and devices.
An Enterprise Communications System is a system that integrates different types of communications channels, devices, and tools that an organization can use to enable real-time communications between entities.
UCaaS is the abbreviation for Unified Communications as a Service. It is an enterprise corporate communications solution that integrates communication technology into one easy to use cloud-based platform.
Also often called Electronic Signage, Digital Signage allows enterprises to communicate through vivid signage displays such as LCD monitors, LED walls, video walls, or projectors. And unlike static messaging, such as posters or banners, digital signage is capable of communicating more, with multiple messaging types/options available.
An Enterprise Video Platform (EVP) is a solution designed to manage and enable video experiences throughout an organization.
Sound Masking can be used to make large open areas, where sounds – such as co-workers voices that can carry – less distracting. A Sound Masking System emits low-level, ambient background noise sound engineered to match the frequency of human speech to reduce speech intelligibility, providing greater speech privacy, reducing distractions.
In its most basic form, interactive content requires active engagement or audience participation. This can be as simple as a survey where the audience is asked to answer questions. Or Interactive Audio-Video Experiences can be used to deliver a more personalized experience. Clickable infographics allow users to focus in on information that interests them the most. Or calculators and measurement tools ask users to input personalized information to get personalized results.
Experience Centers and Galleries (Sensory Labs) take the interactive audio-visual experience to the next level. Two ways of creating enhanced audio-visual interactive experiences include:
- Virtual Reality (VR): Where a person using specialized VR equipment can interact with a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or in a seemingly real or physical way. Essentially this is an experience that isn’t real, made to feel real by engaging multiple sensory modalities.
- Augmented Reality (AR): Essentially the opposite of virtual reality, augmented reality is an experience in the real world, where real objects or experiences are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information.
This is a multi-functional space with true integration of functions built to conform to your needs. Unlike flex space, which entails using the same space for different functions, multi-use spaces can be transformed to meet different types of needs. For example, a row of conference rooms containing various wall configuration options could be closed off to provide multiple small conference rooms to host multiple separate meetings at the same time. But for larger meetings, walls can be removed to host an entire department or all the company employees at the same time.
In regard to audio-visual systems for multi-use spaces, true integration would mean being able to have separate controls for audio-visual functionality for each of the smaller conference room configurations, but to also being able to integrate the audio-visual components to function as one big system for larger meetings.
As an Audio-Visual (AV) Integrator, Engineering PLUS is a company that designs, integrates, installs, and/or maintains Audio-Visual services and solutions.
Physical Security FAQs
A Physical Security System is an organized framework of things and/or processes designed to work in conjunction to protect a person(s), entity, and/or property.
The three primary components of a typical Physical Security System are:
- Access Control: The component of a security system that allows a user entry to a physical space or controls who is permitted to obtain specific types of data, information, or usage. Access Control Systems typically require some type of authentication to verify authorization for access.
- Security/Surveillance: Security cameras, also often referred to as Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) systems essentially function as video recorders which transmit video/data to a specific pre-determined receiver. Whereas Surveillance systems normally work on an IP network which transmits the signal to a remote location.
- Monitoring/Testing: This refers to collecting and analyzing information to detect suspicious behaviors and/or unauthorized access. System testing is used to ensure the system is functioning properly.
A Multi-Layer Security System refers to a security system with multiple layers, utilizing several different components, which serve different purposes and protect different components within the system.
The three levels of a Physical Security System and the primary function of each include:
- Outer Perimeter: Deter potential intrusions
- Inner Perimeter: Detect potential intrusions
- Interior: Respond to potential intrusions
Examples of multi-layer Physical Security Systems can be found on the physical security services page.
A physical security risk assessment is an evaluation of potential hazards that could endanger or cause harm to a person(s), entity, and/or property performed by an industry expert. Physical Security Risk Assessments typically include these steps:
- Identify physical security risks
- Assess/analyze threats and vulnerabilities
- Develop recommendations for deterring and/or preventing physical security risks
- Implement solutions
- Perform periodic and regular ongoing reviews to make adjustments/updates to risk assessments, identify new vulnerabilities, and adjust/implement solutions
A Public Safety Security System facilitates the monitoring of the general public, communities, population, etc. Public Safety organizations, such as law enforcement and/or first responders use these systems to help protect the public.
Data Center FAQs
A Data Center is the term typically used to refer to a dedicated physical space a business, government, or organization uses to perform specific IT operational functions such as storing, processing, protecting, and/or distributing large quantities of data.
Types of Data Centers are often distinguished by ownership, management, and the operation aspects of the Data Center. The four primary types of Data Centers include:
- Enterprise Data Centers
- Managed Services Data Centers
- Colocation or ‘Colo’ Data Centers
- Cloud Data Centers
A Data Center Design Plan is essentially a roadmap that helps companies to consider and prioritize the current and future components they require in a data center. The primary components of a data center design plan include, but are not limited to:
- Power Demands
- Cooling Capabilities
- Rack Density
- Networking and Redundancy
- Workflow and Repeatable Processes
- Integration and Automation
- Security and Compliance
- Analytics and Reporting
Then these components are built into a master plan that includes placements, functionality, congruence, equipment, and component specs, etc. mapping out the details of the entire data center build.
Data Center Migration Planning is also often referred to as Data Center Relocation. The planning process is very similar to Data Center Design Planning except it focuses more on moving an operational data center and components to a new operating environment. It is essential that the migration plan focuses on the motivation for the move or reasoning behind the relocation to ensure a successful transition.
Data Center Assessments are evaluations of a Data Center’s components, functionality, vulnerabilities, and other characteristics that provide an organization with a full picture of a Data Center’s capabilities.
The most common type of Data Center Assessments the experts at Engineering PLUS perform are:
- Data Center Vulnerability Assessments (Risk Assessments)
- Health Check Assessments
- Growth Assessments
- Optimization Assessments
But Data Center Assessments can be performed for a variety of reasons, which are primarily determined by the overall goals of the assessment. And Engineering PLUS offers customized assessments, that can be built to meet your unique business needs.
Risk assessments, also referred to as vulnerability assessments are a specific type of data center assessment used to identify potential weaknesses or vulnerabilities of a data center which can be utilized to mitigate, plan for, and solve for these risks.
Some of the biggest, most common, and mostly costly security risks Data Centers face may include, but are not limited to:
- Systems Failures: Any type of system failure can disrupt business as usual. But some system failures, such as server, power and networking failures can have a substantial impact. With much of today’s business being conducted online, system failures can grind company sales to a halt. When a website goes down, e-commerce sales can no longer be captured. And without the digital tools employees rely on to perform everyday business functions, potential business leads can easily bounce to competitors.
- Physical Security Breaches and Hazards: Physical security breaches can lead to vandalism, hacking, systems attacks or disruptions, and theft of confidential or proprietary information – any of which can disrupt business, often resulting in expensive consequences. Other physical security hazards, such as natural disasters can have catastrophic consequences for Data Centers too if proper redundancies aren’t already in place.
- Ineffective Monitoring and Alert Systems: Ineffective monitoring of systems, equipment, procedures, and people can all have devastating consequences too. Monitoring provides another layer of protection to organizations. Without it, uncertainty can lead to critical errors which could easily go unnoticed for extended periods of time. But monitoring systems are only effective if proper alert systems and procedures are also put into place.
Data Center Health Checks are quick status assessments performed to ensure the data center is functioning properly. These are smaller routine assessments that can help identify and correct issues, potentially preventing them from becoming much larger problems in the future.
As an organization grows, additional functionality and demands are placed on the Data Center. With business needs changing over time, growth assessments are able to measure Data Center performance as it pertains to the additional needs brought on by growth. It can also help with developing a road map for future growth.
These are assessments of Data Center operations, primarily focused of finding opportunities for improvement. Optimizations can be as simple as identifying unnecessary redundancies in procedures. Or they may include making improvements in key areas such as energy efficiency, capacity, and reliability. Software, hardware, and automation upgrades may also be added to the plan.
Many organizations may only perform a Data Center Assessment when the need for one arises. But since technology evolves rapidly, Data Center Assessments should be kept current, and the experts at Engineering PLUS recommend adding regular assessments into your business plan. Frequency is influenced by many factors, so organizational-specific timetables may vary, but evaluations should be performed at least every few years. This will not only help keep company assets safe and secure but will help sustain high levels of operational efficiency saving operational funds over time. Plus, ongoing systems modernization helps businesses avoid the bigger budget price tags of an outdated systems overhaul from hitting the financials all at once.
Smart Building FAQs
Smart Building Technology Integration brings together an ecosystem comprised of devices and systems that integrates systems and delivers real-time data that building owners and managers can use to optimize building operations.
The four basic elements of a Smart Building are:
Smart Buildings integrate these four basic elements, utilizing technology to operate/manage these systems to optimize building operations.
Intelligent Building Solutions uses smart building technology to operate/manage building systems, plus integrate key technologies, such as Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities to optimize building operations take advantage of other key benefits, such as:
- Reducing energy costs
- Integrating systems
- Improving building operations, processes, and automation capabilities
- Enhancing decision making with access to real-time data
- Increasing staff productivity and comfort
- Providing more user-centric technology and enhancing services
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to any devices, machines, objects, hardware, software, services, and/or technologies able to communicate over a network to collect, transfer, or exchange data.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a process that uses various tools, technologies, and software to create a digital representation of a building or space to visually represent the physical and functional characteristics of it. This is just one of the many tools Engineering PLUS uses to create Smart Building designs for clients.
Green Energy FAQs
Green Energy is a form of energy that is capable of generating power from renewable resources. The most common types of Green Energy are generated from solar, wind, and/or water.
Energy Management is the process of tracking energy use and collecting/analyzing the data.
Energy Management Solutions are the means by which energy consumption is tracked, analyzed, controlled, monitored, and optimized with the goal of reducing consumption and/or associated costs.
Environmental Monitoring is the strategy and process of observing, tracking, evaluating, and quantifying the impact something has on the quality of the environment. Environmental Monitoring Systems and Solutions can be used by organizations to reduce negative impacts they have on the environment.
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Energy uses solar cells, made of semi-conducting materials. When sunlight is absorbed by these materials, the solar energy knocks electrons loose from their atoms, allowing the electrons to flow through the material. It uses a process of converting light (photons) to electricity (voltage) called the photoelectric (PV) effect to convert sunlight directly into electricity.