01/07/2002

Why Go Wireless?

Why not?

 

Going Wireless

When choosing your wireless system, it’s important to pick a solution that doesn’t force you to redesign your current processes. You shouldn’t have to change your business to use the product. A good wireless solution will help you continue to do what you’ve been doing, only more efficiently.

You should look for an off-the-shelf approach instead of a customized solution. Off-the-shelf products come with annual upgrades and technical support. They also have resources to help you effectively train your staff. Not only are customized solutions more costly, but there’s rarely technical support or upgrades.

Look for companies that have been around for a while and have a large customer base. Look at their current customers. Do they have any clients in your industry? If so, they’re much more likely to anticipate your needs.

By Kathleen Merrick

Imagine a 1 million-square-foot building with 3,000 pieces of fire and safety equipment. All require inspection to prove compliance to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). That includes more than 1,000 fire extinguishers, hundreds of fire pumps, safety exits, and tamper switches.

For many facilities, that means arming fire and safety technicians with clipboards, paper, and pencils. Technicians must record all inspections on handwritten log sheets and, when they’re finished, they must enter all information into a computer. Hours, days, or weeks later, someone prints out reports and shuffles them into a big filing cabinet.

Now, imagine this: a fire and safety technician uses a hand-held computer to scan barcodes placed on fire extinguishers and other safety equipment. Each time a barcode is scanned, the time, date, and location of the information is automatically recorded into the hand-held computer. The device even prompts the user through a series of tasks required to complete the inspection.

When the technician has collected data from the last fire extinguisher, he touches a button on the hand-held computer, sending all collected data to a host PC, right then and there. A facilities professional sitting at the PC has immediate access to all of the day’s inspection information, and can then print out detailed reports in minutes.

Sound too good to be true? It’s not. The rapid evolution of wireless technology has given birth to software applications that render once time-consuming building operations fast, efficient, and highly effective.

Here’s how it works. The hand-held computer actually has a modem chip built into the device, allowing a user to send and receive information over a wireless, wide area network (WWAN). The user simply dials up a wireless carrier and gains Internet Protocol (IP) access from just about anywhere. Using this wireless IP technology, the device transmits small “packets” of secure data over existing phone networks.

Another option in addition to a WWAN is using a wireless local area network (WLAN) technology, such as Symbol Technologies Spectrum 24. This system involves strategically placed antennas that create a wireless bridge between existing hard-wired LANs and wireless devices. This powerful backbone enables a user to implement multiple applications and devices, offering connectivity with other departments and buildings as an added bonus.

Using a wireless system in conjunction with hand-held computers, software, and barcodes for equipment inspections often yields an immense increase in productivity. The benefits are endless. Technicians are no longer burdened with paperwork. Data entry is eliminated, and data integrity is restored. Errors caused by human error dwindle down to nothing. Compliance is proven quickly, and insurance premiums are reduced.

But, perhaps, the biggest advantage in using wireless technology is the rapid increase in productivity. What used to take weeks – even months – now takes hours. Technicians are freed up to complete other tasks, maximizing efficiency and facility operations as a whole.

The best part? As technologies advance, and wireless hardware manufacturers improve their product, solutions not only become faster, more reliable, and more effective, but more affordable as well. Why go wireless? Why not?

Kathleen Merrick is director of technology at Poway, CA-based TISCOR (www.tiscor.com). Merrick has made numerous contributions, including expanding both the wireless network infrastructure and the remote capabilities of TISCOR’s satellite sites and products.

 

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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


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Need portable cooling?

Rent or buy spot coolers from full-service locations nationwide. On call “24/7”. Primary, supplemental or emergency cooling. Atlas Sales & Rentals, Inc., or call (800) 972-6600.

Click here for more info


Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

Bluebeam® Revu® simplifies digital facilities document management from design review to leveraging as-builts, maintenance manuals and O&Ms submittals.

Yaskawa drives offer quality performance for air handlers and cooling towers on the roof to secondary chilled water pumps in the basement

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.


 
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