From pulling cables to installing security cameras

An electrical contractor’s integrated building technologies group now offers security
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Monday, December 1, 2003

WESTBROOK, Maine - The integrated building technologies division of a large electrical contractor here is adding security to its portfolio, a natural extension for the company as it looks to set itself apart from competitors.

By the end of November, E. S. Boulos’ Integrated Building Technologies division expected to land its first physical security contract, nearly seven months after first deciding that it would enter this part of the market.

“The cabling is basically the same and that’s the easy part,” said Steven Grace, manager of the integrated building technologies group of E. S. Boulos. “Learning the devices and how to tune them is new.”

While installing video may be different for the company, working on projects that include a security element is not. For years, the division has partnered with several local systems integrators, for example on school and hospital projects, to provide the telecommunications expertise as the security system integrator installed cameras and access control systems.

But by now offering some security work, mainly in the video and access control market, the division expects to offer customers a one-stop shop for service. At the same time the additional service will keep the 25 men and women part of the integrated building technologies group busy and provide an additional revenue stream for the company on the service and maintenance side of the business.

Grace projects that security could account for up to 30 percent of the integrated building group’s business, when also factoring in service and maintenance work.

After pulling cable for cameras, Greg Perron, director of operations for E. S. Boulos, a firm that employs more than 400 union electricians at any given time, said adding security is “a logical extension of the cabling pulling and termination connectivities.”

But to learn the installation expertise, the integrated building technologies group turned to electrical and security supply distributor Anixter, which has developed a system that enables integrators to take a plug-and-play approach when installing CCTV systems. Called CCTP, for Closed Circuit Twisted Pair, it enables dealers to run traditional CCTV cameras over unshielded twisted pair cables and integrate power, video and control signals over a single cable on an existing IT or network backbone. Anixter has provided training for the integrated building technologies division’s technicians on this technology.

Despite the newfound knowledge in the security market, Grace does not anticipate the division will seek out large-scale security projects on its own, but will continue to look to security systems integrators to work together. “We’re not trying to take the work away from them,” said Grace. “We still plan to partner.”