Specifically Speaking with Anthony Frassetta

Sr. security and telecommunications specialist—Aviation Division, Burns Engineering Inc., based in Philadelphia
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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

What kinds of systems do you design/specify and what services does the company provide?

Burns is an engineering consulting firm specializing in the design and application of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection and technology systems.

What vertical markets does the company specialize in?

Burns’ primary market segments are transportation (rail and aviation) and specialty occupancies in the areas of higher ed., and laboratories design work.

Any interesting projects that you can mention?

Burns has several large airport projects currently underway such as the New South Terminal at Orlando Airport and the New Terminal A project at Newark, as well as a number of significant expansion projects at Nashville and Houston airports to name a few.

How did you get started in security and designing/specifying?

I started working for a special systems integrator in the early ’70s. By the early ’80s I was recruited by an architectural and engineering firm that specialized in pharmaceutical and pilot plant design.

After spending 5 years under the mentorship of some very seasoned architectural and engineering professionals learning the proper preparation of construction documents, I took a position with a major fire alarm manufacturer where I spent another 10 years as a field engineer reviewing bid documents and managing fire alarm projects.

In the year 2000, I went back to the architectural and engineering industry where I’ve spent the last 18 years in the role as a senior engineering specialist in the design and specifying of the full range of fire, security and telecommunications systems for all types of occupancies.   

Can you talk about what new or emerging technologies you are seeing or specifying today?

On the telecommunications side, we see more and more deployments of passive optical networks in lieu of the traditional copper/fiber networks. We also see a higher level of convergence of disparate TCP/IP based platforms across all technologies and systems.

In the security industry, we see a greater demand for integrated security platforms that provide situational awareness in real time across all security applications requiring us to design and specify more integrated platforms in support of multiple security technologies as access control, perimeter intrusion detection, video surveillance, video analytics and artificial intelligence.

What is your view on the industry moving forward?

Almost two decades ago we saw what the industry called “convergence,” a term that came to mean where traditional fire, security, and telecommunications systems no longer functioned as independent systems and began embracing a common topography such as TCP/IP based protocols. Today with the advent of a new catch phrase “Internet of Things” the concept of “convergence” in no longer just a buzzword but a reality.

Going forward I feel today’s subject matter experts will no longer be able to root themselves in one or two vertical system specialties but will require a much higher level of expertise and understanding in multiple technologies and applications such as the “Internet of Things,” passive optical networks, integrated system platforms, video analytics and artificial intelligence.