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How to make it do that
• May 16, 2024
In 1973, writing dialogue for a fictional tv show which featured Albert Einstein as the main character, Ernest Kinoy supplied the line for the visionary: “Any fool can KNOW! The point is . . . to understand!”

Einstein was giving this reason as to why he had just turned down an offer to be handed the goal of his true-to-life quest - an equation which tied EVERYTHING together.  You see, the offer was just for that – the equation, and only the equation; not the means to which the equation had been arrived at.

So often today, the answers that you and I seek are handed to us by our cell phones.  While truly wonderful tools, when used incorrectly, these devices are the harbingers of the end of that very knowledge that they seek to supply.  They, along with all of the other computing devices at our fingertips, turn each and every one of us into something less than what we were pre-destined for.

And today, I’m writing to defend that position!

You may have noticed that I specifically wrote: “…when used incorrectly,…”.  As any reasonable body is aware, there are absolutely factions of life where I, along with everybody else, do not need to understand how something works… I just need to know how to make it do what I want!  Many of the IT systems that DataCom Inc. installs fall into this category.

Allow me an example or two: You don’t need to know how your Surveillance system is able to alarm you after it has determined that it was a human and not a raccoon that lingered at the back entrance of your office at 3a.m.; and you now have a screen shot of the active camera feed at that back door on your cell phone to see if you need to call the authorities or not.  But you do need to know how to make the system do that.  You don’t need to know how your Access Control System does not allow entry to your gymnasium doors after school hours – except on nights they are needed to be open.  But you do need to know how to make it do that.  You don’t need to know how your Surveillance system interfaces with your Access Control system to let it know that a disgruntled ex-employee’s vehicle has entered your property.  It then locks the doors, calls - and sends an email - to your security personnel and lets them know to be on the look out in case of trouble.  But you might really need to know how to make it do that.

So yes, please use your computing devices “correctly” when seeking answers.  Use them diligently as the research tools that they can be when you truly need to.  And use them to contact DataCom Inc. to install and program your new IT systems, and allow us to train you on How To Make It Do That.



 
What's he staring at???
Arbor Day • April 25, 2024
Often, I’m admonished to: “Quit it” whenever my wife and I enter a building that we’ve not been in before.  This occurs after she’s caught me staring at the ceiling architecture like a first-time tourist gawking at the skyscrapers in New York city.  Apparently, she’s experienced me sharing the details of how difficult it would be to install cabling in such and such of a ceiling style one too many times, and wants to squelch the inevitable sharing before it even starts!  I can’t help it.  For at least the last 20 years, I’ve found myself looking upward almost as soon as I enter a space new to me.

This realization came to me as I researched the origins of Arbor Day, commemorated this year on April 26th.  The creator of this oft-overlooked celebration day was J. Sterling Morton.  A native of New York, educated in Michigan, he moved to Nebraska when he was but 22 years old.  There, he started a newspaper and began a political career, gaining several different seats at the State and the Federal level.  One of his many achievements was the establishment of Arbor Day.  He was an astute agriculturist and with his early years on the East and North East coasts, very much felt the lack of trees in his acquired State.  His initial proposal was slated for 
“…April 10, 1872. Prizes were offered to counties and individuals for the largest number of properly planted trees on that day. It was estimated that more than 1 million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day.  Arbor Day was officially proclaimed in 1874 by Nebraska’s Governor, Robert W. Furnas, and the day was observed April 10 that year. In 1885, Arbor Day was named a legal state holiday in Nebraska, and April 22 was selected as the date for its permanent annual observance.”*1
*1https://www.arborday.org/celebrate/history.cfm

The holiday has since gained prominence and is celebrated annually in one form or another across our great Nation.

Just prior to this holiday's inception, Mr. Morton built a 30-room mansion in Nebraska City that his son later renovated into a 52-room mansion that very closely resembles the United States Whitehouse.  It is now the: Arbor Lodge State Historical Park and Arboretum.  On the property's land, and as the solicitor of Arbor day: 
“Trees were a central interest of J. Sterling Morton. He imported trees from all over the country in order to test their suitability to create windbreaks and otherwise break up the monotony of the great plains. The house is surrounded by 270 varieties of trees and shrubs, including gardens, apple orchards, and acres of oaks, maples, chestnuts, and pines, including at least 10 state-champion trees.”*2
*2https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbor_Lodge_State_Historical_Park_and_Arboretum

It was while admiring pictures of the ornate mansion that it dawned on me just how hard it would be to install 21st century IT cabling and maintain the aesthetics of the landmark establishment.  (I can't wait to tell my wife!)  Also, Morton’s son, Joy, was the creator of the Morton Salt empire.  So What?  Well, salt is very important to us here at DataCom.

“What's the origin of the phrase 'Take with a grain of salt'?  The idea comes from the fact that food is more easily swallowed if taken with a small amount of salt.  Pliny the Elder translated an ancient text, which some have suggested was an antidote to poison, with the words 'be taken fasting, plus a grain of salt'.  Pliny’s Naturalis Historia, 77 A.D. translates into modern English thus: After the defeat of that mighty monarch, Mithridates, Gnaeus Pompeius found in his private cabinet a recipe for an antidote in his own handwriting; it was to the following effect: Take two dried walnuts, two figs, and twenty leaves of rue; pound them all together, with the addition of a grain of salt; if a person takes this mixture fasting, he will be proof against all poisons for that day.  The suggestion is that injurious effects can be moderated by the taking of a grain of salt.”*3
*3https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/take-with-a-grain-of-salt.html

““salt of the earth”: noun - an individual or group considered as representative of the best or noblest elements of society.”*4
*4https://www.dictionary.com/browse/salt-of-the-earth

““Rub salt in someone’s wounds”: To make a painful situation even worse (even with the best of intentions).”*5
*5https://www.phrases.com/psearch/salt

Okay, okay; what does this have to do with Tech, IT, or Telecommunications?  Well, trust me when I tell you – Salt is the enemy regarding these three areas.  In particular, high-tech electronics and their elements, and bare copper in any of the cable connection hardware that we install.  As I’ve written about recently, care must be taken – and at DataCom Inc., we do – to choose quality products that can withstand harsher environments when needed.  Also, they must be installed properly using conduit, boxes, and durable patch cords and jacks that were designed to keep the elements out.

So if you see me gawking at your ceiling, know that I am formulating how to properly install IT cables at your facility that will not only work properly, but also for the maximum longevity, all while giving a nice, neat presentation.

Happy Arbor Day!


 
I already have cameras. Now what?
The Sky Is The Limit! • April 16, 2024
As DataCom Inc. endeavors to “stay ahead” in the ever-changing IT world, one step we have taken is that we recently sent our Tech Guru, Brandon Simms, to the 23rd annual International Security Conference; the “ISC West”.  Held in Las Vegas, this year's event was a chart-topper with an enormous number of exhibits and displays. It enjoyed a record number of attendees as well!  The show is three days, packed with lectures, shows, displays and general “networking”; showing off leading-edge equipment, software, and trends being seen in both current as well as the future of the Security World.  Of course Artificial Intelligence (AI) was the star of the show, as more and more of the security world’s offerings involve this new technology at an incredible rapidly rising pace.

Mr. Simms was privy to too many new items to mention here, but one that I must share involved drones.  While drones are definitely not new, the ways that they are being employed today – and in the future – is.  There was one electric drone on display that, when not needed, flew itself back to its ceiling portal and plugged itself into a charging station to replenish its batteries.  Neat, but fairly lame by today’s standards; I mean, I know robots that sweep floors that can do that!  But when this particular little bot’s abilities really came into play was after one of the business’ other camera’s analytics detected whatever they were programmed to detect.  The host security system, on receiving notification from said camera, would dispatch the drone to the area in question to get a better look-see, and possibly even track the intruder if needed.  Or course, the video is being automatically sent to a monitoring station along with the drone’s physical location in real time as all of this is taking place.

Before Brandon went on this trip, he sent me a video that he had found.  It involved software to put onto your video system's server that would then be used to filter through the raw footage looking for whatever its analytics were programmed to find.  In particular, the video mentioned VMMR, or Vehicle Make & Model Recognition.  Just for clarity, pretty much all of today’s analytics can find a car.  Without VMMR, a vehicle’s description could be as simple as a red car, or a blue truck, or a green motorcycle.  With VMMR, you narrow the search immeasurably!  Input Year, Make, Model, and Color, and the software either singles these out of whatever recorded footage you lined it up to look at or it could alert you if any of these vehicles showed up in your live feed.  Even with all of this, if you’re looking at a larger portion of footage, it might not narrow your search enough.  Couple this software with a License Plate Recognition, or LPR camera, and it will almost immediately find what you’re looking for if it’s there.  It even works when you only have a partial plate number to look for!

So now, I’m envisioning this software running.  An Amber Alert goes out and the vehicle data is input to cameras on busy thoroughfares.  Should an alarm be triggered by a live feed, this drone could be dispatched from a nearby location to tail the vehicle, and give live video and location feeds to the Police.  And don’t think this only works on vehicles.  Today’s software analytic parameters can also differentiate between animal or human.  Motion parameters determine whether a citizen is simply passing by your store front, or maybe it’s a group of toughs that are loitering where or when they shouldn’t be.  Send out the drone on out to not only video the group, but maybe play them a little audible ditty: "You are illegally loitering!  The authorities have been alerted and are on the way.  Disperse immediately!"

Clothing color is detectable and can be used when searching during a “Silver Alert”.  These are issued after a seasoned citizen with degenerated cognitive abilities has wandered from their care facility or home.  A drone at altitude can cover significantly more area of a facility than normally-mounted camera systems.  With analytics surveying the footage for a human wearing a maroon sweater, once the missing person is located, this information can easily be sent to the searchers.

I’ve read recently where a person’s gait is as unique and identifiable as their fingerprints.  I’m sure that as a database is compiled with this information, it will become another descriptor and be used to help find humans in video footage as well.

So this is but one aspect of the Security Industry that DataCom Inc. is traversing.  Virtually no one customer wants ALL that is available in the Video Camera, Access Control, or Intrusion Alarm arenas.  That’s fine.  What DataCom possesses - that none of our competitors do - is the fact that we DO want ALL that is available.  With this knowledge, we are better able to serve ALL aspects of what our customers need, or desire, every time!

Come on in and let Brandon regale you with more stories of what he learned on his recent trip.


 
DataCom Inc.
Let me tell you a story... • January 30, 2024
Recently, realizing that the housing “Seller’s Market” was beginning to wane, my best friend decided that, despite it being before his actual retirement date, it was the right time to sell his home.  In November of 2023, he listed the Jacksonville, FL house and property, and it was sold within a very short time.  The new buyer was kind enough to allow my friend and his wife to remain in the house until January 1st, 2024.  That coincided almost perfectly with his retirement date.

Unfortunately, their time spent packing the home to leave, as well as preparing for his retirement, while continuing to work full-time up to his last day did not afford them any time to search for a new home.  While discussing their plans for post-retirement in the last year or so, they had decided that they would leave the bustle of Florida and move to Alabama.  During previous trips, they had learned that there were parcels available there that offered a more variegated property than they were used to in Florida, while still avoiding the colder weather of a Northern clime.

Deciding that they would travel a while before settling after retired, they purchased a Class “A” motor home that could pull their Wrangler, and parked at a Military-affiliated campground within easy driving distance of his job.  He commuted between the campground and his employment for his last month.  Jacksonville, for those that are unaware, is at the northern tip of Florida.  While winter there is usually temperate, it isn't unheard of for it to occasionally take the form of rain, wind and immoderatly cold temperatures.  This is what they experienced – twice - in the extreme – with the winds reaching 60-70mph on one occasion.  Surely not ideal weather for anyone, let alone in a camper!

After my friend had completed his last actual day at work, they then moved their wheeled abode down the road to another camp site in Pensacola.  The day that they arrived was a beautiful sunny day.  As was the next.  Then, not so much.  Winter in the Panhandle had returned.  Deciding that their bad luck couldn’t possibly continue, they ventured further west to Gulf Port, MS.  This is just outside of Biloxi and, with not much goings on happening outside, they sought out the local casino.  I don’t know which side of luck that they landed on, but they returned to Pensacola after only one week.  This was just a short respite-stop before heading on up to Alabama.  I haven’t talked with my friend yet, but I’m guessing that their relatively short stay in a camper this winter has taken its toll and they are ready to begin earnestly seeking a more permanent homestead.

It is not my business, and I am not judging in any way; but this is a very good Life Lesson.  I believe that my friends, in cutting short their travels, were overcome with the stress of normal eventualities, whether these were unexpected or not.  Four years before they sold their home in Jacksonville, they had completely renovated it.  This involved the major project of adding a second story to the original Ranch style home as well as enclosing the garage to include that space in the first-floor footprint.  It was a two-year project with my buddy doing much of the renovating by himself.  The project had only been completed for two years when they decided to sell.  Then they entered the camper world; a completely different life unto itself.  Couple that with adjusting from living in their recently-acquired extra space in the house to living in the, though large as far as campers go, somewhat cramped space of a motorhome.  Another stressor, my friend had never driven anything as large as this rig before.  I can tell you, it takes some getting used to; navigating rush-hour traffic, narrow lanes, low over-passes, 2-lane bridges, small parking lots with no clear, easy to negotiate exits, low fuel mileage, etc…

I know my friend very well.  He does not sit idle very well.  At a campground with nothing to do, the pending decisions regarding acquiring a new permanent house had to be grating on him.  But, having already made the decision that they wanted to travel for a bit before settling down, was weighing on them as well; were they really going to admit that they may have been premature in purchasing the motorhome and attempting travel?  Should other choices have been made?  I’m guessing about all of this, but I can well imagine that, having enjoyed a 2-year hiatus from serious decision-making regarding the home renovation, and then jumping right back into living the life where life-altering decisions are weighing on you – heavily – had to be almost maddening.  And, obviously, it’s not over yet.

All of this brings me to today’s point – that, often, Business Owners and Managers are faced with similarly difficult scenarios to contemplate.  Having escaped (though probably not entirely) their personal-life decisions at home, decision-makers are now faced with their daily work decisions.  And in today’s climate, the decision on whether or not to pull the trigger on a needed IT upgrade, can be quite daunting.  The Tech world changes rapidly and often.  "What tech is going to remain viable for the life of my investment?"  "Will unforeseen circumstances (like a pandemic?) change virtually every scope of my organization?"  "Is enough of the work force back in place that I may receive the material for my upgrade in a timely manner?"  "Will it be any less expensive if I wait?"

This is my point!  What DataCom Inc. offers is to take a huge part of that burden off of your shoulders.  Let us answer these questions – and many, many more - for you! And you can rest assured that our answers are from a knowledgeable, experienced professional.  We’ve put in the time, having been in this business for almost 30 years.  We’ve done our due diligence - our Management staff and our Design team “wore the tools”.  They know, from having done the job themselves, not just how to sell the job – not just which parts tend to go together, but how to design it for your specific needs, install it, and how to Make It Work! 

We stand ready to alleviate you of the stress and provide you with the needed information, that you may enjoy your upcoming IT project.  We are specialists in Camera and Access Control Systems offering state-of-the-art Cameras, Storage Devices, and Entry/Exit Hardware and systems.  We offer traditional as well as VoIP Paging systems.  Also, Intrusion Alarm and Shot Detection systems.  We can provide either an On-premise or a Hosted telephone system.  All of our infrastructure cabling carries a life-time guarantee as an option.  We choose only top-rated manufacturers for all of our Switchgear and Access Points – both physically wired, as well as wireless.  We use American-Made products as often as possible.

I invite you to schedule an appointment with us to visit our showroom that we may get to know you and your needs better.

 
 
 
11757 Market Street • North Lima, OH 44452
 
P: 330.549.2200 • F: 330.549.2228
 
support@datacomfirst.com