Product A&E Specs - Where Does A Manufacturer Start?
Blog Date: 4/28/2012
Author: Ray Coulombe
Category(s): A & E Specs
How many manufacturers publish a really good A&E specification, or even know really where to begin? I get to see a lot of A&E product specs and have written a number myself. The variation in quality and availability of A&E specs is so widespread, it borders on the ridiculous. It starts with the product provider understanding the need for a specification. Describing a product's attributes in a standard style and format allows one who is constructing a project spec to easily incorporate that product into an overall system specification when that product is selected as an element of the design. In the United States, guidelines are published by the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) which provide a classification structure, suggested section headings and types of content, formatting, and language style. CSI publishes an excellent resource, The Project Delivery Practice Guide, supplemented by the MasterFormat classification system and the SectionFormat/PageFormat standard which describes the organization and format of the spec itself.
The content of the specification itself should be accurate and clear. Accuracy means not only factual, but consistent with information published in the company's data sheets, user manuals, warranty statements, and engineering data. Clear means concise, well written, using the direct style wherever possible (as opposed to the indirect style frequently using the word 'shall'), focused, and relevant. While some may argue that a longer specification is better, most consultants appreciate a document that does not need significant editing and re-write.
The document should highlight the product's unique features, or 'differentiators', that are important elements of that product, particularly if those attributes have been highlighted in a manufacturer's discussion with the consultant. Give consultants good technical reasons why that product should be specified. If a product is "me too", specifiers will look to other factors, such as past experience with the product, installation and support capability, warranty, etc.
Make the specification available in Microsoft Word or rtf format, provide them in electronic format, online or on a memory stick or other media, and consider also making available CAD drawings, BIM information, data sheets, user manuals, and icon files to form a complete package.
As our information world continues to generate an unfathomable amount of stored data, a surprisingly common term has been coined to describe this expanding mass ...BIG...or Big Data to be accurate. How big is big, one asks? The answer: big enough that conventional data structures and analysis cannot effectively deal with it. IBM calculates that, every day, 2.5 quintillion bytes (that’s a million trillion bytes, or exabytes) of new data is created. They further estimate that, by 2020, the amount of digital information created and replicated in the world will grow to 35 trillion gigabytes. Some of this data is highly structured (e.g. financial information) and other data, such as IP video, is unstructured. The science of big data has given rise to a new job title, data scientist, i.e., one who can scientifically and creatively make sense of all of this.
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January 25, 2013 marked a very important day in the timeline of video compression standards, but few security people probably noticed. On that day, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) approved H.265, known as High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC).
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Much has been written over these past few years on the topic of convergence, and I would guess that, if you were to ask ten people in the security industry what convergence means, you’d get a like number of differing answers. So, when I sat down to write about technologies driving convergence, I really wanted to start off with a clear statement of what’s being driven and why.
I prefer to take the broad view and look at convergence as the blending and sharing of information across the enterprise for the greater good, enabled in large part by network technology and permitted, if not promoted, by the various stakeholders. This is not just about IT and security, or putting security on the corporate network — it embraces any department or system whose information can interact, inter-relate or affect the business.
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One of the really nice innovations in the industry has been the adoption and widespread availability of Power over Ethernet (PoE)-enabled devices, powered over the same Cat 5e (or better) cable carrying Ethernet. It is so easy that the technology can be taken for granted and important considerations overlooked.
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Terabytes, petabytes, exabytes, zettabytes, brontobytes...what’s our security world coming to?
When you combine the trends of more surveillance cameras, higher bandwidth requirements, fatter bandwidth pipes and the continuing decline in storage costs, you get near-exponential growth in bytes stored. The question is, how do we manage this vast amount of video data? I’ve discussed this question with several large-scale storage vendors recently and learned some very interesting things.
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