The practice of restricting entrance to a property, a building, or a room to authorized people. Access control systems supervise who is allowed to go where. How does it work? Users have an authentication device, like a key fob. The user presents the key fob to the reader, which sends information to a control panel. The control panel compares the user’s authentication to an access control list, grants or denies the presented request, and sends a transaction log to a database. If access is denied, the door remains locked. If access is granted, the door is unlocked. The control panel also ignores a door open signal to prevent an alarm. Other authentication devices include access cards, fingerprints, retina scans, access codes to enter into a keypad, and so forth.
An air handler is a device used to condition and circulate air as part of an HVAC system.
Alarm monitoring is the process of observing and responding to the signals an alarm system transmits. When the alarm systems reacts to an emergency condition, the control panel is activated. The control panel sends a message to the central station, whose agents then respond to the alarm by dispatching the appropriate authorities. Alarm monitoring means that a trained agent is keeping an eye on your home or business even when you aren’t there.
An analog camera is a type of video camera commonly used in CCTV systems. It is different from an IP camera in that it sends footage to a receiver via a coax cable.
The term used to refer to the devices in a fire alarm system that announce abnormal conditions. When a smoke detector is triggered by smoke, it sends a signal to the control panel, which sends a signal for the announcers to sound. Announcers include horns, strobes, and sirens. Each of these either emits light or sound to warn occupants of a fire.
BACnet is a data communication protocol for building automation and control networks. A data communication protocol is a set of rules governing the exchange of data over a computer network. The rules take the form of a written specification that spells out what is required to conform to the protocol. Look at it this way: grammar is to modern language as BACnet is to programming automation and control networks.
Refers to the identification of individuals by using physiological and behavioral characteristics. Examples include fingerprints, retinal scans, hand geography, and so on. Biometric identification is commonly used in access control systems because the authentication factors (fingerprints, hand geography, etc.) are impossible to forget (like a pin number or access code) and virtually impossible to replicate (like a key.)
Boilers are machines used to provide heat in HVAC systems. Boilers heat water to a certain temperature, which travels through a pipe to a coil in the air handling unit. The air handling unit pushes air over the hot coil through ducts which heats a building. The water then travels out of the air handling unit and back to the boiler.
Camera systems is just another term we use for closed-circuit television or video surveillance. Each of these references the same general idea: a group of cameras whose video feeds are accessible to a select group of viewers.
Card access is a type of access control system using encoded cards and card readers to identify cardholders and determine if access may be granted.
Closed-circuit television is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place. It differs from broadcast television in that the signal is not openly transmitted; instead, its signal is sent to a limited set of monitors in a control room, for example. CCTV systems can operate continuously or only as required to monitor particular events.
This is a term that refers to the company that provides services to monitor burglar, fire and residential alarm systems. Central stations use telephone lines, computers, special software, and a highly-trained agents to keep an eye on their customers’ security systems. When an alarm is triggered, the agents call and dispatch the appropriate authorities.
Chillers are machines used in HVAC systems. Chillers cool water to a certain temperature, which travels through a pipe to a coil in the air handling unit. The air handling unit pushes air over the cold coil through ducts which cools a building. The water then travels out of the air handling unit and back to a chiller. After spending time in the cooling tower, the water returns to the chiller and the cycle continues.
A cooling tower is a reservoir used in HVAC systems. The cooling tower cools water that has been sent from the chiller to the air handling unit.
Digital Video Recorder (DVR)
A digital video recorder is a device that records video in a digital format to a disk drive, memory card, or other mass storage device. Including a DVR in a video surveillance system allows a user to store the video for later review. DVRs differ from NVRs in that video on a DVR is processed at the DVR while video on an NVR is encoded and processed at the camera, then streamed to the NVR for storage or viewing.
Fire Alarm Control Panel
The panel is the controlling component of a fire alarm system. The panel receives information from environmental sensors, monitors their operational integrity, and transmits information to the monitoring center. Smoke detectors tell the panel if there’s smoke, and the panel sends a signal to announcers (strobes, horns, and sirens) and to the monitoring center.
Fire Alarm System
A fire alarm system is designed to detect the unwanted presence of fire by monitoring environmental changes associated with combustion. Fire alarm systems are made up of a combination of detectors and announcers that send and receive message from a control panel. The systems are designed to notify the occupants of the building in case of fire to report the fire to a central station and to prepare the structure and associated systems to control the spread of the fire.
Glass Break Sensors
A device used in security systems that detects if a pane of glass is shattered or broken. Glass break sensors house a microphone, and monitor noise or vibrations coming from the glass. The sensors are programmed to know what breaking glass sounds like, and send a signal to the control panel when they detect a similar noise profile.
A GSM is a device that is used to transmit data over a cellular network. Security and fire systems have to communicate with a central station; with a GSM, the systems transmit data to the central station via the cellular network. In short, they communicate wirelessly.
A device that responds when the thermal energy of a fire increases the temperature of a heat sensitive element. Once the heat is sensed, the device sends a signal to the panel, which triggers the announcers (strobes, horns and sirens) to sound.
A piece of equipment widely used in HVAC systems built for heat transfer from one medium to another.
Home automation is the automation of household activity. It includes centralized control of lighting, HVAC, appliances, security and other systems. Home automation improves convenience, comfort, energy efficiency and security.
A device that warns occupants of an emergency condition by emitting a loud honking noise.
Short for heating, ventilation and air conditioning, HVAC is used to refer to the mechanical systems which heat, cool, filter and control humidify of the air in a space to maintain occupant comfort or prevent damage to equipment or property from exposure to extreme environmental conditions. Components of HVAC systems can include air handlers, ventilation systems, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, chillers, boilers, and heat exchangers in large commercial systems as well as smaller DX (direct expanding) and heat pump systems used in homes.
Interactive Voice Response
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a technology that allows a computer to interact with humans. This kind of technology is commonly deployed in GPS navigation devices in cars, audio systems, and mobile phone systems.
Refers to systems that monitor and detect the presence of unwanted visitors.
An Internet protocol (IP) camera is a type of digital video camera commonly used in CCTV systems. It is different from analog cameras in that it can send a receive data via a computer network or the Internet. It is also capable of capturing footage at a higher resolution than an analog camera.
Refers to alarm monitoring using an internet connection, as opposed to using a cellular network or a phone line. IP monitoring is more cost efficient, especially when used in fire alarm systems.
Used in security systems, a key fob is a device with buttons that can be used to lock and unlock doors, arm and disarm the system, and send a panic alert to local authorities. Used in an access control system, a key fob is a small device with built in authentication mechanisms which is presented to a proximity reader in order to gain access to a room or building.
Used in security systems, a keypad is what houses the user interface of a security system. As a part of access control systems, keypads are devices used to authenticate users.
A standard used in networking that ensures that nodes (designed by different companies or developers) can still work together. Compliance with the LonWorks standard guarantees that compatibility of one bit of software with another. This is especially important when designing controls for HVAC systems. It just means that the programs we write at Ener-Tel will play nicely with other LonWorks compliant programs that other developers have written.
A locking device that consists of an electromagnet and an armature plate.
Network Video Recorder (NVR)
A network video recorder (NVR) is a software program that records video in a digital format to a disk drive, memory card or other storage device. NVRs differ from DVRs in that video on a DVR is processed at the DVR while video on an NVR is encoded and processed at the camera, then streamed to the NVR for storage or viewing.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is the world’s leading advocate of fire prevention and an authoritative source on public safety. The NFPA developes, publishes, and disseminates more than 300 consensus codes and standards intended to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other risks. They are the governing body for fire safety, and dictate many of the codes and standards to which Ener-Tel designs fire systems.
The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies is an organization that was established in 1961 to create a recognized certification for engineers in the United States. NICET offers certification at three levels; Ener-Tel currently employes engineers at all three levels of certification.
Refers to communication that is accomplished through a distinct and specific form of one-to-many connections, offering several paths from one single locations to various locations. Think of the Internet provided on university or hospital campuses. There is one modem, for example, that sends a signal to several different routers.
Refers to data transmission between two locations without the use of any intermediate display station or computer.
We wire houses for security and sound while they’re being built. This way, when the construction is finished, the security and audio systems are ready to go. Pre-wiring houses is more cost and time-efficient than retroactively wiring houses.
A card that can be “read” by holding it near an electronic reader unit for a moment.
A device commonly used in access control systems capable of reading and interpreting cards using radio frequency identifcation to encode data.
Connection to data from a remote location. When discussing CCTV, remote access refers to the ability to view camera feeds from wherever you are. In security and automation, remote access refers to the ability to arm/disarm security systems from whever you are.
See remote access.
An air handler designed for outdoor use, i.e. on roofs.
A scramble pad is a digital keypad whose numbers change places after each use. With a scramble pad, a users PIN number can stay the same, but the actual buttons he pushes on the keypad will differ according to the new location of each of the numbers.
In an HVAC system, setpoints mark the upper and lower limits of the desired temperature range.
A device that warns occupants of an emergency condition by emitting a loud wailing noise.
A device that detects smoke, typically as an indicator of fire. Smoke detectors can either use light or an air quality sensor to determine the presence of smoke. They are used in conjunction with a fire alarm control panel and fire alarm announcers. When they sense smoke in the air, they send a signal to the control panel which activates the announcers.
A device that warns occupants of an emergency condition by emitting a bright flashing light.
UL is a global independent safety science company with more than a century of expertise innovating safety solutions from the public adoption of electricity to new breakthroughs in sustainability, renewable energy and nanotechnology.
Variable Speed Drives
Also called a variable-frequency drive, or adjustable-frequency drive, a variable speed drive is a device that is used to control AC motor speed and torque by varying motor input frequency and voltage.
Video surveillance is just another term we use for closed-circuit television or camera systems. Each of these references the same general idea: a group of cameras whose video feeds are accessible to a select group of viewers.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technology that delivers voice communication over internet protocol (IP) networks. Great examples of VoIP technology at work are Skype, Google Talk, and other internet calling programs.
A device whose two parts are touching when the window is closed, and are not touching when the window is open. They are used in security systems to determine whether or not windows are closed.
Wireless transmission refers to when systems fire and security systems communicate over a cellular network as opposed to over phone lines. A GSM device is required for fire or security systems to transmit information wirelessly.