HAPPY HOLIDAYS & BEST WISHES FOR THE NEW YEAR!

JERRY 'DUTCH' FORSTATER, PE DECEMBER 2016

In this holiday season and with the welcoming of 2017, please join me in acknowledging our firm’s and staff’s accomplishments in our 30 years of business.

Key Staff at Pennsylvania Office

30 YEARS

Even before PSE’s opening, our consulting, design, and engineering practice had already begun years earlier and included electrical engineering, fire protection engineering, communications engineering, acoustical engineering, noise and vibration control, audio, visual and video systems design – predating modern communications.

By 2003, PSE had offices in Maryland, Virginia, California, and New Jersey in addition to our Pennsylvania headquarters. In 2005, we developed our own building fitted-out with space to support our technology needs. Consolidating into our new space, our clients experienced tighter controls and quality of projects, reflecting consistently superior ratings in every category.

One technology mastered by multiple staff is computer user interfaces. Since 1992, the correct connectivity, control, and communications needs of GUI interfaces, network challenges, storage and data has been an ongoing specialty.

Acoustical, audio/visual, and noise and vibration control projects have always been the most challenging in order to meet the desire for advanced education and critical business operations including technical A/V applications for 9-1-1 command centers.

Incorporating our understanding of lighting, power, infrastructure, energy management, and computer control gave us several opportunities to work directly for the PA Turnpike Commission to overhaul all their mountain tunnel highway lighting systems, saving millions in electrical energy consumption while improving the tunnel lighting as the first IES RP-22A retrofit in the Americas.

GROWING BUSINESS

Our being agile to adapt to technology – client needs and performance of tasks – led to our success in continuing to provide what some contractors call the best documents produced for construction; our staff routinely being held in the highest esteem. We know this from the number of projects, owners, government entities, architects, and engineers we've "rescued" from poor designs, code impasse, contractor imbroglio, and simply not knowing how to navigate construction without voluminous change orders.

25 YEARS WITH PARTNERSHIPS AND ASSOCIATESHIPS

Our 20th year brought a series of special clients and projects. Multiple nuclear generating stations, electrical transmission utilities, and cross border Canada/US projects saw enormous security practice growth – more than doubling in size from 1999 to 2004. Now we routinely develop plans for camera systems having 500 to even 8,000 cameras. Today, our office has over one dozen projects with more than 1,000 cameras in each facility/site. Unthinkable in the 1990s.

In recent years, we've seen a resurgence in technical performance spaces, auditoria, advanced learning labs, magnet schools for performing arts, broadcast arts, and the meeting of STEM goals. This Ed Tech (educational technology) concentration has led to our design of digital lighting, sound and rigging for semi-professional theater productions, advanced fully digital learning classroom spaces with impressive 85" interactive monitors in every class, courtroom technology designs from Maryland to New York and everywhere in between, and our being employed for the renovation of three Broadway theaters, and work for large performing arts spaces.

This occurred while our fire protection practice has completed over 10,000,000 sq. ft. of life safety, sprinkler, fire alarm, and high rise evacuation systems designs from James River, Virginia to Lexington, Kentucky and New York City. Our ability to manage very nuanced designs while managing budget is reflected in our work on 3,000-amp electrical switching systems protection for the FAA, smoke evacuation and control systems for large atria, and sprinklers and fire protection in the largest office building in the U.S. outside of the Pentagon.

Our design talents in mission critical telecommunications, data communications, and radio technologies soared with our computer architecture and network design expertise. We helped Amtrak purchase the largest Computer Aided Dispatch system in the U.S., restructured an entire state’s security backbone, and designed command and monitoring centers for governments, police departments, prosecutors’ offices, international aid organizations, and commercial security operation centers.

AN ORGANIC CHANGE IN MANAGEMENT AFTER 30 YEARS

Professional Systems Engineering, LLC is experiencing a creative future with talented intergenerational and millennial staff – a technologically centric group who provides superior services with long-term relationships and thrives in financially challenging settings. Some design firms have but one, two, or three staff capable of managing projects – from client fees and contracts to commissioning. Our staff, many with ten years’ experience, is the result of a process where we have eight partners and associates with additional graphics and BIM design staff who manage entire sectors for our clients.

MOVING AHEAD

Our deploying significant computing power for CAD and BIM workstations, employing multiple high-resolution graphics monitors for design, using sophisticated apps for assessments, and utilizing powerful equations in 3-dimensional acoustical space give the firm’s staff the tools needed for better design.

FUTURE TECHNOLOGIES

Technology takes grand leaps within any ten-year timespan according to Moore’s Theory. Our accommodation and continual education in technology is no exception.

Today, the leap is sensors and mobile applications. We are well beyond the elementary design of PCs, servers, and hardware. Today it is distributed environment using sophisticated network software, video management processors, image management, touchscreen technology, and the incorporation of phenomenon such as ultrasonics, microwaves, heat sensors, radar imaging, digital audio and video, and virtualizing of processor and user information displays. Here are some examples of technological leaps for the future.

DRONES OF THE FUTURE

One federal client required the surveillance of over 2,000,000 sq. ft. of property. Most of the facilities are museum spaces, i.e., hardly used with furnishings and interiors remaining virtually fixed in place.

We perceive that in the future, tours of guards to maintain these properties will be a thing of the past in the next ten or fifteen years at the most. We expect small drones – measured in inches – to surveil and report on heat, fire, cold, water, intrusion, and changes in the interiors. The drone will have a spare battery, a charger built in when it rests, and be able to perform a five- or six-minute surveillance drill every two hours or as needed to confirm and even transmit video to the command center with complete data for record retrieval. Based on thirty properties and 2,000,000 sq. ft., we estimate the manpower and equipment savings would be over $1,000,000 in the first year alone with technology capabilities that far surpass that of a human in most cases. Consider that in 2016 you can now purchase a UAV appropriate for outdoor use for as little as $1,200 that is considered semi-professional grade suitable for architects and engineers to perform survey and 3-D visualization/mapping studies. Even three years ago, this would not have been available to the design or construction professional.

INTERNET OF THINGS (loT)

Our practice’s understanding of IP-based technology including sensor integration, network architecture design, computer and software support requirements, and protocol transactions make PSE one of the most knowledgeable integration consulting firms for security, audio, visual, video, lighting integration, and the universe of communications including radio, audio, visual display, and GUI interfaces.

Because our project managers design sophisticated IT-based networks with well-planned server/computer/user interface software on a daily basis, we are prepared to render the newest wireless technologies while being aware they can be premature for market use due to cyber concerns.

We routinely research the vulnerabilities of equipment that are brought to PSE’s library of available products. Quite often they fail and don’t work as expected – being returned. I expect that our recent design of over thousands of cameras for New York City, the testing of each IP camera, and the requisite determination of installation to network setup is only the beginning of what will be required in the future in assigning design strategies for projects.

THE FUTURE OF FIRE PROTECTION

The future of fire protection will continue to evolve. The practical uses and efficiencies of using direct current instead of alternating current will particularly develop into more strategic electronics distribution requirements within facilities, buildings, and especially in mission critical applications. Electrical engineers will be required to incorporate large DC power supplies into facilities fed from large AC switchgear panels. The voltage and current from the DC power supplies will then be distributed as low-voltage, high current distribution energy sources for direct current into computer processors and servers. Thus, more processors and servers can be placed into racks without the needless consumption of space by taking almost 25% by volume of available equipment racks and unnecessary and inefficient small power supplies.

But this new technology also creates challenges. A recent fire loss valued at over $50 million in Utah at the National Security Agency was due to inability of the DC to be circuited and interrupted properly when loads were applied. Switches need to be dynamically addressed to prevent short circuits cascading and possible fire which, in this case, destroyed the equipment.

A specialized network needs to monitor DC using algorithmic processes as opposed to simpler circuit breakers with fixed settings. The fire protection requirements will also be modified. The use of special extinguishment for fires and equipment rooms will need to be modeled and manufactured precisely for these cases. No existing NFPA code directly applies to suppression or containment of fires using these kinds of DC voltages. In fact, there are no codes or requirements for voltages over 480 volts in NFPA. Both the DC aspects of fire protection and those above 480 volts of alternating current transformers and other gear are gaps in NFPA that will soon be addressed, but under more challenging goals than may first be expected.

DIGITALIZATION OF AUDIO AND VIDEO

The digital world is like no time before. Everything we do, see, hear, record, play, interface with, touch, and soon even wear, will be digitally based. And perhaps nowhere more attuned to our senses is the digitalization to high quality levels of both video and audio. From headphones with outstanding digital technology to screens that can be rolled out and turned on for an instant screen on a wall will be the things not imagined, but available at the local BestBuy. What this means for corporations and institutions alike is that the availability for this digital realm will require significant computer architecture, servers, and support by the Internet of Things for the vast numbers and quantities of devices to be incorporated.

The new digital segregation may enter a new phase of network security that will be cured by new operating systems and special methods to bypass what are higher risk network situations and to make simple tasks less prone to cyber breach by avoiding open security holes. This means the now “open” world wide web “closes” to private webs or subscription only, similar to toll roads, avoiding lower economic networks to bypass the “viruses, spam, breaches, and technical intrusions.”

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