Graybar, a Fortune 500 company, specializes in supply chain management services, and is a leading North American distributor of high quality components, equipment, and materials. We serve the construction market, the commercial, institutional, and government (CIG) market, and the industrial and utility markets. Graybar products and services support new construction, infrastructure updates, building renovation, facility maintenance, repair and operations, and original equipment manufacturing.
The University of North Alabama (UNA) is an accredited, comprehensive regional state university offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The 130- acre campus is located in a residential section of Florence, Alabama, and has been ranked as one of the safest campuses in the country by BestColleges.com. So when a series of incidents was reported in the on-campus parking deck, university officials were quick to respond.
HOW GRAYBAR HELPED
UNA connected with Graybar, a leading distributor of electrical, communications and data networking products and a provider of supply chain management and logistics services, to discuss surveillance camera systems for the campus parking deck as well as the library, science and courtyard areas.
???????Already familiar with the different building designs and angles, Graybar Business Development Manager – Security Solutions Chad Umbarger and Graybar Sales Representative Dan Bates reached out to Goss Electric Inc., a full-service, Alabama-based electrical contracting firm, to help specify and propose a surveillance package for the school. The system consisted of a combination of servers, software and Arecont Vision cameras.
Graybar worked closely with Goss Project Manager David Robinson and UNA Assistant Vice President – Facilities Administration and Planning Michael Gautney, UNA Chief Information Officer Stephen Putman, UNA Network Services Manager Randall Phifer, UNA Vice President – Student Affairs David Shields and UNA Chief of Police Kevin Gillilan to identify and place a number of demo cameras for the school to review.
“With the design of the parking deck, it was important that we placed the first floor cameras the right way because it’s an area that can still be accessed without going through the entrance,” said Shields.
After a visit to the Goss facility in Decatur, Alabama, UNA was quickly sold on the new surveillance system. The large facility showcases many camera systems and monitors for customers to review and assess different surveillance options and viewpoints.
“We set up a demo camera system, with huge monitors, so that UNA could see how just how the proposed surveillance system would work,” said Bates.
The cameras were installed over the summer at all of the entrances, exits and the first floor of the on-campus parking deck. Cameras were also installed around the perimeter of the new science building, Collier Library and both inside and outside two new residence halls.
The cameras will provide the university with an additional investigative tool and the surveillance footage will also be routed to the UNA Police Department and stored.
Pleased with the new surveillance system, UNA hopes to add even more cameras to other areas of the campus as time and resources permit.
“This is the first phase,” said Shields. “We will implement more cameras as we have the resources to do so.”
ST. LOUIS, MO – Sept. 3, 2019 – Graybar, a leading distributor of electrical, communications and data networking products and provider of related supply chain management and logistics services, today announced it has joined the prestigious Arizona State University Center for Services Leadership (CSL). This new endeavor helps underscore Graybar’s commitment to service excellence and service innovation.
The globally recognized CSL strives to improve the business and academic understanding of the distinctive and growing role of services in organizations and with customers. The CSL provides an opportunity for member companies to research the latest in services leadership, as well as participate in extensive information sharing across a wide spectrum of industries. This new relationship aligns Graybar with a long list of service-oriented companies that are already members of the CSL, such as FedEx, Boeing, Mayo Clinic and Lowe’s.
“We are excited to join this network of leading companies dedicated to service excellence in their respective industries,” said Graybar Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Scott Clifford. “Over the course of our history, Graybar has achieved success by embracing change and innovating in the way we serve our customers. We believe this relationship with the CSL will amplify the spirit of innovation and service excellence that has been at the core of our business for the past 150 years.”
The CSL was established in 1985 to pioneer the study of services when business schools were focusing primarily on products and manufacturing enterprises. By filling this void, the CSL has established itself as globally recognized authority and resource in the field. Highly successful companies and top academics turn to the CSL to understand how to compete strategically through both profitable services and through the use of customer service as a source of distinction. For more information about the CSL, please go to http://wpcarey.asu.edu/csl.
Graybar, a Fortune 500 corporation and one of the largest employee-owned companies in North America, is a leader in the distribution of high quality electrical, communications and data networking products, and specializes in related supply chain management and logistics services. Through its network of 289 North American distribution facilities, it stocks and sells products from thousands of manufacturers, helping its customers power, network and secure their facilities with speed, intelligence and efficiency. For more information,?call 1-800-GRAYBAR.
Sometime in the future, Robin wakes up to a voice reading the daily forecast for Smart City – sunny, with a high of 75 degrees. She reaches for her phone and taps open an app, and soon the smell of brewing coffee drifts in from the kitchen.?
An hour later, an automated car arrives on schedule to take her to work. Outside her office, she tosses her empty coffee cup into a recycling can and it silently signals for a nearby waste truck, which is winding its way through the city on a route planned in real time by the day’s demand.
The internet of things (IoT) is layered over the fabric of Smart City, with sensors and controls acting as minimally invasive tailors that correct inefficiencies in the built environment.
Lights turn on as soon as Robin walks in a room; trash cans ask to be emptied when they are full.
IoT represents a distributed network of devices that sense their environment, communicate with each other, and act on the information they collect – and it’s already here, in a limited form.
In a whitepaper, Cisco defined the internet of things as “the point in time when more ‘things or objects’ were connected to the Internet than people.” In 2010, there were 6.8 billion people on the planet and 12.5 billion devices connected to the Internet – averaging out to 1.68 devices per person. Cisco traced this exponential growth backward to estimate that the world passed the IoT inflection point sometime between 2008 and 20091.
Many people already integrate smart devices into daily tasks at home. However, emerging IoT applications involve more complicated devices, sometimes making critical decisions – for example, self-driving cars.
A fully automated vehicle will need to read the path and condition of the road, the signaling infrastructure of traffic lights and stop signs, obstacles ranging from surrounding cars to fallen tree limbs and much more. Then, it will need to make a decision based on this information, in as close to real time as possible – and continue making multiple decisions every second until it reaches its destination.
A popular estimate2?claims that a single autonomous car will generate four terabytes of data in an hour and a half of driving – more than the amount used by the audience of a Superbowl. Rush hour in Smart City represents a mind-boggling amount of information.Networking professionals call the collection of local areas surrounding devices “the edge,” in contrast to a central “cloud” where processing resources are concentrated. As the edge gets denser with new devices, data is becoming more distributed, there is more of it and it needs to be processed faster.
“IoT is the internet of things, and those things need to be connected to the edge and to have instant processing and instant reaction,” said Joe Reele, Vice President, Solution Architects at APC by Schneider Electric.
The Bandwidth and Latency Blues
Transferring all this data to the cloud raises two concerns – bandwidth and latency.Data passes through a network like cars on a highway, and bandwidth and latency are two ways of measuring the trip. Bandwidth represents the capacity of the network – how many lanes are on the highway. As the volume of data trying to pass through that network reaches capacity, its speed will decrease.
“Latency represents how long it takes for information to travel to its destination, so it is dependent on distance and congestion. Think of L.A. at two in the morning and think of L.A. during rush hour. You didn't change the bandwidth - the bandwidth is still the same because [the amount of] lanes, your capacity, is still the same. But the time it takes to get from point A to point B and back to point A is significantly different - and that's latency from congestion,” said David Eckell, a National Market Manager at Graybar who focuses on data centers.
Many IoT devices don’t require much bandwidth, comparatively speaking – their main purpose is to sense and respond to a particular change in the environment. A motion-sensitive switch doesn’t need to process a lot of data to turn a light on or off.Other devices that use augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and/or artificial intelligence (AI) to overlay or adapt to their surroundings will be more bandwidth-intensive.
All told, however, more devices coming online will mean more data entering the network, eating up bandwidth – and all of these devices are designed to react in real time.
As these applications move beyond convenience to take over critical tasks, latency will become a serious concern. A room can stay dark a second too long, but a car cannot brake a second too late.
The next generation of wireless technologies, 5G and Wi-Fi 6, aim to pave the way for new devices by improving the bandwidth and latency limitations of current networks.According to Joe, 5G will have three main benefits: “We’re going to be able to put more things into the network. It’s going to reduce latency … so we’re going to have a much faster network. And the third thing, which is the most important thing, is 5G will enable a million IoT sensors to be connected to it in one point.”
Increasing how fast data can travel is an important first step. However, latency is also affected by a second factor – how far it has to go to be processed.?
To return to David’s metaphor of L.A. traffic, 5G will add more lanes to the freeway and raise the speed limit, but it won’t change the distance from downtown to the beach.
The Edge Vs. The Cloud
Modern computing has been dominated by a cloud model, where many users and devices access centralized, shared IT resources. Cloud data centers rely on scale to deliver greater processing and storage capacity at lower costs.
By consolidating and leasing out IT infrastructure, several large cloud providers have enabled a varied ecosystem of connected devices and applications.
However, the further a device gets from the cloud, the worse latency becomes.As new applications become more latency-dependent, leaders in the data center field like Joe Reele have begun to discuss building up computing resources at the edge, instead of in the cloud, to overcome the last hurdle to near-real-time processing.
The idea of distributing processing and storage resources closer to users is known as edge computing. It involves installing processing capability directly into devices, and locating smaller data centers closer to users for dedicated applications.?
By shortening the distance data has to travel, edge computing reduces latency and conserves bandwidth across the network.
Ideally, information that is relevant in the moment and needs to be acted on in real time should be processed at the edge. If the use case can tolerate some delay or the data needs to be stored, aggregated and analyzed at a higher level, it should be sent on to the cloud.
“Cloud computing is more big data and edge computing is more instant data,” said Joe.
The Future Combines Cloud and Edge
As the sun sets on Smart City, Robin’s self-driving car uses resources from both the cloud and the edge to get her home safely.
Traffic slows a few miles before her usual exit, and her car checks a cloud-based map of the city, taking a second or two to reroute itself around construction. As the new turn approaches, it begins to merge, drifting closer to the white stripes on the pavement – but there is another car in the next lane. Both cars recognize each other and communicate immediately at the edge to avoid a collision.?
Later, the car will send information it collected about the potential crash on to its manufacturer’s cloud storage, which they will use to improve future vehicles. ?
Complex IoT applications will handle information with different tolerances for latency and levels of relevance, and will need to leverage a spectrum of complementary computing resources from the cloud to the edge.
“I think the data center landscape in 10 years is going to be a hybrid mesh network between cloud computing and edge computing, intertwined with wireless and 5G. We’re going to see a much different landscape – rather than a centralized data center, I think it’s going to be much more distributed and interactive,” said Joe.
Data centers have traditionally focused on achieving efficiencies through scale, but new applications will also require distributing computing resources based on the needs of different kinds of devices.
“It's more [about] the way we think and design around information at a fundamental level - what information do I have, when do I need to understand it, and what's it going to cost me to do that,” said David.
He points out that when reaction time isn’t the first priority, the cloud will be less expensive to use, and regional data centers have already shrunk average latency below 100 milliseconds in most cases – acceptable for non-critical uses. However, speed is ultimately determined by the slowest link, so across the network latency can increase considerably at peak times.
Also, new devices won’t just represent new demands on data, but more data overall, much of which will be valuable for long-term analysis of the environments in which they are embedded. This type of big-picture processing will remain cloud-based work.In fact, leasing in multi-tenant data centers doubled from 2017 to 2018, largely driven by users seeking hyperscale cloud resources .?
A fully realized edge-to-cloud architecture will open up choices about where to send data.
But getting there will take building up infrastructure at the edge, and connecting the edge to the cloud.?
Fog Connects the Cloud to the Edge
“Edge [computing] is big business today, but in reality we are just getting started,” said David.
Several industry groups have begun to design “fog” solutions to allow consistency and secure communication between various edge and cloud networks.
In 2018, the IEEE Communication Society and the OpenFog Consortium collaborated to release IEEE 1934?, a new standard that is “intended to address the need for an end-to-end, interoperable solution that is positioned along the things-to-cloud continuum .”
The new standard was showcased later that year at the second annual Fog World Congress, a three-day conference in San Francisco for “fog computing leaders and edge influencers .” In the exhibitor area, organizers deployed low-slung, four-wheeled robots a little smaller than a floor tile that scurried around the feet of attendees and created a map of the venue in real time. The demonstration showed that coordination between fog systems from various domains was possible using the OpenFog Reference Architecture outlined in IEEE 1934.
In addition to tech solutions, the growth of edge capabilities in the U.S. will require a significant investment in infrastructure – especially the fiber optic cabling that enables 5G networks to transport data between edge devices and back to the cloud.?
“5G at scale, at full deployment, is years off in this country,” said Joe. “Out of the top 25 countries in the world with fiber, where do you think the United States is? The answer is the United States is 23rd out of 25, and the edge and 5G won’t work without fiber. … In order for us to get to 5G, we’re going to have to put a lot of fiber in the ground, and that fiber has to be supported with critical infrastructure.”
APC has already begun to work with customers to build computing solutions at the edge – including a super-cooled data center for a university health sciences facility, located on the shaded roof of a nearby parking garage.?
Future applications will require investment on a city-wide, and even country-wide, scale. Imagine Robin taking a weekend trip out of Smart City: self-driving cars will require edge resources at regular intervals to stay connected. Just as the U.S. had to build roads across the country, it will have to build a new system of infrastructure to make them smart-ready.?
The corresponding transformation of the data center landscape will require the coordination of wide-ranging expertise in design, infrastructure, and technology.“There’s no one provider that can do it all,” said Joe. “No one person can do all of the solution. It’s an ecosystem, like, for example, the [relationship] between APC and Graybar. That’s a [relationship] that together creates a more powerful and impactful solution than any one of us can do by ourselves.”
1Evans, Dave. “The Internet of Things: How the Next Evolution of the Internet Is Changing Everything.” Cisco Systems, Inc., 2011.2Winter, Kathy. “For Self-Driving Cars, There’s Big Meaning behind One Big Number: 4 Terabytes.” Intel Newsroom, Intel, 14 April 2017. Carlini, Steven. “The Drivers and Benefits of Edge Computing.” APC by Schneider Electric, 2016.
“Data Center Real Estate Review: 2018.” North American Data Centers, 10 Jan. 2019.
 “New IEEE 1934? Standard Delivers Framework for Developing Applications and Business Models Enabled by Fog Computing.” News & Events: Press Releases, IEEE Standards Association, 16 Aug. 2018.
 “This is Fog: autonomous mapping robots in action at Fog World Congress 2018.” GlobeNewswire, Fog World Congress, 12 Sept. 2018.
 “IT Infrastructure Solutions in Healthcare.” Schneider Electric, June 2017.
Ahh…the savory aroma of pumpkin spice percolating in coffee makers and espresso machines across the country. It’s the universal cue that we’re ready to usher Summer out and welcome Autumn in. As if Autumn is not exciting enough on its own, we’re sweetening more than just your coffee pot this September. You have an opportunity to savor the flavor of a discount on Corning’s flame-retardant cable. Now that’s something we can all truly say we like a latte!?
The Perk: Save up to 10% off qualifying Corning MIC? and FREEDM? flame-retardant cable orders in the month of September!
When: September 1 – 30, 2019
Where: Exclusively at Graybar
How: Contact your local Graybar branch to place an order and receive your discount today!
Restrictions apply. Promotional offers cannot be combined or used with any other offer. Void where prohibited. Qualifying products include all qualifying Corning MIC? and FREEDM? cables purchased from eligible Graybar branch locations during the promotion period. Qualifying products purchased through Graybar.com during the promotion period will qualify when purchased through registered accounts of Graybar customers. Account must be in good standing with Graybar (as determined by Graybar to include the ability to buy on account (and to have done so in the 12 months prior) and to have no balance owed exceeding 90 days past due) during promotion period. Promotion is not open to Corning, Graybar, or government employees or their families.?
Terms and Conditions
Qualifying products include all Corning MIC? and FREEDM? cables purchased from eligible Graybar branch locations during the promotion period. Qualifying products purchased through Graybar.com during the promotion period will qualify when purchased through registered accounts of Graybar customers. Account must be in good standing with Graybar (as determined by Graybar to include the ability to buy on account (and to have done so in the 12 months prior) and to have no balance owed exceeding 90 days past due) during promotion period. Promotion is not open to Corning, Graybar, or government employees or their families.
Void where prohibited. Promotion period begins on 9/1/19 at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Daylight Savings Time (“EDT”) and ends on 9/30/19 at 11:59 p.m. EDT (“promotion period”).?
Sponsor is Graybar Electric Company, Inc., 34 North Meramec Avenue, Saint Louis, MO 63105.
MIC? and FREEDM? are registered trademarks of Corning Incorporated, all rights reserved.
2019 ? Graybar Services, Inc. All rights reserved.
? Corning Incorporated. All Rights Reserved.
The Minnesota State Fair, located between Minneapolis and St. Paul, has the largest average daily attendance of any state fair in the country.
An average of 166,000 people per day at the fairgrounds send and receive approximately 8 million texts and require capacity for data downloads, mobile streaming, mobile payments and cell phone calls.
The State Fair needed a permanent, always-on, guaranteed mobile data delivery system – and that’s where Graybar and contractor MP Mobile Solutions stepped in.
The Minnesota State Fair is one of the largest and best-attended expositions in the world. In addition to the 12-day State Fair, the Minnesota State Fairgrounds hosts hundreds of additional events each year.
Minnesota State Fair leaders were looking for an alternative to importing multiple, bulky COWs (cells-on-wheels) to ensure mobility service for the annual Minnesota State Fair. They wanted an on-site, permanent, multi-carrier Distributed Antenna System (DAS) that could handle a huge influx of people – and connected devices – without issue. Such a system would need to support the diverse needs of both fairgoers and fair vendors.
HOW GRAYBAR HELPED
Graybar joined with MP Mobile Solutions, a systems integrator, to design and specify a DAS solution before the 2017 State Fair. The team recommended a DAS system manufactured by SOLiD that was pre-loaded and pre-configured at the factory. Over the three-month installation period, the Graybar team provisioned and staged the sophisticated system at its Minneapolis Service Center. And Graybar’s Just In Time (JIT) delivery service made sure that the appropriate parts and materials reached the fairgrounds at the exact time they were needed.
The Minnesota State Fair now has permanent, reliable mobile connectivity that provides a more positive experience for fairgoers and also enhances the abilities of vendors for both the State Fair and the many other events held at the fairgrounds throughout the year.?
Furthermore, the State Fair was able to reclaim valuable square footage previously used for COWs for more productive uses and sell more fully integrated mobile marketing packages without worrying about overloading its mobile network.
With 8,700 employees in 289 locations across North America including Canada and Puerto Rico, Graybar is a national company with local career opportunities, including:
??No. 57 on the Forbes America’s Largest Private Companies list (2018)
??Named to FORTUNE World’s Most Admired Companies list for the 17th year (2019)
??No. 423?on the FORTUNE 500 ranking of America’s largest companies (2019)
? No. 55 on the Forbes America’s Largest Private Companies list (2017)
? Named to FORTUNE World’s Most Admired Companies list for the 16th year (2018)
? Named by Forbes as one of “America’s Best Large Employers” (2018)
? No. 13 on the National Center for Employee Ownership “Employee Ownership 100” list (2018)
? No. 3 on the Modern Distribution Management Market Leaders list (2018)
? No. 3 on Electrical Wholesaling’s Top 200 Electrical Distributors list (2018)
? Named one of the Top Workplaces in Atlanta, the California Bay Area, St. Louis, Oregon and Southwest Washington (2018)
? On Broadband Communities’ Fiber to the Home Top 100 list (2018)?
??Named one of Selling Power’s “Best Companies to Sell For” (2018)
As a leading North American distributor, Graybar operates with one clear mission: to serve as the vital link in the supply chain, adding value for customers and suppliers with innovative solutions and services. Graybar’s strategy is to sustain the organization as an independent and employee-owned company, while achieving the results that position the company as an industry leader and allows Graybar to work to the advantage of those it serves.