PUBLISHER Andrea E. Klee
EDITOR—PRINT Julie H. Mazur
EDITOR—DIGITAL Timothy Johnson
ASSOCIATE EDITOR Matt Kraus
EDI TORIAL/MULTIMEDIA ASSIS TAN T Hannah Fullmer
BUSINESS/PRODUC TION MANAGER Dominique M. Minor
CIRCULATION MANAGER Astra J. Hudson/
Astra Benjamin-Hudson Consulting
ART DIREC TION: Paul Philpott/Bono Tom Studio Inc.
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY & U TILI T Y BUSINESS Chuck Ross
ARC FLASH SAFE T Y Jim Phillips
BUSINESS William Atkinson
CODE Jim Dollard
CODE Michael Johnston
CODE Charles R. Miller
CODE Mark C. Ode
ESTIMATING Stephen Carr
FIBER OPTICS & CABLING Jim Hayes
FINANCIAL Denise Norberg-Johnson
FIRE/LIFE SAFE T Y S YS TEMS Wayne D. Moore
LIFE SAFETY SYSTEMS Thomas P. Hammerberg
LEGAL Gerard W. Ittig
LIGHTING Craig DiLouie
POWER QUALIT Y Richard P. Bingham
RESIDENTIAL David E. Shapiro
SAFETY Joe O’Connor & Tom O’Connor
SECURITY Deborah L. O’Mara
SERVICE/MAINTENANCE Andrew McCoy & Fred Sargent
TECHNOLOGY Jim Romeo
TOOLS Jeff Griffin
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CHIEF EXECU TIVE OFFICER John M. Grau
SECRETARY-TREASURER Traci M. Walker
VICE PRESIDEN T AND COO Daniel G. Walter
EDITOR’S EYE BY TIMOTHY JOHNSON AND JULIE H. MAZUR
Rise of the Machines
THE LEAVES ARE TURNING HERE IN BETHESDA, MD. Fall is a
cliched metaphor for change, and it’s the part of the annual cycle that cynics
abhor for pumpkin-spiced everything. This month, ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR
looks at emerging markets, the birth of new trends and technologies, and, while
we don’t want to alarm you, there’s a bit of a rise of the machines going on.
We see it in everything from small sensors that form the Internet of Things
(Io T) and aid heating and cooling systems, in new lighting products that attune
to daylight and your preferences, in unmanned aircraft systems (aka drones)
enabling electrical contractors to look for problems remotely, and in cars and
trucks that drive themselves.
We haven’t covered the latter (although, Uber is testing a fleet of unmanned
automobiles in Pittsburgh), but you can read about the rest in this issue.
For instance, have you scanned the QR code on the front cover? On page
26, “The Buzz About Drones,” Jim Phillips writes about these high-flying
machines as a new tool for ECs to evaluate and diagnose problems with electrical equipment. Scanning that QR code will take you to a video produced
by Oswego Creative Inc., and it demonstrates what these machines can do.
Susan Casey, author of two books on inventing, works on one of her personal
passions. Here she writes about regular people—ECs among them—who came
up with great ideas and the differences they make to our profession. On page 36,
“How They Were Made,” Casey talks to the creators responsible for innovative
devices in the electrical industry, some of which amp up automation.
When all of this comes together, we can do some cool stuff with energy
distribution. On page 56, “Community Energy Renaissance,” Jeff Gavin writes
about how communities are uniting through energy projects. We’ve covered
microgrids and distributed energy before, but some communities are going
beyond into what they call “eco-districts.” Whatever you call them, they
require some pretty high-tech devices.
Finally on this theme, on page 66, “Central Intelligence,” Claire Swedberg
writes about data centers. Swedberg finds that, while the Io T has aided data
centers with their enormous energy and cooling demands, the real all-stars
are the sensor technologies “on the edge,” and people must figure out what to
do with all that information. This is truly an emerging market.
Of course, to an extent, we focus on these types of emerging systems every
other month in our bimonthly supplement, INTEGRATED SYSTEMS CON TRACTOR,
which begins on page 84.
It’s no secret that the electrical industry, like everything else, is getting
more integrated and systems-oriented. We want to hear what you think. Please
consider sharing it with us by signing up for our subscriber research panel at
ECmag.com/2016-panel-signup. For more information, see page 81.