A Night at the Nerd Oscars

OHTec’s 11th annual Best of Tech Awards took place April 27 at Trinity Cathedral and attendees were quick to jump to Twitter to share their thoughts about the big event.

April 27 was a night for the nerds. That’s when OHTec’s 11th annual Best of Tech Awards (lovingly referred by all as the Nerd Oscars) was held inside Cleveland’s Trinity Cathedral.

RELATED: Check out a list of who won what at the 2017 Best of Tech Awards

With such a tech savvy crowd, it may come as no surprise that the attendees shared their experience during the awards ceremony on Twitter. Check below for a Twitter-based recap of the night’s events!

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  • Next up: ABC’s of LEDs: Debunking Myths
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  • ABC’s of LEDs: Debunking Myths

    Lingering (untrue) myths about LED lighting are holding some companies back from making the switch to the cost-saving lighting source.

    As an energy efficiency company specializing in LED retrofit to drastically cut operating expenses, it is surprising how often business owners and facilities operators view of “conventional wisdom” does not meet the definition—the view and practice follows a path that is neither “conventional” nor “wise.” From predicting the winner of next year’s sports champions to predicting next week’s stock market, “conventional wisdom” can lead you astray. Let’s explore some of the history and myths related to the subject of LED Lighting in respect to cost saving retrofit opportunities. (The various sports teams’ destiny can be worked out in a separate effort).  

    It seems nearly everyone today has heard something about LED lighting. From flashlights to computer and TV screens, from light bulbs to headlights in cars, it’s as if the whole world is to be lit by LED in one form or another. This technology is everywhere because of a much longer lifespan, no mercury content, instant on and flicker-free capabilities, and delivering higher efficiency and operating cost savings than traditional light sources.  

    A LED is a light emitting diode, a semi-conductive, solid-state device. Did you know the phenomena of electroluminescence from a diode was first reported in 1907 by Henry Joseph Round in a publication titled Electrical World? Round was the personal assistant of G. Marconi, and while performing vacuum tube experiments to support long distance radio communication, came across the phenomena. He reported it and further research was accomplished in 1927 by Oleg Vladimirovich Losev in a work that was referenced by future scientists.  

    Also, did you know the first practical application for visible red LEDs was made in 1962 by General Electric, with the lighting application being calculator displays for Hewlett Packard? Or that blue LEDs did not arrive until 1993 when Nichia Corporation of Japan brought the technology to mass production; and this step also enabled white light LED?  

    At the end of 2015, there was an explosion in LED technology. But, even so, if LEDs and Solid State Lighting (SSL) products are so great, why doesn’t EVERYONE switch to SSL products immediately, which would mean doing away with traditional light sources of incandescent/halogen, fluorescent and CFLs, and all HID lamps (Metal Halide, High Pressure Sodium, etc.)? Our world would be lit by green technology, comparatively energy efficient, and we could go on with the bliss of the collective achievement to better everything in sight with the saved Operating Expense (OPEX). Right? Well, not so fast. There're is a word describing why we do not switch immediately.  

    One Word: myths. So, let’s take a look at four of these Myths.  

    Myth #1: All SSL Products are basically the same.  

    Debunked: LED diode/chips and SSL products vary drastically in light quality, lifetime, and light output.  

    A SSL product relies on many components. Just because it is an LED-based lighting product, that alone does not mean it is any good. LED chips, heat sinking (thermals), power/driver electronics, optics, and controls all have to be designed to work together. These things must be optimized to deliver the required light levels, meet the organizations efficiency and budgetary needs, and last as long as promised.  

    Best Advice: Look for testing reports on the LED components, such as LM80. Ensure mechanical construction (corrosion resistive components, etc.) and driver electronics of the fixture have a reputation for high quality, and can ensure your product will adhere to the same high standard. Look for performance data of the fixture/lamp, such as LM79. LM79 will expose the performance difference between SSL products in terms of efficiency. If these items are difficult to gain/understand, seek another supplier.  

    Myth #2: LEDs and SSL products do not work well in high temperature areas.  

    Debunked: Well-designed SSL products are made to operate across a broad environmental range.  

    During high temperature testing by independent labs, LEDs have shown to perform equally as well as fixtures lit with fluorescent and HID lamps. Product design quality matters, and a SSL product that manages its heat dissipation well is a prerequisite. A good indication of the SSL products’ thermal performance is to see the thermal data generated from the LM80 testing report. LM80 is a standard conducted by third party NAVLAP qualified testing facilities. SSL manufacturers and distributors should have access to this information.  

    It is also important to note LEDs work extremely well, without warm-up time, in cold environments, such as cold storage of warehousing environments.  

    Best Advice: Look for testing data to substantiate a broad operating temperature rage. Most quality suppliers have tested product reliability, and would be capable of sharing this information.  

    Myth #3: LED and SSL products will always drop in price, so it pays to wait.  

    Debunked: Waiting for prices to drop will cost you more money.  

    While it is certainly true SSL products have experienced significant price erosion during the past five years, most major price decreases have already occurred. Any further decreases will likely be incremental, and there are still commodity materials used in the products. Operational cost savings typically far exceed any modest price modification.

    Here is an example: Using $0.10 / kWh, 18hrs/day Burn Time, compare a 6-Lamp T8 High Bay vs. LED Tubes:  

     Annual Energy Cost
     6-Lamp T8 Fixture
     $139.00
     LED T8 (12W, 140LPW)
     $47.00
     Annual Energy Cost Savings
     $92.00

    Even if LED T8 Tube prices drop an unrealistic $5 per tube over the next year, it would save $6 x $5 = $30 in product cost, but you would still spend $62 per fixture ($92-$30) during that year.  

    Best Advice: It makes no sense to wait. Start an evaluation to retrofit your facility to LED today.  

    Myth #4: There needs to be a budget  

    Debunked: Budgeting Processes cost you money.  

    As companies weigh the options on how to best spend an allocated maintenance budget, the organization loses money every time in the form of operational expenses because of lighting. Energy Financing is a method to use the saved operational expense an LED Retrofit project creates as cash flows to pay for the project through time. A Capital Lease program can be administered to use the concept of energy financing.  

    At times, we do not think of a Capital Lease for an item such as Lighting. But why not? Businesses use leasing agreements all the time on computers, cell phone and IT services, furniture and other office equipment.  

    Things to consider are no upfront cash, no origination or closing costs, being cash flow positive from day 1, and flexible leasing terms. There are different terms available within a capital lease, so be sure to look for many options.  

    Best Advice: It really makes sense to investigate using Energy Financing and the Capital Lease to speed up savings.  

    Mark Kelly is executive director, national accounts/energy solutions for LEFF Electric.

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  • Next up: Accessing Capital for Efficiency and Renewable Energy Projects
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  • Accessing Capital for Efficiency and Renewable Energy Projects

    Since 2017, the COSE Interest Rate Buydown Program has invested $123,403 in 8 small business energy efficiency projects that have resulted in 1,728,372 kWh savings across the 300,000 square feet of commercial space. These projects have generated $1.3 million of total development.

    Featured Project: Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy 

    Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy is one of the largest and most respected compounding pharmacies in the country with a new location in Beachwood coming soon.

    COSE performed a comprehensive (ASHRAE Level II) energy assessment of the 20,620 square foot former bus garage to assess the potential for cost effective Energy Conservation Measures (ECMs) (a $3,000 value, paid for by FirstEnergy and an exclusive benefit to COSE/GCP members). 

    Working with a raw space with intended new usage, the COSE Energy Team identified 23 main ECM’s for consideration during the retrofit to provide the maximum utility and O&M expenditure reduction.

    Extensive upgrades are being made to the building to accommodate the Pharmacy, including LED lighting and HVAC. 

    Benefits of working with the Energy Team included:

    • Captured $2,698 in cash rebates for lighting; 
    • Leveraged COSE’s Interest Rate Buy-down Program and saved $68,422 on its loan for LED lighting and HVAC measures through KeyBank (a 3.5% interest rate reduction) 
    • Lee Silsby leveraged more than $73,000 in total value through their relationship with the GCP/COSE energy teamFeatured Project: Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy 

    Contact the COSE Energy team today to learn more about the program at 216-592-2205 or email energy@cose.org

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  • Next up: Affordable Change to Exit Signs Results in More Energy Savings for You
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  • Affordable Change to Exit Signs Results in More Energy Savings for You

    When looking for energy savings, sometimes it’s the little changes which create the most value.

    When looking for energy savings, sometimes it’s the little changes which create the most value.

    Something that small business owners don’t think too much about is a business requirement, exit signs. All businesses have them and most probably do not give them a second thought, but small business owners will see a quick payback when they upgrade to a more efficient solution.

    The average exit sign in existing buildings is several years old and uses incandescent light bulbs. They use 40 watt bulbs and are on 24/7. This small amount of energy output really adds up. New signs using 2 Watt LEDs would save 38 watts an hour, adding up to over 330KW annually. The payback for this upgrade is usually less than a year and the greatest benefit is in the lifespan of the bulb which can last approximately 10 years. Think of all the time and effort saved in not having to replace the light bulbs in your signs year after year. Time, effort and electric savings highlight the benefit of making this small change now.

    If you have additional questions about money saving tips for your business, contact me at 216-592-2432.

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  • Next up: An In-Depth Look at How connecTel Partners with Your Business
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  • An In-Depth Look at How connecTel Partners with Your Business

    Few companies have the dedicated staff or time to continually monitor trends in the telecommunications industry. The good news is the connecTel team does and can provide a single point of contact for local, long distance, wireless and data services. This partnership saves time and money and allows connecTel clients to focus their energies on growing their businesses.

    RELATED: Get to know your newest member benefit: connecTel.
     
    Thanks to years of experience and long-standing partnerships, connecTel can evaluate the latest technologies and trends, recommending the best solutions to lower costs, streamline services and enhance functionality. The company also continually reviews and manages services to further save time and money. And finally, connecTel acts on their clients’ behalf for service problems and troubleshooting with carriers.

    Here’s a closer look at the ways the experienced team at connecTel helps businesses.

    Alpha Services

    Alpha Communications Technologies has completed a merger with connecTel, Inc. as of Jan. 1, 2017. The new Alpha connecTel Technologies LLC, is positioned to better serve shared customers in this ever-changing telecommunications landscape. Hosted services, IT, premise-based PBX equipment, and traditional telecom are converging rapidly. This new entity has the resources and expertise needed to more effectively support customers and quickly adapt with ever-evolving technology.

    Voice

    Voice service is one of the more common telecommunications offerings, encompassing local dial tone, long distance, international, toll-free and sundry usage plans. These services can be provided over copper, fiber, coaxial cable or even wireless transport medium. connecTel can also advise you on a wide range of hosted (cloud) voice options. Simply put, we can discuss all your voice service options with multiple carriers. And connecTel works with businesses to explore what products best integrate with your organization—both for today and in the future.

    Hosted and cloud services

    Cloud services means services made available to users on demand via the Internet from a cloud computing provider's servers as opposed to being provided from a company's own on-premises servers or premised based PBX. Cloud services are designed to provide easy, scalable access to applications, resources and services, and are fully managed by a cloud services provider.

    A cloud service can dynamically scale to meet the needs of its users, and because the service provider supplies the hardware and software necessary for the service, there’s no need for a company to provision or deploy its own resources or allocate IT staff to manage the service.  Examples of cloud services include Hosted PBX, online data storage and backup solutions, Web-based e-mail services, hosted office suites and document collaboration services and database processing.

    Internet

    Internet services encompass everything—including dial up, broadband, dedicated and wireless connectivity—and can be provided over copper, fiber, coaxial cable or wireless transport medium. Each client’s size, number of users and types of traffic—in conjunction with the degree of mission-critical requirements—all combine to determine the best recommended options. Often, a mixed portfolio of tiered services is the answer, and connecTel is uniquely qualified to design these customizations. We will also work closely with internal IT staffs or outside network integrator, so the connecTel team’s recommendations seamlessly integrate into unique business environments.

    Data services

    Data Services include all WAN (Wide Area Network) designs. These product offerings are provided over copper, fiber, coaxial cable or wireless transport medium. They can be dedicated circuits or controlled over the Internet by a VPN solution, and can be used to link multiple locations, small offices or remote home office environments. And they also can be dedicated point-to-point circuits (via MPLS, VPN and Frame Relay) with speeds ranging from 56K 1.5M T1 to OC levels. Each data solution is tailored to the customer and configured to the unique needs of each location. connecTel will take into consideration all the interoffice voice and data requirements to customize a recommendation to meet specific needs and budgets and, as mentioned before, will work closely with internal IT and outside vendors to ensure the exact needs of your business are met.

    Consulting and auditing

    Many connecTel clients benefit from our extensive consulting services, which range from comprehensive bill auditing, carrier services RFP development and project management, as well as pursuit of billing credits on a contingency/shared savings basis. Support includes:

    • Communicating with phone equipment vendors to coordinate proper use of the system.

    • Verifying tax exemption certificates with all carriers.

    • Identifying potential areas of telephone over-billing.

    • Interacting with carriers on the client’s behalf regarding service-related issues.

    • Pursuing credits.

    Mobility management services

    Most companies and organizations view mobility as a necessary but frustrating expense in their organization. Additionally, mobility is viewed as a mandatory tool for employees—one that helps drive efficiency, collaboration and competitiveness. However, company resources and oversight for mobility often fall on the list of priorities.

    By allowing connecTel to manage wireless devices, clients realize lower internal administrative costs, expedited support and trouble ticket resolution for users, decreased costs, and greater accountability for users and locations. With proprietary analysis software, connecTel imports entire bills into their system and then perform checks and balances for each individual phone on the account. As each bill is reviewed, connecTel provides information to you if any modifications need to be made or any billing issues are found. When we uncover these issues, connecTel Wireless resolves them.

    Mobile device management

    connecTel’s mobile device management (MDM) offerings provide organizations of any size with oversight, control, security, management and real-time visibility for any type or number of mobile devices regardless of operating system, ownership, carrier or email platform. Support includes:

    • On-premise and cloud delivery

    • Centralized dashboard monitor

    • Policies and security

    • Application management and file share

    • Compliance manager and alerts

    • Wireless usage and monitoring

    • Real-time device statistics and location

    • Report generation and logging

    Learn more about how connecTel’s telecom solutions can free your team up to focus on what matters most: your business. Visit connecTel’s site by clicking here.


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  • Next up: And the Award Goes to: Announcing the 2018 Best of Tech Winners
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  • And the Award Goes to: Announcing the 2018 Best of Tech Winners

    Miss out on OHTec's #NerdOscars (also known as the Best of Tech Awards)? Read below for a summary of who took home awards this year and the reaction on Twitter.

    More than 220 tech leaders from across Northeast Ohio gathered at the Tenk West Bank to see which companies would be honored at OHTec’s 12th annual Best of Tech Awards, which recognizes the highest performing and most innovative technology companies in Greater Cleveland.

    Winners and finalists are listed below:


    Large Tech Company of the Year

    Award Winner: OverDrive

    Finalists: MRI Software; Park Place Technologies; MCPc

    Small Tech Company of the Year

    Award Winner: Futuri Media

    Finalists: Realeflow; Briteskies; e2b teknologies

    Tech Department of the Year

    Award Winners: n2y LLC

    Finalists: e2b teknologies; Foundation Software, Inc.; Hyland Software

    Best Tech Services Company

    Award Winner: Accellis Technology Group

    Finalists: Briteskies; Park Place Technologies; QualityIP

    Most Promising Startup

    Award Winner: Data Genomix

    Finalists: Convey, Inc.; Votem; Bezlio

    Best Software Device/Product

    Award Winner: 7SIGNAL

    Finalists: Dolbey Systems; BrandMuscle; e2b teknologies

    Best Use of Tech for Social Good

    Award Winners: Cleveland Metroparks (public entity) and n2y LLC (for-profit)

    Finalists: The Cleveland Museum of Art; Cleveland Metropolitan School District

    Best Support of the Tech Community

    Award Winner: OEC

    Finalists: Expedient; Tech Elevator; Inforce Technologies

    Twitter recap

    Missed out on this year’s show? Check below for some of the highlights of this year’s #NerdOscars!


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