Intelligent Building Technology Blog

Intelligent Building Technology Blog


ATI Raises Money for Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital

Posted by Rob Simopoulos on December 6, 2016

Advance Technology Inc. (ATI), Scarborough, Maine, spreads their acts of kindness to a variety of different organizations inside the community and beyond. Judy Smith, Inside Sales and Business Development, has been coordinating the efforts on behalf of ATI.

The organization’s employees participate in a Jean Friday where staff goes casual and those who have come in denim contribute various amounts of money to The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center in Portland. Each $50 raised is sent to the organization. ATI also assists local families with school supplies and backpack donations prior to the start of fall school sessions.

In 2015, ATI sponsored a family through the Salvation Army in Orchard Beach, Maine, during the holidays with gift donations, and plans to continue this legacy in 2016. They procure lists of requests from the family, collect contributions and shop for these items, hand-delivering wrapped gifts.

Another way in which ATI team members support those in need and give back is by participating in a “Stuff the Bus” pre-Thanksgiving food drive program sponsored by Preble Street, a non-profit which runs a group of soup kitchens, shelters and food pantry in Portland, Maine. Each year, organizations across Maine collect donated food and fill school buses with the contributions. The ATI team also takes part on-site, helping unload the bus and stock the shelves at the organization.

When ATI team members decide to go casual at the office, they each make a contribution to The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center in Portland, putting their donations in this bucket.


The ‘Unwanted’ Side of Sound

Posted by Test Name on October 18, 2016

By Jay White

As I speak with customers about their current and planned applications for AV technology, I am often asked to provide solutions for different types of spaces. One of the challenges I face in many areas is unwanted sound. To address this condition, I use sound masking technology as a solution where speech privacy or confidentiality is desired. A reduction in distractions and productivity is realized as a result.

What is sound masking and how does it work?

Sound masking is the addition of a familiar sounding, air conditioning-like background sound to an environment. Masking covers or “masks” human speech. Imagine you are in a darkened room and a child is flicking a flashlight on and off. The light is noticeable and distracting. Now imagine, the lights are on. The same flashlight is being flicked on and off – without notice – because it has been “masked.” This is how sound masking works.

The most typical installations for sound masking is open office areas, private offices and public spaces.

Open Office Plans

Open offices are often either too quiet – hearing the occasional pin drop breaks concentration – or too noisy – the conversations of co-workers are distracting and affect productivity. Installing sound masking is the first and most cost-effective step to improving speech privacy creating a productive work environment with fewer distractions.

Private Offices

Private offices and other enclosed spaces, while appearing to provide privacy, often do not. Frequently the walls are made of lightweight materials or extend only to the ceiling tiles and not all the way to the ceiling deck. Often these decisions are made for cost reasons and for flexibility when reconfiguring the office space. Installing sound masking to a private office greatly improves confidentiality by rendering conversations completely unintelligible to listeners in the adjacent office, hallway or at the water cooler.

Public Spaces

Reception areas, pharmacies, waiting rooms, banks and public hallways next to private offices are great candidates for sound masking systems. Without sound masking, private conversations can be heard in the adjacent public spaces. Installing sound masking renders private conversations unintelligible by nearby listeners ensuring speech privacy. A sound masking system is also the most cost effective way to comply with the speech privacy requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA) and the Federal Trade Commission’s Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA).

Please consider me as your resource to discuss potential applications for sound masking and other AV technology solutions for your building. Advance Technology has an experienced engineering staff to work with your architects and interior designers. We welcome the opportunity to partner with you in the technology development and design your work environments. (Contact Jay at


Consultative Approach Helps Private Schools Embrace New Technology

Posted by Rob Simopoulos on August 10, 2016
Advance Technology provides assistance above and beyond hardware specs
Cheverus High SchoolThe education vertical market continues to adapt to the changing landscape by upgrading the security infrastructure with new technologies so stakeholders, students and visitors can be in a safe environment. Whether college campuses or K-12 facilities, one of the biggest hurdles is the budget – or getting the funding to add a network infrastructure, cameras or access control. For both public and private schools alike, it takes planning in partnership with many different entities to find the right way to make the most of allocated funds.
In New England, private schools are embracing security and audiovisual technology and planning for the future and companies like Advance Technology are guiding these institutions with a design process that facilitates an attainable migration path. According to the National Council for Education Statistics, in 2011 to 2012 some 24% of all schools in the U.S. were private institutions, which means they receive funding in whole or in part by student tuition.
Jeff LaChance, Senior Technology Consultant with Advance Technology, has found common ground and a great way to assist Cheverus High School in Portland and other private schools through the Independent Schools Association of Northern New England (ISANNE), Bath, Maine, of which the company participates in their Corporate Partner Program. ISANNE is a membership association of some 63 schools located in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Canada. The organization, which requires members are accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, provides professional development, mentoring and other support for issues or challenges arising among members.
ISANNE’s Corporate Partner Program includes business memberships that provides a vetting process and allows corporations to develop relationships with its private school members.

Cheverus High School
Consulting comes first before hardware
LaChance has been providing technology consulting to Cheverus High School, finding new ways to protect students and make the campus safer.
“We’d been trying to find a good security company we could trust and develop a long-term working relationship with,” said Brian Lemay, Director of Physical Plant for Cheverus High School. “With Advance Technology, we have been able to realize our downfalls and get up to speed with what we could do with what we had and stay within budget,” he said.
Lemay said the school initially approached Advance Technology at a local business conference and LaChance immediately got to work – guiding the school past its access control challenges as a result of legacy equipment. “Brian
Lemay simply asked for assistance in setting schedules, because it was affecting the use of the school space. The school’s funds are limited, tied to enrollment and tuition, but we were able to devise a multi-phase plan for migrating access control and video surveillance to the Genetec video management system (VMS) platform,” said LaChance.
“The consultative role was such critical part of what Advance Technology provided,” said Lemay. “I’m not a security expert. It’s good to have a company that can help us decide what we need. We now have a vision and a plan in place, as well as a budget for exterior surveillance installations next year.”
Laurie Hurd, Executive Director of ISANNE, said the organization believes in best practices and promotes a philosophy of cooperation between parents, students and the corporate community. “I think the emphasis on healthy and safe campuses has been a very important topic for our schools, as well as technology,” said Hurd.
LaChance said it’s critical for Advance Technology to participate in vertical market organizations, so the company can better understand the specific needs and challenges of the user.
With the work Advance Technology has completed to date at Cheverus, the school can now easily set different schedules for its access control, which integrates seamlessly into the Genetec platform. Lemay can also use his smartphone to remotely access the system for arming or disarming or other simple functions. Near-future upgrades will include switching the remainder of current cameras to the Genetec platform, which will allow for audit trails, as well as upgrading two-way intercom stations.
“The goal going in and working with Brian Lemay and Cheverus was to create a system that’s easy to use and gives them the protection they need,” LaChance said. “We look forward to working with them in years to come.”
Cheverus High School