How to make your infrastructure project a success

IT infrastructure. It’s something we don’t give much thought to – until it goes wrong.

Data cabling, wireless networking and electrical installation is more important than we realise. A business can only grow and evolve if its infrastructure does too. However, tackling a data or electrical installation project is not for the faint-hearted. Even just a small section of poor cabling could render some software unusable.

Ensuring that your infrastructure is reliable and secure is essential to your business’ productivity, sustainability and scalability.

Taking shortcuts simply isn’t an option.

WHITESTAR – IT INFRASTRUCTURE PARTNERS YOU CAN TRUST

There’s more to digital transformation than the cloud. It means adapting your business – and its infrastructure – to boost efficiency and stay competitive.

Every stage of an infrastructure project is crucial. From design through to deployment and ongoing maintenance, you need a network installation team you can trust. This is where Whitestar Solutions comes in.

Contrary to what you may think, we never carry out a project by simply ticking boxes. Instead, we offer a consultative service involving our clients from the word ‘go’.

We’ll take the time to listen to your requirements, get to know your business and the people in it, and make sure we create a solution that is easily scalable for future business growth. We’ll always listen, understand and accommodate your requests, but we’ll also challenge when necessary, giving our expert opinion on what solutions will work best for your business.

We know you’re looking for the most efficient and compliant solution available and we’re here to make sure that’s what’s deployed – to the highest standard.

WITH YOU AT EVERY STAGE OF THE PROJECT

It’s time for businesses to stop thinking about their IT infrastructure as their ‘plumbing’. It’s a living, evolving part of business success that deserves your full attention.

Working with a partner that will own the whole process from start to finish is key to understanding an infrastructure project.

Here are the key stages you can expect with Whitestar as your partner:

Site surveyAlmost all commercial data cabling, networking or electrical installation projects start with a commitment-free site survey. By visiting the site, we can work out your exact requirements and provide you with a detailed specification and quote.

Identifying pain points and problems: IT infrastructure is notoriously complex and there will generally be a number of challenges along the way. But by identifying as many pain points and potential issues early on, we can ensure the project runs as smoothly as possible.

Dedicated account manager: Every infrastructure project comes with its share of stakeholders – cue a number of pressures and challenges. But with a dedicated account manager on hand to answer queries, provide a single point of contact and offer their expertise and experience, these pressures can be dealt with quickly and effectively. At Whitestar, there’s no such thing as a bog-standard sales rep. Just experts offering smart, insightful advice.

Project deployment and installation using trusted manufacturers: An effective cabling solution requires a smart design to keep costs low, performance high, and the flexibility to grow and evolve over time. Our in-house qualified network infrastructure design teams create intelligent, versatile, expandable, cost-effective systems to keep your company’s network safe and secure.

Professional and certified testing procedures: At Whitestar, we test and certify all our installations to the latest industry standards. At the end of a project, we share those test results with you to enable ongoing maintenance.

- Robust maintenance: A Whitestar installation project doesn’t end once the solution has been deployed. Aftercare and post-project customer service are part of what we do. By adopting the Planned Preventative Maintenance Programme, maintenance tasks are scheduled ahead of time and on a regular basis to ensure quality isn’t lost.

To find out how Whitestar can help your project from design to deployment and beyond, get in touch with our team today.


Cat5 or Cat6 – Which is the best for your data cabling

Cat5 or Cat6 – Which is the Best for Your Data Cabling Installation? Internet network installation can be a daunting process, especially if you’re a business that relies heavily on data transfer and networking. We know that Ethernet cables aren’t the most exciting topic to research, and it’s all too easy to get tangled up in all the technical jargon about performance and specifications, but it’s important to be well informed on the differences between Cat5 and Cat6 cabling.  Not understanding the difference may have an impact on your business, costing you time and money.  That’s why our experts have put together this concise guide to help you to make the best decision for your business.  Cat5 & Cat6 Ethernet cables are used for computer networks, connecting your computer to your server or modem and allowing it to connect to the internet. Your entire IT infrastructure relies on Cat cables, so making the right choice is crucial! WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CAT5 AND CAT6 ETHERNET CABLES? Cat5 cabling used to be the highest standard for Ethernet cabling and has been since 1995. Most businesses have Cat5 cables installed, and chances are that the PC you’re currently using is connected using a Cat5 cable. There is nothing wrong with this, as Cat5 cables can cope relatively well with current levels of bandwidth and data transfer. However, as bandwidth technology has advanced, Cat5 installation has become obsolete.  While Cat5, or it’s sub-variety, Cat5E, are perfectly capable of performing well for data transfer requirements, businesses who are installing entirely new networks are advised to choose Cat6 cabling.  The reason behind this is that Cat6 cabling has a much faster bandwidth capability, making it possible to transfer significantly higher levels of data.  While Cat5 and Cat6 cables have a similar construction of tightly wound copper wiring, Cat6 cables also feature a nylon spline, to reduce ‘crosstalk’ or signal interference. WHICH IS BEST, CAT5 OR CAT6? Cat6 installations cost around 10-20% more than Cat5. While this may seem like a steep increase, you’re paying for higher quality wires.  Not only are the performance specifications impressive, but as higher bandwidth use becomes more widespread, every business will require Cat6 in order to stay ahead, making Cat6 installation a way to future-proof your business.  And yet, even though Cat5 is an outdated form of cabling, it can still handle adequate internet speeds for a low cost.  If you are a smaller business, with a minimal need for transfer speeds, there is no necessity to opt for Cat6. It is also easy to upgrade your cabling from Cat5, to Cat5E (the ‘e’ stands for enhanced), so if you are looking for a little boost, the Cat5E is the perfect alternative.  It is less expensive and adequately capable depending on your required internet speed. Cat5E also features backwards compatibility, making the overall transition to upgrading your cabling easier. The defining differences between the two types of cable are their data transfer capabilities.  Overall, the choice of Cat5 or Cat6 depends on the unique requirements of your business and your budget. WHICH BUSINESSES SHOULD USE CAT6 CABLING? Generally speaking, most businesses will need to upgrade to Cat6 cables (or faster) in the coming years. You’ll likely have to upgrade to Cat6 soon, so we highly recommend opting for them now. Despite their higher initial cost, it’ll be more expensive to have all of your Ethernet cables replaced in a few years’ time, so it makes sense to upgrade once to Cat6.  If you’re a business that uses anything, from a VOIP telephone system to a POE (power over Ethernet) device, Cat6 cables are required to handle the data needed to operate them.  Cat6 cabling is suitable for any business with a computer network that reaches a GB or one GBPS of data transfer. DATA CABLING AT WHITESTAR SOLUTIONS At Whitestar Solutions, we believe in providing honest advice and recommendations for all of our clients. Rely on our data cabling installation experts to provide tailored data cabling solutions for your business, from Cat5 & Cat6 installations through to fibre optics and structured cabling systems; whatever you need, we’re here to advise on, and handle, it all.   For more information on our services, or advice on your business’ data cabling needs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our installation experts today. How to ensure your construction or building project is compliant with the latest legislation and fire safety standards How to ensure your construction or building project is compliant with the latest legislation and fire safety standards If you are carrying out electrical installation work, as part of a construction or building project, it’s essential that you comply with the rules set out in the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. It doesn’t bear thinking about if a user of the building you’re responsible for should come to any harm due to a fault in the electrics – that’s why safety needs to be paramount.  The Regulations were set up under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, requiring precautions to be taken by ‘duty holders’ against the risk of death or personal injury from electricity in work activities. Under the rules, duty holders must: have the electrical systems constructed in a way that prevents danger; maintain the electrical systems as necessary to prevent danger (including a five-year fixed installation inspection​); and ensure work carried out on electrical systems is done in a way that prevents danger. BS7671 WIRING REGULATIONS In the guidance document for the Electricity at Work Regulations, the main source of reference is BS 7671 Wiring Regulations. This is the UK’s key electrical safety standard, setting out requirements that detail how to perform electrical installations in a safe manner.  Although not a statutory document, BS 7671 sets the standard for how electrical installations should be done in the UK (and many other countries) and enables compliance with the law. Or, to put it another way, following the guidance set out in BS 7671 when undertaking

Hoare Laboratory

Whitestar provide electrical and data cabling solutions to Hoare Laboratories, a long-established family firm who are specialists in laboratory products and services.

4 Business Benefits of Installing Electric Vehicle Charging Points

4 Business Benefits of Installing Electric Vehicle Charging Points Now, more than ever, people are aware of making eco-conscious consumer choices. This includes the materials and technologies they use, as well as the businesses they support.  For this reason, we’ve seen a growing number of electric vehicles (EVs) on UK roads, a trend we expect to see continue well into the future.  As of April 2022, there are 858,000 plug-in cars in use, a 92% increase since 2020. Couple this with the government’s recent announcement that they intend to accelerate EV infrastructure, making the installation of charging points for all new homes, offices, and supermarkets mandatory by 2030, it’s no wonder that business owners are weighing up the advantages of early installation.  There are currently more than 42,000 public charging points in the UK, and this is predicted to rise to 145,000 following the government’s announcement. Electric vehicles are not a trend, they are part of a communal shift and with the government making their ambitions clear, adapting your premises to support EV infrastructure is becoming essential when looking to ensure the longevity of your business.  In this article, we’ll run through the business benefits of having electric vehicle charging points installed on your premises.  A charging point is a unit capable of charging the battery of plug-in electric vehicles.  Currently, an EV can travel roughly 300 miles before its battery needs recharging. On average, and depending on the speed the driver is travelling at, the battery of an EV holds up to 4-5 hours of charge.  Roadside EV recovery is not a simple matter. Electric cars that have ‘broken down’ due to flat batteries cannot be towed or pushed, they must be charged.  Breakdown cover companies such as the RAC and Green Flag do offer flat battery charging, but the miles are limited and will only get a driver so far before they need to find a charging point to fully charge their battery.  The best way is to avoid these issues completely is by ensuring that EVs are always charged – that’s where you come in! 1. Shift to make your business eco-friendly Drivers are choosing EVs because they are (currently) the most environmentally responsible option.  Ecologically minded customers are also likely to make decisions on where they spend their time and money based on how green your business is.   Having charging points installed at your business premises cements your standpoint on environmental awareness, and proves to customers that you are embracing climate-positive options. With EVs becoming more and more common, facilitating this choice by offering a charging option ultimately makes you more accessible than you would otherwise be, encouraging more people to visit your business. 2. Increase footfall and customer visit duration.  Installing charging points on your premises is an effective way to increase visibility of your business, because your location will feature on apps that show drivers a map of charging points, such as Zap-Map or PlugShare.   Customers are more likely to choose your business as a destination over a competitor if they know they can charge their cars while they are there, choosing to spend their time (and money!) at your store.   Depending on the size of the car battery and the speed of the charging point, it could take your customers somewhere between 30 minutes to a few hours to charge their electric cars. This extends customer visit time, and more time is more money spent on your business. 3. Improve employee relations  Considering the statistics for 2022, it is likely that a number of your employees will drive electric cars, if not now, then certainly by 2030.  The acceleration of EV infrastructure means that ease of transport will eventually become a factor that effects who wants to work for you.  People aren’t going to apply or work for a job they have daily issues travelling to. Employees want to know that they can drive to work and have enough charge in their cars to make the journey home. By supporting the EV charging needs of your workforce, you are not limiting the kind of candidate who would consider working for your business, and for employee satisfaction, you could even offer free car charging as an additional employment benefit. 4. Boost profits through EV charging points  Not only does it improve the visibility and image of your business, but you can also use EV charging points to generate revenue. Once they are installed, you can make a profit from the price each customer pays for the use of your charging points.  Meaning that when combined with the custom of EV drivers-turned-customers, the installation of charging points can lead to a noticeable increase in income for your business. EV CHARGING POINT INSTALLATION FROM WHITESTAR SOLUTIONS When site projects involve electrics, it’s only natural to be concerned about how the installation might affect the overall operation of your business. At Whitestar Solutions, our EV charging point installation experts swear by dynamic load balance technology, which means that all the capacity in your electrical system can be used for charging, without disrupting the rest of your business.  This works by balancing the energy usage between your charging points and other electrical sources on your premises, so that vehicles will charge in the most efficient way possible.   If you have any further questions, or if you’d like to talk to our friendly experts about getting an EV charging point installed on your premises, get in touch with our specialists today. When Coverage Isn’t Everything: Ditching Your Outdated Wi-Fi Designs When Coverage Isn’t Everything: Ditching Your Outdated Wi-Fi Designs WHY IS MY INTERNET SLOW WHEN I HAVE A FAST CONNECTION? When you experience a juddering connection with lagging Zoom meetings and a painfully slow connection, the first thing you look at is the Wi-Fi icon in the corner of the screen. However, if you want to improve your business network connectivity, there is more to look at than your signal. And if the little Wi-Fi icon is displaying four

Why every modern business needs VoIP

Why every modern business needs VoIP Great communication is crucial for any business. It goes without saying that you need clear and frequent contact with your team to run a company with optimal efficiency, and we’ve never seen this demonstrated more than during the pandemic.  Our only option was to meet virtually, and because of that there was a huge rise in the use of VoIP systems.  It suited businesses so well that, even now, as the workforce begins to return to the office, remote working is still popular.  Many industries experienced the benefits of VoIP in time for BT Openreach to announce that analogue telephone services will be switched off in 2025, meaning that all telephone systems will be replaced by IP services.  It is now necessary for any business owner who wants to stay ahead to have a better understanding of VoIP and to make this progressive switch.  We’ve put together a short guide to explain why you should consider installing a VoIP system for your business WHAT IS VOIP? VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a communication system that allows you to make a phone call through an internet connection, instead of through a traditional analogue landline. While the outdated analogue systems rely on a complex network and physical lines, all that your VoIP system needs is a strong broadband connection and high standard cabling, to ensure that all phones connect to the router.  Due to its success, the range of VoIP services now on offer is steadily growing. You may already be familiar with a whole host of VoIP services:  Zoom Ring Central Google Meets Microsoft Team  So what is about this type of software that has driven so many businesses towards VoIP phone system installations? HOW DOES A BUSINESS BENEFIT FROM USING VOIP? Multitasking technology VoIP is not limited to just voice calls. Its technology facilitates multitasking, allowing you to share multiple documents, videos and images on screen with employees and clients. This enables you to collaborate with your team, just as you would in a live conference.  Group calls With VoIP, you can hold an online meeting with as many members of your team as necessary. The beauty of VoIP is in its flexibility; you can hold quick, short meetings to touch base with your team, or hour long conferences with clients. Accessibility A large part of the appeal of using VoIP is portability. Whether you are in the office or away on business, you can link any member of the team into a meeting, at any time and any place – all you need is a supported device, and an internet connection.  Low cost  The cost of having high speed internet installed costs significantly less than a landline.  By integrating VoIP into your daily processes, you can cut down on the amount of commuting, general travelling, and may even wish to downsize to a smaller office space that suits a hybrid workforce – all of which proactively cut your overheads. Speed and ease of use  In an era where time is money, you want a system that enables you to organise a meeting with your team in under a minute. All you need is one phone number and the right access and you can be connected instantly to your team.      High sound quality VoIP systems have come a long way since their early development, and while you may have traumatic flashbacks of crackly voices and frozen images of your team as your signal drops, modern tech means that you have to worry about this far less than you used to. As long as you have a high speed, reliable internet connection, which is easy to obtain now with the right expertise, you’ll enjoy a smooth VoIP experience.  WHAT BUSINESSES WOULD BENEFIT FROM VOIP SERVICES? While the needs of your business will be unique and complex, VoIP systems benefit a multitude of industries, from hospitality to ecommerce. This includes any organisation that: Holds group calls Regularly organises remote team meetings  Has a large contingent of their team working from home Regularly liaises with clients remotely.  Has customer service at the core of their business Has to communicate across various departments It’s our experience that by implementing a VoIP system, you can improve your organisation’s efficiency and effectiveness across the board. HIGH SPEED INTERNET CABLING AND VOIP INSTALLATION SERVICES FROM WHITESTAR SOLUTIONS At Whitestar Solutions, we go above and beyond for our clients. Rely on our team to provide specialist services, from installing high speed internet cables that deliver exceptional internet performance, through to integrating functional, out-of-the-box VoIP systems, ready for you to use.  If you need advice on setting up a VoIP system, or have any further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our dedicated and friendly VoIP experts. Alternatively, call us on 01442 234808, or email us at welcome@whitestarsolutions.co.uk. How to ensure your construction or building project is compliant with the latest legislation and fire safety standards How to ensure your construction or building project is compliant with the latest legislation and fire safety standards If you are carrying out electrical installation work, as part of a construction or building project, it’s essential that you comply with the rules set out in the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. It doesn’t bear thinking about if a user of the building you’re responsible for should come to any harm due to a fault in the electrics – that’s why safety needs to be paramount.  The Regulations were set up under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, requiring precautions to be taken by ‘duty holders’ against the risk of death or personal injury from electricity in work activities. Under the rules, duty holders must: have the electrical systems constructed in a way that prevents danger; maintain the electrical systems as necessary to prevent danger (including a five-year fixed installation inspection​); and ensure work carried out on electrical systems is done in a way that prevents danger. BS7671 WIRING REGULATIONS

Hertfordshire Police

A comprehensive site survey conducted by Whitestar in preparation for redevelopment at Hertfordshire Police HQ.

A Guide to PPM (Planned Preventive Maintenance) Plans

A Guide to PPM (Planned Preventive Maintenance) Plans An organisation’s premises may well be the most valuable asset that you own. So, it stands to reason that you’d like to keep your property in good shape. The solution? Planned preventive maintenance! Without effective PPM measures, your maintenance schedule will likely be more reactive. While reactive maintenance is often necessary, being proactive in your approach helps to stop things from going wrong in the first place, allowing your organisation to operate safely and effectively for extended periods of time. WHAT IS PPM (PLANNED PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE)? PPM (planned preventive maintenance), or scheduled maintenance, is a proactive approach to the maintenance of electrical, gas, water, heating and fire safety systems. Key maintenance jobs are scheduled to regularly take place, with detailed notes taken once it’s finished to ensure consistency. This is done to ensure that your systems are in optimum condition at all times. Fail to do this, and you’ll find yourself rushing around trying to fix issues that could have been spotted and sorted months ago. Types of PPM PPM covers the whole spectrum of property management: Electrical safety standards Boiler servicing Gas safety certificate Roof inspections Network maintenance Energy performance certificate (EPC) Fire risk assessments Lifting operations and lifting equipment regulations AOV servicing Emergency light testing Cold water storage tank chlorination Regular PPM will likely require the input from a variety of specialists, which might seem like a large investment at the time, but the costs of regular PPM are dwarfed by the costs of a disaster caused by a lack of PPM.  It’s always more expensive to fix a major error, versus paying to prevent it. Take electrical PPM, for example.  Example of PPM Business A choose not to implement a PPM plan, while Business B have a comprehensive, regular maintenance schedule. Business A suffer from a mild electrical fire. Their sprinkler system dealt with the blaze, but damaged many of their systems in the process. Business A now have to spend a lot of money rebuilding their electrical systems, and carrying out further surveys in their building to ensure nothing else is going to imminently go wrong. Business B, on the other hand, spotted a small fault during their regular PPM. This fault would have eventually caused the same fire, but their maintenance team spotted the fault and have rectified it before it has a chance to become an issue. Business A spends thousands replacing their systems and endure a lot of downtime, Business B spends a little, and remain safely in business. 5 KEY BENEFITS OF PLANNED PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE In addition to the above, there are a whole host of great benefits of PPM. Electrical, gas and water failures can all result in severe harm. By maintaining your systems, you’re proactively ensuring that you’re fully compliant and in adherence with the law. Regular maintenance spreads costs over the course of the year, rather than being lumped with a sudden, unexpected (and often large) sum. Many manufacturers require PPM in order to maintain warranties. Should you fail to maintain your systems, manufacturers may void your warranty. A well-maintained property will always be far more desirable to potential buyers over one that’s in disrepair. By showing a clear history of PPM, you’re demonstrating that the building has been properly cared for. Unplanned repairs are frustrating, and can take a fair while to rectify. It could take days for an engineer to finally get around to seeing you, and (as mentioned above) can cost an arm and a leg. WHAT SECTORS BENEFIT FROM PPM? Most organisations who have permanent premises should implement a PPM plan. However, more specifically: Preventive maintenance plan for schools PPM is crucial for schools and other education buildings, especially ones who rely heavily on their IT systems and network(s).  Schools should conduct regular electrical, data cabling, water, fire risk & gas safety checks. Protecting your staff and students should be the utmost priority, and regular PPM is the best way to do so.  Preventive maintenance plan for shared office space owners Unplanned errors often result in downtime in any organisation, which can prove catastrophic for businesses working in shared office spaces. By conducting regular, comprehensive PPM (or encouraging your landlord to do so), you’re working to ensure that your company remains in business at all times, positively impacting your bottom line by preventing all downtime.  Preventive maintenance plan for retail Retail businesses need to be agile and able to react to trends, and should be 100% sure that their customers are safe while shopping.  By keeping your systems maintained, your retail business is allowed the confidence to alter displays, welcome customers and ensure that your stock remains safe from unnecessary damage.  Preventive maintenance plan for hospitals & medical buildings System errors can mean the difference between life and death in hospitals.  It can be easy to presume that everything is working well, especially when there aren’t any obvious faults or issues. This is why PPM is essential in hospitals – it will identify underlying issues and rectify them before they cause harm. HOW TO CREATE A PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE PLAN Before you create a PPM plan, you’ll need to know what type of maintenance you’re after. Time based PPM – This is where you get your systems checked every X months (this will vary depending on the equipment/systems). Engineers might recommend that they give your systems a once over every 6 months, for example. Usage based PPM – This is best when you’re using a system/piece of equipment regularly. This can be something like usage hours (how many hours a network is at full capacity, for example), or distance/other benchmark, such as mileage or production cycles. Condition based PPM – This is the process of looking out for specific conditions in your system before conducting maintenance. Some systems feature key indicators that can be used to determine when maintenance is required (excessive vibrations, rattling, etc.).  You’ll want to talk to industry specialists before making this decision, as every

Streamline Your Data & Electrical Systems with Whitestar

Streamline Your Data & Electrical Systems with Whitestar We get it, you’ve heard this all before – we’re not the only electrical installation company shouting about how great they are.  However, we refuse to just tick boxes, at Whitestar Solutions, we back up our words with actions, providing the most comprehensive, effective and people-focused electrical & data installation service on the market.  A bold claim, we know. Here’s a little more information about how we excel at every stage of your project, from design through to deployment. WE HAVE AN UNCOMPROMISING COMMITMENT TO QUALITY If we do a bad job, it reflects poorly on us, and that simply won’t do. At every stage of a data and electrical project, we draw on decades of experience, and our class-leading portfolio, to offer a greater degree of control and consistency.  What does this mean for you? You’ll get a dedicated project manager who has worked on similar jobs before, meaning that there’s always someone who is up to speed with your organisation and understands your industry. You can expect excellent results, every time. You’ll enjoy our ongoing support, meaning that, should there be any issues down the line, you can rest assured that they’re dealt with efficiently.  When we say uncompromising, we mean it. Our engineers embody our values, taking on personal responsibility for your electrical and data project. WE OFFER A CONSULTIVE SERVICE We work with our clients as partners. After all, your success is our success! Our consultative process ensures that nothing is missed. Your personal project manager is there to comprehensively understand your organisational needs, meaning that when it’s time for survey/installation/maintenance, we know exactly how you function, and what’s required.  We’re not afraid to have difficult conversations, either. You’ll get honesty at every stage, challenging decisions when required and ensuring that the most efficient and compliant solution is deployed. WE’LL TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE WHOLE PROJECT We’re doing the work, we’ll take responsibility.  We guarantee that if something does go wrong, that it’s our responsibility to rectify it quickly and effectively.  We own the entire process, start to finish: A comprehensive site survey. Identifying key pain points and problems. Deploying the agreed solution, using trusted manufacturers and certified testing procedures. Full aftercare and robust maintenance, using the Planned Preventative Maintenance Programme. The whole project is our responsibility, you’ll get reliable support as and when you need it. SPECIALIST DATA AND ELECTRICAL INSTALLATIONS SOLUTIONS WITH WHITESTAR At Whitestar Solutions, we pride ourselves on our ability to gain a detailed understanding of the challenges you face. We’ll never do “just enough”, we always go above and beyond to deliver results. –     London Business School When you’re ready to enjoy a more human approach to data cabling, electrical services, wireless networking, CCTV & security, and much more, get in touch with our specialists for an honest talk about your requirements. Contact us today, call us on 01442 234808, or email us at welcome@whitestarsolutions.co.uk. Our experts are on hand to answer any questions you might have. Why bespoke business CCTV systems can enhance your business Why Bespoke Business CCTV Systems Can Enhance Your Business At Whitestar Solutions, we believe that bespoke business CCTV systems are an effective way of harnessing information to drive your company forward and provide an enhanced service to clients. A bespoke CCTV system can benefit and enhance your business in multiple ways – it’s not just about keeping assets safe. Let’s take a closer look at how CCTV security systems for business use automated data capture to provide valuable data insights. You may already use business CCTV security systems to safeguard your company. Still, there are several key areas that a surveillance system can be utilised to help business performance over time. REDUCING WASTE AND MAINTENANCE COSTS You may be astonished to learn how many resources and materials are wasted in your company each day. A fully integrated remotely controlled system can be used to reduce energy consumption by impressive amounts saving you money. Whitestar Solutions offers bespoke systems that could reduce energy consumption by up to 76% and maintenance costs by up to 67%. Depending on the nature of your business, a bespoke Whitestar Solution is always a possibility. Landfill sites, for example, are now increasingly using bespoke business CCTV systems as a way of improving logistics and reducing error with complex vehicle registration recognition processes. Use an innovative solution to seize back control, save time and costs – more critical than ever in these challenging economic times. KEEPING A CLOSE EYE ON STOCK LEVELS Focussing CCTV cameras on warehouse storage areas or retail display shelves can offer a real-time remote view of re-stocking requirements or shortages wherever you are, even if you are away from the workplace. Visual markers on boxes enable cameras to record and store extremely detailed data about stock levels. You can then send this data to software platforms that can be programmed to inform the purchasing team, or automatically trigger the re-ordering of low stock goods. LEARNING ABOUT CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR PATTERNS Bespoke business CCTV systems are increasingly being used in shops for many reasons apart from security. CCTV footage that offers facial recognition, for example, can be used to track where customers head to when in a retail environment, which has the potential to improve store layout. It is possible, for example, to use data to quickly identify high-spending clients so they can be offered preferential treatment such as tailored offers within the store or excellent customer service. A ceiling camera could be used to track the footfall of shoppers across a shop floor, providing valuable insights into how well people respond to shop layouts or promotional signage. KEEPING YOUR TEAM SAFE CCTV not only helps to protect your corporate assets but more importantly, it can help to safeguard the well-being of your staff; the most essential part of your company. OPTIMISING EFFICIENCY Everyone wants to ensure consistent quality, output and performance are maintained at all costs. However, if there is a slowdown

UK Network Structured Data Cabling Standards Explained 2022

UK Network Structured Data Cabling Standards Explained 2022 Low-quality cabling systems – the bane of many a network administrator across the world. But can the way your cables are fitted really have a profound impact on the performance of your network? In short – yes, it absolutely can!  Structured cabling is a godsend for any network, especially one that’s likely to be expanded in the future. As a result, it’s important that there are a set of standards that govern how exactly network cabling should be carried out. WHAT IS STRUCTURED CABLING? There’s a whole host of issues that could cause network downtime, but one of the predominant causes of network problems are poorly structured cables. By adhering to high network cabling standards, structured cabling systems are able to build complex systems of network cables that are logically formed, easy to adapt and outperform unstructured networks. Your structured cabling system controls all data traffic, be it video, voice, large files and much more; it’s important to get it right! WHAT ARE THE STRUCTURED CABLING STANDARDS? The structured cabling standards are a set of rules that specialists should follow throughout the cable layout and physical installation process of any network cabling. The main network cabling standards are:   Since 1991, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) established the 568 standards for structured cabling. This has been regularly revised to keep up with the advent of new technologies (such as fibre-optic cabling). The ANSI/TIA-568 standards cover the performance and compatibility of all manners of wiring and cabling. Oftentimes, commercial buildings and campuses will be built piecemeal. Structured cabling standards are designed in order to keep everything consistent, even if they’re installed years apart, the cable installation standards make it so that everything remains compatible and functional well into the future.   The ISO/IEC 11801-1:2017 standard is an international standard that was designed to govern international cabling manufacturers, vendors and companies. Its purpose is to ensure that products are up to the highest standards (the specification). Without these cabling standards, wiring and cables would vary wildly in quality, build and more. It would be almost impossible to guarantee that the wires you were working with were compatible with ones already installed. Naturally, this would result in all sorts of technical failures, and other horrible malfunctions that don’t bear thinking about. These network cable standards ensure that the cabling that is used for your system are of the highest quality and are compatible with the widest range of hardware possible.   Developed by CENELEC, the EN 50600-2-4 is a series of European standards that covers data centre infrastructure and facilities, as well as telecommunication cabling infrastructure. It defines requirements for cabling infrastructure pathways and architecture, but it doesn’t specify requirements for structured cabling types.   The second European standard serves to specify generic cabling that supports a wide range of communications services, covering balanced cabling and optical fibre cabling. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF NETWORK STRUCTURED CABLING STANDARDS? Data cable installation standards are designed to keep everything on a level playing field, to keep network cabling systems safe, and to ensure that courses and education are consistent across the board. Imagine the chaos where every network uses a different style of cable, there’s no standardised methodology for structured cabling, and every Tom, Dick and Harry do their own thing. By adhering to these standards, good network installation specialists are able to maintain the highest quality of network for businesses of all sizes. NETWORK DATA CABLING TO STANDARDS WITH WHITESTAR SOLUTIONS At Whitestar Solutions, we work closely with our clients to ensure that we have a comprehensive understanding of your business before any work gets done. Our UK-wide engineers specialise in data cabling, and are on hand ready to design, install, certify and manage fibre optic, RF and structured cabling systems. With years of experience under our belt, no structured cabling job is too difficult. We work with organisations ranging from schools to hospitals, and everything in between, so get in touch with us today to talk with one of our specialists about your unique needs. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have, or to advise you on the next steps that you need to take. The key types of electrical testing to ensure your installations are compliant The key types of electrical testing to ensure your installations are compliant Compliance – not everyone’s favourite topic, but an important one, nonetheless. There’s a lot of complicated legislation, regulations and standards that your electrical system needs to adhere to, most of which you don’t need to know the ins and outs of. In this article, we break down what you need to know about electrical compliance – what it is and why it’s so important for your organisation. WHAT IS ELECTRICAL COMPLIANCE? Electrical testing and inspection compliance is the process by which a qualified engineer conducts a thorough check of your electrical systems to confirm that all installations inside a building meet legislative standards. This covers circuits, appliances and all the other good stuff. According to the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, all electrical installations and equipment (including portable equipment), need to be maintained. It’s important that organisations ensure that both new and old electrical installations are certified as safe and compliant with BS 7671:2018. Our team at Whitestar put the utmost care into each and every system we work on, keeping the safety of our clients at the forefront of our minds at all times. Employers are required to ensure that any wiring and electrical equipment is checked regularly by a qualified commercial electrical engineer. This is best achieved through regular visual testing (to identify any obvious flaws in the system), and more detailed tests (these can be done slightly less regularly).  Electrical compliance can be complicated, so if you’re ever unsure whether you’re compliant or not, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our electrical experts who can advise further – don’t leave it to chance; failure to comply can result in hefty
Electrical installation services

The key types of electrical testing to ensure your installations are compliant

The key types of electrical testing to ensure your installations are compliant Compliance – not everyone’s favourite topic, but an important one, nonetheless. There’s a lot of complicated legislation, regulations and standards that your electrical system needs to adhere to, most of which you don’t need to know the ins and outs of. In this article, we break down what you need to know about electrical compliance – what it is and why it’s so important for your organisation. WHAT IS ELECTRICAL COMPLIANCE? Electrical testing and inspection compliance is the process by which a qualified engineer conducts a thorough check of your electrical systems to confirm that all installations inside a building meet legislative standards. This covers circuits, appliances and all the other good stuff. According to the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, all electrical installations and equipment (including portable equipment), need to be maintained. It’s important that organisations ensure that both new and old electrical installations are certified as safe and compliant with BS 7671:2018. Our team at Whitestar put the utmost care into each and every system we work on, keeping the safety of our clients at the forefront of our minds at all times. Employers are required to ensure that any wiring and electrical equipment is checked regularly by a qualified commercial electrical engineer. This is best achieved through regular visual testing (to identify any obvious flaws in the system), and more detailed tests (these can be done slightly less regularly).  Electrical compliance can be complicated, so if you’re ever unsure whether you’re compliant or not, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our electrical experts who can advise further – don’t leave it to chance; failure to comply can result in hefty fines. WHAT IS EICR? An electrical installation condition report (EICR) is a type of electrical testing and inspection that closely examines a building’s electrical systems and wiring. This is done in order to ensure that everyone is safe while using the building.  Our qualified electricians carry out EICR testing in several stages: First, there is a visual assessment, where the electrician determines if there’s issues in obvious need of repair (these might be breaks, cracks or other evident signs of damage) Following this, the electrician will disconnect the electrical installations from the power supply in order to conduct ‘dead testing’ to determine which wires aren’t properly connected. They’ll also test the quality of the earthing and bonding and check failsafes to make sure that systems will disconnect within the time limit should a fault be detected Finally, your electrician will issue your EICR, which is proof of your electrical compliance Depending on the property style, you need to carry out an EICR test roughly once every 5 years in order to retain compliance.  This doesn’t mean that you should neglect your electrical installations between reports! We recommend consistent electrical checks to ensure the ongoing health of your electrical system. Small, regular checks and fixes are significantly more cost-effective than a one-off comprehensive check every five years (that will often turn up significant issues, trust us – it’s best to keep it regular!). EMERGENCY LIGHT TESTING Emergency lights are usually at the back of our minds…until there’s an emergency! Current UK law demands that all occupied buildings need to be fitted with functional escape lighting for use in case of emergency (any situation where the main power supply is cut).  When looking to test your emergency lighting, it should always be done at a suitable time of day (usually in the evenings, or when the building is empty).  A monthly test should be held to ensure that everything’s working as expected (this can be a quick on/off job to make sure your lighting still functions).  Once a year you should hold a full rated duration test. Emergency lighting should provide at least 3 hours of illumination. Any less than that and they’re not meeting legislation. This means that mains power should be disconnected for at least three hours, and emergency lighting left on to ensure that it’s functioning properly.  We find that many businesses neglect to check their emergency lighting – we get it, it’s easy to forget! If you need any advice on emergency lighting best practices, have a chat with our team here at Whitestar. We work with organisations big and small to keep their people safe in the event of an emergency. PORTABLE APPLIANCE TESTING (PAT) PAT testing is one of the most common (and important) electrical tests, and is an essential part of any organisation’s health & safety measures.  Thorough PAT testing is key when ensuring that staff aren’t harmed by any electrical equipment in the building. Portable appliance testing is the process of checking portable electrical equipment (anything from laptops and phones, to hair dryers and microwaves) to ensure that they’re safe to be used at work or home.  It’s an employer’s duty to ensure that equipment required for work poses no threat to employees. While this isn’t a legal requirement, if it’s proved that you hadn’t been maintaining your electrical equipment after an accident, you could be held liable, so PAT testing is an important insurance step. If we listed every single piece of equipment that PAT testing covered, then we’d be here all day, but in the average office environment, you might test: Laptops Desktop computers Drills Kettles Heaters Projectors Printers TVs Fridges Vending machines And much more.  A thorough PAT test will cover the plug, cable, appliance, mains sockets and other environmental surfaces (trip hazards, surface cracks, etc.)  Generally speaking, a defective item will be easily identified. Should the defect be a little more nuanced (faulty wiring, for example), then it can be harder to identify, which is why it’s important to partner with experts that you can trust. PROFESSIONAL ELECTRICAL TESTING AND INSPECTION WITH WHITESTAR SOLUTIONS The experienced electricians at Whitestar Solutions have nearly three decades of electrical experience. Our clients rely on us for a whole host of electrical services, be that bespoke testing or
video conferencing

How to adapt to video conferencing & remote working post-Covid

How to adapt to video conferencing & remote working post-Covid Having experienced a society-altering pandemic, it’s no surprise that the way that we work may well have changed forever for billions of people across the globe. Now that the pandemic seems to be easing, it’s important to consider how the workforce will continue – will the adaptations for working from home persist, will employers insist that people return to the office, or will many adopt a hybrid approach? It’s becoming increasingly clear that implementing high-quality audio-visual installations and reliable communication systems is critical for any modern business to succeed (and maintain employee satisfaction). Now that people understand that video conferencing and remote working are both viable, and often preferable, we expect to see real change, especially over the next few months/years. Depending on who you ask, you might get wildly different answers! Working from home isn’t for everyone, that’s for sure, but for many people it’s been a huge relief not having to commute every day, or having to spend time in an office. Generally, employees report: Enjoying a better work/life balance Saving money on commuting/childcare/food costs Freedom to choose where they live, they aren’t bound to a radius around work A general increase in productivity while at home, if set up correctly Improved comfort due to the personalised office space While this sounds great, employees need infrastructure in place in order to successfully work from home, that’s why it’s important to establish your people with the right equipment, allowing them to comfortably work from home or from the office, depending on what the business requires. HOW TO CREATE A HYBRID BETWEEN WORKING FROM HOME AND OFFICE WORK The answer, then, perhaps lies in a hybrid model, where employees work from home when appropriate, but find their way into the office when they want/need to. In order to create a functional hybrid model, you’ll need the infrastructure in place to facilitate easy collaboration, convenient video calling and an efficient workflow. Custom video conferencing rooms Throughout the pandemic, video conferencing became the lifeline of everyone working from home. It provided the crucial human interaction that many of us craved, and kept friends and families connected in a time where they couldn’t see one another face-to-face.  There’s no reason for video conferencing to go away. It’s cost-effective and convenient, providing an easy way to connect with people who aren’t geographically close. In order to upgrade their video conferencing, many businesses are opting to kit out virtual conference rooms, complete with projectors, cameras, microphones and much more.  In addition to this, good connectivity is paramount (we’ve all been on a call with poor internet – not fun), which means that proper data cabling is essential to ensure your connection is both stable and fast.  Providing the correct equipment It’s worth remembering that every call is a two-way street. If your employees are working from home and don’t have the required resources to join conference calls, then the whole plan quickly falls apart.  You’ll need to provide a device that’s good for video calling, usually a laptop. Many businesses still rely on 10-year-old equipment that can’t keep up. Update your laptops and you’ll see myriad benefits (more efficient working, higher quality calls, etc.) as employees no longer have to deal with slower load speeds and cumbersome interfaces. Bringing it all together Honesty and transparency go a long way to making the hybrid model work. Share calendars and get things planned in good time; be flexible with your team and fit calls in when you can. It’s important for employees to understand just how valuable it is for them to be in the office on occasion. Simple off-topic talks, impromptu lunch breaks and walks around the block work wonders for both morale and employee bonds, so striking the balance is the key. QUALITY AUDIO-VISUAL INSTALLATIONS FOR VIDEO CONFERENCING WITH WHITESTAR SOLUTIONS At Whitestar Solutions, we have a proven track record implementing mission critical remote working and video conferencing solutions. Businesses and organisations across the UK rely on our expertise to ensure that they’re ready for the new way in which employees expect to work. Proper installation and maintenance of your VoIP systems has become pivotal throughout the pandemic and beyond, with remote working looking like it’s here to stay. If you’ve got any questions, or want to know more about how we can help your business to facilitate high-quality video conferencing, get in touch with our specialists today. We’re on hand to talk through your unique situation and find a solution that suits your people. University of West London St Mary’s Road Campus Project UK Network Structured Data Cabling Standards Explained 2022 UK Network Structured Data Cabling Standards Explained 2022 Low-quality cabling systems – the bane of many a network administrator across the world. But can the way your cables are fitted really have a profound impact on the performance of your network? In short – yes, it absolutely can!  Structured cabling is a godsend for any network, especially one that’s likely to be expanded in the future. As a result, it’s important that there are a set of standards that govern how exactly network cabling should be carried out. WHAT IS STRUCTURED CABLING? There’s a whole host of issues that could cause network downtime, but one of the predominant causes of network problems are poorly structured cables. By adhering to high network cabling standards, structured cabling systems are able to build complex systems of network cables that are logically formed, easy to adapt and outperform unstructured networks. Your structured cabling system controls all data traffic, be it video, voice, large files and much more; it’s important to get it right! WHAT ARE THE STRUCTURED CABLING STANDARDS? The structured cabling standards are a set of rules that specialists should follow throughout the cable layout and physical installation process of any network cabling. The main network cabling standards are:   Since 1991, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) established the 568 standards for structured cabling. This has