Graybar Canada Blog

Welcome to the Graybar Canada Blog, where our knowledgeable and experienced solutions specialists come to share what they know with you!

Decentralized Electricity

Posted on June 5, 2018

The emergence and popularity of renewable energy is making electricity one of the fastest changing industries. Along with advances in technology, producing and storing energy is becoming more reliable and inexpensive. Businesses and homeowners… Read More

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Mobile Charging Solutions

Posted on May 1, 2018

What do smartphones, tablets, smartwatches and other mobile electronic devices have in common? They all need to be charged regularly. These new easy charging options are the solution for those on-the-go with dying devices.

Depending on who you are serving, Sean Sullivan, Graybar Canada account manager comm/data based in Dartmouth, N.S., has a few options for you.

USB Charger Receptacles and Power Strips

Hubbell USB Charger Receptacle

“We have the receptacle style that goes into a wall and replaces your normal electrical outlet,” Sean explains. “You can charge all your different devices that way. The outlet models offer a combination of AC and USB or just USB charging.” These along with the power strip format are the most versatile option to add easy charging capability to your home, office, school and more. Hubbell’s USB charger receptacle, unlike other alternatives, will quickly and efficiently charge multiple devices simultaneously. These USB outlets provide comparable charging speeds to a standard fast charger. USB chargers also take up much less space than a bulky wall charger, allowing for easier cord management.

Cable Charging Station from Hubbell

Charging Stations

Sean recommends Hubbell’s “On-the-Go” Charging Stations as a great option for anyone in retail. “Any place that gives customers enough time to plug in while waiting for a quick charge would benefit from these stations.” These convenient charging stations come as either a floor stand or wall mount. They can charge up to eight devices with a variety of charging cable options already built-in to the station. The pedestal charging stations are a special order item and can be branded with an ad or logo. “If you want to say this charge was brought to you by X, Hubbell offers that service,” explains Sean.

32-Device AC Charging Station Cart for Chromebooks and Laptops from TrippLite

Charging Carts

For those who manage many electronics such as Chromebooks or tablets, charging carts might be the best option for you. “The nice thing about the carts is that they have wheels, so you can wheel them easily from classroom to classroom, but you can lock them up when you’re done; so from a security standpoint they’re very good,” Sean describes. “The Tripp Lite Chromebook cart is the most popular, it fits 32 Chromebooks and the charge quality is quick and efficient.” Specialized carts can even be set up to sync and update tablets while charging. These charging carts have gained popularity among Nova Scotian schools. “It started with a local school board and spread across the province,” Sean says.

As we increase the number of devices we carry at one-time, easier charging accessibility will be a welcomed convenience for those on-the-go. These charging options come in a variety of forms to fit whatever setting.

Contact your local Graybar Canada representative if you want to learn more about which charging options are right for you!

If you’d like to reach out to Sean Sullivan directly please email him at ssullivan@graybarcanada.com

Lighting Trends for 2018

Posted on April 3, 2018

You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again: If you want to make a serious dent in your energy bill (we’re talking 50 to 70 per cent), switching to LED lights is where it’s at. Not only has the cost of LED bulbs fallen by more than 85 per cent, LED lights are six to seven times more efficient than traditional fluorescents. What makes LED lights more efficient? Longevity, minimal maintenance, controllability, quality of light and the list goes on. Combine these with provincial energy rebate programs and LED lights basically pay for themselves.

Okay, now that we’ve convinced you about all the great ways LED lights can save your bottom line, let’s look at what’s trending in the market. We recently spoke with Graybar Canada’s Atlantic Lighting Manager Sean Dixon, and Lighting Specialist Mark Vaughan, to shine a light on what’s popular with their customers.

Light Control:

One of the major benefits of LED lighting is your ability to control its energy output through dimmers and occupancy sensors. “By going to LED you can adjust your light levels,” explains Lighting Specialist Mark Vaughan. “Fluorescent lights require a special dimming ballast whereas most commercial LED fixtures come with a 0 – 10 voltage control built-in.” Control systems are also popular for reducing lights in those unused spaces. “Typically, lighting in commercial stairwells run 24/7 and very seldom are people using them,” explains Lighting Manager Sean Dixon. “The benefit of connecting your fixtures to a centralized system is you can schedule them to adjust at certain times including load shedding (dim areas down at the same time). Also, if you have centralized control of the lighting, such as with Lutron’s Vive system, you can see in real-time how much energy you’re saving through an app on your phone or computer.”

If you’re interested in learning how to connect your lighting to one central hub, the Graybar Canada Lighting Group is well trained on control systems and showing customers how to implement them.

Small but Mighty:

Another big trend our lighting division is noticing is how traditional pot lights are becoming almost non-existent. “Customers are moving away from large rough-in pot light housings and installing thin-profile downlights that take up very little space in the ceiling,” says Dixon. Lithonia and Eaton Lighting offer thin-profile wafer style downlights that are easy to install and produce more lumens per watt.

Traditional office lighting is also getting in on the thin-profile action with LED flat panel fixtures. “Flat panels are huge in the market right now,” explains Dixon. “In fact, their upfront cost is almost as inexpensive as traditional fluorescent troffers and most have built-in dimming capabilities.” Fixtures like Eaton’s FP Series LED flat panels are ideal for commercial spaces because the ultra-thin design allows for installation in grid ceilings, drywall recessed and surface, or suspended applications.

Colour Temperature:

A common fear of switching to LED lights is that people think they’re going to be too harsh. We tend to envision those first-generation Christmas and street lights with that awful bright blue hue. But thanks to improvements in technology, well-designed LED fixtures come in a variety of colour temperatures and dimming controls. “I always try to remind customers that a dimmer can be easily installed to control light levels,” says Vaughan.

Computer glare is also a common problem in commercial spaces that can be solved with the correct colour temperature. “A lot of people are leaning towards the warmer colour in office spaces because it’s easier on your eyes and it cuts down on glare,” explains Vaughan. “If a customer is having issues with glare, the first thing I’ll adjust is the colour temperature and nine times out of ten that solves the problem.”

With manufacturers continuously upgrading to new technology, it’s difficult to know which lighting system is right for you. Contact your local Graybar Canada Lighting Specialist to learn more about new LED fixtures and how they can improve your workspace.

Lithonia Lighting Wafer LED Indoor/Outdoor 6″ Housing-Free Recessed Downlight

Eaton SLD6 LED Halo Surface LED Downlight

Keep Your Home Social Media Safe This March Break

Posted on March 1, 2018

March break is a popular time for us to go on vacation and take extended holidays. Some of you are probably in the middle of finalizing plans and picking up those last-minute travel items. While this time of year is a chance for us to take a well-deserved break, it’s also the perfect time for property invasion.

Gone are the days when a few co-workers and close friends know of our travel plans – now it’s our entire social media following and then some. Although we can’t see them, hackers and seasoned burglars can creep our profiles in search of our March break plans. With social media’s ability to flag our every move, it’s more important than ever to keep a low profile when we’re far away from home.

To help keep your home and family safe this March break, here are a few social media tips:

 

Don’t share travel details:

With Facebook, Twitter and Instagram essentially becoming a highlight reel, it’s hard to fight the urge to post about your upcoming getaway. Any travel details including: dates, locations and length of stay should never be shared on public platforms. Posting these details is basically letting the world know you won’t be home and is giving thieves an open invitation.

Don’t post about household valuables:

Photos and videos taken inside your home can give potential burglars an opportunity to see your household possessions. That new 4K TV in the background, or the post you made about the expensive watch you got for Christmas, can make your house a likely target. Photos from inside your home can also give burglars information about your home’s layout and points of entry.

Keep your kids in the know:

Today’s generation of children pretty much live on social media, so it’s important to be mindful of their activity. Educate them on the implications of sharing the family’s travel plans, or posting about being home alone for a week. With all the public platforms available today, it’s easy for their message to land in the wrong hands.

Don’t “check-in” or update your status:

Your bags are packed and you’re finally on the way to your destination. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and want to share your whereabouts with your friends, but by “checking-in” to the airport, you’ve just given thieves the green light to invade your property. With GPS tracking, today’s apps can broadcast your location to everyone. Refrain from updating your status and posting real-time photos to your social media feed. Instead, share your pictures once you’ve returned home and are in a safe place for friends to comment and learn about your trip.

If you’re still feeling uneasy about leaving your property over the break, a security system might be the right tool to give you that peace of mind. With products that offer real-time video and two-way audio via your smart phone, you can sit back and relax while monitoring your home from afar.

Talk to one of our Security Specialists today!

Get Smart About Security with Our New Series of Seminars

Posted on February 1, 2018

Qolsys IQ Panel 2

Later this month, Graybar Canada will be kicking-off an all-new series of Smart Home & Smart Business Security Solutions seminars in Edmonton and Ontario. With technology rapidly transforming the way we secure our homes and businesses, traditional security systems can no longer keep upꟷthat’s where Graybar Canada can help. Our security and technology specialists have rounded up some of our top vendors to show you the latest trends in smart security technology.

Weiser Smartcode 10 Touchscreen

“Any technology with the word ‘smart’ in front of it has at least tripled since the introduction of smart home devices,” says Rita Murphy, Graybar Canada account manager based in Mississauga. “It’s job one for us to communicate these trends to our customers and these seminars offer an opportunity for us to ‘download’ the latest product information and market trends.”

Interactive security system sales have dramatically increased with 70 per cent of consumers adopting some form of smart technology. Today, nearly 40 per cent of systems are connected to at least one smart home device, most often IP cameras and smart thermostats. “Consumers are without a doubt driving this demand,” says Murphy. “They are enthusiastically embracing different new home control technologies and services for energy management, video monitoring, keyless door locks and more.”

Alarm.com Skybell Wi-Fi Doorbell Camera

Beginning in Edmonton before hitting up the Ontario region, Graybar Canada’s Smart Home & Smart Business Security Solutions seminars will feature products from three major security vendors: Alarm.com, Weiser and Qolsys. Targeting the professional designer market, these seminars are open to our existing security integrators, as well as companies looking to differentiate themselves from their competition. “This is not simply about learning how a product works,” Murphy emphasizes. “It’s about the importance of learning how to sell the difference between a professionally installed system and a DIY type product. At Graybar Canada, we offer the value of presenting an ‘end-to-end’ solution and how our divisions can assist with these options.”

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10 Reasons Why You Should Be Working at Graybar Canada

Posted on January 3, 2018
  1. Promote-From-Within: At Graybar Canada, there is a strong culture to promote-from-within where you can turn your job into a career.
  2. Share Purchase Plan: Employees are given an option to participate in the share purchase plan.  You can become a company owner and reap the benefits.
  3. Competitive Compensation: We offer a competitive compensation package that includes profit sharing.
  4. Build Sustainable Environments: Work with innovative businesses and leaders in your community to build and maintain sustainable environments.
  5. Work/Life Balance: Graybar Canada places an importance on work/life balance.
  6. Rewarding Experiences: This is the place to seek new challenges, rewarding experiences, and an opportunity for advancement.
  7. Additional Benefits: We offer additional benefits including an RRSP matching program, corporate fitness program, and an employee referral program.
  8. Teamwork: At Graybar Canada, employees are motivated and energized by a history of teamwork, innovation and continuous success.
  9. Put Your Skills to Work: Put your experience and education to excellent use in the electrical, industrial, or communications & data industries.
  10. Successful Future: Graybar Canada has a strong history and we intend to have a successful future.

Visit our careers page

Protect What Matters Most with Video Surveillance

Posted on November 28, 2017

If you’ve ever been a victim of intrusion, you understand the vulnerability of a stranger lurking around your property. With crime rates on the rise, home and business owners are turning to video surveillance systems to monitor their properties from their mobile devices. As technology advances, security platforms are becoming more elaborate with features such as two-way audio and real-time notifications. We all want to protect what matters most, but how do you know which video surveillance system is right for you?

Dahua 4-CH Network Recorder Kit

Video surveillance systems can capture images and video, and traditionally have: a camera, a transport media and an NVR (network video recorder) or DVR (digital video recorder) to manage the recordings. Graybar Canada Technical Solutions Specialist, Angelo Giancoulas, helps home and business owners select the right surveillance system for their needs. “The first two questions I ask people are why they want a video surveillance system, and what do they want to look at?” This helps determine the type of cameras, the quantity, the locations and the level of technology required.

There are four criteria Graybar Canada specialists look at when spec’ing a video surveillance system:

  1. Detection: to detect if an object is present.
  2. Observation: to track and follow an object, possibly differentiate between a vehicle, human or animal.
  3. Recognition: to distinguish a type of vehicle, whether a person is male or female, type of animal. Also, if someone is holding an object; is it a rifle or a broom stick?
  4. Identity: to identify the object beyond a reasonable doubt.

Within Graybar Canada, we carry four different video surveillance manufacturers: Dahua, Mobotix, Pelco and Speco. Each manufacturer offers a variety of security platforms based on our customers’ needs and budget. But today’s video surveillance platforms aren’t just about protection – they’re about liability and being pro-active.

Mobotix camera used in the movie “The Martian”

“Right now, I’m working on a project with a customer who builds mobile trailers and signs,” explains Giancoulas.  “They’re putting the trailers on highways and using the Mobotix cameras to catch the public illegally using emergency service U-turns. While it’s not a security issue, it’s something to prove it’s happening.”

Whether you’re looking to monitor the perimeter of your property, or identify the person knocking at your door, our specialists can advise the right video surveillance solution to meet your needs and budget. Being able to remotely monitor your home or business not only gives you power, but peace of mind.  When it comes to protecting what matters most, there’s no better way than having a video surveillance system at your fingertips.

Mobotix Q26 Hemispheric Camera

Contact your local Graybar Canada representative to start protecting what matters most to youtoday!

Spend a Little “Quality Time” with Us

Posted on October 30, 2017

Wouldn’t it be nice if our work days ran smoothly, one running into the next with no interruptions or problems to solve? Well, sure…Except we all know they don’t. That’s why it’s important for companies to have dedicated road maps pinpointing the best route to take when an issue arises. At Graybar Canada, we pride ourselves in delivering consistent products and services to our customers every day. By following a Quality Management System (QMS), we’re able to coordinate and direct our company’s activities in all 30 branches across Canada.

A Quality Management System is “a series of standardized frameworks which are designed to detect and prevent problems,” says Quality Management Representative, Amanda Canning. “A good management system engages everyone, has good processes and structure for improvement and change, and is easy to understand and use.”

A standard QMS is made up of seven key elements:

  1. Context of the organization
  2. Leadership
  3. Planning
  4. Support
  5. Operation
  6. Performance evaluation
  7. Improvement

While Quality Management Systems aren’t mandatory for businesses, having one gives our customers peace of mind that we’re able to deliver on our promises. “Basically, a QMS shows we do what we say we can,” says Canning. “We want to meet the same service expectations at any Graybar Canada location.”

Recently, our Graybar Canada Markham branch upgraded their QMS to meet the new standard ISO 9001: 2015. Not only does the certification demonstrate our commitment to quality, but with an equivalent QMS in place, our customers can expect to receive the same services and top-quality products from all our branches.

With almost 600 employees working in 30 locations across the country, it’s important we pay special attention to the needs and expectations of our customers. “We inspire confidence in our ability to reliably provide products and services for a sustainable and mutually beneficial future,” says Canning. “From the West coast, through Central, all the way to the East, we are One Graybar!”

Let Your House Do the Work with Home Automation

Posted on September 28, 2017

How many times have you driven halfway to work and wondered if you turned off that hot appliance or remembered to close the garage door? You rack your brain while a moment of panic sets in, forcing you to turn around and make the inconvenient trip back home. We’ve all been there, but with the simple push of a button, you can turn off that hot appliance and close the garage door straight from your smartphone.

Welcome to the world of home automation where you can sit back and let your house do the work. “It’s about having total mobile control of just about any function that’s connected to the day to day operation of your home,” says Rita Murphy, Graybar Canada account manager based in Mississauga. “It’s just a better way of saving energy and managing your house.”

2GIG 3-1-1 Kit

From programmable thermostats and security cameras, to pool sensors and magnetic contacts for doors and windows, there’s an automation tool that fits almost every need. Many home and small business owners are turning to automation systems allowing them to control the appliances they use every day from their mobile devicesꟷand they’re completely customizable!

Across the country, builders are also jumping on the band wagon by including basic automation packages in the price of their homes. “We’re seeing more and more builders putting at least one Z-wave light switch or Lutron Bridge kit in every house they build,” says Tom Stoll, account manager based in Moncton. “Once installed, it’s easy to show the home owner it’s not as expensive or complicated as they originally thought.” With Z-wave technology, “we’re able to bring whole systems together via apps and put control in the palm of our customers’ hands.”

Not only does home automation make your life a little bit easier, but it also gives you peace of mind. With Canada’s aging population, Rita Murphy has been noticing a trend with customers using camera systems to check-in with their parents. “Personally, I set up a system with my father and know when he gets up and when he opens the cupboard to get his medication in the morning,” she says. “He also wears a panic bracelet, and one day when he fell, he pushed the panic button and I was able to view him on my phone and get help right away.”

Want to take it one step further? With geofencing, your home learns about your behaviours and uses GPS tracking to pinpoint your exact location. As soon as you move within a set distance, your home automatically adjusts itself. You can program the doors to lock or the lights to turn offꟷyou don’t have to do a thing!

Our lives are stressful enough. A home automation system can make a positive impact on your life by letting your home control those repetitive everyday tasks. All you have to do is set it and forget it.

If you’re interested in learning more about home automation system solutions, contact your local Graybar Canada representative today!

Knock, Knock, Who’s There? Answer Your Door from Anywhere with SkyBell

Posted on August 22, 2017

Let’s face it—there’s no escaping the evolving trend of smart electronic devices for the home. From remotely recording your favourite TV show to running a load of laundry, technology is bringing us closer and closer—and it hasn’t stopped there. Doorbells are becoming more advanced and have been getting a high-tech makeover.

Whether you’re at home or 2,000 miles away, Alarm.com’s new SkyBell series doorbells allow you to answer your door from anywhere. Using your home’s wireless Internet, the SkyBell syncs to an app on your smartphone, allowing you to see and speak with visitors at your front door.

Expecting a package? Concerned about suspicious activity? No problem. The SkyBell detects movement and activates a live video feed to monitor activity anytime. Even when visitors don’t ring the bell, a motion sensor triggers the SkyBell to store a video clip for later viewing.

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Meet the Game Changer in Voltage Testing

Posted on July 4, 2017

If you’re looking for a safer and faster way to verify the absence of voltage, look no further than Panduit’s new VeriSafe™ Absence of Voltage Tester. With the simple push of a button, you can verify the absence of voltage BEFORE accessing hazardous electrical equipment. That’s right! Forget the complex hand-held test instruments and tedious prep time. VeriSafe’s™ fail-safe design and active indicators minimize risk without the need for additional tools. More»