Intrusion alarm technology isn't slowing down yet

Bosch's Tom Mechler discusses top tech factors changing the intrusion business


Are the commercial alarm dealers on board this wireless trend?

Speaking for Bosch, we actually have a survey kit [for the installing companies] that allows you to test the application for the site before you install the wireless alarm system. It can tell you things like where you need repeaters. There is no question that commercial alarm dealers can deploy a good wireless security system today.

Besides wireless communications within an alarm system, the trend toward IP communication of signals from an alarm system seems to the dominant factor affecting our industry. How does that shape your business?

That has been the biggest thing to change our business in the last 10 years. Customers are doing away with their phones. IP is actually the most stable and most cost-effective way to get that signal to the central station. We’ve had several national large chains convert their alarm systems to IP communications and leave the existing equipment in place. The cost of those phone lines is driving this change. We make it simple because we have a module [Bosch’s C900V2] that allows you to convert virtually any alarm panel and send it over IP.

Let's look back to the detection technology itself. Obviously, intrusion detection technology has been around for a long time. Is the technology "played out" in terms of how far it can advance, or is there room for technology improvements that will allow us to catch intruders ever more efficiently?

I think detectors can get better. We’re able now to get very high-performing processors down to a cost where we can afford put it into a detector today. That processing power allows for advances in detector technologies.

Can you give us an example of what processing power in a detector means?

Dual technology detectors worked in the past with both the PIR and microwave detecting a signal, and if they both detected, then you could go into alarm. With dual technology in our Professional series, we not only ask if there is an alarm but what kind of alarm it is. The processor compares the size of the intruder, how fast they are moving. What you want to know is whether one thinks it is a mouse and one thinks it’s a person, or whether they both think it’s the same.