“We’ve taken the control panel and are now using IP technology and Web capability to bring more to the service side of the equation,” Davis said. “Diagnostics are built-in and feature expansions, improved devices and predictability. There are also new analog addressable panels that send an analog system back to the panel and if it’s a digital control, you get an addressable type of system. Reliability and survivability, not just communication, are built into today’s addressable systems,” Davis added.
Sidebar: The Case for IP Fire Signaling
Chuck A. Hutcheson of the DeKalb County Schools in Decatur, Ga., has a proprietary central station that is monitoring its own IP fire signals for some 100 schools in the district.
“We have monitored burglar signals since 1978 with our first central station,” Hutcheson said. “The building code has necessitated that we bring our FACP, FACR up to code also. This requirement has lowered our risk in building safety,” he said.
He said the ability to be a central station that accepts IP fire signals actually reduces costs. “Any enterprise can see significant savings with an IP-based alarm system,” he said. Hutcheson added that you need a strong IT department to manage an IP network.
“We have our own security department within the IT department that gives me the confidence to do this in the first place.”
Editor’s note: In more than one story in this issue, including this feature and the one on network monitoring, sources said you have to have an IT technician or staff versed in IT to actively manage IP networks. While these personnel garner more wages, they will be worth it in the long haul as you position your company for the future. Also a plus—someone with wireless networking experience.