Technology Gets in Tune

Central station operators have little room for trial and error. Their 24/7 environment is one where immediate action in an emergency situation is a necessity and being able to rely on the right tools and services goes without question. Moving forward, it is already clear to see that technological advancements are already being developed, primarily for central stations, such as Web-based services and Software as a Service (SaaS), two primary areas where we can expect to see more and more central stations jumping onboard in the near and coming future.

Fire-Lite Alarms, Northford, Conn., is one industry player that already sees an increase in central station companies monitoring fire alarm systems via the Internet. Growing sales of its FireWatch IP Communicators and compatible VisorALARM-Plus receivers only supports their belief in this growing trend. On the central station side, expanded acceptance of IP communications has led monitoring stations, like Devcon Security Services Corp., Danvers, Mass., to install IP-compatible receivers.

“I think we’ll see a large increase in the use of IP monitoring,” said Roy Pollack, CPP SET and director of Operations, Devcon. “Technology is changing and your typical analog phone lines are going away.”

The growing merge between IT and IP is also inevitable and in order to keep up with the changes we are seeing in the industry as we progress into the latter half of 2009, central stations need to get in tune with the developing trends— those that don’t, will be left behind in the dust. This month, we’re bringing you the latest technological developments specifically suited for central stations as they move ahead.

AlarmPath Inc. now offers its first total data wireless unit. The AP-TDT total data unit reports all event conditions to any central station using the secure GPRS band of the GSM network when no phone line is present. The GSM network provides dependable, affordable, high-speed communication covering over 268 million Americans where they live, work and play.

Alarm.com recently partnered with several major central monitoring stations to begin offering a wireless GSM-based two-way voice solution that enables a direct voice connection between the central station and the security panel in the event of an alarm, without the need for a phone line at the customer premises. Like traditional POTS two-way voice systems, Alarm.com’s solution helps reduce false alarms and also facilitates effective emergency response in the event of a real alarm.  Because it uses GSM instead of a standard phone line connection, the Alarm.com product is easier to install and the perfect solution for the increasing number of homes and businesses that have abandoned their traditional landline phone service.

Chatsworth Products Inc. offers its F-Series TeraFrame™ Cabinet System. The cabinet meets a wide range of equipment depth requirements by including adjustable mounting rails that slide front-to rear, allowing the entire depth of the frame to be utilized. Depth support markings allow the adjustable mounting rails to be positioned vertically and horizontally so that equipment mounts effortlessly and moves and additions and changes are accomplished easily. Drop-in stud/nut hardware allows accessories to be mounted and re-positioned by sliding front-to-rear within the cabinet space, while lightweight side panels and doors can be detached and re-attached without difficulty.

Wholesale monitoring provider CMS recently implemented a unique Command Center, increasing its ability to quickly and efficiently respond to bursts in alarm activity across the country, no matter the day, weather, or if a natural disaster is occurring somewhere. This center, which works much like an air-traffic control tower, is operated by a specially trained supervisor and allows CMS to monitor alarm and phone traffic as well as weather patterns, available monitoring reps, response times and even phone answer speed. The Center consists of four computers, each running dual monitors and relies on real-time reports that show a summary of calls in process as well as updates from the National Weather Service. Call summaries are provided by a MASterMind database, which the company operates across its network.

Digital Monitoring Products (DMP) released Entré CS, the newest version of its popular Entré Access & Security Management System Software. This software provides central stations’ clients with managed access control, creating an opportunity for the central stations to expand the range of services offered and generate incremental recurring revenue. Entré CS enables integrated systems management, bringing together both security and access control in one package. It is expandable to adapt and grow services to accommodate changing customer needs, from a single area to multiple facilities. Additional features include remote panel programming that reduces the need for on-site service calls; multiple customer management capability from a single workstation; and optional modules to create customized service offerings, including card/badge production and video system management and others.

The SG-System I Receiver from DSC, a brand of Tyco Safety Products Canada, is a solution designed for businesses that carry out in-house monitoring of their security systems or for those smaller central stations that are looking for a receiver with similar functionality to the Sur-Gard System III receiver but do not require its larger capacity. It allows proprietary applications or central stations to receive alarm via traditional plain old telephone service (POTS) telephone lines or over an optional IP connection (using DSC’s T-Link or GS series of products). SG-System I uses a number of patented technologies, including ANI and DNIS reception to help decrease the online time of central monitoring stations. Additional benefits include patented Caller ID technology and a fast response time via patented Automatic Handshake Selection (AHS).

Surveillance and Monitoring Desk Systems from Middle Atlantic Products feature a flexible and adjustable design to make them a popular add-on to any type of security installation or environment. The Desk Systems feature ergonomically contoured edges, keyboard shelves and highly adjustable optional monitor supports for up to six screens per desk that allow placement of monitors at different heights to suit individual operators or line of sight beyond the desk. Desk surface heights measure at 30 inches to accommodate all sizes of users. Repositioned cable entry points on the desk surface provide improved cable management with added routing options from desk to monitors and uncluttered control surfaces.

Napco Security’s StarLink Full Data SL-1FD-T wireless alarm communicator reports to any central station and is compatible with any alarm panel brand using Contact ID and 4/2 format, permitting installs to remain largely unchanged. The wireless radio uses the GPRS data channel of GSM networks for dependable, high-speed alarm communications, supported by an extensive nationwide network (SIM card included). Even when SL-1FD-T is used as a backup system, it saves money because it transmits alarm events wirelessly only when telco fails, eliminating duplicate reporting and central station traffic. Activation, programming and signal verification are accessible 24-hours a day via phone or online. StarLink annual subscriber service is separately available (#SL-1SVC-1YR).

The VisorALARM-Plus IP receiver from Teldat emulates popular receiver formats, allowing seamless integration into existing conventional central station architectures. It supports up to three destination IP receiver addresses. Multiple IP addresses allow for additional equipment redundancies, giving central stations a multitude of configuration options. Possible configurations include using secondary IP receivers for backup or even clusters of two or more receivers for off-site disaster recovery purposes. The third IP receiver address can also serve as a maintenance receiver in an end-user’s facility to immediately inform maintenance personnel of any system troubles that need attending.

ToteVision offers an innovative dual, side-by-side 10-inch HD LCD monitor set (LCD-1048HDM2) that defies 19-inch rack mount limitations. These monitors are ideal for central station monitoring, displaying a larger screen size and supporting an HD signal and providing multiple In/Out connections. Single monitors (LCD-1048HDM) are also available. These units are a replacement for outdated 9-inch CRT monitors.

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