Commercial Burg and Fire Gets a Makeover

Technology builds a case for integration

Technology advancements have dramatically changed the face of commercial security and fire applications for both new and legacy installations.
The reasons are clear. Computer technology and the microprocessor, as well as new and more robust communications, continue to impact what security dealers and integrators install. Another weighing factor is the continued deployment and use of the network and the Internet to conduct a host of services.

Integration and automation is tops on the list of must-haves at commercial properties. There’s also a continued infusion of smart sensors and video and access control and systems that provide general accountability and multi-tiered management.

Larger commercial properties will continue to deploy the existing infrastructure and piggyback new services on the network, paired with wireless, to perform intrusion detection and fire and life safety services. It’s rare that you’ll see a standalone system on the enterprise. There may be, for example, a remote location with a single access control point, but in all likelihood it will be hardwired to the network or transmitted via wireless to some central monitoring point. An even safer bet is that video capabilities will be along for the ride.

With the tendency away from installing new hardwired telephone systems has come a perfect “in” for other technologies. Wireless has made a big play in the realm of commercial security and fire applications, with its reliability at an all time high and an ever-growing ability to send fire alarm signals approved by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).

Wireless gets in big
Security dealer and integrators who want to upgrade older facilities or add detection at new areas or remote sites increasingly look at wireless communications. It’s become more robust and reliable, and in many areas of the country has been approved by the AHJ as a primary means of communicating an alarm.

“With wireless, we go into legacy sites and know we can do the job as the total solutions provider,” said Larry Halpren, president, Safe Systems Inc., Louisville, Colo. “We’ve stopped selling fire alarms monitored on phone lines,” he said.

At first, Halpren said, it wasn’t a slam-dunk to get the AHJ to approve radio for fire signaling. “We did training with the AHJ to teach them about the radio mesh product,” he said. “I remember initially when the fire inspector wanted me to show him the two telephone lines,” he commented.

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