New GE mass notification system first to meet industry benchmark

GE Security announced the release Wednesday of its new EST3-Sixty Mass Notification/Emergency Communication system, which is the first solution of its kind to meet the new Underwriters Laboratories standard for mass notification systems.

According to Ted Milburn, GE Security product marketing manager of life safety and communications for the Americas, the new standard, UL 22572, measures how a mass notification system stacks up against new codes from the National Fire Protection Agency and how the product guarantees performance.

Three of the biggest areas that Milburn said that the new system had to address were delivering intelligibility (voice commands) of announcements, how to utilize the system during different crisis events, and differentiating communications for different events.

The EST3-Sixty features a combination of crisis management tools, as well as Voice-over-IP (VOIP) and fiber optic communication technologies. The new system can also use various forms of media, such as paging systems, fire alarms, electronic signage, e-mail, computer pop-ups, and text messages when communicating an alert.

“On the fire side we’ve done emergency voice communications for a long time, but what we haven’t done in the industry is done a really good job of (providing) intelligibility,” Milburn said. “Typically, the criteria in the past has just been for a sound level, but not intelligibility, so it didn’t matter if you over drove it so badly that you could not understand it. A lot of the standards now say that not only do (audible alerts) have to be at a certain level, but also have to be understandable”

By being the first company to release a mass notification system up to the new UL and NFPA standards, Milburn said he believes it gives GE Security an edge when it comes to having the infrastructure in place to provide solutions to customers that are already up to the current code.

“It puts us in a position to start building our platform or build our structure that will guarantee some of the codes that are coming up,” he said.

Though he couldn’t disclose specifics, Milburn indicated that the new system will be deployed shortly at several locations.