Tag Archives: IP/GSM

New Fiber Choice for Lite-Connect

The Fire-Lite Alarms’ Lite-Connect solution enables Fire-Lite fire alarm control panels in multiple buildings to consolidate central station communications by allowing a “main” panel to become the communicator for the complete system. The connections between the fire alarm control panels are made via fiber to avoid the troubles associated with running copper underground between buildings. To add to this innovative solution, Lite-Connect now supports 50/125um multi-mode fiber.

Now with the choice of 62.5/125um multi-mode fiber and 50/125um multi-mode fiber (LC connectors), you can meet your installation needs on top of the benefits of consolidating the central station communications to a single MS-9050UD fire alarm control panel. Lite-Connect offers:

  • Reduce Callbacks. Running wire underground to connect panels together in remote buildings is prone to ground faults and lighting strikes. Fiber-optic cable eliminates these potential issues.
  • Less Phone Lines. Save the end user money on additional phone lines, monitoring costs, and monitor modules. Whether you are monitoring individual buildings or consolidating communications with the Signaling Line Circuit (SLC) from a main panel.
  • Faster First Responder Response. If monitoring via SLC and monitor modules, Alarm, Trouble, and Supervisory are typically what is available. Lite-Connect offers zone and point information to help first responders pinpoint the location of the alarm and leads to a faster response.
  • Central Station Reporting. Easy to read Central Station reports that are generated based on the system programming for the specific project geared towards reducing installation time.

We are also pleased to share that Lite-Connect solution has earned a Campus Safety BEST Award in the Fire/Life Safety Category! For more information, feel free to view our short video or visit www.firelite.com.

 

 

About the Author
Richard Conner is the Director of Marketing for Fire-Lite Alarms, Silent Knight and Honeywell Power. Richard joined Honeywell in 2002 and has over 15 years of experience in the fire alarm industry in Marketing, Engineering, and Product Support positions. Richard is responsible for developing brand strategy and marketing programs for all brands.

Top 3 Reasons to Monitor Fire Alarms over GSM or IP – A Central Station Perspective

It’s amazing how dramatically our industry has changed in just the last few years. As plain old telephone systems (POTS) gradually go extinct, new technologies, including IP and GSM, are making their mark on the fire alarm and security market. And I for one am excited for the future.

A bit about how I became such a supporter of GSM and IP: I’ve been a Honeywell dealer for years, working with many different Fire-Lite technologies. When Honeywell created AlarmNet, I was excited about the possibilities—especially since phone companies had long been talking about the inevitable death of POTS. We learned about GSM through its connection with AlarmNet, and for the most part, we’ve used GSM (often with an IP back-up) for all our fire alarm systems even since. I’m also in the process of converting our burglar alarms to GSM as well.

At Diamond Communications, Inc., we encourage our customers to use GSM or a combination of GSM and IP for alarm communications, and I believe many dealers can benefit from doing the same. From my perspective, there are three main reasons to monitor over GSM and/or IP:

1. Reliability is maximized.
In my experience of operating the Diamond Communications, Inc., Central Station, GSM is the most reliable method available today. Phone lines can easily go down, and even internet connectivity is spotty in some areas. To ensure the most reliable monitoring connection, we encourage our customers to go the GSM route, with IP as an optional back-up.

In addition to improved reliability, GSM pings the central station hourly, signaling that the system is working as it should. POTS lines send a signal only once every 24 hours. For POTS customers, their system could be down for a full day without them knowing, leaving them vulnerable to unreported fire.

2. Your customers save money every month.
Here’s another compelling reason for your customers to embrace GSM and IP: It can save them a significant amount of money. For two dedicated POTS lines, many of my customers in California were paying the phone company approximately $100-$120 a month. But GSM does away with that cost altogether, saving each customer approximately 50 percent per month. Over the life of a system, that difference adds up quickly.

3. Security is improved.
Traditional POTS lines can easily be cut or tampered with. And since POTS systems only communicate with the central station every 24 hours, a line could be down for a while before a problem is detected.

However, GSM and IP do away with these types of security concerns, since there is no physical wire to be cut.

 

Looking to the Future
The transition from POTS to GSM and IP is the biggest change in the industry since communicators were invented. GSM and IP are the next step forward, which is why we’re enthusiastic about offering the technology to our customers and letting them know how it can benefit them.

In my experience, a GSM is more reliable especially given the fact that the technology is more reliable, secure and can save them money. So if you’re looking to transition your fire alarm customers to GSM, be sure to really highlight these differentiators. You might be surprised at how much your business benefits.

 

 

About the Author
Michael Tarin is the President of Diamond Communications, Inc., based in Madera, Calif. Founded in 1968 with a focus on electrical work, Diamond Communications, Inc., has since transitioned into fire alarm and security technology. The company has its own Central Station and provides installation, service and monitoring for fire alarm and security systems. Since receiving National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) certification, Diamond Communications, Inc., also designs and engineers fire alarm systems.

Changes in Cellular Monitoring are on Fire!

The telecommunications industry is changing as the Plain Old Telephone System (POTS) is being phased out and consumers migrate to faster wireless and IP based alternatives. In response to this, cellular carriers and device makers have begun offering new devices and cellular network upgrades to handle the increased bandwidth requirements for consumers.

While these changes in technology are good for the consumer market as it brings about more speed, and accessibility of data, it has caused some challenges in the fire industry. Typically dealers look to save their customers money by eliminating phone lines while trying to protect them from any future technology changes that might occur when using a cellular communicator. So how can you protect your customer by getting them the most return on investment when migrating to a fully wireless cellular solution? The answer is to simply research your options.

So what are the different cellular formats and how do they affect my cellular monitoring for Fire? Many have most likely heard of second generation (2G) third generation (3G) and fourth generation (4G) of cellular networks. The most significant changes and value that these networks offer are better speed and coverage which is what consumers typically require for their devices.

In the Fire industry, it is a little different since speed is typically not as much of an issue because the amount of data being transferred is not significant. What is typically more important for Fire installations is coverage and longevity since a fire panel always needs to be connected to transmit life safety events and are typically not replaced every two years like many smart phones. That is why when selecting your Cellular communicator it is important to understand which cellular network is being used. It is also a good idea to make sure that the specific coverage required for your communicator is available in the location needed. It also a good idea to do your research to make sure that there are no immediate plans to discontinue the network that your Fire communicator will work on.

 

2G, 3G, 4G

2G Networks: Was launched in the US around1987 and Introduced SMS Texting as well as General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) which first offered packetized data transmission. 2G coverage is diminishing rapidly across the country since AT&T had announced that in early 2017 that they expect to completely discontinue their 2G cellular networks.

3G Networks: Was originally designed for voice calls and data transmission. 3G coverage is still pretty good around the United States but varies by carriers. 3G networks appear to have some longevity since there was a lot of investment made in this technology over time. No one knows specifically when 3G technology will be phased out by the carriers, but some rumors are that major carriers will not begin this process until at least 2020.

4G Networks: Was designed and launched around 2010 primarily for data transmission. It offers the fastest speeds available and coverage continues to be expanded as companies invest in these networks. There are different formats such as LTE and HSPA+ which vary by carriers. Both appear to offer decent longevity, but (LTE) Long Term Evolution appears to offer the fastest speeds.

 

In response, many cellular communicators have been designed to use 4G technology in order to give their customers the best coverage and the most longevity possible in an industry that is known for a lot of change. Fire-Lite’s IPGSM-4G connects to the DACT of any UL-listed fire alarm control panel and communicates over 4G cellular only, IP Ethernet or both. This allows customers to saves the costs of expensive POTS lines while offering them the best coverage and the most longevity possible.

 

About the Author
Ken Gentile is a Product Manager for Fire-Lite Alarms and Honeywell Power. Using his more than 15 years of marketing and engineering experience, Ken’s primary focus lies in the development of new products.

 

The Year in Review: 2014 Exceeds Early Expectations

Much of the growth Fire-Lite Alarms experienced this year closely paralleled overall industry trends in major segments.

So before we kick off another fantastic year in the fire alarm market, let’s consider some of the biggest milestones of 2014:

Growth in most segments
2014 might have started off slow due to a severe winter across the U.S., but the construction market really took off in April. Given the late start, we’ve been enjoying an extended construction season, and that has helped lead the industry to a strong close to 2014. We saw above-market growth in most segments, and I expect the year to wind up exceeding our original forecasts.

Several new growth drivers
Fire-Lite is seeing an upsurge in two main areas – emergency communication and modern central station communications. These trends are helping to grow the industry as a whole, and likely will continue through next year as well:
Emergency communication has become a huge boon for the fire alarm industry. These systems offer notification for any emergency, such as severe weather, harmful gas, terrorism and active shooters, and are growing in popularity for both new construction and existing buildings where a fire alarm system already exists.
• Modern central station communications through IP and cellular are replacing the use of traditional POTS lines at an increasing rate. These alternative communication methods are helping grow this industry segment, which in-turn helps increase fire and life safety sales.

New Technology
In 2014, we introduced several revolutionary new products that are certainly milestones for our industry:
Fire-Lite Alarms Smart Wireless Integrated Fire Technology (SWIFT) – a line of wireless fire detectors and modules. This Class A, commercial wireless system uses a robust mesh network to integrate with existing fire systems so installers can use any combination of traditional and wireless fire alarm technology that works for a given facility. The result is an unprecedented level of flexibility in devices that are also highly scalable, reliable and easy to install.
Lite-Connect – a multi-building fiber solution that provides an easy and more flexible way to connect fire alarms. The product enables fire alarm installers to join as many as 16 remote control panels together over fiber-optic cable—ideal for multiple building locations, such as schools, apartment buildings, nursing homes and retail complexes.
• Honeywell Power HP1205UL and HP1210UL Power Supplies – deliver more DC power to CCTV cameras and their peripheral devices, while also speeding up installation and service calls and maximizing the survivability of system operations when a facility’s AC power is lost.

All of these exciting advancements allowed Fire-Lite Alarms to enjoy substantial growth this year, along with much of the rest of the industry.

Thank you for your part in our success. Together, we look forward to a fantastic 2015 and beyond.

 

About the Author
Dave Pakech is the Vice President of Sales for the SED Channel – Fire-Lite Alarms, Honeywell Power and Silent Knight. He joined Honeywell Fire Systems in 2008 and brings over 20 years of Security Industry experience to the brands.

Building on Your Experience: The Pros and Cons of Negotiated Work

As we explored in a recent blog post, bid work and negotiated work can play a vital role in a fire alarm installer’s business. Both approaches have their own challenges and opportunities, each of which an installer will have to take into consideration throughout his or her career.

To help you weigh your options, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of negotiated work, as well as some strategies you can use to acquire more negotiated work.

Pros and Cons
With negotiated work, dealers are working directly with the building owner to establish the terms, budget and timetable of a given project. This direct relationship can be very beneficial to dealers because, unlike in bid work, the lowest price doesn’t often come into play. Rather than price guiding the project, it’s the established relationship between the end user and the dealer that provides the opportunity here. The more happy customers you have, the more negotiated work you’re likely to secure.

Another positive aspect of negotiated work is the fact that dealers are still connected to each system long after the install. Since you’re working directly with the building owner, you’re well-positioned to offer ongoing service and support following a negotiated bid project.

Finally, negotiated work is not as connected to the ebbs and flows of the construction market. Since these projects come from your existing customer base, rather than new builds, the work is available at any time. This makes negotiated work a strong source of continual income.

One of the challenges of negotiated work, which some may see as a con, is that it requires installers to be a “jack of all trades.” While bid work is often siloed by system – e.g., fire alarm, access control, telephony – negotiated work often involves a little of everything for a given customer. Although some may view this as a negative, I’ve always thought it was a positive. A wide variety of negotiated work bolsters your portfolio, which will only lead to more opportunities in the future.

Find More Negotiated Work
Most negotiated work comes from your existing customer base, so every successful install could lead to additional projects. You already have a relationship established with your customers; here is your opportunity to build upon it.

Reach out to your existing customers every quarter or twice a year to offer additional or updated services. Whether you work with telephony, electrical or access control technology, make them aware that you offer more than just security systems. You have the rare opportunity to save your customers money or provide them improved service. Don’t miss out on it.

Here are a few ideas for finding negotiated work opportunities in your existing customer base:

  • Ask, “Do you know we offer superior fire alarm monitoring that beats your current rate?”
  • Find out if they have carbon monoxide detectors. If not, make sure they know about CO requirements.
  • When fire alarm codes change in your area, contact each customer to inform them of any vulnerabilities and liabilities. Help them upgrade their system and stay in compliance.
  • Offer to upgrade their phone lines to GSM or IP – a proposition that could save your customers up to $200 a month by eliminating third-party phone company fees.
  • As customers approach the end of their service agreements, contact them and offer to upgrade their systems. This is a perfect opportunity to secure a new contract, which is a win-win for you and the customer.

Installers who make negotiated work an ongoing part of their business are well-positioned to create a strong, consistent cash flow. If you’ve operated primarily in the bid market up until now, this is the chance to start focusing on your customer relationships and putting them to work for your business.

 

About the Author
John Maccone is the director of sales for Fire-Lite Alarms at Honeywell. An industry veteran, John has worked in the industry for 35 years and with Honeywell for 14. In his role, John serves as the lead representative of the Fire-Lite/Silent Knight and Honeywell Power brands to the corporate offices of the nation’s leading and largest installation, service and monitoring providers.

IPGSM-4G: The Voice of Productivity

Provisioning the IPGSM-4G commercial Fire Alarm communicator just got easier with AlarmNet’s new Interactive Voice Response System (IVR) that allows for faster programming and commissioning. IVR is an automated call-in, voice-prompt service that allows customers to program and activate the IPGSM-4G without having to speak to an AlarmNet representative. With AlarmNet’s, IVR option, you can quickly and easily program a new device for registration to a new AlarmNet account, activate a device SIM or simply call to check the SIM status of any IPGSM communicator. This new feature will be available starting July 28, 2014, and is readily available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your convenience.

So how do you begin using it? It’s simple. Call the IVR service at 1-800-222-6525 and select option 1 for Technical Support, then option 1 again for Activation and Registration. Next, provide a clear voice response to the IVR prompts and you will be finished before you know it! To set up programming of the device you will need to provide the device MAC and CRC, the central station account information (City-CSID-SUBSCRIBER) and the desired supervision interval.

The IPGSM-4G is a secure and reliable Commercial Fire Alarm Communicator that offers Contact-ID reporting for any Fire Alarm Control Panel (FACP) that has a built-in dialer. This Central Station communicator eliminates the need for costly plain old telephone lines (POTS) and replaces them with state-of-the-art cellular or internet/ IP communications that is secured over the AlarmNet Network.

For more information or specific product information, you can click the following links below to learn more:

Honeywell’s IPGSM-4G
IVR Announcement, AlarmNet:
LIVRPLDIVRFAQs_V3

 

About the Author
Ken Gentile is a Product Manager for Fire-Lite Alarms and Honeywell Power. Using his more than 15 years of marketing and engineering experience, Ken’s primary focus lies in the development of new products.

Another Great ISC West!

This past ISC West marks my 10th ISCW Expo – WOW! That’s 10 years of planning, display designs, setups/tear downs, debacles of missing parts and pieces, and more importantly that’s 10 years of watching Fire-Lite and Honeywell Power grow!  I can’t even keep a plant alive for more than a couple months!

Over the past 10 years I’ve really seen the industry progress and this year the aisles were jammed with over 1,000 companies showing off their newest technologies. I’m especially proud of three specific products highlighted by Fire-Lite Alarms this year.
Fire-Lite Alarms and Honeywell Power premiered “Innovation for a Connected World” which includes new solutions combining your Fire alarm system and Emergency Communications System.

In case you missed this great show, here’s a recap of our “Innovation for a Connected World”:

SWIFT™ Wireless Fire Alarm Devices
Introducing our new wireless solution for commercial fire applications where it is difficult to run wire! SWIFT™ uses the latest in Class-A mesh technology and has a redundant path for the highest reliability.  Great for retrofits, historic areas, and any application where running wire is difficult. Coming in Summer 2014!

Lite-Connect
Your world is connected, what about your buildings? Many multi-building applications, such as apartment buildings, are monitored by a main panel for centralized communications. Lite-Connect will save on phone lines and monitoring costs by connecting a main panel to panels in a remote building. Coming in Summer 2014!

Remote Telephone Zone Module for the Emergency Command Center
Emergency Communications is about getting the right message to the right people at the right time. The RTZM (Remote Telephone Zone Module) gives an authorized end user access to the ECC during an emergency using any telephone. By adding the RTZM module to any ECC system, users have the ability to initiate pre-recorded messages or even make a live page. Even with this phone! (insert picture of phone booth)

Not only were these premiered at ISC West, but our other solutions kept in the theme of a “connected world”.

IPGSM-4G – Fire Communications Made Simple
Stay connected without the cost of POTS lines by installing the IPGSM-4G in your building. This multi-path fire alarm communicator gives you faster and more reliable connectivity. It also saves recurring telecommunications costs when dedicated phone lines are replaced, making the IPGSM-4G a product that truly pays for itself!

AC/DC Video Power
Our Video power distribution units provide a constant source of power to operate CCTVvideo cameras and other accessories. AC and DC Video power distribution units are mounted in a sturdy back box and include, LED indicators and short circuit protection.

Traffic through the Fire-Lite Alarms and Honeywell Power booth stayed steady throughout the show. We even had a kiosk that allowed people to register for any of our upcoming Fire-Lite training academies. If you’ve never attended an ISC West Showand your business relates to security and/or fire, don’t miss next year’s show at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas, April 15-17. Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

About the Author:
Elizabeth Richards is the Manager of Communications for Fire-Lite Alarms, Honeywell Power and Silent Knight’s IntelliKnight line. Liz joined Honeywell Fire Systems in 2003 and is responsible for the communications, collateral, messaging, and events for all three brands.

Selling IP/Cellular Reporting – Too Good to be True?

I’ve spoken to a number of dealers over the past few years for case studies, press releases and articles on various communication technologies used for fire alarm reporting, most notably IP and Cellular (GSM). And it seems like everyone I interviewed that used IP and cellular have had high praise for these new technologies. But if these new fire alarm communicators are so great, why aren’t they flying off the shelves?

According to Justin MacDaniel of ASG S​​​ecurity’s Wilmington, NC, branch, the primary barrier here is a “reluctance to change” on the part of end users. END USERS?? I thought Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs) were the ones we had to sell on the merit of these new technologies? And I thought dealers were faced with a learning curve that scared some off from trying out IP or GSM on a job.

MacDaniel agreed gaining AHJ acce​ptance was difficult, when IP and cellular communicators were first born within the fire alarm industry – we’re talking six or more years ago. Today it’s about the sale, not the acceptance, of these new communicators.

“I would say the only halt would be customers’ willingness to pay for the upfront cost of the product,” exclaimed MacDaniel. “The product and savings to the customer are often perceived as ‘too good to be true,’ leaving them waiting for the catch.”

Wenceslao R. Baez of Fire Safe, Inc., an integrator serving Puerto Rico, agrees that end users are uneducated on the benefits of newer communication methods and therefore, unwilling to pay more upfront. He believes sales of IP and cellular communicators in his market have remained flat over the past two years and attributes this to a lack of education.

“Since IP/cellular communication is not required, they [end users] decide to save the money,” said Baez. “Well educated end users tend to accept new technologies, as long as it demonstrates to be cost effective.”

Many other dealers I’ve interviewed have echoed these comments, underlining the importance of being able to clearly demonstrate the cost-savings that can be had, following the expense of a fire alarm communication upgrade.

What’s more interesting is it appears those dealers with a strong track record of IP/cellular communicator sales are not only approaching their existing customer base. These entrepreneurs have created such a strong value proposition for dropping phone lines and upgrading to newer reporting methods, they are using this information to get in the door with new accounts – starting with the upgrade, then monitoring and eventually taking over the whole test and service contract for a new customer.

Hmm, sneaky or smart? Whatever you believe, be sure your customers know you set them up with the best fire alarm reporting method to fit their needs – before another dealer tries to change their mind.

 

About the Author:
Beth Welch is the Manager of Public Relations for Honeywell Fire Systems. For a decade, she has strived to raise awareness of new technologies, industry trends and information, for the benefit of engineers, integrators and end users.