ARC develops IP alarm reporting as broadband use surges
EUCLID, Ohio--American Response Center teamed with Bosch in March to offer an Internet monitoring technology product that adapts alarm panels to report over IP, as more residential and commercial locations convert from phone lines to Voice over Internet Protocol.
American Response Center has worked with its dealers for more than two years on ways to offer a transition to VoIP technology. "We were looking at products that our dealers could plug in and get the signal out," American Response Center president Jim Osborne said. Osborne wanted his dealers to have workable and easy alternatives to handle event reporting, adding that, rather than dealers having to go out in the field and put a whole new system in, this Bosch C9900V2 Dialer Capture Module interfaces with an existing system and is configured through a web site.
What also made the fit right for American Response Center was that the product is UL-listed. "This is going to help the dealers who need to have that UL certification on it."
Last year, American Response Center dealers convened at a dealer meeting to discuss techniques to handle VoIP in the home. Dealers agreed customers would continue to migrate toward digital communications, so a module that offers seamless alarm communication would be needed. The central sat down with Bosch at the ISC West show in 2005 to discuss ways to offer a seamless transition for dealers with broadband accounts. After announcing the partnership, six of ARC's 200 dealers have already implanted the module.
Bosch has offered IP communication technology for more than six years. The challenge that Bosch saw from dealers was that "they didn't know exactly what they needed, but they knew they needed a solution for VoIP," Tom Mechler, product manager at Bosch, said.
"Traditionally, an installer would set up an IP alarm device. They would need to know some level of IP programming. They would have to use a program called Telnet and they would need to go in and actually set the IP address for these devises," Mechler said.
However, in December 2005, Bosch changed the module by adding a web site where the installer would go to configure the device. "We have made it much easier for the installer to configure the communication device," he said. "If you can browse a web site you can program the device."
Osborne said the Bosch C900V2, available through most distributors, connects to the phone output of the existing control. The dealer now has IP, without having to train customers on a new system. The dealer then can use the web portal to program the module to send reports, including user and zone numbers, to the central.
"It is just keeping us up with what the telecom industry is doing," Osborne said. Eventually, all alarm companies are going to have to adapt to this technology, he added.