CMS checks off $1m upgrade

Saturday, July 1, 2006

LONGWOOD, Fla.--As wholesale alarm monitoring company Computerized Monitoring Services grows, so does the need for upgrades. The company earlier this summer upgraded to the latest version of GE Security's MASterMind automation software and added new elements to its telecommunication infrastructure thanks to AT&T SONET Ring, which will help improve the central's redundancy.
The upgrade enables the facility with more than 170,000 customers to do a lot more reporting, including the ability to notify dealers and end users electronically of signal notifications or account activity.
With a flexible system, "We are making the information available to [dealers]," said Tony Wilson, president of CMS. "They will take it and sell it in various ways."
"We try to stay on the leading edge of technology and stay off the bleeding edge of technology," Wilson said.
Like anybody doing an upgrade with more than 900 dealers, CMS wanted to be certain that the conversion would work. "We did a lot of testing," he said. "We had both systems running parallel for six months. We were actually receiving signals on both systems and making sure the new system was ready and the signals were working properly."
Wilson added, "We probably did more testing than required. But we wanted to be certain to be ready to go."
Another element to the upgrade included a seamless redundancy solution through multiple communication paths that updates information in real time and connects the central to an unmanned facility in Kansas. Providing multiple levels of redundancy was critical as CMS, based in central Florida, is often part of a hurricane path.
"What is important is that we have a complete site. We have backed up files in Kansas," he said. "So, if something happens to our facility we have a database ready to go."