DICE adds functionality

Opens up platform to developers, gets all techs AltiGen certified
Wednesday, June 9, 2010

BAY CITY, Mich.—Central station automation platform provider DICE Corp. has taken steps to make the DICE platform more functional by allowing for much greater customization of its product by centrals and by providing much more expertise in phone-switch technology.

First, the company on May 5 announced the release of a programming development environment that allows industry application programmers and developers to write their own monitoring, accounting, service and web applications around the DICE platform. So just what does that mean for central stations? According to DICE president and CEO Cliff Dice, the result is greater functionality for DICE users.

“We have a lot of large companies that have their own programmers and they want to be unique. They want to be able to write their own web products,” Dice said. “The ADTs and the P1s of the world want to write their own applications that are special to them. To do that, you have to have a language environment that allows their programmers to actually work within the engine and build their applications right into it as if it were part of the automation software. So this programming development environment gives the ability to build an entire infrastructure product and integrate it with the data in a way that has not been possible before.”

DICE network operation center director Josh Greko agreed the new functionality from DICE would allow clients a greater degree of control. “I’m a car guy. What we do now is we provide you with the V8 engine and the crankshaft and you can build any kind of car you want around that,” Greko said. “Any kind of accounting application, monitoring application, reporting application, service application—anything you want to tie into it.”

Second, DICE on May 13 also announced that all its hardware technicians are AltiGen certified, meaning they are fully trained in AltiGen phone switch systems and would be able to bring new levels of call automation to the table. “The alarm industry has been changing over the last few years to where automation software isn’t just running on a computer handling signals anymore. It’s more and more becoming the phone switch so that inbound calls are being driven to the operator who has the alarm on their desk. And the phone switch is starting to do two-call verification, calling people and talking to them and no human is involved,” Dice said. “You’re going to see—with Pam Petrow and that PSAP initiative—you’re going to see a central station where all the PSAPs are notified electronically and all the customers are notified through the phone switch electronically by voice, and there’ll be no human involved … So when we say we’ve certified all our telco infrastructure people in AltiGen, it means they’re all fully trained in supporting these telephone systems.”

Will added functionality such as this lead to the demise of the traditional central station operator? Not according to Melissa Courville, head of marketing at DICE. “If something’s a serious issue, of course end users will always have a live body on the line,” Courville said. “Operators will be happier and more successful in their jobs because they’re not going to be rushed and they’re only handling the priority calls.”