Digitize, Firetide debut wireless alarm

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

LAKE HOPATCONG, N.J.--Proprietary alarm monitoring system manufacturer Digitize has teamed with wireless mesh technology provider Firetide to allow for wireless alarm reporting and response supervision in a campus or municipal environment. Because Firetide is Ethernet-based, and Digitize is both Ethernet-based and provides an Ethernet card that allows for the distribution of information to multiple IP addresses, where once you could only report fire and security alarms, now you can use that same backbone and head-end for the access control and video system, as well, said Abe Brecher, president of Digitize.

Further, he said, “Firetide, the way it’s currently sold, doesn’t meet the [UL] 864 code requirement for alarm reporting, so we’re putting together our own power supply and other components to get it fire listed.” Brecher expects the solution to be ETL listed by the beginning of 2Q 2009.

“Primarily,” said George Allen, president of RB Allen Company, an installer and distributor based in North Hampton, N.H., “it replaces a T1 line, and those are expensive and they’re not maintained by us. They’re maintained by the phone company, or some company like that. We have no control over it. Then, when you’re servicing the system and find out it’s in the T1 line, everything comes to a complete halt.

“With Firetide, we can be autonomous, and service the whole package, and it saves end users money in the long run.”

Allen covers New England doing fire installation, service and inspection with about 30 employees, and is an FCI-Gamewell, Digitize, and EST distributor as well.

“We see this especially growing on the college campus facility,” he continued, “where we’re monitoring 70 buildings for fire alarm, back to a central location on the campus. Right now, the issue is that the fire alarm people are in the electrical division, and the IT people are in maintenance, and the two don’t want each other on each other’s systems. But by using mesh, the fire and life safety people can be autonomous because they’ve got their own network.”