GE Security launches event management
BRADENTON, Fla.--When college administrators and private sector companies talk about mass notification, GE Security believes what they're really looking for is an "event management system," and is was showing its new EST3 event management platform in its ASIS booth this year.
"Supervised speakers and strobes are now needed," said GE president and chief executive officer Dean Seavers at an ASIS press conference, "standard paging systems are no longer viable."
Steve Hein, vice president and general manager for global fire and communications for GE, said what the market is seeing is a convergence of fire alarm and mass notification products. GE has been involved with mass notification systems in military applications for quite some time. Earlier this winter, before the Virginia Tech incident, Hein told Security Systems News that mass notification systems were "on the horizon" for "chemical and nuclear facilities, places of high risk." He predicted, "ultimately it will find its way into commercial establishments. Just the way a fire alarm is now required before you can get a certificate of occupancy, mass notification systems may be required."
Driven by concern following the Virginia Tech tragedy, as well as by a number of codes and standards from various entities, that prediction appears to be coming true.
The new GE system is built on a fire system, providing the reliability, back-up and supervision necessary for this kind of a system. What's the difference between the two?
First, mass notification takes priority over fire in this system, and second, a mass notification system "must be much more dynamic," Hein said. While the primary goal of a fire system is to evacuate a building, in the case of a tornado or a hostage situation, the goal of a mass notification system may be the opposite.
GE's system includes a graphical interface with four quadrants, which feeds the operator live information about an incident. The operator monitors and controls critical building infrastructure functions by drilling down into the quadrants to get more information and to deliver instructions as a situation changes, or disarm security partitions.
The product will be available in Q1 2008. The second phase, which includes VoIP capability will launch in Q2 2008.The graphic interface will be able to be hung "on an Internet connection, so the control panels report over the Internet," Hein explained. This adds redundancy and means that the communication can be done remotely.