Keeping an eye on things

NMC’s new central station emphasizes visibility and location
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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

IRVING, Texas - National Monitoring Center will open its second monitoring center here in the beginning of summer 2008, according to NMC president Michael Schubert. NMC purchased the 8,000-square-foot building in January of 2007 and has spent approximately a year designing the space. “We don’t want to rush a project like this, we want to make sure it’s done properly,” he said. “It’s our reputation on the line and we want to make sure the facility is the way we want it and our personnel are trained properly before we open it to the public.”
During a tour of the new facility on Feb. 28, the design of the space was both utilitarian and aesthetically appealing. The facility boasts a primarily glass interior, with visibility extending from the main operations room to conference and training rooms, common spaces and management offices, allowing management to “keep an eye on everyone’s activities in the facility,” said Stefan Rayner, manager of the Texas central, who was also my tour guide. The conference room also doubles as a viewing room for prospective clients, he said, with a corner window made of electrostatic glass, which, when turned on, illuminates the glass, allowing visibility into the main operating room.
Schubert said making the central station a showplace was an element in the design of the building. “It’s important when you’re bringing prospective clients into the facility that they really get excited about what they see,” he said.
The location of the facility in Texas was also a factor for the company, said Woodie Andrawos, NMC executive vice president. NMC’s other central station is located in Aliso Viejo, Calif., and has been in operation since 2002.
“Texas is an important state to us. It is an area that we’ve always wanted to have a footprint in,” he said. “Initially we wanted to build a back-up station in California, but realized that we wouldn’t gain any additional benefits, such as market share. The [Texas] market share doesn’t seem to be open to West coast central stations, so by being here we’re bringing that commitment to dealers in Texas.”
It was also important for NMC to have this fully redundant facility in a separate geographical location, said Andrawos. “We have a disaster recovery plan that allows backup on all levels,” he said. “This central station, from beginning to end, is designed to provide backup for the California station from servers to telecommunications to power.”
The new facility currently has 20 operator stations with room for an additional five or so more, said Rayner. “The space is very versatile and open,” he said. SSN