N.C. school saves with new fire systems device

Sunday, June 1, 2008

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--Darryl Roy, CEO of CRS Building Automation Systems here, is fired up about what he jokingly calls his “Machiavellian scheme” to do more installations along the lines of the one his company just completed at Davidson College.

CRS in April announced it had completed a project where it upgraded more than 70 fire alarm systems from different manufacturers at Davidson College in Davidson, N.C. In the process they eliminated 144 dedicated phone lines (half of its total lines), which they say will translate into $86,400 in annual savings in phone line charges for Davidson.

In business for 20 years, Roy and his business partner, Skip Cashion, founded CRS when they were just out of college. The company specializes in fire alarm, access control, CCTV, security and energy management systems. It employs 40 people and serves more than 1,400 commercial customers.

CRS used Bosch Connettix C900V2 Dailer Capture Ethernet Modules, which work with both Bosch fire panels and panels from other manufacturers. The modules use IP as a primary communication method to a third party central station; phone lines connected to the college’s private branch exchange switch provide a back-up connection. Previously, two phone lines connected each panel to the public switched telephone network for communications.

CRS also upgraded the Bosch security control panels in the administrative buildings on campus with Connettix DX4020 Network Interface Modules. With this improvement, the central station can see the exact location of an alarm.

In addition to the cost savings and additional information from the panels, the college’s upgrade means that the panels are constantly supervised. The central station will know if there is a problem right away.

“Probably one of the biggest selling points [is the constant supervision]. It’s like a dripping faucet, a 90-second heartbeat versus checking on the patient once a day to see if they’re still alive. It’s like Meals on Wheels for monitoring,” Roy said.