Siemens opens flagship central

Friday, November 1, 2002

IRVING, Texas - Siemens Security Systems has opened a new, 9,000-square-foot central station at the company's Dallas area campus that provides a redundant back up monitoring network for its customers in the U.S.

Company officials had planned a grand opening in mid-October to formally kick off operations at the central station, located in a 67,000 square-foot facility that also houses Siemens Building Technologies' building automation, fire safety and security divisions and 250 Siemens employees. The Irving location is also home to Siemens' main customer contact center, which provides a customer help desk and service dispatch functions.

"We wanted more room and more account capacity, and we also wanted the ability to have two centers that could back up each other redundantly, which is important for our customer base," said John Szczygiel, vice president, sales and marketing for Siemens Building Technologies.

The new Irving monitoring center replaces an older central station that had been in operation for the past five years in Addison. It is networked to Siemens Security's other central station in Gaithersburg, Md.

"The decision was made to move (the old central station) and to invest and improve it," said Trey West, vice president of operations for Siemens Security Services. The new facility is at least four times the size of the Addison building and features a presentation theater for customer visits as well as state of the art video technology and a location close to a major airport for easy access, West said.

Siemens officials declined to reveal how many accounts the central station was monitoring but said that Siemens' 23 central stations around the globe together monitor more than 200,000 accounts. Because those accounts are commercial and not residential, the central station is not "distracted by high volume residential monitoring," West said, through customer phone calls and other alarm signals typical of residential systems.

With connections to high-speed networks, both central stations rely on Internet monitoring for the commercial burglar and fire alarm panel monitoring, which provides a constant line of response between the station and the field, West said. Using the Internet also allows for the use of digital video transmission, where video clips of an alarm event can be sent to the central station and viewed by the dispatcher along with the alarm signal.

Siemens use of the Internet also includes a customer information portal, where a customer can view their account information, make changes to the account's emergency contact list, and view what actions the central station took on recent alarm events.