Triple path communications to give AHJs satisfaction

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

NORTHFORD, Conn.—Compared to security systems, the move to IP-based communications on the fire side has been slow. Why’s that? It’s not that IP is any less reliable for fire. It’s a matter of the codes catching up with technology. Further, experts say, when you’re talking about life-safety systems, there’s more caution about IP-based communications among installers, end users and most particularly among AHJs.

Reassuring these parties that IP fire systems are safe, supervised and backed-up is one of the issues Honeywell Fire Systems seeks to address with its debut at ISC West this year of its IPGSM-COM, which offers triple-path communications for fire systems.

Sound familiar?

“It’s the same Alarmnet communications capability that already exists in our sister division at Honeywell Security,” explained Gene Pecora, general manager of Honeywell Power Products.

Like the communications unit used in products like Honeywell Security’s Total Connect product, the IPGSM-COM offers “triple path communications,” and eliminates the need for a landline.

“The Internet is the primary path, the second path is GSM and the third is SMS, which is text. The IP and GSM paths are fully supervised, but the text path is not technically supervised,” Pecora said. If the Internet and GSM fail, a text message is sent to the Alarmnet Center, and they follow whatever instructions the customer has there.”

Installers have been clamoring for dual path communicators for fire. The company paid close attention to its “voice of the customer program” in prioritizing its product development efforts, which Pecora says “Honeywell has not backed off on.”

The combined Honeywell Power Products and Fire-Lite booth this year will also feature three other brand new products: A new smaller 25-point addressable fire panel “that for the first time offers the price and convenience of a conventional panel and the feature set of an addressable panel,” Pecora said; the next generation of the “9200 panel,” which includes “a whole sequence of small changes that make it more capable, easier to install and answers many of the requests our customers have given us over the years,” Pecora said; and, a 12-Amp fire power supply that Pecora said, “breaks new ground ... with fully capacitated notification appliance circuits, NACs, ... that add trouble memory and variable end-of-line resistors that enable more easily accommodate retrofit jobs.”