UL certifies first cloud-based automation platform, SBN Cloud

IBS: Product can dramatically reduce UL certification cost
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

DALLAS—Innovative Business Software, a provider of central station software, says its SBN Cloud could reduce the amount of infrastructure needed for a UL-listed central station, cutting costs of building a new monitoring center by up to 75 percent.

SBN Cloud became UL- listed on Jan. 15. This is the first cloud-based monitoring software certification of its kind, said UL engineering manager Steve Schmit.

“By putting automation and receivers in the cloud [a central station could consist of] three laptops, some battery power and a wireless router—and [it] could seek UL certification,” Jens Kolind, IBS VP, told Security Systems News.

SBN Cloud is a simpler way to offer IBS’ current SBN—Security Business Net—software to its customers, Kolind explained. “It’s the same as automation works today, the only difference is that we control servers for you rather than you having to manage them.”

Andrew Conrad, Bay Alarm VP of information systems told SSN that he thinks this service and its UL listing is significant in that it “is a change from the traditional implementations. … It’ll be interesting to see how it evolves.” Bay Alarm uses IBS’ current SBN software.

IBS decided to wait until the UL certification to offer it as a product. Kolind expects to start adding customers in the next month.

What are the capabilities for the SBN Cloud? “We have achieved the highest rating that UL gives; we are rated for greater than 100,000 accounts,” Kolind said. However, the number of accounts is  “really unlimited from our perspective,” he said.

The process of designing this service began in March 2014, according to Kolind, with the service completed in October.

“It’s basically not that much different from the way a typical UL service or product certification product would go,” UL’s Schmit said.

Schmit said the previous UL standard  “was written was from the perspective of a traditional central station operating model.” The standard was not applicable to the SBN Cloud product, or cloud products in general, he said.

This led UL to publish a new document, UL 827a, outlining requirements for hosted central station service providers.

“The concept of cloud-hosted and, possibly as importantly, cloud-hosted virtualized infrastructure for a UL central station is a pretty progressive step forward for UL,” Conrad said, he added that SBN Cloud’s certification will give more options to the industry.

Schmit said that he expects that other cloud-based services will seek this UL listing in the future.

IBS has been in business since 1981. Ten North American monitoring companies use IBS’ current SBN software, Kolind said.