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Remote alarm system developed

18 June 2007

Securitas recently approached GE Security to design a new alarm system that could be deployed throughout Scandinavia and the rest of Europe, where access to wired communications is limited. As the system was required to include remote monitoring capabilities, GE Security chose Alpha Micro Components as their technology partner. Alpha Micro offers expertise in GSM and GPRS technologies.

Securitas wanted to offer their existing and future customers remote monitoring of their alarm systems, so they approached GE Security to develop a new system with this capability. As GE’s lead partner for this technology, they defined the specifications together for a system which would include a key module to allow the monitoring of buildings in remote areas that lacked fixed-line telephone connection. The system would be able to send alarm alerts and video alerts from remote sites, speeding up response times and reducing unnecessary responses to false alarms from more than 10,000 network installations, spread throughout Scandinavia and Europe.

For this, GE Security needed to develop a GSM and GPRS reporting module. They chose Alpha Micro to assist them with this aspect of the development due to Alpha’s experience in this field and the successful completion of past projects.

GE Security - with help from Alpha Micro - designed a communication module called the 'CS7002'. It is a multifunctional GPRS, GSM, SMS communication unit, designed to transmit information triggered by an alarm system to a mobile phone or an Alarm Reporting Centre (ARC), using a GSM wireless network. The module is primarily for residential and small office use, but can also be adapted for commercial applications.

The wireless capabilities are a key component in the alarm system. Alpha Micro, and their partner Sagem, assisted in overcoming several interoperability issues with the various network operators working in various different territories.

The alarm system is equipped with different sensors, including a camera capturing video clips of the event which triggered the alarm. These video feeds are processed by a special video unit (VVMIQ) and sent through the GPRS module to the monitoring centre, helping the operating team of the system to distinguish between a false alarm and a real emergency. This function can help to reduce the costs of the companies using such systems as they no longer need to attend false alarms in person. The time for recognition of a real emergency is also shortened and the police or other services can be alerted more quickly, whilst being provided with exact information about the situation at the property. The security team is able to recognise the nature of the alarm through the different categories; such as fire alarm, burglary alarm, medical alarm, and panic alarm.

Alarm reporting can be made using the audio channel in all supported protocols, or in SIA and Contact ID format, using TCP/IP connection over GPRS to a compatible Osborne Hoffman network receiver. Alarm reporting can also be done through the audio channel in combination with a CS535 voice module or via SMS to an SMS compatible monitoring station. The GSM can also be used to provide remote system operation and two-way audio with the CS534 module.

The CS7002 can report an SMS directly to an end-user’s mobile phone using the same text indication and language as displayed on the keypad. This is useful when end-users want to monitor their own installations or just need to be kept informed about the report sent to the central station. A central station can also work with the GSM network operator to receive the messages directly from the SMS server.

GE Security was looking to design (in-house) a new TCP/IP module for the alarm system, and through working with Alpha Micro, they were able to use Alpha’s own module as a base from which all necessary programming and testing could be carried out. This significantly reduced the time-to-market of the project, which is normally protracted. GE Security also benefited from Alpha Micro’s close partnership with SAGEM, using their secured laboratory testing facilities and engineers based in France, where they conducted a number of tests.

Wired communications are becoming harder to access in remote locations and new connections are often GSM. The CS7002 offers the voice reporting function for those people who no longer have a PSTN line, or for security backup reasons. The CS7002 can report via all reporting protocols available in the panel, such as SIA, CID, Fast Format and even pre-recorded messages from the CS535 voice module. The installation process is claimed to be a simple one; and by inserting a SIM card the network connection happens automatically.

GPRS allows the CS7002 to report all events over an IP network to an OH2000-NETREC IP receiver. The advantage of the technology is that it can remain continually connected to a network. The CS7002 will get an IP address from the DHCP pool available at each GSM cell and the network will then allow to exchange data whenever needed. A configured poll message can then monitor the connection between CS7002 and the receiver. The CS7002 fully supports remote up/downloading of all the panel settings by connecting to the IP address assigned to the CS7002.

The CS7002 GPRS, as part of the GE Security’s video verification module (VVMIQ), was nominated ‘Best New Product’ in the Detektor International Awards ceremony in Sweden.

Christos Papakyriacou, Managing Director of Alpha Micro commented: “Our work with GE Security was a challenge: to design a new multifunctional communicating device according to very specific criteria. As a result of close co-operation to utilise Alpha Micro’s expertise in GPRS design, the CS7002, as part of the video verification module (VVMIQ), has significantly reduced unnecessary costs and activity for security companies, allowing them to concentrate on real emergencies. Companies are increasingly realising the benefits that wireless technology can deliver across various industries.“

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