Making the Move to VoIP Technology

The town of Oyster Bay, part of the New York metropolitan area, is the only town in Nassau County that extends from the North Shore to the South Shore of Long Island. The area was also home to Theodore Roosevelt, who spent summers at his residence, Sagamore Hill, in the village of Cove Neck, N.Y.

In recent years, the township has proactively installed voice over IP (VoIP) emergency phones throughout the town’s recreational areas, which include more than 2,000 acres of parks, beaches, golf courses, marinas, garages, community centers, train stations, municipal buildings and storage yards. The town supervisor, John Venditto, has made safety and security a priority in the town of Oyster Bay. It was no surprise that the township put out a mandate requiring that all new emergency phones with network capabilities comply with VoIP standards.

“Our recreational facilities are very busy with thousands of people using them daily,” explains Justin McCaffrey, commissioner of the Department of Public Safety (DPS) for the town of Oyster Bay. “We feel that the call boxes are an efficient, quick way to summon assistance. We also feel the call boxes provide a reassuring comfort level and act as a deterrent of crime.”

The town had been using Talk-A-Phone analog emergency phones throughout the city prior to going to IP. They chose Talk-A-Phone because of the robustness and durability of the equipment. The DPS staff also found it easy to use and operate.

When the mandate came and the infrastructure was ready to support the VoIP technology, it was time to upgrade the emergency communications equipment. As an added benefit, the city was now able to use Talk-A-Phone’s mass notification solution with VoIP phones.

The township approved building a state-of-the-art parking facility, which was to include the latest technological advancements in emergency communications as well as mass notification systems as part of the upgrade.

Beginning the Installation

Loss Prevention and Communications Systems Inc. (LPC Inc.) was commissioned to design a VoIP emergency phone solution for the Hicksville parking facility. Based in Amityville, N.Y., the company specializes in the design, installation, service and maintenance of security, fire alarm and communications systems.

LPC was also tasked with integrating Talk-A-Phone’s WEBS Contact mass notification platform. With over two years of reliable service, LPC has developed a strong partnership with the town of Oyster Bay. LPC proposed Talk-A-Phone’s VoIP-500 series emergency phones as they seamlessly operate over a shared digital infrastructure with other IP technologies.

“The original design was done by a consulting engineer,” LPC Vice President William Eggers says. “However, this did not address all the concerns of implementing a unified solution for emergency phones, card access and CCTV. We took the lead on the project and coordinated all IP infrastructure with the town’s IT department, while other specialists installed card access and CCTV.”

LPC took the project planning seriously, as running multiple vendors on a shared IP network requires careful consideration. Distance limitations, power requirements and environmental concerns all had to be addressed. A unified approach quickly proved to be the most technologically advanced and cost-efficient solution for the town.

The WEBS Contact mass notification platform and VoIP emergency phones were configured to be part of a unified mass notification system. The WEBS Contactserver, as well as the phone system and gateways, all reside at the Department of Public Works, which is located miles away from the site and is connected though a fiber network.

Installation of VoIP emergency phones and the WEBS Contact mass notification platform were not new to LPC. Talk-A-Phone has had a certification course in VoIP telephony and mass notification systems since the beginning of 2010. The certification course offers all participants hands-on experience settings up VoIP emergency phones and the WEBS Contact mass notification platform.

“The training definitely helped our technicians during the installation,” says Eggers about his company’s decision to take part in the certification program. “We especially appreciated the hands-on approach. There are a lot of companies out there who like to conduct online training, but I like to have the product in my hands. This way if something doesn’t work, the trainer is there to show me exactly what I did wrong.”

LPC’s technicians successfully completed the one-day certification course, earning LPC the status of Talk-A-Phone Certified Partner, a group exclusively authorized to install the company’s mass notification system.

With certification under their belt, LPC took the lead in the town of Oyster Bay project. The VoIP emergency phones were first installed on a test network with other vendors’ products. Because of the critical nature of emergency calls, quality of service was implemented to prioritize emergency communications between the township’s phone system, gateways, and the emergency phones.

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