Wireless Applications Abound
It is interesting, and at times frustrating, as I have observed the gradual evolution of wireless security products during the past several decades. After much patience I am now finally seeing wireless security devices and sensors designed and configured the way many had envisioned some time ago. The near future of wireless security is exciting.
I can remember as an alarm dealer in the 1970s and 1980s having to design and customize wireless alarm systems from basic 27-300MHz transmitters and receivers with products from manufacturers like Linear. Even back then this offered me a unique sales opportunity to provide worrisome customers with a good basic monitored wireless alarm system — not to be scheduled for later installation but installed at the time of the sale.
That gave the customer some basic, temporary security, while a more complete system could be installed later; and the peace of mind that their monitored security started tonight, not next week. It was a great closing opportunity for any alarm salesperson and a practice that can still be used, with even better results due to today’s compact RF/GSM wireless repeater systems.
Other wireless systems evolved with products from companies like ITI, GE (Sentrol), Transcience and Honeywell. The equipment became more reliable with features like polling supervision, spread spectrum and longer-life lithium batteries. Sensor device footprints became smaller and higher frequencies (900MHz) made transmission more reliable.
Today there are many new and exciting wireless options that afford alarm dealers profitable and timely opportunities. Even application areas such as fire and life safety have approved the use of highly reliable wireless smoke detectors. Can you believe it, a wireless monitoring system for fire extinguishers? Let’s take a closer peek.
Is the 2-Hour Install Finally Here?
The challenge of installing a professional alarm system in two hours or less has been the Holy Grail of the installation business. Through the years many companies from within and outside the industry have searched for a way to solve this puzzle. Years ago, an alarm company called Rollins, a division of a pest control company, was rumored to have deployed its pest control service staff to install and service wireless alarms since they were in the field anyway. Just another type of pest I guess.
Today, standalone wireless systems such as Elk Products’ Elk Guard can now be installed with sensors in only a couple of hours. This particular system has a unique way of securing the ultra-low power standalone control, which can run for several months off a single charge, into the corner of an area making it very difficult to attack. What makes the system very versatile is the use of an internal GSM cellular device for fast wireless alarm reporting. According to Elk, the company is is investigating a way to add a self-contained solar charger. Stay tuned.
As we push for virtually instant alarm installations, a key element is making sure to spend a reasonable amount of time to train the customer on how the system works and how to use it reliably. I would always allow a one-hour minimum for customer training and orientation.
4 Suppliers Offer Super Solutions
Wireless manufacturing specialist Inovonics has some interesting application papers to view at its Web site. I like the way its transmitters (EN1210EOL) allow for a supervised alarm loop with an end-of-line (EOL) resistor to be attached. One application suggests the use of wireless supervised alarm loops to be encased in bollards used to protect remote ATM machines from attack. Another application uses a remote wireless personal device to allow police to timely open the door of their vehicle and release police dogs for assistance at the scene of a crime.
Visonic Ltd. has some interesting applications as well that caught my attention. One is its MCS-700 wireless siren, which allows for an external audible/strobe alarm device that is wireless. Another device is the SPD-1000, a low-profile, very low battery, wireless magnetic displacement sensor that can be used to protect art pieces and other valuable items from theft.
Honeywell has an interesting new wireless “assets protection” sensor (5870API) that uses the motion-sensing technology of the “MEMS accelerometer chip.” This small wireless device can be placed on or inside a valuable item. It will then detect any movement of the device. This allows valuables to be placed on a 24-hour alarm loop.
Linear has a wireless application kit that can help with customers who want monitored carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. The DX-COKIT offers dealers a wireless way to increase recurring monthly revenue (RMR) and provides flexibility and simplicity for placing CO detectors without extensive wiring.
Uses Extend to Pendants and Mats
Another popular wireless application is the personal emergency response system (PERS) market. The growing elderly demographic has made these systems a natural add-on for monitoring the daily activity of seniors. Some systems include motion sensors in key areas of the house such as the bathroom. An exception reporting configuration is programmed into the receivers. If no activity is detected within a given time period, an alarm is sent to the central station.
The leading PERS application is pendant transmitters so a person that has fallen can immediately notify the central station. It is important to have very reliable supervision on these devices, and methods for automated testing of the system and device batteries.
Another interesting wireless device and application comes from a long established company, United Security Products (USP). Known for years as a supplier of pressure mats, USP now has a line of mats specifically designed to be used with popular wireless alarm transmitters.
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