February 2007 Online Tech Talk Q & A

Q: I heard a rumor the other day that Daylight Saving Time will be different this year. Is this true? Why? Will it affect my business?

A: Yes. This year Daylight Saving Time (DST) will change. This action is a result of Congress passing the Energy Act of 2005. Though this did not get as much fanfare as the Y2K issue it will affect various areas of your business and your customer’s business as well. The new dates are for DST to start March 11 and November 4, 2007. If you have not taken an action yet, you have only a little time to act. The alarm dealer and owner should be sensitive to any devices with time-based controls or activities. The most obvious is your computer-based systems. At the bare minimum you can manually change the dates and set your clock one hour forward March 11, then set it back in Fall. If you want to correct Microsoft’s automatic DST settings, patches can be found at the Microsoft Web site. Many MS Windows software-based systems adjust their DST settings in accordance with the operating system’s PC clock. However, some field access control devices, DVRs and alarm signal receivers have their own internal DST settings which might require either a firmware download and update, or at worst a chip replacement and upgrade. This should include any systems that deal with time-related issues such as schedules, reports, etc.

 

Q: I have a customer that is switching to VoIP service. However, I have convinced him to keep his landline for the alarm panel. The problem is that the customer wants to have phone calls that come in on the old line to be forwarded to his new VoIP number. Will this cause any problem with the alarm reporting and up/downloading to the alarm panel?

A: Good question. I can offer some suggestions, however you need to check them with both the phone company and panel manufacturer before implementing. First, the phone company will need to have what is called ‘delayed’ forwarding so calls get forwarded after so many rings to the VoIP phone number. Also, you need have a panel that has the programming option of what used to be called the telephone answering or fax machine option. When optioned, you call the panel phone line, let it ring for a couple of rings (less than the forwarding delay), then hang up. Immediately call back and the panel will know to answer on the first ring, thereby beating out the delayed call forwarding.

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