May 7, 2008 -- Davidson College, an independent liberal arts college in Davidson, NC, selected an IP security platform from Bosch Security Systems for an upgrade of the 450-acre campus's building security installation. Looking for a way to reduce recurring operating costs for the system, the Davidson IT staff employed systems integration partner CRS Building Automation Systems to engineer a way to shift the college's primary monitoring infrastructure to its campus fiber network. CRS recommended the installation of IP communications modules from Bosch.
"The Bosch modules allow the college to continue to use their existing fire and intrusion control panels, while taking advantage of the cost savings and other benefits achieved with communications to the central monitoring station via an Internet connection," comments Phillip Cashion, Jr., president of CRS.
More than 70 fire alarm systems from a variety of manufacturers protect the residence hall, classroom and administrative buildings throughout campus. All of these systems now communicate to the central monitoring station using the Bosch Conettix C900V2 Dialer Capture Ethernet modules, which work with the college's Bosch D6412 control panels as well as with installed panels from other manufacturers. The modules use IP as the primary communication method to the central station. If the network fails, phone lines connecting the panels to the college's private branch exchange (PBX) switch serve as the back-up.
Previously, two phone lines connected each panel to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) for communications, requiring 140 dedicated phone lines to communicate with a central monitoring station. By eliminating the direct connections to the PSTN for each panel, the system's operations costs have reduced significantly, according to Davidson's IT department. "We have already experienced a 50 percent cost savings now, and expect that number to increase to 75 percent in the near future," says Brent Babb, project manager at Davidson College.
On top of the cost savings, Bosch says the college is also benefiting from more detailed alarm information being transmitted from its security control panels to the central station. The central station can now tell the local authorities the exact location in a building where motion was detected or windows or doors were forced open by an unauthorized individual. This improvement is achieved through the company's Conettix DX4020 network interface modules connected to the its G Series control panels that secure the campus administrative buildings.
Overall, IP communications between the control panels and the receiver offer the college greater security, says Bosch, as the control panels regularly send supervisory messages to the receiver at the central station to ensure the system is functioning properly. If the control panel does not receive an acknowledgement message, the central station operator is alerted. IP communications are also received faster by the central station than those previously transmitted via a phone line, which in turn, improves response time to an alarm.
In addition, Davidson staff says the upgrade has helped the college reduce the amount of time required to fix any issues impacting the system. "Previously, we had to wait for service from the phone company. Now, the IT staff is automatically alerted if there is a network or phone line problem, and we can dispatch a staff member to fix the issue at any hour of the day," explains Babb.