Modern System Concepts likes communicator

IP and cellular communications growing in popularity
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

LAS VEGAS—Phone lines were causing problems on a project that Modern System Concepts undertook to upgrade a utility provider’s fire systems, said Mark Popkowski, company owner and president.
That’s why Popkowski said Modern, based in Katy, Texas, is turning to Fire-Lite’s IPGSM-DP fire alarm communicator as a solution.

The communicator offers a choice of either IP or GSM cellular as the main pathway for reporting fire alarm signals to a central monitoring station, allowing customers to get rid of their telephone lines.

“We’re going to be putting them toward that [the communicator] in the near future,” Popkowski told Security Systems News.

Fire-Lite by Honeywell actually introduced the communicator about four years ago. But Beth Welch, public relations manager for Honeywell Fire Systems, told SSN that interest in the IPGSM has recently taken off.

“We’re just now seeing the real, true adoption of this. It’s a landslide,” Welch said at the ISC West show, held here in March. “Dealers are using this to get their foot in the door with new accounts.”

On the first day of the show, a steady stream of people visited the Fire-Lite booth to learn more about the communicator.

The product saves end users money by letting them get rid of their telephone lines, and dealers can use that fact as a selling point to generate more business for themselves, a company spokesman told them.

Welch said there are a variety of reasons why the product has recently taken off. One reason is that AHJs (authorities having jurisdiction) are seeing how well it works and are now endorsing it, she said.

Popkowski, who also spoke to SSN at the show, described the utility provider project where his 16-employee company installed Fire-Lite products.

“The systems were pretty antiquated in there, so we made all the systems addressable,” he said.

However, he said, the utility does its own monitoring and “when they upgraded their communication structure [phone lines], it caused many issues with monitoring.”

Now, Popkowski said, “within the next year or so, Modern will be converting everything to an IP solution along with upgrading their current equipment. Obviously, IP and cellular communications are becoming a more reliable means for transmitting data and [that’s] a trend we are seeing.”