Telguard kit upgrades 2G communicators facing ‘sunset’

Commercial units can be converted to 3G/4G while preserving UL certifications
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

ATLANTA, Ga.—Telguard, a provider of wireless alarm monitoring solutions, has rolled out a conversion kit that allows dealers to upgrade their commercial 2G cellular communicators to 3G/4G without voiding UL certifications at the installation site.

The TG-KIT is designed for all six 2G communicators (GSM and GPRS) in the TG-7 series from Telguard, a division of Telular Corp. The upgrade involves replacing the circuit board in a unit without having to remove its enclosure, antenna or power supply.

Shawn Welsh, vice president of marketing and business development for Telular, said the kit will save dealers time and money as they convert their equipment ahead of AT&T’s 2G “sunset.” The carrier announced in August that it would phase out its 2G networks by 2017, providing a deadline for companies to upgrade millions of communicators in the field.

That process will prove more complex on the commercial side than for residential installations, Welsh said, which led Telguard to develop the TG-KIT.

“When you get into commercial [work] that has to be UL-listed for the installation, not just every component has to be UL-listed, but the installation has to be approved by the AHJ,” he told Security Systems News. “If you pull the old unit off the wall and replace it with a new unit entirely … it basically forces the entire site to have to undergo a new certification, because you’ve effectively changed the installation by removing the canister and the conduit connection.”

By limiting the work to replacing the circuit board, “now you can walk away knowing you don’t have to call the AHJ to recertify the site, and you’re protected from the 2G sunset,” Welsh said.

The TG-KIT will cost less than replacing the entire unit, and activation and service procedures will be the same as they have been for Telguard’s 2G products, the company said in a news release.

The converted units are also eligible for Telguard’s Upgrade Incentive Program, which was launched in June at ESX in Nashville. Every time a Telguard 2G unit is upgraded with the TG-KIT, a dealer can receive up to $25.

Welsh estimated that 3 million communicators would be affected by AT&T’s 2G sunset, but said the number could rise to 4 million or 5 million when other carriers phase out 2G. He said Telguard is seeing a lot of transition activity involving commercial communicators, which dovetails with the launch of the TG-KIT.

“The commercial guys are probably more concerned because they do things on more of a global scale,” he said. “They’re going to make a decision that they need to replace all of these [communicators] in all of their commercial locations, period, so they go off and make these big project-level upgrades.”

The transition to 3G/4G for residential accounts will happen more gradually over the next four years, Welsh said.

“It’s not absolutely ‘You have to do it tonight or your business is dead,’” he said. “We want people to upgrade when they’re on service calls, the things that are already part of their routine contact with the customer.”