School District Saves on Alarm Monitoring

Garvey School District Chooses Students Over AT&T

 

As the Facilities Director for Garvey School District, Kevin Hobby is always looking for ways to improve the efficiency of his operations and reduce on-going costs. Kevin identified the amount of money that Garvey School District was spending on telephone lines and he and his team began to look for alternative communication solutions for their alarm monitoring needs. He investigated wireless technologies including cellular solutions and MeshWrx’s mesh radio technology solution. His number one criterion was reliability. In the event of an incident occurring at one of his campuses, he wanted to make sure that the communication system would perform. He compared the mesh technology solution to other wireless communication solutions and chose MeshWrx for the following reasons:

 

  1. Fastest response time– When an alarm is triggered, the MeshWrx signal reaches the call center in 3-5 seconds compared to cellular solutions that can take up to 45 seconds to reach the call center.
  2. Reliability– Mesh technology uses smart radio devices to communicate with each other. Each device acts as a repeater, transmitter, and receiver of radio signals. If one link is down, there are virtually thousands of communication paths still available. A cellular link can be brought down if a single tower fails.
  3. Prioritization– The MeshWrx system is solely dedicated to transmitting alarm signals between users and the call center. With a cellular solution, it’s impossible to prioritize the alarm signal amongst the other traffic on the cellular network.

 

In addition to system performance and reliability, Kevin and his team were also able to save Garvey School District a significant amount of money per year in monitoring costs, simply by upgrading to MeshWrx wireless alarm monitoring solution. MeshWrx’s no-cost installation made it easy for the district to implement the solution with no out-of-pocket expenses for equipment and installation.

 

Upon completion, Kevin Hobby shared – “Upgrading to the MeshWrx alarm monitoring solution saved us $22,620. These are valuable funds that we are investing back into the school district, our student’s needs and education annually. Also, because there were no out-of-pocket costs for equipment and installation, our district saved an additional $19,500! This was not only a great cost-saving solution for our district, but the system is more reliable than what we had in the past. I highly recommend MeshWrx monitoring!”

 

For more information on the MeshWrx Alarm Monitoring solution click here.

Did you know that there is a difference between a fire alarm system and fire alarm monitoring? There is a difference and it is important. A fire alarm system alerts everyone in the building that a fire has been detected and to evacuate the building. This usually involves local audible devices that go off when a fire is detected. However, that fire alarm system does NOT notify the fire department that there is a fire in the building. The alarms are  “localized” to that building so someone in the building must call 9-1-1 in order to dispatch the fire department. Where does that leave you if that 9-1-1 call is not made? Potentially with a burned down building and possible liabilities.

You’ll often hear stories of a fire breaking out and damaging the building beyond repair or completely destroying the building. In some of these cases, the buildings only have a fire alarm system and not a fire alarm monitoring service in place. Residents or tenants of buildings have no way of knowing if the building system is monitored and the call to 9-1-1 can potentially be delayed, or even worse – never made. In the case of a fire, a matter of minutes could make the difference between a building being destroyed or saved.

Fire alarm monitoring is an additional service that must be set-up for the building. Your fire alarm system has a communication module that allows you to send signals to a Call Center when a fire occurs. When the fire alarm system goes off, the fire monitoring panel will immediately send a signal to the Call Center (sometimes called a monitoring station). An operator will then dispatch the appropriate Fire Department to the building.

Cities and municipalities require that any occupied commercial and multi-tenant residential buildings must have both a fire alarm system and fire alarm monitoring by a ULC-listed alarm company. Older buildings may be grandfathered in, not requiring them to have fire alarm monitoring. However, for the protection of the building and its residents, it is best to have a secured fire alarm monitoring service set in place. This will help save lives and protect the building.

MeshWrx offers wireless fire alarm monitoring that is the fastest, most reliable, cost-effective solution in the market. To learn more, check out MeshWrx Alarm Monitoring.

It’s Time to Cut the Cord… and Rely on Meshwrx for Your Fire Alarm Monitoring Systems.

Hard-wired telephone landlines have been around for more than 100 years. In fact, they are referred to as “P.O.T.S.” lines which stands for Plain Old Telephone Service. As their name suggests, they are old and outdated. Originally designed for telephone communication, they do not meet today’s needs for our data-driven communication technologies.

 

Deteriorating Landline Infrastructure

Phones aren’t going away, but the landlines used to support them are. The voice communication technology being used today is significantly different from the early copper telephone lines implemented by Bell Technology Company. New technologies such as high-speed internet connections via cable, VOIP, mobile phone networks, and fiber-optic cabling are replacing the outdated, inefficient copper phone lines of the past.

 

When in it comes to phone service, more than half of all families—57.1 percent of the population—no longer have landline phones. Households that have both landlines and wireless phone service total 34.4 percent, and only 5.3 percent of households have only landline phone service1.

 

As fewer people rely on landlines, the existing providers do not have the income from subscribers to support and maintain the existing infrastructure. The FCC has approved both AT&T and Verizon to end landline phone maintenance service altogether. In a 2013 letter to shareholders, AT&T announced its efforts to phase out landline phone service2. At that point, it was estimated that the total expenditure by phone companies to maintain lines was $13.5 billion3 per year.

 

Landline service deregulation has been spreading. In 2017, pending the FCC’s approval, Illinois legislators voted to allow AT&T to disconnect the state’s 1.2 million landline customers, but Illinois is not the only state where deregulation is happening. All across the country legislators “have voted to allow AT&T to end landline service in order to invest more in wireless or internet-based phone networks,” according to CBS News4.

 

All of these changes are taking place in the telephone industry yet when it comes to fire alarm monitoring, more than 90% of all fire alarm monitoring systems still rely on these outdated phone lines to communicate with call centers. Building Owners and Property Managers are spending too much on outdated, expensive and unreliable technologies. It’s only a matter of time before all building owners will be forced to find an alternative solution.

 

What is the Alternative?

Mesh Radio Technology is a great alternative to replace these outdated phone lines on existing fire alarm monitoring systems. Mesh Radio Technology is not a new technology. Originally developed for the military, mesh technology has been used in fire alarm monitoring systems for more than 30 years. It’s the only technology specifically designed for Fire & Life Safety systems and has proven to be a better and more reliable service. It is also extremely cost-efficient.

 

Consumer adoption to new technologies is rapidly growing leaving landlines as a thing of the past and MeshWrx is here to help you cut the cords.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Be proactive and upgrade to MeshWrx today for your fire alarm monitoring systems.

This month’s MeshWrx client spotlight features Kidder Mathews, the largest independent commercial real estate firm on the West Coast. Kidder Mathews is a 50-year-old firm with 22 office locations across the west. They provide a comprehensive service offering that includes brokerage, property management, valuation advisory and more. Their market expertise is broad and includes; healthcare, industrial, life science/technology, retail, office, multifamily, and religious and educational facilities.

Kidder Mathews Project Spotlight

We spoke with Angela Gomez-Jones (RPA), a senior vice president at Kidder Mathews in their property management division about her decision to migrate customers to MeshWrx. Angela has been instrumental in driving her team to update existing fire alarm monitoring solutions to MeshWrx.

 

Q: Why Do Clients Choose Kidder Mathews as Their Property Management Firm?

A: Kidder Mathews is the largest independent real estate firm in the West. As an independent firm, we are driven to provide value for our clients. We know that every client has unique investment and ownership objectives and it’s up to us to help them meet those objectives. Our ability to attract and retain clients is directly related to the value we bring. The market for Property Management services is competitive and we set ourselves apart by exceeding our client’s expectations

 

Q: Why Did You Start Looking for an Alternative Alarm Monitoring Solution?

A: For the past few years, we have become increasingly aware of the fact that traditional phone lines are becoming obsolete. We know that within the next year or so, companies like AT&T will no longer be maintaining this technology. Recently, we have begun to experience more trouble calls related to phone lines at our properties. It’s becoming increasingly clear to us that this problem is only going to get worse.

 

Q: Why Now? What Were the Driving Factors That Led You to Address This Issue?

A: Our Property Managers are busy people. Every day they address a wide variety of issues that can occur at one of their properties. As a Senior VP, I want to make sure that my team is focused on delivering the best possible service to our owners. We’ve seen a significant increase in trouble calls associated with faulty phone lines connected to our fire alarm panels. As an integral part of the life safety systems at our properties, addressing these trouble calls is a high-priority for my team. I realized there were spending too much time scheduling service calls and trying to get the phone companies to resolve the problem and I didn’t want this to impact their ability to focus on other issues at the properties.

 

Q: What Were the Key Criteria That Led You to Choose MeshWrx for Fire Alarm Monitoring Solution?

A: I wanted a long-term solution that would meet the following criteria:

  • Increased Reliability — Kidder Mathew’s Property Managers were spending too much time responding to trouble calls and dealing with nuisance issues related to the unreliability of the phone lines. I wanted a solution that was reliable and stable and would allow them to focus on more important issues related to managing their client’s properties.
  • Improved Performance — If we are going to implement a new technology, I expect it to out-perform the existing system. I wanted a system that is better than what we have.
  • Cost Savings — “An investment in new technology should yield cost-savings and provide an increase in value for our clients. Any investment in new technology should generate a significant ROI to our property owners.”

 

Q: What Made You Believe MeshWrx’s Solution Would Align With Your Core Values?

A: I have been in the property management business for years and thought I knew all of the solutions available in the marketplace. I was approached by Brandon Carlton, a MeshWrx representative, who introduced me to MeshWrx and their mesh technology solution. I learned that Mesh technology is “smart radio” technology that was originally designed for military applications and is still used by first-responders today. The “smart radio” technology is faster and more reliable than other solutions available in the marketplace

 

Q: How Has the Decision to Implement the MeshWrx Solution Impacted Your Clients?

A: MeshWrx proposed that Kidder Mathews begin converting their clients existing fire alarm monitoring systems that rely on phone lines to their mesh radio system. MeshWrx installs their intelligent radio device to the customer’s existing fire panel which eliminates the need for expensive and unreliable phone lines.

 

“Eliminating the phone lines saves our clients more than $1500 each year from what they were paying. The MeshWrx solution included the mesh radio connection and monthly alarm monitoring for the low price of only $80 per month. MeshWrx also installed their system at no cost making it easy to switch with no out-of-pocket expenses. Compared to other solutions we looked at, MeshWrx saved our property owners thousands of dollars. It’s not often that we can bring a new technology that is more reliable, performs better and with no out-of-pocket expenses to our customers!”

 

For more information on the MeshWrx solution, check out our Technology here.

 

In our previous blog post (Mesh vs. Cellular – Obsolescence), we identified a problem that building owners and their managers are facing –the outdated, inefficient and unreliable phone lines required for monitoring fire and life safety systems.  We introduced the choices available in the market today –Mesh Radio vs Cellular Technology.  In this blog post, we continue the comparison and focus on the issue of Total Cost of Ownership.

 

Total Cost of Ownership for MeshWrx Solution

The MeshWrx solution is built to do one thing – alarm monitoring communication.  Alarm signals transmit data that communicates information in a very simple format.  This format uses very little bandwidth to transmit these signals.  As a result, the technology used to communicate is very stable and there is no need to update the technology to take on additional functionality.

 

In addition, one of the unique aspects of using a wireless mesh network for alarm transmission is that in doing so the user becomes part of the network service provider.  Each device on the network acts as a receiver, transmitter and router of signals.  Unlike other networks, a mesh network’s performance improves as more users are added to the network.  The cooperative nature of the network gives participants more control over the network, and more importantly, it lowers their cost.

 

A major benefit of using wireless mesh for alarm communication is that there are no requirements for future technology upgrades so it dramatically lowers the total cost of ownership (TCO).

 

Total Cost of Ownership for Cellular Solutions

Cellular solutions compete for space on the cellular network.  The cellular network is always evolving and expanding to accommodate more traffic and data.  The network is based on the “G” platform which is updated every 2-3 years.  With each evolution, the existing technology becomes outdated and it’s only a matter of time before users are required to upgrade to a current technology.  Investing in a cellular solution requires equipment upgrades every few years just to maintain existing functionality on the network.  There is no added benefit to the subscriber other than basic connectivity.

 

For more info, watch our video (Why Meshwrx) or give us a call at 855-MESHWX or contact us here

Cut the Cords….to Your Fire Alarm Monitoring.

In our previous blog post (Cellular vs Mesh – performance), MeshWrx identified a problem that building owners and their managers are facing –the outdated, inefficient and unreliable phone lines required for Fire Alarm monitoring systems. We introduced the choices available in the market today – Mesh Radio Technology vs. cellular. In this blog post, we continue the comparison and focus on the issue of obsolescence.

Mesh Vs Cellular Obsolescence

Obsolescence of Cellular

The cellular platform is an evolving, changing technology. In just over 20 years, cellular technology has evolved from analog to digital to 2G, 3G, 4G and now 5G. With each technological leap, customers are expected to invest in the latest technology, even if they don’t need it.

With each evolution of technology, eventually, users will be forced to upgrade to the new version in order to maintain their service. This requires subscribers to pay for new equipment and the cost of installation. However, alarm signals don’t change. The signals transmitted are small data packets that don’t benefit from an improvement in technology. You are just paying to access the technology – not take advantage of it.

 

Obsolescence of Mesh Network

Mesh technology is designed to do one thing and only one thing – transmit alarm signals from fire or security panels to a central station. Mesh technology does not attempt to provide expansive data services such as phone calls, emails, videos, games, etc…

Because of this focus, there is no need to expand or upgrade the technology to provide improved performance. Once you install the MeshWrx solution, you will not be required to upgrade this technology in the future. Set it and forget it. You can focus on more complex issues knowing that your alarm monitoring solution is working – and will work in the future.

For more info, watch our video, Why MeshWrx, and give us a call at 855-MESHWX or contact us here

Cut the Cords….to your fire alarm monitoring.

Performance of Radio Mesh vs Cellular

We began this series a few weeks ago to compare alternative solutions for upgrading your alarm monitoring systems from traditional phone lines to wireless technologies. Most people are familiar with cellular as a wireless alternative and may assume that this is the logical next step when upgrading your alarm monitoring system.

There is another alternative—mesh technology which fewer people know much about. Over the past several weeks we have been comparing the two technologies focusing on different features to consider when upgrading your alarm system. You can reference past articles here:
Part 1—Reliability
Part 2—Reliability (Continued)

In this month’s article, we compare on the topic of Performance.

Performance of Cellular Systems

The Cellular device “dials” in to establish a connection so that it can transmit data on the network. When it comes to speed, Cellular dial times average 45 seconds to establish the connection to the network, which is relatively slow for emergency communications. Once the connection is established, the data is prioritized and packaged on the network. In addition, since they use public networks in which public safety communications must share the available bandwidth with other types of traffic (voice, data, video, etc.) cellular often suffers from network congestion problems during times of heavy usage (e.g. during a natural disaster). This could adversely impact response times when fast replies are needed most.

Performance of Mesh Systems

In contrast, wireless mesh networks are always on, so there is no dialing required to establish a connection. Network traversal times are on the order of 1 to 3 seconds. Each device is actively communicating with other devices on the network, eliminating the need to connect before sending a signal. In addition, wireless mesh networks are dedicated solely for the purpose of transmitting alarm data. There is no competition for signal strength from competing data sources like those impacting cellular platforms.

Keep in mind that a fire can double in size every 30 seconds if left unattended. When seconds count, choose MeshWrx solutions for maximum performance.

In our previous blog post, Mesh Network Vs. Cellular Alarm Monitoring, we identified a problem that building owners and their managers are facing—the outdated, inefficient and unreliable phone lines required for their monitoring fire and life safety systems. We introduced the choices available in the market today—Cellular vs Mesh Radio Technology. In this blog post, we continue the comparison and focus on the issue of system reliability. We begin with a brief overview of how each communication system works.

Reliability of Cellular

When it comes to system reliability and performance, cellular systems suffer from a couple of significant issues. The first issue is that the cellular system is used for a variety of different activities. An increase in traffic can cause the cellular system to slow down or fail. We have all experienced the problem of a dropped call. When this happens, there is no way for alarm signals to be prioritized above any other type of signal. If the system is busy, your alarm signal may be the call that is dropped.

Another significant issue with cellular systems is the single point of failure. In a cellular system, if any part of the communication chain (cellular base station, backhaul link, gateway, or internet service provider) goes down, the communication link is broken and there is no workaround.

Reliability of Mesh Network

At MeshWrx, our network is designed to do one thing and one thing only—transmit alarm signals. Our mesh network does not transmit any data but alarm signals. The data packets transmitted on this network are small and there is no chance that the network will be too busy or crash due to overuse.

Unlike cellular, there is no single point of failure on a mesh network. As new devices are added, the network gets stronger and system performance and reliability increase. If a single point of communication fails, the system simply reroutes the signal around the downed unit.

Don’t you want the most reliable system when you do need it? If that’s the case, then MeshWrx has the solution for you. For more info, watch our video and give us a call at 855-MESHWX or contact us here

How the Cellular System Works

Cellular/IP uses local cellular service to relay the fire alarm signal wirelessly from the building to the nearest cellular tower. From there the signal is relayed to an internet gateway either via point-to-point microwave or over fiber optic cable. Once on the internet, the signal gets routed to the central monitoring station via IP protocol.

Radio Mesh vs Cell Alarm Monitoring

How Mesh Network System Works

In wireless mesh networks, a collection of wireless routers is used to provide network access to wireless clients deployed in commercial buildings. Multiple mesh routers within the network serve as gateways to the central monitoring station.

Mesh networks work similarly to the way the internet works, in which internet routers use multiple hops to send information from one point to another. The only difference with mesh networks is that the signals are routed wirelessly, rather than over fiber optic cables.

Just like internet routers, wireless mesh routers have multiple paths to choose from to get the information to the end destination. They dynamically adapt to changing environments and essentially self-heal in case of a node or link failure. If one mesh router becomes obstructed or otherwise unavailable, traffic is automatically redirected via an alternative path.

Reliability of Cellular

When it comes to system reliability, cellular/IP suffers from one vulnerability: a single point of failure. In the cellular/IP system, if any part of the communication chain (cellular base station, backhaul link, gateway or internet service provider) goes down, the communication link is broken and there is no workaround.

It is not at all uncommon for a backhoe to accidentally cut a buried fiber cable.

Reliability of Mesh Network

When it comes to reliability, wireless mesh networks have a benefit that unmatched by either of the other communications technologies: path redundancy plus gateway redundancy.

With path redundancy, wireless mesh networks can survive a mesh router going down. The system simply reroutes the signal around the downed unit. The real unmatched benefit of wireless mesh networks though is gateway redundancy. Within the mesh network, there are multiple gateways connected to the central monitoring station. In the event that one of the gateways goes down, the system reroutes the signal to another gateway.

There is no single point of failure anywhere in a wireless mesh network.

This month’s MeshWrx client spotlight features the RiverRock Real Estate Group, a property management firm with multiple offices in California and Arizona. The following is a summary of recent discussions with RiverRock leaders.

River Rock Alarm Monitoring Case Study

 

Q: What was the vision behind starting RiverRock RealEstate Group?

A: John Combs founded RiverRock Real Estate Group in 2003 based on the opportunity to provide superior property management services at a competitive value. Inspired by new ideas in service, technology, training, and pricing, John envisioned that his firm would become an indispensable asset to every client it serves.

 

Q: What has made RiverRock indispensable to its clients?

A: The client-centric approach to property and asset management, focused on providing superior, hands-on management and specialized accounting services has propelled the growth of the firm. Today, RiverRock manages more than 29 million square feet of office, retail and industrial properties throughout California and Arizona.

 

Q: When did you start looking for an alternative alarm monitoring solution?

A: RiverRock’s attention to detail led them to recognize a disturbing trend in the management of their properties – a significant increase in trouble calls related to alarm monitoring systems in their buildings. Upon further investigation, they realized that the overwhelming cause of these trouble calls are related to the dedicated phone lines required for fire alarm monitoring systems.

Their research indicated that as people move away from traditional phone lines (POTS) to other forms of communications, the existing phone infrastructure is beginning to collapse. Juliet Hover, Senior Property Manager at RiverRock shared, “We took it for granted that the phone system would always work.” Upon further research, she learned that companies such as AT&T and Verizon, that maintain the POTS infrastructure, have petitioned the Federal Government to get out of the POTS line maintenance responsibility. It was clear that phone line reliability was only going to get worse and a new solution was needed.

 

Q: When looking for a new alarm monitoring solution what values had to be at the forefront?

A: As a core business practice, RiverRock seeks out technological solutions that can add value for their clients. The team focused on alternative solutions that would provide the following:

  • Increased Reliability – RiverRock’s Property Managers were spending too much time responding to trouble calls and dealing with nuisance issues related to the unreliability of the phone lines. They wanted a solution that was reliable and stable and would allow them to focus on more important issues related to managing their client’s properties.
  • Improved Performance – For years, fire alarm monitoring systems were both reliable and dependable. Hover shared, “We wanted another system that would meet or exceed this standard of dependability and performance.”
  • Cost Savings – According to Hover, “An investment in new technology should yield cost-savings and provide an increase in value for our clients. Any investment in new technology should generate a significant ROI to our property owners.”

 

Q: When did you first hear of MeshWrx?

A: RiverRock’s research led them to MeshWrx, an alarm monitoring company that provides fire alarm monitoring systems supported by radio mesh technology.

 

Q: What made you believe MeshWrx would align with your core values?

A: Mesh technology is “smart radio” technology that was originally designed for military applications. Traditional radio communication systems relied on a primary sender (broadcast) sending a signal to multiple receivers. With mesh technology, every radio is intelligent, and can both send and receive signals. The “smart radio” technology allows devices to find the most direct route to their receiver.

Mesh technology is the preferred technology used by first-responders and has been in use for alarm monitoring systems for decades. However, only recently has it grown in popularity because the once reliable phone system is deteriorating.

 

Q: Since converting to MeshWrx, what has MeshWrx helped you achieve?

A: MeshWrx proposed that RiverRock begin converting their existing fire alarm monitoring systems that rely on phone lines to their mesh radio system. MeshWrx installs their intelligent radio device to the customer’s fire panel which eliminates the need for expensive and unreliable phone lines.

“Eliminating the phone lines saves our clients on average $150 per month from what they were paying. The MeshWrx solution included the mesh radio connection and monthly alarm monitoring for the low price of only $80 per month. MeshWrx also installed their system at no cost making it easy to switch with no out-of-pocket expenses. Compared to other solutions we looked at, MeshWrx saved our property owners thousands of dollars. It’s not often that we can bring a new technology that is more reliable, performs better and with no out-of-pocket expenses to our customers!” said Hover.