IP Communicator Cuts Costs For New York Retailer

Silent Knight by Honeywell recently introduced an IP communicator designed to enable the transmission of fire alarm system information to a central monitoring station via any standard IP line. By sharing a facility's existing IP line, the IP communicator eliminates the cost of two phone lines for fire alarm communications and monitoring. In the case of one New York retail establishment, this resulted in a savings of nearly $800 a year.

When landlord and shopping center developer Paul Bregman decided to implement the Silent Knight IP communicator at one of his Port Jefferson, N.Y., retail properties, he believed he was making the right choice for better safety and cost savings while keeping up with the times.

"Nearly everyone has an Internet connection today, and IP communication is the wave of the future," Bregman said. "It just makes sense to use an existing Internet connection for the fire alarm system and eliminate the cost of outdated phone lines."

At the Port Jefferson location, which houses a printing shop and a well-known cellular service provider, Bregman was able to use one of facility's existing high-speed Internet lines for fire alarm reporting. This saved $65 a month in telephone charges, which is expected to increase from year to year with rising telephone line costs.

Checkmate Security Systems, Inc., of West Babylon, N.Y., a Farenhyt fire alarm Engineered Systems Distributor, approached Bregman with the idea to incorporate this IP communications technology with the facility's existing Silent Knight IFP-50 addressable fire alarm control panel.

"With Silent Knight's IP Communicator, there's a faster communication of alarms and therefore a faster response time for improved safety," said Rich Denner, vice president of Checkmate Security Systems. "And the constant polling means that if the Internet line goes down, we know immediately."

With no panel reconfiguration required, the Silent Knight IP Communicator is designed to plug right into the fire alarm panel's existing telephone ports. The Communicator sends out a supervisory signal to the central station, testing the communications line as often as every 90 seconds-a big improvement over traditional phone lines.

Phone lines are typically polled or tested only once a day. Per code, two phone lines are required for fire alarm communications with one serving as the primary line and the other for back-up.

"More often than not, when one phone line is down, both are down. And when both phones are down, it could take as long as 24 hours before the problem is detected depending on when the previous test signal was sent," said Denner, whose firm also monitors Bregman's retail facility's fire alarm system.

"Using this IP Communicator, we'll reach our return on investment in less than a year," said Bregman, who passes on the savings to his tenants. "And it's so much faster than your typical [analog] dialer. We receive notice of troubles and events almost instantaneously, which improves the overall safety of our tenants and their customers."

"We really like the improved line supervision and safety of Silent Knight's IP Communicator so much that we've even installed it in a couple of fire houses," Denner said.

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