Dedicated Service

Software helps nail school district contract win

Mid State Fire & Systems, a fire and life safety system installer and service provider in Ocala, Fla., is dedicated to providing quality service to customers at a competitive price. Known for their professionalism and expertise, Mid State works closely with its largescale customers to ensure that all fire and life safety systems meet code and operate correctly in the event of an emergency.

Most recently, the company deployed eVance Services software from Honeywell Fire Safety to streamline inspection and service management operations, and deliver more detailed, accurate and cost-effective services to customers across north central Florida.

The Software Advantage

eVance Services is a software offering that automates inspection and service management operations for engineered systems distributors of Honeywell Fire Safety systems. Before becoming “eVance-experts,” Mid State employed the same paper-based processes that most fire alarm service providers use to test systems, taking notes onsite and manually inputting data into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to create reports.

“We met code and performed solid testing, but it was time-consuming and sometimes ineffective,” said Monte Guerrette, vice president of Mid State Fire & Systems.

When eVance Services became available earlier this year, the company was one of the first to adopt. “Now, our key competitive advantage is the eVance Services software, which automates and centralizes the inspection management process and offers more features to boost our inspection team’s accuracy and productivity.”

Winning a Contract

Using eVance Services, Mid State recently won a new account, the Marion County Public Schools in Ocala, Fla., which had been using different software for the past 11 years. “At the time, their current software was the only inspection reporting tool on the market,” said Jim Orrell, operations manager at Mid State Fire & Systems.

Because the eVance Services barcode scanners can read nearly all barcode formats, Mid State was able to provide a new and viable option for the school board.

Mid State handles fire alarm testing in all 63 facilities and 48 schools across the district and has customized the software to manage the inspection of other life safety systems such as emergency and exit lighting, sprinkler systems and access control systems.

Getting New Features

According to Guerrette, the new software offers features that are not available in competing solutions. For example, technicians can use their mobile devices to take digital photographs of equipment and areas that require corrective action, and store them in the cloud with the inspection data. Through eVance Service Manager, Mid State can also include Auto-CAD pictures in the final report for a more complete overview of the facility.

Greater Inspection Accuracy

By automating data collection, the software has played a key role in eliminating human error. Fire alarm control panels connected to the Internet transfer test information from addressable points directly to the eVance application. For those systems comprising non-addressable points, a barcode can simply be applied to each device. During tests, the barcodes can be scanned and profiled on the same reports as all other addressable points.

Accuracy is further enhanced because the software automatically generates professionally formatted reports that comply with industry requirements. The software ensures that all fire systems data is up-to-date and accessible in one location. “Having the most current information at our fingertips is critical when servicing large-scale customers with multiple buildings and constantly changing systems,” Orrell said.

Eliminating Liability

With the most updated information in hand, Mid State can demonstrate to its customers that all system testing has been completed to a high standard to avoid liability issues. The solution helps customers with their own liability issues by offering proof that they have invested in the most advanced testing services available to ensure optimum system performance.

Save Time, Boost Productivity

The software Services helps the Mid State team save time and boost productivity. Service Manager provides a visual representation of job sites in real time, which enables faster, more efficient responses to service calls. Technicians access their updated calendars in real time and communicate with dispatchers inside the application.

As a single application for job tracking, calendars and report storage, Service Manager eliminates duplicate data entry into multiple programs for greater administrative efficiencies. It also keeps track of annual inspection due dates for all fire systems managed by the company, so Mid State can run its full operations more efficiently than before.

Reducing Costs

“Over time, the software will save time and money by speeding up the inspection process,” stated Guerrette.

The company is also setting up the Web portal to provide technicians with real-time access to installed fire alarm control panels on their phones. This eliminates the need for two technicians on each job—one to walk the facility and the other to stay at the panel to make changes. “Now, just one technician can complete a typical inspection job.”

This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Security Today.


  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    7 Ways You Can Secure a High-Traffic Commercial Security Gate  

    Your commercial security gate is one of your most powerful tools to keep thieves off your property. Without a security gate, your commercial perimeter security plan is all for nothing. Read Now

  • Busy South Africa Building Integrates Custom Access Control System

    Nicol Corner, based in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, South Africa, is home to a six-star fitness club, prime office space, and an award-winning rooftop restaurant. This is the first building in South Africa to have its glass façade fully incorporate fritted glazing, saving 35% on energy consumption. Nicol Corner (Pty) LTD has developed a landmark with sophisticated design and unique architecture by collaborating with industry-leading partners and specifying world-class equipment throughout the project. This includes installing a high-spec, bespoke security and access control system. Read Now

  • Only 13 Percent of Research Institutions Are Prepared for AI

    A new survey commissioned by SHI International and Dell Technologies underscores the transformative potential of artificial intelligence (AI) while exposing significant gaps in preparedness at many research institutions. Read Now

  • Survey: 70 Percent of Organizations Have Established Dedicated SaaS Security Teams

    Seventy percent of organizations have prioritized investment in SaaS security, establishing dedicated SaaS security teams, despite economic uncertainty and workforce reductions. This was a key finding in the fourth Annual SaaS Security Survey Report: 2025 CISO Plans and Priorities released today by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), the world’s leading organization dedicated to defining standards, certifications, and best practices to help ensure a secure cloud computing environment. Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity

New Products

  • Mobile Safe Shield

    Mobile Safe Shield

    SafeWood Designs, Inc., a manufacturer of patented bullet resistant products, is excited to announce the launch of the Mobile Safe Shield. The Mobile Safe Shield is a moveable bullet resistant shield that provides protection in the event of an assailant and supplies cover in the event of an active shooter. With a heavy-duty steel frame, quality castor wheels, and bullet resistant core, the Mobile Safe Shield is a perfect addition to any guard station, security desks, courthouses, police stations, schools, office spaces and more. The Mobile Safe Shield is incredibly customizable. Bullet resistant materials are available in UL 752 Levels 1 through 8 and include glass, white board, tack board, veneer, and plastic laminate. Flexibility in bullet resistant materials allows for the Mobile Safe Shield to blend more with current interior décor for a seamless design aesthetic. Optional custom paint colors are also available for the steel frame. 3

  • Automatic Systems V07

    Automatic Systems V07

    Automatic Systems, an industry-leading manufacturer of pedestrian and vehicle secure entrance control access systems, is pleased to announce the release of its groundbreaking V07 software. The V07 software update is designed specifically to address cybersecurity concerns and will ensure the integrity and confidentiality of Automatic Systems applications. With the new V07 software, updates will be delivered by means of an encrypted file. 3

  • Camden CM-221 Series Switches

    Camden CM-221 Series Switches

    Camden Door Controls is pleased to announce that, in response to soaring customer demand, it has expanded its range of ValueWave™ no-touch switches to include a narrow (slimline) version with manual override. This override button is designed to provide additional assurance that the request to exit switch will open a door, even if the no-touch sensor fails to operate. This new slimline switch also features a heavy gauge stainless steel faceplate, a red/green illuminated light ring, and is IP65 rated, making it ideal for indoor or outdoor use as part of an automatic door or access control system. ValueWave™ no-touch switches are designed for easy installation and trouble-free service in high traffic applications. In addition to this narrow version, the CM-221 & CM-222 Series switches are available in a range of other models with single and double gang heavy-gauge stainless steel faceplates and include illuminated light rings. 3