Software helps nail school district contract win
- By Brian Carlson
- Jul 01, 2015
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
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
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.
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.
“Over time, the software will save time and
money by speeding up the inspection process,”
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
This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Security Today.