By Karl-Heinz Mast. Data transmission via IP networks is particularly attractive for many companies because it minimises the need to install separate networks for safety technology. In terms of the investment costs for the usually elaborate infrastructure, standardising and networking the systems offers significant advantages. A central management system promises significantly reduced operating costs.
The use of standardised network technologies is not only worth it from a financial point of view: A major advantage is the creation of a common communication platform for all types of safety solutions. Information from video cameras, fire and smoke detectors or door controls can be consolidated centrally via uniform protocols such as TCP/IP and standardised interfaces such as OPC. This also makes it possible to display and link multiple applications on one combined, flexibly configurable user interface. Integration into a comprehensive building management system is also considerably simplified as a result.
Advantages of IP solutions
In the field of fire detection technology, an IP protocol enables communication between decentrally installed fire detection units and a central fire detection system, as well as with the superordinate building management system. Monitoring of the transmission routes and partial or full redundancy according to regulations are integral parts of this type of network concept. In particular, the easy and comparatively inexpensive set-up of redundant infrastructures is one of the big benefits of IP technology. IP technology also creates significant added value for multi-sensor applications. In the application of new technologies such as video-based fire detection, data can be transferred via IP in real time to the building management system and visualised there on its user interface. If an alarm is triggered, precise action plans can be displayed and the safety personnel can quickly access all of the necessary documents for implementing them. Emergency response services can be promptly informed in this way and they are able to gain a direct insight into the situation using stationary or mobile devices. It allows to assess the situation more quickly and comprehensively and corresponding measures can be implemented in a more targeted manner. Such operational planning adapted to the specific situation helps to avoid to take the wrong decisions , and supports to safeguard people through effective rescue operations and buildings through targeted fire extinguishing solutions. And last but not least, any it is an efficient means to avoid subsequent costs .
Another advantage of the use of IP technology in building safety is the fact that cabling is not absolutely necessary. It is possible to transmit video and audio streams via WiFi relatively easily and reliably from and within surroundings which would otherwise incur very high costs for cabling.
Alongside local networking, mobile connections via fast mobile communication standards such as LTE can distribute helpful information to safety personnel or the emergency services. Alarms could also be managed via smartphones and tablets via easy-to-use applications that have been optimised for this very purpose. For example, a video security app can provide – secure and almost universal – access to relevant information at all times.
This networking would thus provide on-site fire services with access to fire detector location plans, floor plans, notes on hazardous materials or information on currently deactivated areas of the fire detection system for the purposes of operational deployment.
Furthermore, it is possible to configure frequently used operating processes or specific applications and to access clearly presented status information via mobile end devices at any time.
The Internet enables new services
Modern system platforms represent another IP-based solution beyond safety technologies and offer remote services such as remote programming, monitoring or commissioning around the clock. This could enable many connections to individual systems to be replaced, which, as well as being easy to implement, is also significantly more reliable. Bosch expects that their EffiLink Remote Service System will also be able to optimise the maintenance of safety solutions for two thirds of all applications. Continuous monitoring will also make it possible to recognise dangerous situations before they have a negative impact. Data privacy and confidentiality are strictly maintained in the process. The data is exclusively stored at the certified Bosch computer centre. Technicians are only able to access customer systems if this is explicitly requested by the customer.
However, remote services are not simply limited to safety systems. They are also suitable in principle for all building and security technology applications based on an IP protocol. These technologies could thus be used, for example, in heating systems under the banner of smart heating to monitor heating, air conditioning and hot water technology.
Karl-Heinz Mast: Business Administrator for Facility Management (HWK); working for Bosch Sicherheitssysteme GmbH since 1998 in the Building Security department in Germany as a sales advisor and product manager for fire detection technology
The article was published in FeuerTRUTZ International, issue 1.2017 (January 2017).
More information about eMagazine FeuerTRUTZ International