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Building a Central Station

Discussion in 'Security Alarms' started by S. Smith, Jun 30, 2006.

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  1. S. Smith

    S. Smith Guest


    Y'all have been a big help in the past so I hope that you'll come
    through again.

    My boss has handed me the R&D project of spec-ing/pricing out what it
    would take to build our own monitoring station. I've found out a few
    basics such as UL approved building and phone systems.... but I haven't
    a clue as to where to go from here. Is there a guide to planning these

    Here are some basics.

    1. From looking at some of the national monitoring center's websites I
    want to provide the same services they do. Alarm monitoring, video
    monitoring, etc. etc. What equipment will handle this?

    2. # of phone lines vs. # of recievers for 10,000 customers...?

    3. What kind of central station software would be recommended? Not
    only would it need to provide the basics, but I'd like to integrate
    call recording too. I've seen too many horrible setups of recording,
    some as bad as using VHS tape...

    Any guidance y'all can offer would be wonderful. Thanks.
  2. camman

    camman Guest

    I don't mean to be rude or anything.. but I am wondering what went through
    your bosses head to look at you and say, Mr. Smith.. with your keen ability
    to use that computer of yours, I choose you ole wise one to spear head this

    If you are trying to replicate a CMS that the big boys build.. you need to
    build 5.. they have them all networked.. When one goes down or is overloaded
    with calls.. they route to another.. they field 42 MILIION calls a year..
    their server room is better protected than the pentagons..
  3. Bill

    Bill Guest

    First decide who your customers will be...

    What equipment will they have?

    Will it be existing equipment and they will be switching to your monitoring
    service or will this be just for new installs?

    If just new installs, what equipment?

    What services will you provide?

    How many customers?

    What type of phone lines will be required?

    Will you need a private radio tower for company business? Local private
    guard service too?

    Then I would suggest meeting with the phone company (a knowledgeable
    engineering type), and inform them of your needs. Ask WHERE you could locate
    such a business. Across the street from a phone company exchange might be a
    good idea! Maybe it would be better to locate near one particular phone
    company exchange. Note: Some areas do not have *any* spare phone lines. Or
    may have an old cable which is prone to having problems say when it rains. I
    would not want to locate a monitoring center in such an area. If you have
    your choice of cities and not one particular city, then cost of living/cost
    of labor might be a consideration. Also if a national 1-800 type center, a
    particular city might be better than others. Note that some downtown high
    rise areas of various cities have all sorts of phone/fiber optic capacity
    run under certain streets.

    Then is there a building in such an area you could rent or buy *and* which
    you could modify to your specs.? Is there free parking for employees, etc.?
    Can employees easily get to this location or it it a traffic mess at certain

    Then some monitoring centers look like a computer center with a raised floor
    to run wiring under and have similar security and fire systems. Are you
    required to have a fire suppression system? Check with the local fire
    department for what is required/allowed. Insurance? U.L.? One may say one
    thing, but the fire department or local regulations may say something else!

    Next is air conditioning. If you have a lot of electronic equipment in one
    room, it generates heat. Might want to add up the BTU's (heat generated) of
    all the electronic equipment you will have to see if the existing air
    conditioning will handle the load. And if not, can additional air
    conditioning be added? Some rooms in buildings can't handle the heat
    generated by two employees (600 to 700 BTU's per person) let alone a lot of
    electronic equipment.

    Then physical security. Can you modify the building for what you will need?
    Probably don't want doors with key locks (key could be duplicated). So card
    access to center might be best. Can the doors be modified for your
    entry/exit requitements? Man trap needed?

    Wiring... Is it easy to add lots of wiring as needed? Add additional wiring
    easily in the future?

    Then next is equipment/software to purchase. Find out what is available. You
    can go to and find this group, then search just this group
    for specific brand names. See what people have said in the past about these

    With this link, you can use the lower search box to search just this

    Then here I searched in the lower search box for monitoring software and
    came up with all this...
  4. Bill

    Bill Guest

    FYI - A large international cruise line just built a 1-800 customer call
    center in Eugene, Oregon. This location is nowhere near any ocean or their
    ships. But it is right next to a whole bunch of main fiber optic lines which
    run up and down the west coast. Also low cost of living (lower cost for
    employees), no traffic problems, desirable location, good weather, etc.

    So you would think they would locate a cruise line call center near their
    main office or on the coast. No, they went where it was best for the
    requirements and needs of the call center.
  5. ABLE_1

    ABLE_1 Guest

    WoW!!!! the guy ask one simple question and he get a V-E-R-Y-- L-O-N-G and
    detailed answer. What more can you ever ask for.

    Excellent job on the response.

    Bill needs to be the guy at the top of the list for new hires when the
    decision is made to move forward on this project. Name your price Bill.
  6. Bill

    Bill Guest

  7. Bill

    Bill Guest

    "ABLE_1" wrote in message

    Thanks but no thanks! I'm not looking for a job and am quite happy living
    without the stress of these things. :)
  8. ABLE_1

    ABLE_1 Guest

    I was not offering Bill, I was just making a suggestion. No stress is good.
    Have a good holiday weekend.
  9. camman

    camman Guest

    Bill is the type of guy that the company should have paid in getting his
    expert advise instead of asking Smittie to go surf the net and see what free
    advise he can get. Designing a Central Station to UL spec's takes money and
    expert involvement.... why companies insist on doing things in house is
    beyond me.. I equate it to.. hey Joe, we need to figure out a better way to
    do our billing.. lets plan a meeting to discuss how we should reprogram our
    computers and the heck with buying 1200 bucks for Peachtree or Quickbooks..
    People's experience is worth money.. sometimes you need to pay for it... I
    am so tired of getting a call to design a 16 camera system knowing the guy
    is looking for my design and then he goes on the net and buys for 20% less..
    I have gotten pretty good at putting my own model numbers on my own branded
  10. I am so tired of getting a call to design a 16
    I love customers like that. Usually they go online and search for prices on
    a DVR, several cameras and whatnot. They already know the specific makes
    and models. Sometimes they don't even call -- just place an order online.


    Robert L Bass

    Bass Home Electronics
    4883 Fallcrest Circle
    Sarasota · Florida · 34233
    941-866-1100 Sales & Tech Support
  11. Okitoki

    Okitoki Guest

    Hi to you all!

    Being a software automation supplier for monitoring stations, we have
    an unlimited amount of documentation that is present on our web-site

    Please feel free to look through them and it should give you a fair
    idea of how to physically setup your CMS and how to setup your business

    For direct shortcuts to our publications please click on the following
    Setting up the perfect monitoring station:
    Preparing your CMS for your world:

    For any other questions please contact the A-traq help desk 24/7

    Thanks and good luck!!
  12. Pierre

    Pierre Guest

    And you are proud of this?

    that's that kind of comment that will bring you a lot of love from the real
    professional here....

    and the first thing you will say,is that you don't understand why people
    here don't like you...poor little bAss..
  13. Frank Olson

    Frank Olson Guest

    Robert doesn't live in the "real world". For anyone interested in a
    "cheap" solution with *no support*, try eBay. You can save yourself a

    And that's only the "tip" of the iceberg.
  14. I love customers like that. Usually they go online and search for prices
    I'm certainly happy with the situation. The reality is that there will
    always be a certain number of prospective customers who guys like you will
    lose to online vendors. That's just business.
    To which "professionals" are you referring? There are several here and they
    happen to be friends of mine. There are also a number of people who post
    mostly personal attacks and other rubbish. They're of no concern to me.
    Do you believe that I care whether you like me?
  15. mikey

    mikey Guest

    I'm certainly happy with the situation. The reality is that there will
    always be a certain number of prospective customers who guys like you will
    lose to online vendors. That's just business.

    Yep, it's the common law of business practice... John Ruskin penned this a
    hundred years ago,
    still true today

    "There is hardly anything in the world that someone cannot make a little
    worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price alone are
    that person's lawful prey. It's unwise to pay too much, but it's worse to
    pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money - that is
    all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the
    thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The
    common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot -
    it can't be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add
    something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to
    pay for something better."
  16. Those are very wise words, Mikey. However, in this case the customer is
    getting the same (or better) products *and* saving money. Ruskin never
    anticipated DIY, let alone online sales of professional security systems.


    Robert L Bass

    Bass Home Electronics
    4883 Fallcrest Circle
    Sarasota · Florida · 34233
    941-866-1100 Sales & Tech Support
  17. Frank Olson

    Frank Olson Guest

    MAS is not as good as SIMS... or Bold. A number of different vendors
    will let you try their software. Pick what works for you based on your
    own skill levels and then see what they offer in the way of support. I
    know SIMS and Bold support is excellent.

    You wouldn't by any chance be workin' for them, would you?? :)

    Yes... People have been telling me that here for years. "Frank, seek
    Professional Help"...

    More than four, six, eight?? Define "a lot".

    Man, either someone seriously overcharged you guys or you've misplaced a
    decimal (or two). You didn't by any chance buy from bassburglaralarms,
    did you??

    Check. But that "backup" isn't all that expensive (or extensive) to

    Sure... Make certain you have a toilet facilities close by. Those of
    us in the "older crowd" need frequent pottie breaks. And please, no
    coffee machine!

    Seriously! "Fill your station" with dedicated individuals that can
    demonstrate excellent customer service and telephone skills, and that
    can meet whatever local licensing requirements they might need.
    Discriminate by age, sex, color, religion, or nationality and you're
    going to miss out on a lot of good people.

    Perhaps you should review what you've written before clicking on "send".
  18. Y'all have been a big help in the past so
    No doubt you'll be looking into many other aspects of building a central
    station over the coming months. Among the major selections you'll have to
    make will be the automation software for processing alarm signals. The one
    I've worked with is called BOLD.

    We used BOLD almost from the very start in our small, non-listed central
    station. The software has evolved over the years into a powerful,
    comprehensive system. The company was very good. They were responsive to
    calls for help when things broke, even on weekends and holidays (which seem
    to be the only times things do break:)).

    I don't know if they've changed in the years since I sold the company but
    BOLD used to run on an operating system called THEOS (which stands for "THE
    Operating System"). It's fairly easy to understand and well documented
    though the THEOS company itself is sometimes difficult to work with.
    Fortunately, unless you write your own software to run alongside or in
    conjunction with BOLD, that won't be an issue.

    I developed a few add-ons for BOLD to do things like displaying the account
    information on the terminal when an incoming call came from an existing
    customer or keyholder. The folks at Bradley Online (makers of BOLD) were
    very helpful in providing me with full documentation of the database,
    protocols for interacting with it and the receivers, etc.

    Best of luck.


    Robert L Bass

    Bass Home Electronics
    4883 Fallcrest Circle
    Sarasota · Florida · 34233
    941-866-1100 Sales & Tech Support
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