As Norway’s sixth most populated municipality, there are quite a number of buildings and institutions to keep track of in Østfold.
Earlier, elevator alarm communication has been solved individually for each building or smaller area, but not long ago, property and operations decided to join forces and create a common platform. Analogue phone lines are discontinued, and the cellular network is becoming more digital. This means that alarm signals based on DTMF protocols more often will get lost before reaching the central. The alarm communication of Østfold had to become digital.
Østfold is working towards becoming a smart municipality, and after upgrading many of their buildings with automated and remote controlled energy management systems, the alarm communication was a natural next step. There was some clutter to be sorted through, though. Not only were there a number of different alarm providers and service agreements, but the notification system itself lacked a satisfactory overview of where the notifications were actually sent.
“A lot of the time, there would be a janitor who quit years ago, but still received text messages or emails from alarms of which he no longer was in charge. The municipality received enough complaints from these to actually make it an important motivation to upgrade their systems,” explains Helge Østbye, District Manager for AddSecure. Of course, another key motivation was to be certain notifications reached the right people as well.
We have a screen that’s up and running all the time, where we can keep full track of every alarm. This is where we can tell whether any of them have gone off, or if there are any deviations in one of the centrals.
Lars Erik Hall, Chief of Electronics
AddSecure got chosen based on several criteria. First of all, the municipality had already experienced positive interactions with the company. AddSecure was responsible for several earlier solutions, like surveillance of fire and burglary alarm communication. Secondly, AddSecure could offer trustworthy, fully digital communication. Finally, AddSecure offered the unique opportunity of collecting the overview of every alarm in one portal, AddView. As a better overview makes it a lot easier to keep it all secure, this was a major factor in Østfold choosing AddSecure.
Over two 14 day periods, new elevator alarm solutions were rolled out throughout the municipality. Now, all information is sent to the technical operations department (as well as to the alarm receiving central itself ), where Chief of Electronics Lars Erik Hall can keep track of everything in the web application AddView:
“We have a screen that’s up and running all the time, where we can keep full track of every alarm. This is where we can tell whether any of them have gone off, or if there are any deviations in one of the centrals. I find the admin function very nice – you can easily add and remove users and notifications according to what you need. If we need help with anything, we always know who to contact.”
While the solution is still very new, there’s every reason to believe it will lead to reduced costs for Østfold municipality. The four earlier elevator alarm communication providers have been whittled down to just one: AddSecure. There’s just one subscription and far fewer invoices. Come tender, it will be easy to reroute all the alarms remotely just by sending AddSecure an email, if Østfold decides to change who to put in charge of security. Earlier, this would have meant physically rerouting every single alarm. Asked about whether he would recommend AddSecure to other municipalities, Hall leaves no doubt:
“I absolutely would. We’re very satisfied, our overview is great, and they’re also very pleasant when we need assistance.”
The upgraded lifts in Østfold municipality are now using the solution called Airborne Elevator Alarm. This is technology produced in Norway, that’s being used for alarm transmissions over all of Scandinavia. We’re simply talking about a small steel cabinet that can be installed on its own and allows for easy functional testing in the field. It can be attached to an IP camera if required. Airborne Lift Alarm communicates digitally through the cellular network and automatically switches to SMS as a backup solution. This leads to a documented uptime of 99.9%. The communication is two way, and also leaves room for actual speech communication through the same system.
The alarm communication is controlled once a day, which is three times the rate of the EU’s minimum requirement of once every third day. We find this requirement to be far too low, and have therefore chosen to deliver a solution that’s controlled more often. If any errors were to occur, this will obviously be reported immediately.
The web application used is AddView, which gives the user an understandable and chronological overview of alarms, logs and error messages. In other words, you don’t have to scroll through each alarm separately to look for deviations, as these are automatically moved to the top of the screen. The same software is used for fire, burglary and technical alarms. Through the admin function, you’re always fully updated on users and their contact information for notifications. The operations manager can add, remove, or change users himself with the touch of a button.
Together this makes a simple and trustworthy solution that we humbly propose to be the best of its kind in the current market.