THE MAGAZINE

Case Study: Resorting to Monitoring

By Carlton Purvis

Innsbrook is an 8,000-acre resort nestled in the hills of Warren County, Missouri. It was “built out of an admiration for the simple, rejuvenating powers of Mother Nature,” reads its Web site, which goes on to describe the resort’s miles of nature trails and 100 lakes. Photos show wooden chalets on lakefronts or tucked into clearings between rolling hills and trees. It’s all very idyllic, but there’s still the normal need for security, as the vacation homes at Innsbrook are vacant most of the year, and owners want them protected from possible intrusions or misuse when they are unoccupied.

To meet that need, more than 20 years ago, Innsbrook had a company install a basic system to monitor the homes while residents were away. Because most of the homes are on adjoining property, the approach the resort used was to split a single telephone line and use it to monitor two separate homes. But by the 1990s, the facility had grown from around 1,000 facilities to closer to 1,300. As a result, the security system was stretched to its limits.

The use of the single phone line also led to problems with false alarms during storms. Single strand monitoring causes a voltage issue, explains Innsbrook Alarms Supervisor Matthew Aubuchon. As a result, the system often had to be turned off during storms.

The combination of the system being stressed by the growth of the facilities and plagued by numerous false alarms was enough for Aubuchon to advocate for an upgrade. The goal was more reliability so that the security team could focus staff time on “checking out actual alarms,” which is important because the guard booth at Innsbrook is only staffed by one or two guards at a time, he says.

Ideally, the resort wanted a solution that could accommodate its 1,300 buildings without requiring much in additional infrastructure, which was challenging due to the terrain.

“Cable only goes to half the buildings. A wireless solution looks good on paper, but you get around the hills and trees and valleys, you’re going to have a lot of void spots,” Aubuchon says. He wanted a solution that was more reliable.

After researching various types of solutions and service providers, the resort selected Digitize Inc., a Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey-based manufacturer of proprietary alarm monitoring equipment known for its custom alarm installations.

The solution from Digitize included the use of alarm center software by Security Information Systems, Inc. Called DAAMRS, the software provides both audio and visual alerts and guides the guards through the process of dispatching the appropriate responder.

Digitize also designed an interface card that allowed it to monitor Innsbrook’s alarm panels via the resort’s existing phone lines, overcoming both the capacity issue and the problem with false alarms.

As noted, Innsbrook had had a problem with line interference during lightning storms. The new system was modified to address this problem.

“Lighting can cause a momentary change in a voltage reading on the circuit being monitored. Debounce is the process which re-reads the value several times to ensure that you are going to report,” says Digitize President and CEO Abe Brecher.
 

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