(For those new to the column, Forward Migration is our term for companies moving from Wintel machines to Macs — or at least adding or increasing the number of Macs they use. A Forward Migration Kit is an overview of Mac OS products for a particular occupation, such as dentistry, accounting, etc.)
Unfortunately, our request for Mac OS products from any companies that provide alarm central station monitoring software garnered few responses. Very few. Two to be exact.
If you’re looking for products in this area, your best bet is AlarmsPro, an alarms system that primarily watches cellular and telephone office equipment.
AlarmsPro provides such functions as audio alerts, spoken alerts, pager and e-mail alerts, dynamic Web delivery, and a network GUI (graphical user interface). It offers the functionality to make your telephony devices Ethernet smart and interconnect all your equipment even where direct network access is unavailable.
AlarmsPro also offers storage and archival of office, domestic, network and remote site alarms. It’s an automated dispatch system that allows each alarm to be notified with three adjustable shifts per day. And it integrates the ability to pull forward and display circuit layout cards and specific related information to aid the dispatcher and technician understanding and restoring faults.
“At Matanuska Telephone Association we watch about $80 million dollars worth of telephone equipment and small distribution buildings using a Mac,” Frank Knapp, CEO of AlarmsPro, told MacCentral. “The system can be a dispatch replacement and produces local alerts, as well as speaking what we term the super critical alarms, like a power failure. The system also provides a three shift page/email capability for each alarm.”
Also incorporated in the system is InterMapper software to deliver alarms about the general network health. The small buildings are protected using a remote alarm unit that AlarmsPro produces using a small industrial programmable logic controller ‘PLC’.
AlarmsPro also offers remote hut alarms, that lets users watch standard digital inputs, as well as analog points that report on continued alarm or drop/raise of the condition. This system has been specifically engineered to provide a very comprehensive alarm and control system that will grow with your needs, according to Knapp. It supports multiple protocols, local I/O, PLC/RTU programmability, remote diagnostics, multiple physical topologies, TCP/IP connectivity, and “PUSH” or event based reporting. The system provides reminder alarms if it’s not repaired when needed. There’s also automatic time clock sync, “Keep Alive” messages from sites, an alarm on lack of Keep Alive, and more.
Meanwhile, Sean Eldridge, who works for Protection One in a UL FM-rated central station for monitoring of alarm activity in Portland, Maine, said they use a program called MAS running on a redundant UNIX setup. And he thinks the product could be ported to run on Mac OS X.
“Protection One has several different setups at different monitoring stations around the US and Canada,” he told MacCentral. “However, the whole company is slowly converting over to be all MAS for monitoring and using a program called Mastermind to give everyone companywide access to all aspects of every customer’s account, service records, alarm history, billing, etc. Unfortunately, I believe that the new MAS software that the company is migrating towards is Windows based instead of UNIX.”
And if you know of a Forward Migration story, please send it my way.