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Joe Harris



Bigger = Better?

Many barriers currently exist for businesses which are planning to run their own Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC).

In the coming months we could potentially see some of those barriers crumble and a whole new way of doing business materialise.



Winners & Losers

Traditionally setting up an ARC from scratch has been an expensive and time consuming process, which can rely upon expertise in the field to implement and is surrounded by very little shared information or open resources (ARCs for Dummies is not out yet).

Existing ARCs face to lose out if more competition enters the fray and yet at the same time suppliers could benefit if more new business is generated.



So what exactly are the barriers to setting up a modern ARC?

Building / Structure

Buildings and structures must comply with specific requirements of the standards

Equipment / Hardware

In some cases specialist equipment may be required

Communication Networks

From voice communications to PSTN to IP via fibre links and all flavours in between

AE Platforms

Software packages used to monitor remote system

Licensing / Accreditation

Strict standards must be met in order to escalate calls to authorities


Skilled and capable staff are needed (You can automate some of this process but not all - yet

Processes & Procedures

You can have all of the above but without the correct procedures they will fall over


A large amount of money must be spent before you can earn a penny back

If you think of any others please add them in a reply...



What's so 'Super' about that?...

These and I am sure other points which I have likely overlooked, all make that first step of implementing an ARC a tough proposal.

Given an ever improving core broadband network, with rapidly reducing prices and a growth in 4G wireless IP communication, can we now consider another approach though?

ARCs usually build in a certain amount of spare capacity at any given time; this is good practice and is recommended at all times.

Could some of this spare capacity be utilised to allow an ARC to operate as a 'Super ARC' by receiving and processing signals on behalf of a client ARC and relaying these processed alarms and signals back to them for handling?

Why even go to another ARC? Could suppliers of alarm handling software packages not offer their own hosted 'Super ARC' platform?

Maybe signalling providers could operate their own Super ARC to encourage more startups or extend reach?

Why would a user choose to go to an ARC outsourcing to a Super ARC? Well, maybe they prefer the personal service offered by the smaller ARC but want the assurance of the capacity of the larger ARC.

This could give rise to a stepping stone approach to bringing an ARC online, streamlining costs whilst allowing processes and procedures to be ironed out.

The current standards would not lend to such a proposal, however the incoming standards allow a much less restricted approach and this type of centralised cloud based processing of signals is going to become a reality in many industries.

Current latency and bandwidth restrictions will simply not exist in the same way in future.


Questions, questions...

As usual we can end up with more questions than answers so I would like to ask you all to consider the following:

1. What problems would you foresee with such an approach?

2. Would you use an ARC which outsourced it's platform in this way?

3. Would you want to host services on behalf of a.n.other ARC?

4. What pros and cons do you see with this type of solution?

5. Is more ARCs a good thing or a bad thing?

As always, please feel free to discuss, debate or disagree...


Recommended Comments

I love the idea and think any completion to shake up the guys holding the industry back is a good thing. Why wouldn't these super arcs also offer 1st line support to end users out of hours including via UDL.

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That's a novel approach. Certainly AMS software is proven to handle hundreds of thousands of connections - you only have to look at the scale of systems in the US where an ARC literally monitors millions of connections. The ability to route alarms is not a simple task - though is built into ATS providers receivers (because ATS providers have hosted and direct architectures for alarm delivery to AMS systems). In the UK we are seeing more and more smaller ARCs started by installers who have enough connection volume to warrant providing their own services - a remote architecture and software for them to use/manage would certainly be an option. 

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