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COMPANY
St. Louis County Library

CHALLENGE
Maintaining two commercial phone lines specifically for fire alarm monitoring was costing the nonprofit an average of $1200 per year.

SOLUTION
Tech Electronics determined that new alarm communication equipment utilizing wireless and IP technologies would significantly reduce the Libraries’ monthly cost of monitoring by eliminating the need for two dedicated phone lines.

RESULTS
The small investment for new alarm monitoring equipment saves St. Louis County Library an average of $1200 per year. St. Louis County Library (SLCL) is taking steps to become a leader in library services. In 2012, St. Louis County Library broke several of its records: 14 million items circulated, more than 6.3 million people visited the library and its 20 branches, and 89,000 readers of all ages participated in the organization’s reading clubs. Part of SLCL’s revival depends on its technology systems.


 

BACKGROUND
Telecommunications has experienced a rapid change in technology over the past few years. Advances in broadband, wireless and Internet Protocol (IP) services represent the future of telecommunications; the “plain old telephone system” (POTS) lines are quickly becoming relics of an earlier era.

Historically, the only alarm communication technologies available were POTS lines, which are still predominantly used today. The use of these lines requires companies to continue paying monthly phone bills specifically for alarm monitoring. For St. Louis County Library, maintaining two commercial phone lines was costing the nonprofit an average of $1200 per year. With 20 branches located throughout the greater St. Louis area, SLCL needed a solution that would significantly reduce the monthly cost of fire alarm monitoring.

TAKING TELECOMMUNICATIONS TO THE NEXT LEVEL
St. Louis County Library turned to longtime partner and systems integrator, Tech Electronics, to evaluate the organization’s existing fire alarm monitoring system and provide a solution that would help cut costs while increasing supervision of the system.

Tech Electronics proposed a fully redundant system utilizing Cellular and IP technologies together allowing for faster alarm transmission while significantly reducing the SLCL’s monthly cost of monitoring by eliminating the need for two dedicated phone lines.

The systems integrator knew that adding an alarm communicator capable of utilizing two of these newly accepted telecommunication technologies would be the best solution for St. Louis County Library now and in the future.

“The new equipment supports virtually all alarm formats for universal panel compatibility,” said Sean Devereux, Director of Service for Tech Electronics. “In addition, it increases supervision to the central station from once a day to every 90 seconds.”

One of the biggest obstacles to installing the new system was ensuring a strong cellular signal. Old buildings don’t necessarily have a strong cell signal, regardless of which carrier, so Tech Electronics was able to install additional antennas to boost the signal strength.

A STREAMLINED SYSTEM HELPS LIBRARY REVIVAL
SLCL not only saved significantly on the costs of maintaining its POTS lines, but it is also preparing for the future. Rather than wait for the quickly approaching sunset of POTS lines, the St. Louis County Library is making a smart, phased approach to improve its outdated equipment now, and at savings of $1200 per year per site.

“The streamlined system monitors itself,” said Ed Clark, Facilities Manager for St. Louis County Library. “If any of the equipment goes down, the monitoring system provides full redundancy through multiple communication paths.”

The small investment for new alarm communication equipment will allow SLCL to use new technology and communications systems well into the future.

CONCLUSION
St. Louis County Library has not only saved significantly on costs of maintaining a POTS line, but it also saves an average of $1200 per year by having alarm communication equipment that utilizes IP and GSM Cellular technologies.

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