Published on 23 July, 2007
Britain's biggest tile retailer, Topps Tiles, has adopted Europe's fastest growing IP alarm transmission and monitoring system. The specialist supplier of ceramic tiles, wood flooring and related products is protecting its national network of stores with the Iris alarms-over-IP system from Chiron Security Communications.
Joining fellow High Street retailers Halfords and Thomas Cook in their own decision to upgrade to Iris, Topps Tiles has already equipped over 100 of its 274 branches around the UK. The move means the company can benefit from Iris' inherently secure alarm communications system, which is being installed by one of the world's leading electronic security companies, Secom plc.
The introduction of Iris has allowed Topps Tiles to use its existing Wide Area Network (WAN) to provide the secure communications between each branch and Secom's central monitoring centre.
"This innovation allows us to replace our Redcare signalling and save some 60-65% of our previous monitoring and associated telephone costs, which amounts to a substantial saving each year," says Topps Tiles' Head of Security and Loss Prevention, Ken Pettengale.
"By changing to alarms-over-IP we're also adding value to our IT network as well as future-proofing our system with the latest alarms technology, so there are clear benefits all round."
The primary communications route between the alarm panel in each store and Secom's alarm receiving centre uses Chiron's Iris 840 dialler to convert the analogue signal to IP and send alarm signals across Topps Tiles' WAN. Back-up paths for dual signalling are available via both GSM and GPRS paths, in addition to low cost regular polling of the alarm panel at each site.
Mr Pettengale adds that he's been impressed with Chiron's level of technical support and its liaison with Secom, "One of the other important benefits that's resulted from the introduction of the Iris system is that it's brought the company's security and loss prevention department much closer together with the IT department, which has enabled us to resolve issues much more quickly than before."
"The IT Director can now see that Iris is making substantial financial savings to his budget, as well as the system giving us the ability to add value to our WAN, and these factors have helped us in a very valuable way indeed by facilitating a much greater degree of internal trust and cooperation."
Keith Donovan, Chiron Security Communications' MD, notes that the Iris alarm transmission and monitoring system is proving popular with end users, installers and ARCs alike, "Iris is supported by over 60 monitoring centres across Europe and is applicable to all systems, from high security to residential. Many alarm panel manufacturers are now offering Iris technology embedded within their panels and the system is independently certified to EN50131 and 50136 - approved to Grade 4 ATS-6. The Iris diallers are also easy to install - no specialist IP knowledge is required - and fit a wide range of both new and existing ‘legacy' alarm panels."
Alan Blake, Secom's National Accounts Manager, adds that IP signalling is a significant advance in alarm monitoring. "IP signalling is a development of broadband technology that gives us the potential to achieve huge cost savings for our customers, while offering a wider range of services. IP signalling eliminates the costs of dedicated dial-up line rental and the daily open and close signals from each store to the monitoring centre. With the addition of dual-path signalling, Iris provides added reliability, ensuring uninterrupted alarm monitoring if the customer's network is down for any reason. This overcomes insurers' concerns and, as a result, we expect IP signalling will soon become the norm in remote alarm monitoring."