10 March 2023
The transition from analog to a fully digital all-IP alarm communication is currently ongoing in many markets. During this transition, providers of care alarm solutions, platforms and manufacturers of care devices are faced with numerous challenges, both technical and commercial. Handling these challenges are not easy, and the time limit that the PSTN switch-off puts add a bit of urgency to it.
An all-IP alarm communication has many advantages over an analog alarm communication, such as increased reliability, security and future-proofness. While many would argue that a transition from analog to digital alarm communication is for the better for the care takers, it is still a big technology step for the solution providers. But there are means available to make the transition as smooth and easy as possible. This blog is about how the iotcomms.io offerings can ease this transition.
The iotcomms.io communications platform including its Alarmbridge offering, provides a conversion capability between analog and digital protocols. This allows analog-based care alarm devices to send alarm events to alarm receiving centers (ARC) that can only receive digital-based alarms, and vice versa; it allows digital-based care alarm devices to send alarm events to ARC platforms that are only capable of receiving analog-based alarms.
This is an extremely powerful capability in the transition from analog to digital. It gives the means to migrate in the pace you want and reduces the PSTN switch-off stress. It also lets you do the migration in a step-wise manner, starting small with selected devices, regions or similar, before transitioning your business completely to the digital environment.
In addition to the ability of converting between analog and digital protocols, the Alarmbridge also integrates with care devices and ARC platforms using API integration. This makes it specifically useful in use cases with proprietary platforms, and in enabling a vendor-agnostic environment.
Two use cases where the protocol conversion capability has proven to be extra useful are:
Installed base of analog-based care devices
Justifying the immediate investment of new digital care devices is hard, especially when the installed base reaches a significant volume. The protocol conversion capability provides extra time for solution providers to make the transition in your own pace and step by step, easing the PSTN switch-off stress.
Group livings with analog-based control units
A solution with a managed analog terminal adapter (ATA) placed between the group living’s analog control unit and the Alarmbrigde enables the analog alarm communication to be sent over the internet via reliable SIP. This is an attractive solution to the PSTN switch-off challenge, as the connectivity between the managed ATA and the Alarmbridge will not be impacted by the switch-off. The protocol conversion capability assures that the analog alarm events can be sent to digital-based ARC platforms.
To handle subsequent demand for voice communication or other functions needed in emergency situations, Alarmbridge provides a broad range of capabilities, such as:
Integrated voice calls
By integrating VoIP with the alarm event, ARC agents have the possibility to immediately set up a call to the caretaker’s device. Since the call is then part of the alarm session, the ARC agent doesn’t have to set up a call outside of the alarm event, using for example a mobile phone. This simplifies ARC agents’ handling and provides extra security for caretakers as they do not have to answer the call on a separate device.
The in-call command is a functionality allowing ARC agents to remotely manage the care device, such as raise or lower the volume of the device. Other functions include keeping the session alive or switching to one-way or two-way communications.
Heartbeat messages are sent from a care device at a given frequency set by the device provider. Alarmbridge reacts if a heartbeat message from the care device is missing and triggers an alarm event to be sent to the ARC platform for an agent to act upon.
Alarmbridge and the iotcomms.io communications platform provide the building blocks needed to build a modern, digital and cloud-based care alarm solution. You don’t need to develop or run the alarm, voice, or video communication yourself. You don’t need to think about protocols, codecs or how to add voice calling into the alarm session, should you want to do that.
Our platform is based on our deep expertise and proven experience of telecom and cloud technologies. You can leverage that and speed up your time to market with a modern care alarm solution.
For additional information on all the different care alarm use cases, please go here https://iotcomms.io/solutions/security-alarm-industries/care-alarms
Here's the full piece in its original form: https://iotcomms.io/transition-from-analog-to-digital-care-alarm-communication/