American Alarms Blog

FireLite 9200UDLS and Notifier NFW2-100

by Adam Jacobs 2/12/2020

There a TON of these panels in use in central Iowa.  Recently a few we service were damaged beyond repair by storms with lightning.  We found out that FireLite's new ES-200X panel can be installed and connect to the same detectors, modules, etc.  However, the boards are a different footprint (doesn't mount in 9200UDLS cabinet) and the program would have to be rebuilt.  So then we have to decide - do we scour the planet for old stock 9200UDLS/NFW2-100 boards and panels, or just buy the current model and take extra time to install and program?  Fortunately we have an extensive network of distributors that we talk to regularly and we were able to find some old stock panels as exact replacements.  

This kind of thing happens once in a while with fire alarm (and other products).  When products become obsolete you have to make a decision and consider the customer's budget as well.  In a world of unlimited funds, the choice is easy.  So for most of our customers, they have to weigh their options carefully and make a wise choice (quickly).

Call us if you have trouble finding obsolete parts.  We have a better stock than anyone in central Iowa of many different brands.

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Access control in the CLOUD

by Adam Jacobs 2/12/2020

First of all, what does "in the cloud" even mean?  Is it up in the sky somewhere?  No.  It really just means that you are not hosting the data on your site.  You pay someone else (maybe someone who understands data storage and cyber-security) to store your information and maintain the equipment that stores it.  Lots of systems are using cloud storage, and access control is no different.  there are a few manufacturers that offer cloud management and information storage.  The best one we've found is Brivo.  What make it the best?

- First in the industry, more experience

- Easy to use customer controls, multiple ways to access info

- Small footprint on-site equipment (control 2 doors with something that looks like a WAP and mounts as easily)

- Expandable from 1 door to thousands of doors in multiple locations

- Best mobile management technology - iOS app, Android app

- Many ways to use readers - mobile (e-key), fob, card

- Highest cyber-security in the industry

- Easy to install and more flexibility than other access control systems

 

But what about the COST?  That's always a concern for customers.  None of us have unlimited budgets.  Well here's a way to compare a cloud system with a non-cloud system, as far as Total Cost of Ownership.

 

https://www.brivo.com/access-control-tco-calculator/

 

Call us today and ask about Brivo cloud access control for your commercial building.

 

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PotterNet wins Campus Safety BEST Award 2019!

by Adam Jacobs 2/12/2020

Campus Safety Magazine has awarded Potter with a Campus Safety BEST Award in the category of Fire/Life Safety Systems for the PotterNet Graphical Monitoring Control Software.

 

American Alarms is proud to provide Potter fire alarm systems, made in St. Louis, Missouri.  For more information on PotterNet and the award click the link below:

https://www.pottersignal.com/news/106/potternet-wins-campus-safety-best-award-2019

 

For more information on Potter for your next project, call American Alarms.

 

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Des Moines is becoming the "no coast" tech hub

by Adam Jacobs 2/12/2020

The Des Moines Partnership just published a great article about WHY Des Moines is growing faster than almost anywhere else, when it comes to tech companies and workers in these fields.  As a business owner that relies on other businesses, and workers that understand technology, I have enjoyed seeing this growth in the Des Moines area.  Here's a link to article, in case you didn't catch it.

 

https://www.dsmpartnership.com/news-media/blog/3-reasons-dsm-usa-is-a-tech-hub

 

If you look for it, you can find something local for all of your technology needs.

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What is the REAL cost?

by Adam Jacobs 2/12/2020

Whenever I get into a discussion with a customer about the cost of our products or services, we eventually get to the REAL cost of doing business with someone who does not do EVERYTHING possible to protect the customer.  What do I mean?  Here are some of the things American Alarms does to make sure our customers don't get into regulatory, legal, or even life-threatening danger.

- We buy products that we trust, we use, and have the best guarantees/warranties we can find.  When a system is designed for your life safety and/or security, you want parts that are as reliable as possible.

- We buy as many products from LOCAL manufacturers and vendors as we can and still offer the products our customers want.  This takes extra time and effort to seek out sometimes, but it's worth it to us.  It makes me feel good to know I can jump in the car and drive to this vendor's office in less than a day if needed.

- We spend thousands of dollars every year on technical and administrative training for our employees.  We feel this is a great investment in the people that we depend upon every day.

- We make sure EVERY field technician that touches a customer's system is trained, certified, and licensed to do what they are doing.  If we didn't, we may never get caught, but we like to sleep at night.

- We use contracts/agreements written by the best ALARM INDUSTRY attorney in the country.  This protects us AND our customers, so we can both be around for a long time.

- We carry DOUBLE the insurance that most customers request.  Our carrier has us in the proper classification so that claims won't be denied.  We have a "fire protection" specialist at our carrier that understands our business, lingo, and negotiates claims on our behalf.  We've had one claim in the last 10 years and that claim was proven "unfounded" and was never paid.

- We take responsibility for our mistakes and we fix them, even if we lose money short-term.  We have never walked away from a project just because we underestimated the cost.  I can't promise we'll never make mistakes, we're human, but we'll own up to that mistake and make it right.

 

If your alarm company (or any vendor) can't say they do all of these things, are you really comparing costs equally?

 

What is the REAL cost of doing business with that company?

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What is the REAL cost?

by Adam Jacobs 2/12/2020

Whenever I get into a discussion with customer about the cost of our products or services, we eventually get to the REAL cost of doing business with someone who does not do EVERYTHING possible to protect the customer.  What do I mean?  Here are some of the things American Alarms does to make sure our customers don't get into regulatory, legal, or even life-threatening danger.

- We buy products that we trust, we use, and have the best guarantees/warranties we can find.  When a system is designed for your life safety and/or security, you want parts that are as reliable as possible.

- We buy as many products from LOCAL manufacturers and vendors as we can and still offer the products our customers want.  This takes extra time and effort to seek out sometimes, but it's worth it to us.

- We spend thousands of dollars every year on technical and administrative training for our employees.  We feel this is a great investment in the people that we depend upon every day.

- We make sure EVERY field technician that touches a customer's system is trained, certified, and licensed to do what they are doing.  If we didn't, we may never get caught, but we like to sleep at night.

- We use contracts/agreements written by the best ALARM INDUSTRY attorney in the country.  This protects us AND our customers, so we can both be around for a long time.

- We carry DOUBLE the insurance that most customers request.  Our carrier has us in the proper classification so that claims son't be denied.  We have a "fire protection" specialist at our carrier that understands our business, lingo, and negotiates claims on our behalf.  We've had one claim in the last 10 years and that claim was proven "unfounded" and was never paid.

- We take responsibility for our mistakes and we fix them, even if we lose money short-term.  We have never walked away from a project just because we underestimated the cost.  I can't promise we'll never make mistakes, we're human, but we'll own up to that mistake and make it right.

 

If your alarm company (or any vendor) can't say they do all of these things, are you really comparing costs equally?

 

What is the REAL cost of doing business with that company?

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Cloud storage and management for video security

by Adam Jacobs 2/12/2020

What does it mean to have video in the "cloud"?  Well, it means you don't have to worry about an on-site DVR failing when you need it most.  It means a professional systems company can remotely trouble-shoot most of your issues without needing to come on site.  It means you are constantly updated with cybersecurity software and patches to make sure your video is secure and accessible.  It means you have one-click camera firmware updates.  It means you have lots of viewing and replay options - devices that use Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android all work.  

 

- Quick, easy installation

- Tier 4 data center

- End-to-end video encryption

- Unlimited cameras, multiple locations

- Unlimited resolution (only limited by cameras)

- Unlimited users (with limited permissions, if needed)

 

Call for more info.

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