Automation Platforms: Central Station Software Update
Overhauled Web Access, PSAP Lead Manitou ImprovementsThe last year has been a busy one for Bold Technologies, based in Colorado Springs, Colo. The company expanded its presence into Europe, released version 6.1 of its Manitou software and provided dealers with a number of Manitou enhancements to help them do business better.
One of the most significant undertakings may have been a complete overhaul of BoldNet Web Access. Using a combination of the latest and greatest Web technologies and significant involvement from its customer steering committee, Bold reinvented the portal as a more user-friendly and dealer-centric tool.
Additionally, Bold expects the recent integration of Manitou with public safety answering points (PSAP) to improve response times, which should reduce the loss of valuable assets and save lives.
The coming year, which marks the 30th anniversary of Bold Technologies, looks to be just as busy.
In 2011, Bold will expand its focus on physical security information management (PSIM) with a special PSIM version of Manitou.
Mobile applications and increased end-user automation functionality also figure be a major part of Bold’s plans.
DICE Looks to Mobile Management, Cloud Computing With UpdatesThe last few months have seen Bay City, Mich.-based DICE Corp. making a flurry of updates to its Matrix Web product line. Notable among these updates were the addition of a number of management functionalities to its PERS offerings and completely overhauling its Quantum Operator/IVR to capitalize on cloud computing capabilities.
But it was the company’s advancements in dealer tools that took center stage in 2010. Based on input and requests from its dealer customers, DICE either added new tools or improved existing ones with the goal of help dealers increase their acquisitions and efficiencies. Enhanced functionality in the field, including mobile data, sales, service and account management software, allows dealers to automate tasks and information in real time to a central station using a smart phone or other mobile device.
While DICE is coy about its 2011 plans, playing specifics close to the vest, the company does offer hints about future updates to whet customers’ whistles. To get an idea of those plans, think cloud computing and PERS management completely reformed.
Micro Key Adds Web Services, Action Plans in 2010With the release of MyView, PayPoint and action plans, Kissimmee, Fla.-based Micro Key Solutions continued to update and enhance its Millennium Series software in 2010. MyView provides end users with online access to their account information, including alarm status, call lists, alarm information and service information. Using PayPoint, customers can pay open invoices, make advanced payments and deposits online directly from the dealer or central station’s website. An enhancement to Micro Key’s existing operator-guided response functionality, the new action plans update provides central station operators a specific plan of action based on each alarm.
Micro Key plans three significant new features for 2011. Using Virtual Operator, technicians in the field will be able to link to Millennium using an iPhone or Android-based phone to obtain visual verification of testing results. They also will be able to receive job tickets using their phones through an update to Tech Module. A new single-entry connectivity feature will redefine the concept of single entry and allow central stations and dealers to more easily share alarm information.
SGS Focuses on Field Technicians, Business IntelligenceIn 2010, Irvine, Calif.-based Secure Global Solutions (SGS) beefed up its stages™ software to improve customers’ experiences both in the field and on the business end of their operations.
Among these updates was expansion of the Dispatch Wizard to include more rule-making options that allow dealers to see all steps an operator will take and ensure stages™ will apply them to each scenario.
SGS also introduced applications for both iPhone and BlackBerry®, but technicians who have neither won’t be left out. In tandem with the apps, the company increased its focus on SMS auto response to allow technicians to use SMS for testing and retrieving customer information from the field. The most recent addition to stages™ is a set of business intelligence applications that provide real-time graphs of activity and exception reporting.
In the new year, SGS will continue to focus on these core areas, with applications for both Android and iPad planned. The company also will put “significant effort” into its business intelligence suite, including the development of a management dashboard to make accessing real-time reports even easier.
MAS Kicks off 2-Year Plan for Next-Generation SoftwareAt its recent MAS user conference, UTC Fire & Security, based in Farmington, Conn., announced it would roll out the next generation of its MASterMind in a phased approach over the next two years. The new platform, MASterMind EX, will include two major changes. The first is a new user interface that will combine the functionalities of MASterMind Monitoring and MASterMind Business into one large, user-configurable application that can be deployed either as a thin-client Windows application or in a Web browser environment.
The second improvement will be to use a standard Windows Communication Foundation service-oriented architecture to ensure full integration between the new application and a SQL database. This will allow dealers and central stations to more easily incorporate video, access control and GPS for their customers. Customers will begin seeing these updated EX modules with the May 2011 MASterMind General Release. These will include video, monitoring data entry and Workflows, a new scripting tool designed to improve operator efficiency in addition to reducing operator training and call-handling times.