A security company headquartered in Grand Rapids is preparing for the future in the telecommunications industry.
EPS Security is in the midst of upgrading its alarm signal communication devices from 3G and 4G networks to LTE (Long Term Evolution), which was implemented by cellular carriers. LTE will improve the speed of wireless connections.
Jeremy Schellie, marketing and communications manager, said not only is LTE a better mode of communications for alarm signals, but the upgrade is necessary.
“Once AT&T and Verizon ‘sunset’ 3G/4G, the alarm systems will no longer be able to communicate with the EPS Security Monitoring Center,” he said. “It’s both an upgrade in technology and a necessary update.”
The company began its upgrade in July, ahead of what is deemed as 3G/4G sunset by cellular companies. The security firm works with over 30,000 home and business customers across the state along with branch offices in Kalamazoo, Traverse City, Petoskey and Owosso. The company provides fire alarms, intrusion alarms, video surveillance and access control to its consumers.
“The ‘2G sunset’ occurred January 2017, so we needed to convert all customers utilizing the network for cellular alarm signal communication by then to 3G/4G communicators,” Schellie said. “The same thing is happening now. We must now transition all of our 3G/4G cellular customers to LTE communicators by February 2022. The technology will no longer be utilized or be active by AT&T and Verizon tower networks. We utilize both Verizon and AT&T networks for our customers based on signal strength across the state.”
Some EPS devices rely on cell towers. As a result, most consumers’ alarm systems can be easily upgraded. However, Schellie said some consumers’ systems will have to be replaced, requiring an entirely new control system upgrade.
“As long as customers have strong and successful working internet connections, our communicators will transmit over that and (fall) back to cellular,” said Russell Cross, director of sales. “EPS was an early adopter of putting in communicators that transmit these life safety signals over multiple paths, internet and cellular. As long as customers embrace the same importance, they will benefit.”
According to the Grand Rapids Fire Department 2018 Annual Report, there was a fire incident call volume of 608 in the city. That was a 1.14% decrease from 2017, which saw 615 fire incidents with 12 civilians injured and three civilian deaths.
There were 366 robberies, 758 burglaries, 3,917 larcenies, 40 arsons, 64 cases of stolen property and 1,565 vandalism cases that occurred in the city, per the Grand Rapids Police Department 2018 Annual Report.
“We look at cost/benefit ratio,” Cross said. “Although the changeouts are a challenge for both the customers and EPS, we still believe this is the best option.”