Immix and UL

By December 7, 2016Marketing

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Immix is a UL certified automation platform for central station monitoring. This certification provides customers with the confidence that Immix has been designed to meet the standards set by UL for alarm processing and management, and that the product is maintained on a regular basis to remain compliant. Not all stations need to be UL certified, however the features required to meet this standard are designed and built into the core of the platform for all users.

What is UL?
UL (formerly “Underwriters Laboratories”) is a global safety body that inspects and certifies products against a number of published “standards”. These standards contain precise requirements for safe and reliable operations over a wide range of products and services.

Manufacturers strive to have their products UL certified, as it is a recognized quality control, “stamp of approval”. It identifies that the product meets a level of reliability and safety verified by a third party.

Almost every electronic device sold in the US is UL certified. A look at the label on the nearest keyboard, mouse, or power adapter will likely show the “UL Listed” logo.

 

Why is certification important for monitoring?

In order to provide liability insurance for security monitoring, many insurers in the US require products to be UL certified, specifically in situations relating to life safety signals such as burglary and fire.

Additionally, the certification provides peace of mind to end user customers that they are using a monitoring service that has received the exclusive “stamp of approval” from a global safety body.

 

How does certification affect my business?


Central Stations wishing to hold a UL certification in the United States must be certified under UL 827. This covers the physical building such as wall to ceiling construction, provision of security and fire protection systems. It also requires a number of other standards to be met including the monitored panels/systems, which must be certified under UL 1610 (burglar), UL 864 (fire), and UL 1635 (digital). The requirements aim to cover everything from installation to configuration and operation.

 
The final component is the software monitoring these signals in the Central Station (the “automation platform”). This must also be UL 1981 certified. This standard ties the operational ends together covering the receipt of alarm signals, security controls for the software operators, and reliable operation during failures (“degraded modes of operation”).

 

Immix and its UL certification

Immix is certified for UL 1981, allowing it be used to monitor burglar and fire signals coming from UL panels via a UL receiver. This presents the signals to operators for processing and provides reliable operations in the event of a hardware failure.

To achieve the certification, SureView created a “High Availability” (HA) configuration for Immix. The configuration uses two identical servers and a smaller ‘witness’ server along with the datacenter-grade HA solutions of SQL Mirroring and Network Load Balancing to seamlessly continue operations in the event of a failure.

From an operator’s perspective, a hardware failure has no operational impact. Immix has to automatically raise a system alarm to let operators know there has even been an issue.

 

Do I need to be certified to provide video and other interactive services?

No, the current UL certification is required for monitoring UL burglar and fire systems. All other services can be provided without certification. This means that as well as using Immix to monitor UL certified burglar and fire systems, Video Verification services can be provided by linking those signals to cameras.

Many of the alarms received in Immix stations come from devices and systems that are not UL burglar and fire panels. This includes events from video (such as analytics alarms), access control events (such as door alarms), intercom alarms, GPS alarms, and any other type of event source integrated with the platform. Monitoring these alarms is outside of the scope of UL1981 and therefore does not affect a stations certification.

Recently, UL released the 827 B standard, which extends 827 to cover the provision of video monitoring services on top of burglar and fire. As with the base 827 the scope of this certification covers the policy and procedures of the station, not the software delivering this service. This new certification has been obtained by a number of Central Stations using Immix.

 

Do I need to be certified to use the High Availability deployment?

No, anybody can use the High Availability deployment of Immix to provide fault tolerant monitoring, whether or not they plan to obtain UL certification.

The key to providing a reliable service is having high availability systems and as a result the majority of Immix Central Stations use the HA deployment as a matter of course to enhance the reliability of the service they deliver to customers.

 

What was the process for SureView to be certified?

SureView worked closely with the team at UL to scope, develop and test the features and functions required to meet the standards of UL1981.

The certification process itself included a week-long on-site visit from a UL certification engineer during which time the platform is rigorously tested against the standard. UL also requires the creation of detailed documentation for the deployment and setup of the platform (this can be provided on request).

 The standard is regularly updated with new editions, which require re-certification, UL 1981 is currently on its third edition and SureView has been certified on all three editions. To ensure continued compliance, regular unannounced spot checks take place by a UL engineer to review the certification and ensure it is maintained to meet the standard as it develops and is modified.

 

What is the process for my station to be UL certified?

The certification process is similar to that described above: Once the station is built to the requirements of UL 827 and its referenced standards (including Immix as the monitoring platform in the HA deployment to meet UL 1981) the next step is to contact UL and arrange for a certification engineer to visit and perform the certification.

Once certification is awarded then the station, its customers and insurers can enjoy the benefits the UL stamp of approval confers. Just like SureView, stations will also receive regular unannounced spot checks in order to verify their continued compliance with the standards.

 

If I already have a UL certified automation platform, do I need to also certify using Immix?

No, the certification can remain with the existing platform. Immix also integrates with the majority of other UL automation platforms so these signals can be passed into Immix and associated with video to allow for video verification where your existing platform does not provide it.
More Information. For more information please contact SureView at +1-888-387-2860 or www.SureViewSystems.com