In the UK many elderly people are living in group home accommodations, giving seniors a possibility to live among their peers. While it does not fulfill the level of medical needs that a nursing home brings, it provides safety and services not available when living in residential homes alone.

What is NOW-IP?

As the analogue shut-off is progressing rapidly in the UK there is a need to move to digital solutions. As a result, a new standard for communication between group homes and Alarm Receiving Centers (ARC) has been developed. The standard is called BS8521-2:2020 or nicknamed NOW-IP. Like the SCAIP protocol, NOW-IP is based on IP communication and has been enhanced to fit the use case of group home environments.

The NOW-IP standard is not based on tone-based protocols, hence it should not be mixed up with the protocol BS8521:2009 which defines the standard for tone-based protocols.

The purpose with the NOW-IP standard is to ensure compatibility between devices and systems implementing this new standard and allow them to communicate together in the same network.

Usage of NOW-IP is increasing

Up until now the number of NOW-IP devices in the market has been limited. However, during the last year various suppliers have launched devices on the market allowing steps to be taken to speed up the digital shift process, and consequently implement more reliable solutions.

Today, hardly any Alarm Receiving Centre is compatible with this new standard, and it will take quite some time before support for it has been developed. This will unfortunately hamper the shift to modern IP-based solutions, but it will also reduce the competitive edge for many alarm service providers.

Capturing the NOW-IP potential for alarm service providers

For years, has helped alarm service providers to overcome the problem of protocol complexity and fragmentation, which is specifically prominent in the health care industry.

We help bridging between analog and digital protocols, and as such we have ensured legacy alarm receiving platforms become SCAIP compliant. Our Alarmbridge has received SCAIP events from various devices and delivered them to alarm receiving platforms through APIs.

Now we can enable platforms to become compliant with NOW-IP, BS8521-2:2020. The Alarmbridge can receive alarm events from NOW-IP-enabled controller units and convert them to REST API, SCAIP or even to the analogue BS8521:2009 protocol that some alarm receiving platforms use. The Alarmbridge communicates with the group home controller unit and seamlessly delivers the alarm event to the ARC in the format selected.

In group homes there might be several different devices connected to the controller unit such as speech devices, door intercom or fire detectors. These devices, which are spread throughout the group home facilities, are pre-provisioned in the Alarmbridge. This enables the Alarmbridge to give accurate information to the alarm receiving platform on the whereabout of the originating device.

In other words, if a fire detector causes the alarm event, then information about exactly where the fire detector is located will be given to the ARC personnel. The benefit of this is of course that adequate assistance can be assigned immediately to the right place. For voice-capable devices connected to the control unit the Alarmbridge can set up voice connections between the ARC and the local voice device.

Do you want to learn more, please get in touch.

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