Lassila & Tikanoja (L&T)
"Introducing Skyresponse:system at L&T means that most of the current hardware and software could be retired, and that only two alarm receivers with serial to IP converters and a computer to drive the web browser needed to be retained. "
Lassila & Tikanoja (L&T) is a innovative service company that specializes in facility management with focus on minimal environmental impact, prolonged real estate lifetime and optimal indoor climate.
This is a part of a series of case studies with Skyresponse customers, written to shed some light on what one might expect from working with Skyresponse.
Background & challenge
Lassila & Tikanoja (L&T) is a innovative service company that specializes in facility management with focus on minimal environmental impact, prolonged real estate lifetime and optimal indoor climate. L&T operates in Finland, Sweden and Russia and employs over 8000 people. L&T Sweden AB offers a wide range of services within operation and maintenance of buildings, including energy management, supervision, upkeep, and corrective maintenance as well as monitoring of technical installations.
The operations centre
Monitoring of the supervised facilities is performed from the Veolia FM AB operations centre, located in Stockholm. The centre is manned 24 hours a day and provides a display of incoming alarms and access totrouble ticket systems. The centre also has positions where the operator can take incoming alarm calls by phone and call out relevant resources, such as repair men.
Both in case of an automatically generated alarm and when an alarm has been called in, the operator identifies relevant static data about the alarming object, analyses the dynamic information from the alarm, and then decides upon the actions to take. Automatic alarms typically provide an identification of the alarming object, address information, suggested actions and name plus telephone numbers of resources to call out.
A Multitude of Monitored Objects and Communication Protocols
The earlier automatic alarm monitoring system within Veolia FM AB received alarms from several thousand objects and transmitters such as intrusion alarms, elevator alarms, smoke and fire detectors, temperature sensors, flooding sensors, loss of power sensors, ventilation sensors and many more. Alarms from the various sensors were received over three main types of communication channels:
1. Alarms from older types of devices sent as DTMF codes over analogue telephone lines
2. Alarms sent as text coded messages with the public SMS service
3. Alarms aggregated by the AddSecure cloud service and delivered over a fixed or mobile (GPRS) connection to an AddSecure receiver (SafeTel) at L&T AB.
The majority of the alarm transmitters forward the alarm as a string of characters over a serial interface. Incoming “manual” alarm calls from field staff etc. were treated without any connection to the automatic alarm system, and only entered in the trouble ticket system. The multitude of communication channels and protocols involved required an extensive set of alarm receivers and other hardware, filling several server rooms at the L&T central premises in Stockholm.
For L&T, elimination of as much costly and maintenance requiring hardware from the own premises was a main objective, when looking for how to modernize the existing alarm reception. A major challenge was then to solve this renewal without a need for replacing all the existing alarm transmitters or modifying their protocols. Additionally, L&T was looking for ways to add new revenue generating services, such as personal safety, to the tasks that could be performed by the operations centre already manned 24-7.
Skyresponse:system is a rule-based cloud and Internet solution for efficient management of all types of alarms. The system handles alarms both from dedicated alarm transmitters and from other cloud-based systems, such as dedicated IoT platforms and specialized SMS or IP telephony systems. Key characteristics of Skyresponse:system is that alarms primarily are received over fixed or mobile Internet, interactions with other systems are done over the Internet, and that operators in the operations centre use a regular web browser to access, analyse and handle all incoming alarms – the Skyresponse:central alarm display. Furthermore, alarms can also be sent directly to field staff having an app in their mobile phone.
Introducing Skyresponse:system at L&T means that most of the current hardware and software could be retired, and that only two alarm receivers with serial to IP converters and a computer to drive the web browser needed to be retained.
Using an external SMS virtualization service all incoming SMS:s are converted to IP format and forwarded to Skyresponse:system for analysis. Similarly, incoming telephone calls to the L&T service number are converted to IP telephony using the external Twilio telephony service. The calls are then presented as alarms to the operator who can pick them up and call back directly from within the Skyresponse:central interface.
A next development step may be to also forward alarms from the AddSecure cloud service directly to Skyresponse:system, thus further reducing the hardware installed at L&T.
The Skyresponse:system-based operations centre was successfully introduced at L&T in 2018 and has brought the company a number of significant benefits:
- The amount of alarm handling hardware at L&T has been significantly reduced resulting in less maintenance and reduced costs.
- Use of an Internet and cloud-based alarm handling solution has increased overall availability of the services, compared to when using a local computer system.
- Alarms by incoming phone calls are now integrated with the normal alarm handling workflow, simplifying operations, and reducing risks of missed alarms.
- Alarms can be received by any computer having a web browser running Skyresponse:central and authorized Internet access to Skyresponse:system.
- New types of alarm transmitters are easily integrated which opens for service innovation, such as adding a personal safety service to the L&T offering.
- Possibility to integrate the alarm handling with Skyresponse:mobile, a smartphone app for field staff who can pickup and act directly on alarms.
- A modern and user-friendly operator interface with integrated telephony functions.