Utilities Benefit from Computer System Control

Utilities Benefit from Computer System Control

December 6

A variety of computer-controlled utilities exist to perform a wide array of tasks. Everything from fire suppression systems to security systems benefit from computer integration. Are managing these utility systems much different from the tasks that go into operating a data center? Do they benefit from regular backups and disaster recovery planning scenarios?

The level of computer integration and necessary management really depends on the specific utility in question. Let’s take a look at some computer-controlled utility systems.

The Complexity of Fire Suppression Systems Depends on the Application

Fire suppression systems range from a simple fire extinguisher, a set of nozzles, and a discharge line suitable for vehicular applications to a complex, computer-controlled system designed to provide fire protection for a data center. Those latter systems are probably more relevant to someone involved in IT operations.

Siemens provides a wide range of fire protection and suppression solutions designed for operation in large data centers. They offer a unique waterless fire extinguishing system that stops a fire before a sprinkler system kicks in, which could cause significant damage to server and networking equipment. A unique computer-based panel detects fire anywhere in the building and displays emergency contact information and exit pathways.

State of the art detectors in the Siemens system are certified as Very Early Warning Fire Detectors (VEWFD). While data backups aren’t applicable with most complex fire suppression solutions, battery backup is a very important feature, enhanced by short-term power generation capabilities as needed.

Security Systems Benefit from Computer Integration

Most security systems benefit from computer control. The more complex solutions offer network integration features that allow remote monitoring by either a homeowner or a security professional. Alerts are automatically triggered when a break-in, fire, or other event happens.

Honeywell’s Pro-Watch system illustrates how computer control and integration are a natural fit for security applications. Pro-Watch includes a database that stores forensic and other security related data with a full reporting suite and audit capabilities. Obviously in this scenario, both data and battery backup offer an extra measure of protection depending on the situation.

Home Automation Thrives on a Computer Platform

Home automation systems, like those provided by Crestron, depend on computer control for full functionality. Lights, thermostats, audio, shades, and more are easily controlled from desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones in addition to switches and panels. Crestron even offers Software Development Kits (SDKs) so iOS, Flash, and Android programmers can build interfaces to manage an HA system.

Backup functionality allows all settings and other system data to be saved and restored in the event of a server failure. Battery backup, enhanced by power generators offer a measure of control in the event of a power outage. Some home automation systems also include integrated security functionality.

Computer control benefits utilities like home automation, fire suppression, and security solutions. In many cases, these systems truly rely on the computer for many of their functions. Be sure to leverage a battery backup to prevent a loss of service during a power outage.

Exploring backup solutions for Windows machines? Look no further than the StorageCraft ShadowProtect family.