Building codes are designed to protect the general health and welfare of others but they are always changing. That’s not a bad thing. For example, now, when abiding by ASME 2019 elevator, IBC 2018 or IBC 2021 building code and someone is entrapped in an elevator, not only will the operator be able to communicate audibly, they will also have text messaging capabilities and the ability to see a video image of the elevator floor to determine the best course of action.
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The issue lies with how to support these new requirements. We are quickly moving away from the simple, 1 phone + 1 analog phone line = connection. Those lines are being replaced by cellular or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and the new messaging and video components will require data. Using VoIP for emergency communications comes with its own set of code-related issues and may require third-party access to your network. So the question becomes, whose data do you use and which connection is both viable as well as reliable?
There’s a lot to consider when thinking about the new code requirements and how to deliver data to your elevator. Security and prioritizing the connection to the elevator is paramount.
Granting a third party vendor access to your network is an option but unfortunately, even privileged account access has risks and it needs to be under the direct and careful supervision of your IT department. Deciding to use your own network also creates a long checklist and more work for you. This is hard enough when you have the infrastructure in place, even more difficult when you don’t. If using your own network is the path you choose, there are a few things to consider.
First, let’s define terms.
LAN – Local area network connects several devices as a small network in a specific location and can be wired, wireless, or both.
WAN – Wide area network is similar to a LAN but is not limited to a single location. It can also consist of several LANs which are interconnected. If you have an internet connection, you are connected to a WAN.
VLAN – Virtual LAN is created when devices are grouped together from one or more LANs, typically based on geographic location.
Router – quite simply, a device that routes data from a LAN to another network connection such as the internet.
QoS – Quality of Service is a technology that manages traffic on your network to ensure performance is optimized. This includes packet loss, latency, and jitter.
Kings III provides the emergency phone and you can choose to supply access to an existing standard phone line or opt for our cellular service. For the messaging and video components, you would need to provide a WAN connection to the internet.
The simplest solution is to let Kings III take care of everything. We provide the elevator phone, cellular connection, and the data. Our turnkey service includes the phone equipment and installation, lifetime maintenance, as well as 24/7/365 professional emergency monitoring.
Best practice is to make sure nothing auxiliary goes onto your network and that includes your elevator. We recommend you provide a separate network or at least a VLAN to isolate the elevator from the general network and configure QoS to prioritize elevator datacoms over other network traffic. The general network remains protected since it cannot interact (and vice versa) as well as safeguards all parties.
Remember, we are talking about elevators so in addition to network security issues all the other rules (ASME/IBC/ADA) still apply as well. Code specifies that elevators maintain four hours of talk time if there is a power outage. Those rules apply to the video messaging system as well. With many of these systems, no power equals no connection resulting in a communication, not to mention code, failure. The bottom line is, this is what we do, it’s all we do. We’ve been in the emergency communications business for over 30 years and understand the individual needs of our customers and provide code-compliant solutions to meet those needs. This in turn allows you to cross one more thing off your list giving you one less thing to worry about and provides peace of mind.