But finding a vendor who could help them was a long and sometimes disappointing search. "We started looking last November," Jackson said. "We came up with the criteria we wanted, wrote up an RFP [request for proposal] and sent it out to 11 different manufacturers. Six actually responded. We evaluated each first from a technical standpoint and then from a dollar standpoint. Several of the vendors had what we like to call vaporware. What it came down to was that the company that had the hardware and the software that could do what we wanted was DPS Telecom."
According to Jackson, while other companies wanted to change substantial NRE fees for attempting to develop a solution - DPS Telecom, with its no-risk custom engineering guarantee, was ready, willing, and able to create a solution for Dominion.
"DPS was the only one that said it could do it all, either through hardware or software. Everyone else had an exception," said Jackson. "Support for the Larse 1200 was a big piece," said Mullen. "Nobody else had much on that."
Jackson and Mullen also liked the can-do spirit of DPS Telecom's engineers. "I like the attitude of the engineers. They want to see it work as much as we do and I think that's really good. They seem to have a green light to be as creative as they need to be, either with the hardware or the software," Jackson said.
In a few short months, DPS Telecom rapidly created a new, custom-engineered solution designed specifically for Dominion's needs, a solution that let Dominion make the best use of their existing gear while smoothly transitioning to new remotes.
DPS Telecom supplied Dominion with an IAM-5 network alarm monitoring system running T/MonXM software. T/Mon replaces all of the older masters with a single unit. The T/Mon system is equipped with additional software modules for polling NEC, Larse, and Badger remotes. A DPS Telecom hardware unit, the FSK Converter, mediates data traffic between the IAM-5 and the frequency shift keyed (FSK) communication channel used by the Larse and Badger remotes.
To make the transition to the new system trouble-free, DPS Telecom transferred the alarm databases from the older masters to T/Mon using database conversion software. Jackson estimates that this step saved six to eight weeks of implementation time.