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Choosing the Best Manufacturer for Railway Alarm Monitoring Systems

By Ziad Alezabi

December 8, 2023

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A rewarding aspect of distributing alarm monitoring solutions is that you get to interact with both small companies and household names. About a month back, I was contacted by a sales manager at a technology integration company...

I'm actually planning to propose a new alarm system product lineup for a MENA National Railway Organization. They have 72 Telecom remote sites, and 9 control centers for operation. Can you please guide me through your products? How can you help me?

Not having the right equipment in your product lineup can harm your ability to attract and serve potential clients. This is especially true for sales managers of alarm systems. It is important for them to have the necessary equipment. Without it, they may struggle to attract and serve all potential clients.

What Makes You An Attractive Distributor to Railway/Transportation Organizations

To enhance your product range, it's important to partner with a manufacturer who offers alarm system monitoring solutions.

  1. Offer you products with interchangeable utilities:Networks of any kind are already complicated enough. If you have versatile equipment, you can provide a great selection of solutions that are easy to access and use. A tell-tale sign of a good alarm real-time monitoring solutions manufacturer is versatile products.

  2. Customize your equipment and interface to meet your clients' needs: Find a manufacturer that can provide tailored solutions for alarm monitoring systems. A one-size-fits-all approach may not always be suitable. Can they...

    • Alter equipment on the software side in order to fit your client's needs?

    • Offer flexibility when working with the hardware? Are they able to be mounted anywhere? Is it able to be customized so that it can endure various types of environmental conditions?

  3. Fluid Scalability:
    No matter who your customers are, you always want to be able to grow and expand your services.
    Small-scale customers can scale up and expand their networks as their number of sites grow.
    Large-scale customers are likely to expand into different territories (ex. Expanding into a different state or country instead of erecting another network system in a nearby building).

  4. Reliable remote control and monitoring capabilities:
    Regardless of what size customer you're serving, remote monitoring and control equipment is a necessity. This is often neglected when a network is initially set up.
    Remote monitoring works hand in hand with remote controls. Your customer needs to monitor their equipment, environment, barriers, railway infrastructure, operations, safety systems, and security solutions.
    This means that your customers will be able to monitor all their sites either on an alarm master like T/MON. That will be at your central NOC. This can even mean that they receive notifications in easy readable detail to their mobile devices.
    Your customers can view their system alarms remotely through remote monitoring. If you can remotely monitor that a certain system is overheating, it is then helpful to be able to turn on/off the cooling mechanism for it remotely as well.

  5. Training and support:
    Being able to support your customers and train them on the devices that they'll be managing is vital. If you have customers knocking on your door to ask questions every time you blink, you'll be both frustrated and soon see those customers leave you.
    This is easily avoided through good documentation from your manufacturers. You should also receive support and training from them.

How To Know What Equipment Your Lineup Needs

I told my potential client about the potential equipment that we could offer him to help him improve his value proposition to the MENA National Railway Organization.

We do a fair amount of monitoring for different railway companies. Typically they have a number of sites along rails that would have one of our RTUs in them.
Most of our RTUs have similar functionality, they mainly differ on capacity of alarms, analog values, and protocol messages that they can monitor. One of our highest capacity RTUs would be our NetGuardian 832A.

I knew that I didn't have all of the information on what my client was working with, so I asked for more information. He provided me with the following specs for his proposed line-up...

Sorry I didn't provide you with that much information. Each remote site includes 10 to 20 alarms. The majority of them are dry contact. I am thinking of a master slave design, where all remote sites can transfer the data from each site to the master unit in the NOC

A Good Alarm Monitoring System Manufacturer Caters To Your Budget Limits

I instantly recognized and recommended that he did not need all the capacity of a NetGuardian 832A, and offered a NetGuardian 216 G6. It is fully featured, however it does not hold as many alarm points as an 832A would.

I understand. For 10 to 20 dry contacts per site, I would recommend something with a bit less capacity. The NetGuardian 832A can monitor up to 20 dry contacts for alarms representing equipment status, generator runs, fire detection, etc.
would be one in each site, and they would all be able to report to a central collector like our T/Mon LNX. With T/Mon, you would be able to configure and monitor all sites from a single screen.
NetGuardian 832A G6 back panel
This is the NetGuardian RTU that our client was originally interested in, it will not leave you wanting more. However, we offer smaller capacity RTUs as well to accomodate needs.

"It's just a fantastic product. The NetGuardian does what it says it says it can do, and actually a lot more."
-Mark Renne, Program Manager

Be wary of manufacturers that are not willing to work with your scalability requirements. Granted, there is a limit to how cheap alarm monitoring systems can be while guaranteeing reliability and durability. However, a manufacturer willing to work with your alarm system network's size and accommodate for up-scales in the future is a green-light.

They are willing to be flexible, make versatile equipment, and won't try to cheat you by asking for money upfront without offering a guarantee.

How To Negotiate The Right Offer With Your Manufacturer

A good manufacturer will put you at the helm. You should never be afraid to indicate and negotiate the specifics of what equipment and setups you are asking for them. The salesperson should explain how each piece of equipment will meet your needs. They should also discuss all prices for those products before making a purchase.

After giving my client some time to check out our products, I proposed that we get on a conference call so that I can demo our products for him. After he was satisfied with what he saw, I offered him a proposal...

  • Monitor up to 16 dry contact alarms at each site with the NetGuardian 216 G6.

  • Collect data from all NetGuardians with the T/Mon SLIM Central Collector

  • Configure and Monitor all sites via a web browser interface from any location on your network with the T/Mon SLIM.

  • Add additional devices to the T/Mon SLIM to change it from allowing only 64 devices to be monitored, to allowing 128 devices to be monitored.

  • Have a geo-redundant Secondary T/Mon SLIM in the event that your Primary T/Mon SLIM is taken offline.

  • Receive software upgrades, priority tech support, discounted hardware upgrades, and other noted benefits (see Tech Overview) with the T/Mon Gold Plan Maintenance Agreement (Optional).

NetGuardians reporting to the T/Mon master unit
This is the NetGuardian RTU that we ended up offering our client. If you are backed by a good manufacturer, you will not fear future upgrades.
Good manufacturers will be able to integrate into your systems seamlessly.

Why DPS is the Ideal Alarm Monitoring System Manufacturer for Your Railways' Network

Your distribution to a railways' network system is dependent on reliable, scalable, and cost-conscious alarm monitoring systems. A manufacturer that provides you with remote control and monitoring capabilities, offers you continuous training and support, caters to your budget plans, and allows you to be in control of your offer -- is what sets you up for success.

Your priority should be finding an alarm monitoring system manufacturer that meets all these assets without compromise. If you're looking for something that fits this description, take a look at DPS. We make telecom monitoring systems tailored to your unique customer projects. With 35+ years of experience, we've gotten quite good at listening to what you're trying to accomplish.

Browse through our products and services on this site. Let's have an email conversation or a quick call so I can understand your needs. I'll point you in the right direction, whether or not your project requires DPS equipment.

Call me at 1-800-693-0351 or email me at sales@dpstele.com

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Ziad Alezabi

Ziad Alezabi

Ziad Alezabi is a Application Documentarian at DPS Telecom. He reviews successful DPS client projects and reports on the best practices that you can use to successfully reach your own project goals.