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Remote monitoring your network allows you to have a good situational awareness across perhaps thousands of square miles containing remote sites. If a problem arises at a site, an appropriate response can be issued to ensure that a particular remote site's problem does not fester until it becomes a widespread network outage. This is why it is important to select the correct monitoring equipment for your sites and ensure that your monitoring system is installed correctly.
If you are in the market for new monitoring devices whether you are buying for a completely new remote monitoring system, want made-to-order devices, or you just want to upgrade your legacy equipment, deciding what units to buy and how to set them up can be difficult. This is why it is so helpful to have your manufacturer pay you visit while you are making this decision. A manufactures visit can offer many benefits. Let's take a look at the main ones.
Do you want to monitor your remote sites, but you don't have any idea from where to start? Planning your alarm system can be overwhelming. If you're not familiar with monitoring devices, deciding what capacity, interface, and features you want can be very hard.
So, the first benefit of having a manufacturer visit you is that you won't have to go through this by yourself. You can work together with an experienced manufacturer to plan your monitoring system.
It is important to have a specialist opinion about what equipment you should monitor and what features a good alarm system should have. This way, you'll get some sense of what would be the ideal alarm system that would give you the best possible visibility of your network.
When visiting, your manufacturer's team should aim to discuss a custom monitoring system, making sure to capture all your site's details. They'll discuss with you all the requirements that your monitoring system needs to meet by determining what kind of pain points you have. A pain point is a specific problem that your company might be experiencing. Those can be diverse and varied, so you might not even be aware of your own pain points. Your vendor should make sure to find them and include a solution for them in your monitoring system.
Finding and developing solutions for pain points is an important step to take when designing and maintaining a monitoring system. By focusing on eliminating pain points, you and your manufacture will be able to put together the best monitoring solution possible for your company.
To help you visualize how a monitoring system will address these pain points the best manufacturers will provide you with an app drawing of your future system. The application drawing is a simple and comprehensive way to show you exactly what their equipment will be doing in your environment or network. Virtually anybody can understand app drawings, which allows even those inexperienced in remote monitoring to give meaningful feedback on design choices and make an informed decision.
If your manufacturer is able to offer you customized products they will most likely be able to visit you for a field trial of their product.
Opting to work with your manufacturer on a custom engineering project can bring you many benefits, such as:
Equipment that is a perfect fit for your requirements
A stronger relationship with your vendor's technical staff.
Insight into how available that manufacturer is to their clients and what you can expect from them in the future.
You should expect your manufacturer to need a little bit of your time, as well as your attention, in order to understand your requirements, test their assumptions in your real-world environment, and make sure that they're giving you exactly the product you need.
Do you have legacy remote monitoring equipment? Are you wondering how will you be able to get from where you are now to where you want to be today?
It's very rare for a company to be able to leap from their current alarm monitoring to their ideal system all at once. Budget restrictions and the cost of installing equipment mean you can't usually get everything you want in one budget year.
However, your manufacturer is still the best resource you have when developing some strategies that will help you find a smooth, gradual upgrade path that will let you transition to a new alarm system over several budget cycles.
One of the main benefits of a visit from your manufacturer is that they can evaluate your legacy gear and assist you with your legacy migration.
During the visit you manufacturer:
Help you define your immediate monitoring needs
Your manufacturer will probably ask you: what are the essential alarm monitoring capabilities that you must have today? What critical equipment do you absolutely have to monitor right now?
Keep in mind, your definition of an immediate, essential need might be different than someone else's. For example, if you have the staff to keep an eye on an alarm screen 24x7, you might not need pager notifications. However, if you need to manage critical network assets during unmanned after-hours and weekend times, paging is an essential capability.
Help you to start slow and plan your future expansions
Once you and your manufacturer have taken care of your bare minimum needs, you can go over planing the addition of more alarm capacity and more monitoring capabilities over several budget cycles. You don't have to spend more than you can afford in one budget year, and your manufacturer should be able to help you gradually move towards your ideal system.
Help you with protocol mediation in order to incorporate existing equipment
The first stages of your legacy migration can be easier and more cost-effective if you can install a new alarm master first and then gradually replace remotes at your remote sites. During the visit, your manufacturer can help you install a new alarm master with multiprotocol support that can work with your existing RTUs. This way you can immediately add new presentation capabilities without replacing all your remote site equipment at once.
Help you keep your future goals in mind
Your manufacturer will be there during your expansion plan to keep you thinking about what your remote monitoring needs are likely to be 5, 10, 15 years down the road. It's easier and more cost-effective to add alarm capacity in a controlled way in the immediate future than to rush a new deployment through when you've exceeded your alarm capacity.
Is your system not running optimally and you don't know how to change that? How much visibility do you think you have of your remote monitoring equipment? Do you need to have someone on site to verify connections and polling between your remote telemetry units and the master?
There are several ways in which you could potentially find yourself in this position. Here's some of them:
The people who were originally trained haven't been there for a long time.
Originally, there was no budget for training.
The original plan was to self-educate.
Regardless of the cause, this is a big issue because your company is not taking all it can from the investment in monitoring, and your network visibility isn't as optimized as it should be. You can find yourself pressed for time because you're not able to leverage the tools that are already in place. The only thing that's really clear is that is your job to make sure that everything gets properly deployed very quickly.
So, another benefit from having your remote monitoring manufacturer come to visit you is that they might offer you a training solution applicable to your specific situation.
The best manufacturers offer on-site turn-up assistance programs, which are the best and fastest way to turn up your system. They should come to your site to review your system's current configuration, work with the system administrators to show them how to best use and configure the system for your needs. They also should cover RTU configurations and have a special section where they provide basic training to your everyday users.
The goal is to make sure you end up with a system that runs great and you know how to maintain.
We know that when your monitoring system is working well, you're shielded from all kinds of expensive problems. Therefore, our visit will ensure that you're getting the most protection possible from the investment you already made in your remote monitoring system.
We aim to totally customize our visit to give you exactly what you need. In order to achieve that, we offer you the following points that we can go over during the visit.
Feature/Configuration Wish List Review
Do you have any equipment that is not currently providing everything you to monitor your sites properly? It doesn't have to be necessarily a DPS product. We'll talk about what else you wish your current equipment could do. It's important that you let us know what perfect alarm notifications would look like for you, whether they come from RTU/master screens or email, SMS and etc.
Site Review - Concierge Service
If you opt for a site review, we'll analyze your current setup (involving DPS equipment or not) to determine how you can better monitor your sites. You'd be getting an experts opinion. We've been in business for more than 30 years and that's all we do.
Training for You and Your Team
We could also teach you and your staff how to use your DPS equipment more effectively. This training will:
Provide an overall increase in DPS equipment usefulness.
Create an informed and knowledgeable staff - you'll be distributing the knowledge.
The course content is based on our Factory Training - that occurs several times a year in our headquarters in Fresno, CA. However, since it's an "on site" course, it can be tailored to your exact needs. Obviously, you save a considerable amount of travel expenses over the Factory Training, because you don't have all the expenses of sending your staff here to California.
If necessary, we'll take on the task of performing minor adjustments and optimizations to your equipment for you. We can upgrade your firmware/software for you as well.
Talk about Customization
We are a vertical integrated remote monitoring manufacturer, this means that we design your product and build it in-house - at our headquarters in Fresno, CA. Vertical integration allows our company to provide a wide range of custom design service, so if you have special requirements that are unique to you, we'd love to discuss designing a perfectly tailored monitoring platform for you.
Keep in mind that each of the previous elements are totally optional. Let us know which of these services would be most helpful to you.
Also, we know that visiting you wouldn't be helpful if we consumed more of your time than we saved. We understand that you have a busy schedule. So, the average DPS visit lasts 1 house, and some are even shorter. We're able to spend up to 4 hours at your facility - if that brings you any value.
We're here to help you. If you have questions regarding our site visits, or want to know more about how you can achieve the perfect-fit solution for your monitoring requirements, just give us a call.