If you’ve been thinking nothing exciting ever happens in the local alarm industry you’re wrong. With virtually no fanfare a local team has built something unexpected – a 64-zone control panel with integrated access control and some serious connectivity. In the mid-1980s one Sydney-based alarm panel manufacturer dominated the Australian alarm market. Its product was simple to operate and functional for its time. Best of all it was reliable – you still see EDM’s early panels operating today. It’s from the same designers that the new Digiflex Vision-64 alarm panel springs, an alarm panel with access control capability that’s been developed against a backdrop of global Internet connectivity. And when we talk about the Internet here we’re not just banging away about alarm reporting. The Vision-64 is an alarm panel that will send, receive and display email. Your first sight of the Vision-64 gives away the communicative nature of the system – its primary feature is a whopping LCD screen that seems to take up about 1/3 of the keypad’s total depth. The 4-line screen will show up to 20 characters and 17 icons and it offers adjustable backlight, contrast and volume, as well as a real time clock and temperature display. The user interface of the system is described by Digiflex as the Graphic Keypad and that’s a good description. This keypad is designed to allow all system conditions to be checked on one screen. Key features The Vision-64 is part of a family of panels ranging in size from 8-128 zones and it has a features list that’s extremely comprehensive. Standout features include an integrated prox reader that allows users to present a prox tag to the keypad just as a prox card is presented to a prox reader in order to control a door. You can also use an external reader if this better suits the application (using the CM110 output expander module. In total up to 10 readers can be controlled by the system, giving capable access control for residential and small commercial applications. The system also allows 8 separate partitions, with each keypad being area aware so an authorised system administrator, tech or security manager can control all areas from one keypad. The Vision-64 supports 64 zones either wired or wireless, with the panel supporting multi-vendor wireless devices. This means you’re not stuck with a specific brand of sensor which is helpful for retrofits or for installs where you need greater sensing horsepower. A pretty cool feature of the Vision-64 is its ability to expand using the LAN-based CM105 module for hardwired zones. Because this module is LAN-based it’s possible to slot the expander into the enclosure containing the motherboard. But more importantly the expander can be remotely located in its own enclosure and wired back into the main panel across a single dedicated 4-wire LAN. This means zones can be installed in a standard star configuration around the expander with one cable run coming back to the panel. Each expander can handle 16 zones and this can be increased to 32 with split EOL monitoring. There are 10 additional PTC fuse protected power terminals that allow powering of sensors or other devices. Importantly, so long as low current draw sensors and switches are hanging off the expander all power required can be drawn from the LAN. You can also employ the CM106 piggy-back zone expander/s to get an additional 8 or 16 zone inputs. Another neat expansion feature is the CM100—Voice Command Module that allows the system to call the user in an alarm event and give a voice report. Users can then acknowledge alarm reports using their touch tone telephone handsets. Typical of the product’s overall smarts is the fact that when the CM-100 module is connected all internal phones sharing the same line automatically become virtual extension keypads for the Vision-64. Networking TCP/IP capability is integral to the Vision-64’s overall performance. A TCP/IP module, the CM150 allows the panel to be connected to any TCP/IP network with the module itself carrying a panel’s IP address on the LAN. Once on the LAN there are a number of communications options open. For a start the panel can report alarm events across the Internet as a primary or secondary path. Alarm data is encrypted using a 3-DES 128-bit algorithm. It’s also possible for the Vision-64 system to be polled across the Internet by the monitoring station every few seconds to ensure there are no breaches of security. Using Digiflex VisionLink management software you can also configure the controller over a LAN, a WAN or the Internet. VisionLink is based on SQL technology and allows full programming as well as real time diagnostics of the system’s status, with comprehensive report generation. Perhaps the most interesting feature of the new panel is its ability to not only email alarm and/or disarm events to a number of computers or PDAs, but to accept emails and display them on the big screen of the Graphic Keypad where they can be retrieved next time the system is disarmed. While the Vision-64 has an onboard dialler and we’ve already discussed the system’s ability to report across the Internet to a monitoring station or any email address, the system also has an optional GSM/GPRS module, the CM140. This module significantly increases the security of the panel’s reporting path and the GSM/GPRS can be configured as either the primary or secondary reporting path. Like everything else about the Vison-64, the design of the wireless reporting path shows plenty of clever thinking. Use of the CM140 gives you communication with a monitoring station, as well as the ability to send alarm message to a mobile phone or an email address via SMS. None of this is rocket science but how many other panels have such capability onboard with the GSM/GPRS module assigned its own expansion slot? The there’s the system’s CM120 LAN power supply – a 1Amp continuous rated device capable of charging sealed lead batteries of up to 7Ah and withy dual 500mA outputs. Being a LAN device, the CM120 can be installed in its own enclosure away from the panel itself while still being fully monitored. With a range of options and an awesome features list, the Vision64 deserves serious consideration from installers looking for something more than a basic alarm system. And the fact the system is locally designed and built ensures you’ll get all the support you need.