Davicom's Blog

A NOC in your Pocket

Published by Davicom on June 3 2015

 

 

How the Dav2You App is turning out to be a NOC in your pocket!

 

 When we initially planned and designed the Dav2You app for smartphones and tablets, our goal was to provide a simple means of communicating with our Davicom Intelligent Site Monitoring Systems. This means would take full advantage of the rich feature sets provided by the Apple (iOS) and Google (Android) Operating Systems of these smartphone and tablet devices.

Graphic User Interface (GUI) features, such as maps, would allow users to easily identify the location of their sites. Scrollable lists would give users full access to large site reports and logs while notifications would warn them of problems at the site.

MAPLIST

 

 

Once we had this all programmed-up and running, we realised that there was no limitation on the number of sites we could receive notifications from. With the maps providing an overall view of the network and the lists and logs providing a database of alarms, Dav2You was turning out to be a Network Operations Center (NOC) on your smartphone, or even better, a NOC in your Pocket!

 

 

 


Take back control by having your site control itself.

Published by Davicom on February 4 2015

 

The “control” aspect of a monitoring and remote control system can often be overlooked or forgotten. Generally, remote control is limited to allowing a remote user to connect to the site and to control stuff. With an intelligent system, the control can be used to do smart things automatically.


Here are 6 examples:

  1. AUTOMATICALLY RESET FLAKY NETWORK ELEMENTS

  2. Use the built-in network Pings of your intelligent remote-control system to check for on-site or off-site network continuity and use a relay to power-cycle any elements that don’t respond as expected.


  3. PERFORM A DAILY RESET OF CRITICAL EQUIPMENT

  4. If you have equipment such as a computer or modem that accumulates errors and needs to be reset every few days, use the internal timers and relays of your intelligent remote control system to reset the device automatically every night at 3:00 AM. Although this “preventive” reset may not be the most elegant way to operate on a permanent basis, it can certainly save your B*** while waiting for replacement parts.


  5. TURN-ON TOWER LIGHTS AT SUNDOWN

  6. OK, so you can do this with a photocell, but the photocell can become dirty and grimy, or burn-out, or be affected by cloud cover or new on-site lighting installations. Instead, use the Sunrise/Sunset flag of your intelligent remote control system to automatically activate a relay when the sun goes down. This flag is calculated mathematically for every day of the year from the site’s latitude and longitude that are entered into the remote control’s configuration settings. In certain jurisdictions, this flag can even be used to trigger the day/night power and pattern changes for AM broadcast stations.


  7. START THE GENERATOR FOR A WEEKLY TEST

  8. Best practices for generator power installations require that the generator be tested periodically to ensure that it can operate correctly in an emergency. If allowed in your jurisdiction, automatic tests can be a great time saver.  Use the internal timers of your intelligent remote control system to set a flag once a week, on Monday morning at 10:00 AM for example. This flag will trigger a relay to start the generator for a predetermined period of, say, 10 minutes, and turn it off afterwards. The test can be logged in the system log. You could even set an audio alarm or siren to sound for 30 seconds before the test to warn any on-site personnel about the imminent generator start-up.


  9. TURN STUFF ON OR OFF AT A REMOTE SITE, AUTOMATICALLY

  10. Say you have a backup transmitter located at a different site than your main transmitter. If you have any type of communications link between your two sites, you can use the Unit-to-Unit Commands of your intelligent remote control system to automatically turn on your backup transmitter should the main one fail. Dial-up, IP or even a plain UHF Radio link can be used to send these commands with no intervention on your part. The main site can even automatically tell the backup site to shut down when it is ready to come back on-line.


  11. MAKE SURE YOUR EQUIPMENT DOESN’T OVERHEAT OR RUN FOR TOO LONG

  12. If you have a compressor at your site to pressurize your transmission lines, it may be important to limit the run-time or duty cycle of the compressor. Some machines are specified to run for a maximum continuous time, otherwise they overheat and can become damaged.  Using the Activity monitoring flags of your intelligent remote control system, you can easily check the run-time of the compressor and automatically turn it off after 10 minutes (for example) of continuous operation.  You can also program a cool-down period and allow the compressor to re-start after a 15 minute rest for example.

Work smarter and not harder. Save time and take back control of your life with a properly configured intelligent site monitoring and control system.


Have questions? Just contact us by going to http://www.davicom.com/contact


5 Cool things you can monitor at your remote site.

Published by Davicom on January 8 2015

 

You have to agree that a remote control & monitoring system can be very useful at your remote site. Monitoring different voltages, currents, temperatures, pressures, powers, etc. ensures you have full situational awareness 100% of the time.

Aside from the “normal” things that you’d expect to monitor with pretty much any system (voltage, temperature, current, power…), here are 5 more parameters that could be interesting to monitor.

  1. MONITOR YOUR NETWORKS

  2. Monitor the status of your on-site LAN or that of your off-site WAN. Using the Network Ping capability of your intelligent remote control system, ping on-site devices such as transmitters, network switches, encoders or satellite receivers. Also consider pinging off-site IP addresses in order to detect any loss of connection to the outside world. If one of these devices or IP addresses fails to respond, you can use the remote control’s built-in relays to power cycle the unresponsive device, network switch or wireless router.


  3. MONITOR YOUR TELEPHONE LINE

  4. Though used less frequently today, dial-up telephone lines still provide reliable backup communications to your sites. If they aren’t used regularly, they can reveal themselves to be defective when you do need them. An intelligent remote control system that checks for dial-tone every 15 minutes can help prevent critical site blackouts when lines go down. Placing this information, black on white with a time-stamp in the system log can also help you prove to your communications provider that their lines are less than reliable when you’re having intermittent line problems.


  5. MONITOR THE CUMULATIVE RUN TIME OF YOUR GENERATOR

  6. If you have a generator at your site, you know that you have a preventive maintenance schedule to follow. Use your intelligent remote control system to cumulate the run time of your generator and to include this information in your system log. That way, it is easy to see when your generator is due for its oil change and related maintenance.


  7. MONITOR THE DUTY CYCLE OF YOUR COMPRESSOR OR DEHYDRATOR

  8. If your site uses a dehydrator/compressor to pressurise your transmission lines, monitor their operational duty-cycle and detect pressure leaks in your lines. Consider using the daily cumulative run time parameter and set a threshold at, for example 20%, or about 288 minutes per day. If your compressor’s run time goes over this limit you can safely say that you have an important leak in your pressure that needs to be repaired. Setting the threshold to lower values can allow you to detect a leak well before it becomes a major problem.


  9. MONITOR WHO IS CALLING

  10. Use your intelligent remote control’s Caller-ID and IP logging capability to see who is accessing (or trying to access) your unit by phone and/or the IP network. This information could be particularly interesting for your IT personnel should they want to monitor the security of your network and communications infrastructure.

These are just a few examples of cool things you can monitor at your remote sites with a properly configured and intelligent remote site monitoring system.