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Protocol - Open, managed, closed - which one is best for you?? 
System protocols is a subject that is talked about quite a lot with in the fire detection industry, for, against, better or worse, people’s views differ normally depending on what side of the fence you sit and who’s equipment you are more familiar with. 
 
Jon Limer , Firewatch Fire Alarm Manager – breaks it down for you! 
 
Jon explains what Firewatch offer… “We only supply open protocol systems, using equipment mainly UK made with full backup facilities from the manufacturer to us and our customers. 
 
We are aware this on occasion makes us uncompetitive when submitting quotations , as companies (mainly nationals) generally offer reduced priced quotes , knowing if they install managed or closed protocol systems the customer can go nowhere else other than to them for additions or variations to the system. 
In other words you are stuck with them, this is not a view adopted by Firewatch we believe in full transparency with our customers and whilst we like to keep our customers, if they decide to change supplier they easily do so, without being held to ransom”. 
jon limer
Jon added.. “To summarise, if you are looking to install a new fire alarm system , whoever you appoint ask the question…will it be ‘open protocol’, it may seem more expensive in the short term, but over the life time of the system a ‘closed or managed’ system will cost you dear!” 
 
Open Protocol 
 
Open Protocol systems are systems (Control panels, detection and alarm devices) that are fully open, open in terms of configurability, flexibility and who is able to maintain and modify them, these systems offer a client / user the best chance of employing their preferred supplier to maintain, change or adapt their system to their needs. From a technological perspective the vast majority of open protocol equipment available in the UK meets all BS and EN standards, and is in a lot of cases made in the UK, these system can be installed, modified or maintained by the vast majority of competent Fire Protection companies. 
 
Managed Protocol 
 
Managed protocol systems are very similar to closed systems (see below) meaning that a specialist suppler is needed to supply, install, commission or make a significant change any device connected to the system, these systems can be maintained by a non-specified company but if as part of the maintenance a significant change is required one of the specialist suppliers will need to be brought in (increasing costs) these systems normally have a network of dealers that will supply equipment, however prices for this equipment are firmly fixed giving the client / user less scope for negotiation. 
 
Closed Protocol 
 
Closed protocol systems normally have only one outlet, this is normally via the manufacturing company (ADT for example) meaning that only they can supply, install, commission or make a significant change any device connected to the system, these systems can be maintained by a non-specified company but if as part of the maintenance a significant change is required that company will need to be brought in (increasing costs) these systems normally have only one outlet that will supply equipment, however prices for this equipment are firmly fixed giving the client / user no scope for negotiation. 
 
If you want further advice on the best system for you , contact Jon Limer or Paul Robinson on 0800 783 4171 or email info@firewatchsouthwest.co.uk 
Copyright © 2017 Firewatch South West Ltd 
Group Head Office, 1 Brunel Road, Newton Abbot, Devon TQ12 4PB 
tel: 0800 783 4171 fax: 01626 363172 
email: info@firewatchsouthwest.co.uk 
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