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Remote service for building security

It’s late in the evening, and the video system breaks down in a sensitive, security-critical building. The technician responsible for such issues clocked off hours ago. How can the security problem be detected and fixed as quickly as possible?

For providers of complex security systems, devices, and associated services for particularly sensitive and security-critical buildings, the issue of security is of paramount importance. Whenever customers have installed fire alarm systems, video systems, hold-up and intrusion detection systems, or access control and time management systems on their premises, these systems must work error-free at all times in order to prevent potential dangers. In the event of a technical failure, every minute counts. This makes access to a rapid, efficient remote service all the more important.

Secure access from a distance

My remote service team at Bosch Sicherheitssysteme is on duty 24/7 at our service control center in Magdeburg, Germany, so that we can respond immediately to problems. To this end, we use a central remote access solution and system platform.

The solution shows how the IoT enables our team to support the customer in improving their security concept and to develop and provide new smart services:

The customer (in this case the responsible of the security-critical building) reports the fault to the control center, which promptly creates a ticket with all relevant information about the respective service case and forwards it to the service desk. Via secure remote access, a service technician then logs directly onto the customer’s affected end system in order to identify and then correct the fault. In addition, the technician can also re-parameterize the device or remotely install software or firmware updates if required. Ultimately, it is just as if the technician were on site in person.

In addition to the secure remote service, a second major advantage of the system platform is that it stores relevant information in a central system. This offers quick access to information about devices and systems, configurations, programming operations, software, and the history of previous maintenance and service measures. As well as helping our service technicians in their casework, the stored data also forms the basis for developing innovative Industry 4.0 services.

Today’s remote access compared to the past: how data security is handled

Customers’ requirements have changed in response to the growing challenges in the area of IT and data security. The goal of every new and further development is to increase the availability and reliability of all customer security systems, thereby making their operation even more efficient.

Before the advent of intelligent system platforms, how was the topic of data security handled? And how was it possible to evaluate the performance of remote maintenance back then?

1. ISDN dial-up connection

For a long time, remote maintenance via ISDN dial-up connection or analog modem was state of the art. Proprietary interfaces limited integration to devices and systems offered by the respective provider. Third-party devices had to be integrated via sub-networks, which created a lot of administrative work when there were a large number of products from different manufacturers. The performance of the remote maintenance was restricted by the low data rates of the ISDN dial-up connections. This had consequences, as data was not necessarily secured via remote service during the remote maintenance job, nor was the connection between the service computers and the customer’s devices and systems particularly well protected.

2. IP-based remote services

The technical changeover from ISDN connections to IP-based remote services, and the associated increase in data rates, also saw the introduction of modern system platforms that had numerous advantages compared to the previous technology.

For instance, the fact that our remote service solutions today integrates into the user’s business IT systems prevents the emergence of isolated solutions. At Bosch Sicherheitssysteme, all the service, device, and customer data that is relevant for the respective service case is supplied directly from the ticket system and the ERP system, thus avoiding redundant data storage. New devices and IT systems, including those from different manufacturers, can be integrated into the remote access solution at any time. In addition, users benefit from an improved security concept that fulfills the latest IT security standards and ensures maximum data protection. The remote connection is established only at the customer’s request and passes through multiple security zones. To prevent unauthorized parties from gaining access to devices and systems, an individual virtual machine is generated for each service operation. This machine is then closed down as soon as the job has been successfully completed. All processes and actions are logged so that both we and the customer can count on complete transparency regarding the remote accesses.

3. Condition monitoring and predictive maintenance

The ability to establish secure remote access directly with the customer’s end system coupled with the audit-proof storage of data in a central system facilitate the development of Industry 4.0 services.

Infographic showing how condition monitoring via remote access works.

Using the analytics of the remote access, our condition monitoring solution, it is possible to monitor device and system statuses based on data recorded either continuously or cyclically. This involves automatically comparing the actual condition of the respective device or system with a pre-defined reference value, which can be either a set value to be observed or a limit value that must not be exceeded. If the defined reference values are not observed, this can be a sign of impending faults. The system detects that a value has been exceeded and automatically notifies the technical service so that they can fix the problem.

Predictive maintenance builds on condition monitoring. It takes the generated data and analyzes it for patterns that could point to possible faults. Consequently, it becomes possible to recognize looming device and system failures in advance and to plan and introduce corrective measures predictively.

Infographic showing how conduition monitorig and predictive maintenance are connected.

With condition monitoring and predictive maintenance, it becomes possible to plan service and maintenance times in advance. Unscheduled failures are reduced significantly and the service lives of devices and systems are increased. There is also a lasting increase in the availability of devices and systems – and hence in the length of time customers can operate them. In addition, diagnosed faults can be attributed to individual events, allowing product developers to carry out targeted, informed optimizations.

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