When I entered the security industry just shy of 16 years ago, wireless alarm systems were already available and widely used in the market. Although these wireless systems had been available for some time, many of the trusted alarm suppliers were reluctant to motivate their use above traditional wired systems. I, myself remained a sceptic for years. I trusted the copper wire from component to component, far above radio signals. That was until Ajax hit the market.
In the past, wireless alarm systems had the necessary technology and it worked, however, it needed the perfect scenario to work in. With many obstacles such as poor battery life, susceptibility to interference, wanting range and high cost of the hardware, these systems always seemed to be somewhat short of the South African security market’s demands.
As with all previous wireless alarm systems, when the launch of Ajax Alarm Systems happened, I was still sceptical. That was until I read that they had a claimed range of 1700m line-of-sight! With a company making such a bold claim, it immediately got my attention and I had to put it to the test. With the current wireless at the time only having a range of 30m to 40m, I was intrigued to see if the Ajax Alarm Systems could live up to the claims they were proposing on paper.
I ordered a basic Ajax system from a supplier and installed it at a farm house, where I had the ability to properly test the range. Firstly, we were very impressed with the ease of installing the Ajax system. When doing the set-up, everything was done on an intuitive smartphone app, where you are guided through the entire process of adding and programming units. When watching the video tutorial or getting an approved installer to correctly programme the system, it definitely helps in the long run. Secondly, we had no issues with interference or range with the components in-and-around the farm house. After that, we then decided to expand the system with an Outdoor MotionProtect at the main farm gate which was situated 125m away from the house. In between the two points, there was a wall, a dam and some trees in the way. Even with these obstacles, the MotionProtect performed very well and had no signal loss issues. We decided that before mounting the MoitionProtect we would take it for a walk to test the range performance. Since the farm is located in a very hilly area with lots of trees and bush, we unfortunately could only go as far as 260m with somewhat line-of-sight, albeit through 3 house walls and much foliage, the signal still performed very well.
We quickly expanded the Ajax system to cover all four dwellings and the workshops on the farm, all from just one system. Moving the Ajax Hub, better known as control panel or brain of alarm system, outside of the building into a weather proof enclosure, greatly improved the system’s reach. Due to the fact that there was already an existing Fibre LAN installed on the farm, it was easy to scale to a larger system with the use of the REX expanders onto the network. However, they connected to the Hub via the wireless Jeweller channel also.
Subsequently, we have successfully installed Ajax Wireless Alarm Systems in retail stores, corporate office blocks, wedding venues and residential homes. We have been extremely pleased with the performance of these systems in terms of range, ease of installation and user functionality. In addition, the Ajax system is extremely flexible, adaptable and easily scalable. All of our customers have been extremely satisfied with the alarm systems, leading them to order more Ajax components only after a few weeks of using the Ajax system.
With the constant innovation of the Ajax engineers, they have been able to design some smart, yet simple, systems over the years. To give you an example, a PIR (passive infrared detector) was designed with a built-in glass-break detector, or the door opening protector with a built-in shock sensor. Both of these components aimed at providing an extra layer of protection and faster response to a security breach. Ajax is also releasing entirely new components ever-so-often and have an entire Smart Home range too, which can include automatic water shut-off valves and smart light switches.
So, what are the downsides? Surely this cannot be the answer to all the unresolved security blues of the South African market, can it?
Unfortunately, the South African Rand’s performance does not help imported goods, so the Ajax alarm system is a high end security product. The system is also susceptible to one of the traditional gremlins of wireless alarm systems such as interference and penetration through steel. It can handle these challenges with greater success and grace, with the ability to test and monitor the signal strength quite easily. We have found that the system can battle more in very thick, misty conditions. The DoorProtect units also do not like steel frames and doors. Phadima Security easily solves this by installing a traditional wired magnetic door contact onto the steel frame, and wiring this a short distance off to an Ajax DoorProtect.
The battery life however on these components are exceptional with some units not even needing a battery change 3 years later. In addition to that, the batteries are readily available and can be replaced without getting a technician out to do so.
In conclusion, Ajax wireless alarm systems are an extremely strong contender that can take over the security industry. The system is so innovative, user friendly, professional and looks good too. There are a few typical challenges with the system but using the right installers with the necessary expertise can easily overcome these obstacles.