Alarm Monitoring

All UTEL systems are built around three main UTEL components:

  • The actual Intelligent Site Manager Controller (ISMC) i.e. the overall System Processor.
  • A series Object Control Blocks (OCB) peripherals.
  • A UTEL Local Bus which is a daisy chain connection of OCBs to the Site Controller.

ISMCs can be realised in a variety of formats, a Wall Mounted unit or as a 19" * 1 U or ETSI racked mounted variant.

Alarm Monitoring

ISMC - Comms

One of the ISMC's prime functions is control of Comms in and out of the Site. Where the Site Controller is managing a site with alarms or if the UTEL system is providing unsolicited status reports then the site controller controls all outgoing Comms to the Centralised Control. This Control will be equipped with the UTEL Site Control Manager (SCM) Server i.e. the top end management system. Comms can be PSTN with MF4 pulsing or X25 / ISDN using an external PAD / TA. The Site Controller can also have a GSM Module with an external antenna or available shortly IP into a local site Ethernet port. This system is fully matured and contains all the necessary fallback arrangements proven for operating to full World Class Telco resilience standards.

Object Control Blocks (OCB's)

Within a UTEL System, whatever variant it is, the main functionality e.g. Alarm Reporting, Remote Switching, Analogue Measurement is managed by a series UTEL Peripherals known as Object Control Blocks (OCB's) connected top the site controller. Each OCB has its own microcontroller, the OCB can be a discrete module, mounted in or adjacent to the item being monitored / controlled e.g. An Engine Control OCB Module will have 3 Digital Alarm inputs and 2 Relay Command Channel outputs. Equally an OCB, within a UTEL racked system, say a 3U * 19 unit, will be the individual cards within the unit Digital Input Cards, Relay Command Channel Cards these are all peripheral "OCB's" but connected via the back plane to the Site Controller card by a back planed PCB Local bus.

Each OCB Module has a microcontroller, each OCB type will has its own specific object oriented programme to manage that OCB type's functionality and also its unique UTEL identity number. The OCB microcontroller however carries out no functions on its own, only by instruction / agreement from the Site Controller - the overall system Processor. When an individual OCB recognises the need for action it places a request on the local Bus, the Site Controller detects this during the 1 second polling phase. The site controller then determines the action required e.g. it downloads an active alarm identity then goes on line and reports this to the SCM Manager at the Central Control or instructs the OCB to take action. The OCB instruction set to / from the site controller is generic in nature e.g. Reset command, each OCB turns this instruction into an OCB specific actions. This simplifies overall system software and means that new functionality can be developed in a highly modular manner.

Alarm Monitoring

It is this concept of dispersed OCB modules, located where the equipment is, connected by a simple daisy chained Local Bus, that is the key to the ease and hence low installation costs of UTEL Systems. The OCB Modules are very low power (<1 mW) such that they have require no local power, the power is fed over the Local Bus. The unique UTEL addressing system is such that on any one site there can be up to 128 OCB modules connected to a single Local bus over 1 Km long. This ensures cost effective scalability for even the largest sites and thus meets the prime requirement placed on UTEL in recent tenders for Access Control / Intruder detection and all the buildings' Power / Services Management on a site.

Local Bus

The other key component in the Unique UTEL solution for site management is the local bus, this connects each OCB module to the Site Controller in a daisy chain. The local bus provides the Comms infrastructure to / from the Site Controller and carries the dc power feed.

The Local bus is a proprietary UTEL bus based on standard Cat. 5 wiring, terminated on RJ45 Crimp Connectors. using RS 485 Protocol. Included within the 8 wire bus is the power fed to all the OCBs on local bus. Site controllers variants can have a total of 8 Local Busses, each Local bus can have up to 128 OCB modules on the bus and the bus can be over 1 km and still meet the voltage drop for power fed to the OCB Microcontroller.


The modular design concept of UTEL systems enables a quick initial installation / future expansion. As described previously there is no need to cable all detection points / output channels back to a single central point.

The site controller when powered up for the first time will contact the SCM Manager using its boot programme and create a new location at the SCM database. The minimal site data can either be added at the SCM and download to the site or entered locally via the local craft port from a laptop on site.

The daisy chain Cat 5 wiring UTEL Local bus is then run serially from OCB to OCB the cabling order is irrelevant and is determined by shortest cabling distance to an adjacent module. Once the cabling is complete, each OCB is connected to the bus, it is automatically polled, which then transfers the OCBs type and identity to the Site Controllers local database. The Site Controller then responds by downloading the OCBs local bus address, which the OCB then stores in its flash eeprom memory. The OCB LED now flashes at 1 sec intervals to show it is correctly registered on the system and operating correctly. The next OCB in the chain is plugged in and it too registers with the Site Controller.

This simple method of self-install and database build eliminates any need for pre installation site surveys to complete a complex system data build. The system is totally self-configuring with only minimal local data added. The final site config. / OCB data is transferred to the SCM Manager after an interrogation call is initiated from an SCM Manager terminal to the new site. The SCM Manager will stored a complete inventory of OCB types and individual OCB Module serial numbers for that site. The SCM Manager is now able to fully manage all functions at the site e.g when an alarm arrives the SCM Manager knows that there is an associated hard reset available for that alarm and the address of the OCB with the actual command channel relay.

System Integrity

All site hardware and associated Software the site controller / OCBs and the Comms Protocol have been proven in service. A team of career long Telecomms people, who understand how to build in System Integrity, have developed the systems. The systems are designed for 24*7 operations with 99.99% availability. This means only high reliability components are used systems are self protecting where possible and operations will restore automatically when the fault condition is removed e.g. Power Supply, Local Bus shorted. Typically Site controllers can be specified to have dual power inputs.

The UTEL design approach is one of simple is best, hardware design fully optimised with in built self-checking. Each system is self monitoring and in the event of a suspect unit / component fault detected an alarm will be sent to the SCM Manager. In many cases the control can take remote interrogative actions. Another essential feature built into all UTEL systems is a clear indication of status e.g. the unit LED will show initial power up when it is plugged and then flash continuously when correctly registered and fully operational. The OCB Module firmware is designed to be intrinsically failsafe with several self checks before an operation is undertaken and then afterwards it monitors to confirm actions have been taken. If this fails further layers of self diagnostics are invoked to self correct the error or report a suspected fault.


  1. Integration of all existing alarm Collection Systems on a site and provide a single high integrity Control with Secure Comms
  2. Enhance System performance and potential to eliminate all donor system known weaknesses
  3. Reduced Cost of Ownership:
    Equipment Costs - cheaper than any other systems
    Lower installation Costs Plug 'n' Play approach
    Virtually no Pre Planning Required - OCBs self configure
    Lower operational manpower requirements
  4. Gradual Integration utilising existing Collection infrastructure should be possible
  5. Single Alarm Display over all existing Collection Units but retention of separate discipline control / operational functions