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You would think access control would be a priority for all business’ premises, and that keeping up to date with the latest technology on their first line of defence would be of the utmost importance. What we see, though, is that upgrading access control solutions is a rare occurrence, and you have to wonder — why? Is it cost prohibitive? Is it a case of 'if it ain’t broke...'? Or is it simply that the benefits that come with the latest technology solutions in the market have not been explained to them?

Let's take a look at the latest in access control solutions, the Tecom ChallengerPlus, and talk about how to get the most out of your security solution.  

ChallengerPlus is an advanced security solution designed for commercial and corporate sectors and is the perfect solution for the security requirements of banks, retail outlets, educational facilities, and more. ChallengerPlus is a modular system — it can be scaled for almost any application, from small to large commercial installations. With thousands of programmable options, ChallengerPlus has been designed to meet any security and access requirement and can be tailored to a business’ own security policies.

Designed and built with the latest technology for superior access control and integrated networking, ChallengerPlus is the result of significant research and development. It is built on the successful foundations of Challenger10, Challenger V8, and all their peripherals.

Are you wondering if you should know more? Are there are upgrade opportunities out there for you with existing customers?

We sat down with Patrick Tocher, Tecom Trainer at Hills in Christchurch, and quizzed him on the top ten questions security installers are asking about ChallengerPlus. Here’s what he had to say.

Top Ten Q&A on the ChallengerPlus

1) Can I upgrade from my customer's V8 System to ChallengerPlus?

Yes! Depending on the firmware of your customer's existing peripherals (DGPs, Door Controllers, etc.), the upgrade process is a simple one, usually only requiring the swapping out of the main Challenger Board and updating the firmware chip on any connected Intelligent controllers. Hills can supply an upgrade procedure document on request, and our technical experts are happy to discuss the process in detail.

2) Do I need new hardware to go from Challenger10 to ChallengerPlus?

No, upgrading from Challenger10 to ChallengerPlus is only a firmware update. When performing the update, CTPlus will also migrate the existing database. This process usually only takes 15-30 minutes.

*Note: this is dependent on the size of the system. Upgrade process may take longer depending on database size and number of intelligent controllers.

Image of a Tecom ChallengerPlus panel

Image of a laptop running CTPlus software

3) Can I program a ChallengerPlus remotely?

Yes, with ChallengerPlus you can now program panels remotely using the free Challenger configuration software “CTPlus”. Full remote programming is possible with CTPlus via the Ultrasync secure connection platform, allowing you to make changes to a ChallengerPlus system without having to physically visit a site.

4) Does the Tecom ChallengerPlus have a mobile app?

Yes. The new TecomPlus mobile app allows your customers to have control of their alarm anywhere on the world, with minimal setup. This feature uses Ultrasync to connect and push notifications. The app allows both monitoring and control of door access and intrusion events, as well as user creation and management.

There is no limit on how many people can use the app — however, there is a limit of 8 people who can receive push notifications. This is centrally managed, so you can update which users receive notifications as required.

5) What is Ultrasync?

UltraSync is a cloud service that connects everything happening between the installer, central monitoring station, push and mail services management, and providers, as well as alarm handling and prevention. This is done using a secured encrypted connection service requiring only an internet connection to the device.

There is no charge to use Ultrasync via the TecomPlus app. However, when monitoring using Ultrasync you will be charged a fee by your monitoring station, just like old phone-line based monitoring.

Image of a mobile phone running the Tecom Plus app

6) Do I need a phone line to access my ChallengerPlus system via Ultrasync?

Unlike older systems, Ultrasync does not require a phone line (but does support PSTN if required). For sites without an active internet connection or phone line, we can supply a 4G communication module that allows full system functionality. It is worth noting that many sites use these 4G modules as a backup communication path in case something happens to their hardwired phone or internet lines.

Infographic depicting the UltraSync+ cloud and the ways it connects to customer premises and monitoring centres over encrypted IP, encrypted 4G/3G, or IP Sec.

7) Can Hills supply training?

Yes, Hills can supply all the training necessary to get up to speed on all Tecom Systems. Hills Certified training is an in-depth, hands-on course which shows technicians how to design, program, and manage both Intrusion and Access control functions.

8) Can ChallengerPlus automatically arm the alarm if I forget?

Yes. There is feature in the ChallengerPlus that allows for time-based arming in the event that the panel was not armed. You can also arm the alarm from your smartphone from anywhere using Ultrasync and the TecomPlus app.

9) Can I use 3rd party card readers and integrate to external systems?

Yes, the range of Tecom door controllers can support 3rd party card readers that communicate via Wiegand and OSDP, as well as wireless locks such as Sallis by Salto and Aperio by Assa Abloy. In addition, by using our powerful management software, TecomC4, we can connect to many other systems. For more information, contact your Hills representative.

10) Are there any limitations on ChallengerPlus?

A single ChallengerPlus panel can support up to up to 65,535 users*, 1008 alarm inputs and 128 doors (with appropriate I/O cards). If more doors or inputs are required, you can create a multi-panel system allowing for massive scaling.

*ChallengerPlus supports 2000 users standard, and 65,535 with the addition of a memory expansion module.

Hills offers training courses for all Tecom solutions, including the ChallengerPlus. For information on specific training courses, call Hills on 1300 HILLS 1 (1300 44 5571) — or speak with your local Hills representative, who is an expert and will be more than happy to help you better understand the features and benefits of the ChallengerPlus.