SureCall Sentry Monitors Boosters Via Internet

Remote diagnostics give installers competitive edge in selling and servicing cell phone booster systems.

SureCall is unveiling the Sentry, which it touts as the first device that allows remote monitoring and control of in-building cell phone boosters via the Internet.

The Sentry, which is expected to be available some time in May, “can provide immediate notification of changes in booster performance, increases in RF interference and other factors that can affect cellular coverage,” according to a press release from SureCall on its new product. It also “enables remote, real-time adjustment to optimize booster performance,” according to the announcement.

“This is a product that provides the missing link between high-quality installations and signal boosting,” says Curtis Burkhart, director of sales and marketing for SureCall. “One of the biggest challenges for installers has been having to come back again and again to tweak the system and cover the costs of these changes themselves. That’s really been cutting in to their profits on these types of jobs, since there’s not always a lot of money in these installations.”

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“Sentry is a game-changer,” said Hongtao Zhan, SureCall’s founder and CEO, in the press release on the product. “Installers can now compete for larger projects because they can offer their clients a level of service and system flexibility previously found only in more sophisticated and expensive telecom systems. Sentry affords integrators the opportunity to offer ongoing maintenance and monthly service contracts that deliver value and peace of mind to customers.”

Sentry connects to any LAN through an RJ45 port, says Zhan. It is then connected to the booster’s standard data port with the included ribbon cable, which enables installers to remotely configure, and later adjust, the booster for maximum performance remotely. The remote access is available through a web interface from a Windows-based computer or tablet from any location.

Through Sentry, installers can maximize 3G and 4G transmission speeds by identifying the strongest cell signals available and adjusting the gain levels appropriately on individual frequency bands.

Sentry will also send e-mails to alert installers or end-users to unforeseen changes in the system such as the presence of a new cell tower, system interference, oscillation, or any other malfunction or failure. Installers can then act immediately to pinpoint the issues and take the appropriate steps to minimize any downtime by remotely changing any settings or dispatching a technician, if needed.

If the beta rollout of the product is any indication, Sentry could offer a huge boost—pardon the pun—to SureCall once it’s officially released, says Burkhart. He expects to see it used largely in hospitals, hotels, government buildings and large corporations, all of which require products installed there have remote monitoring capabilities.

“We know there’s a tremendous market for it,” he says. “You can make changes on the fly without ever having to return to the site where you installed the system. The last thing installers want is to get called back.”

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