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Monitoring thousands of clients’ sites, RDM’s Remote Monitoring Team handles HVACR alarms preventing costly equipment failures.

RDM’s remote monitoring bureau supports its customers twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year. A team of alarm and call operators, based at RDM’s head office in Glasgow, ensures that any issues that arise on clients’ sites are triaged and dealt with accordingly. Utilising RDM’s remote monitoring software ActiveFM™, the team handles alarms from HVACR devices on clients’ sites and takes reactive measures when human intervention is required.

Remote monitoring is the concept RDM was founded on back in 2000. The initial solution – a remote monitoring service for food retailers – started with five phone lines, before migrating to an internet network. Back then, the team analysed data from customer sites, identifying areas for improvement in asset maintenance. Two years later, ActiveFM™ was officially launched.

Fast forward twenty years and RDM’s remote monitoring team now operates in three shifts covering every hour of the day. Fully-trained staff monitor thousands of sites across the globe using the latest ActiveFM™ technology.

With the twentieth anniversary of ActiveFM™ coming up this year, we spoke to Andrew Riddell – Monitoring Bureau Manager – who started at RDM nearly at the same time as ActiveFM™ was launched. We asked him if he could share some insights on the bureau itself and on any changes he noticed in the industry.

“In recent years, one of the biggest changes has been the growth in customers within the commercial buildings sector using the ActiveFM™ solution. We’ve also seen a large growth in overseas customers, especially in Australasia.

“In terms of how the system works, there has been a shift to automation of alarm monitoring using ActiveFM™ enterprise-based rules and then forwarding alarms where required by various methods. The way in which alarms are forwarded to clients has also changed. Apart from the standard email method, we also offer the option to forward alarms via SMS and, most recently, via the Telegram app.”

One of the biggest changes recently in how the team operates was caused by the pandemic. Since the Bureau supports clients around the clock from RDM’s head office, switching completely to working from home was not an option. Instead, the team adapted brilliantly to the challenges and continued to support their clients at the same level as before.

“We’re fortunate that we have a large office space,” Andrew Riddell commented. “It was relatively simple for me to move desks and IT infrastructure around to ensure that the team members who were working from the office could work within a safe environment by keeping more than the recommended two-meter distance.

“Since most of our communication with customers is phone and email based, we were able to continue our customer support the same way as before.”

How are Alarms Managed by the Remote Monitoring Bureau?

All alarm operators are based in RDM’s head office in Glasgow. They use ActiveFM’s FM Portal to manage alarms generated by HVAC and refrigeration devices on clients’ sites. This can include pack alarms generated because of high suction pressure or liquid level, defrost temperature alarms, and many other alarms that indicate HVACR equipment is not performing as it should. To prevent costly equipment breakdowns or high energy use due to inefficient equipment, RDM’s Remote Monitoring Bureau monitors and responds to alarms if needed.

In addition to saving energy and maintenance costs, the remote monitoring team also helps clients save time. Since the team manages alarms remotely and only contacts clients if required, businesses only have to take action to resolve alarms when advised. ActiveFM’s ‘Savings Report’ provides clients with a guide to how much time they save by using remote monitoring.

Every single alarm that is generated on a client’s site is sent automatically to ActiveFM. Based on client-defined rules and filters, alarms are sent to the FM Portal. On the portal, they are managed by RDM’s Alarm Operators who can connect to the panel on-site where they can view current temperatures and statuses, historic graphs and parameters, as well as notes taken by colleagues on previous occasions. Where necessary, alarm handlers contact the client to report the incident. Years of experience enable RDM’s alarm handlers to judge the urgency of alarms, allowing them to call critical alarms in quickly, leading to a faster resolve time.

All actions taken by the team in response to every single alarm are recorded on the FM Portal. All clients have access to this system which allows them to run reports on every alarm where they can see the entire process of steps taken to resolve the alarm. This way the client has complete insight into the alarm history and how the alarms were managed.

MONITORING | Posted on 20 Apr 2022


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