Oyster Bay: a historic town with eyes on the future

Published in: Parking Today, March 2011.

The Town of Oyster Bay, part of the New York metropolitan area, is the only town in Nassau County that extends from the North Shore to the South Shore of Long Island. It was also home to Theodore Roosevelt, who spent summers at his residence, Sagamore Hill, in the Village of Cove Neck, New York.

In recent years, the township has progressively installed Voice over IP emergency phones throughout town’s recreational areas, which include over 2000 acres of parks, beaches, golf courses, marinas, garages, community centers, train stations, municipal buildings and storage yards. It was no surprise that the township put out a mandate requiring all new emergency phones with network capabilities comply with Voice over IP standards.

The township recently approved building a state-of-the-art parking facility, which was to include the latest technological advancements in emergency communications as well as mass notification systems. “Our recreational facilities are very busy with thousands of people using them daily,” explained Justin McCaffrey, Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety for the Town of Oyster Bay. “We feel that the call boxes are an efficient, quick way to summon assistance. We also feel the call boxes provide a re-assuring comfort level and act as a deterrent [of crime]”.

LPC Inc. was commissioned to design a VoIP emergency phone solution for the Hicksville parking facility. With over two years of reliable service, LPC has developed a strong partnership with the Town of Oyster Bay. LPC proposed Talkaphone’s VOIP-500 series emergency phones as they seamlessly operate over a shared digital infrastructure with other IP technologies.

“The original design was done by a consulting engineer,” recollects William Eggers, Vice President of LPC. “However, this did not address all the concerns of implementing a unified solution for emergency phones, card access and CCTV. We took the lead on the project and coordinated all IP infrastructure with the town’s IT department, while other specialists installed card access and CCTV.”

We are very happy with the system. It has proven to be reliable, vandal-resistant and it projects a positive image of safety and security at our facilities.

Justin McCaffrey
Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety
Town of Oyster Bay

LPC took the project planning seriously, as running multiple vendors on a shared IP network requires careful consideration. Distance limitations, power requirements and environmental concerns all had to be addressed. A unified approach quickly proved to be the most technologically advanced and cost-efficient solution for the town.

Talkaphone’s WEBS Contact® mass notification platform and VoIP emergency phones were configured to be part of a unified mass notification system. The WEBS Contact® server, as well as the phone system and gateways, all reside at the Department of Public Works, which is located miles away from the site and is connected though a fiber network.

Installation of VoIP emergency phones and WEBS Contact® mass notification platform were not new to LPC. Talkaphone Co. has had a certification course in VoIP telephony and mass notification systems since the beginning of 2010. The certification course offers all participants hands-on experience settings up VoIP emergency phones and WEBS Contact® mass notification platform.

“The training definitely helped our technicians during the installation,” said William Eggers about his company’s decision to take part in Talkaphone’s certification program. “We especially appreciated the hand-on approach. There are a lot of companies out there who like to conduct online training, but I like to have the product in my hands. This way if something doesn’t work, the trainer is there to show me exactly what I did wrong”.

LPC’s technicians have successfully finished Talkaphone’s one-day certification course, earning LPC the status of Talkaphone Certified Partner, a group exclusively authorized to install the Talkaphone’s mass notification system.

With certification under their belt, LPC took the lead in the Town of Oyster Bay project. Talkaphone’s VOIP-500 VoIP emergency phones were first installed on a test network with other vendors’ products. Because of the critical nature of emergency calls, Quality of Service was implemented to prioritize emergency communications between the township’s phone system, gateways, and the emergency phones.

After the configuration of the VoIP emergency phones was complete, all devices were registered with the WEBS Contact® mass notification server, enabling it to send audio broadcasts to VoIP units. Talkaphone’s VOIP-500 VoIP emergency phones serve a dual purpose: on one hand, they are used as emergency communications devices; on the other hand, they can be paged at high volume, exceeding 100dB, to deliver site-specific instructions to individual units, groups of units, or all-at-once.

WEBS Contact® allows emergency personnel to issue targeted audio alerts to pre-defined segments of the facility with the push of a button. At the same time, the system can deliver SMS messages and emails to groups of recipients.

“We are very happy with the system,” commented Justin McCaffrey. “It has proven to be reliable, vandal-resistant and it projects a positive image of safety and security at our facilities”.

Extensive planning and staged testing of the entire system by LPC’s technicians gave the Town of Oyster Bay IT department peace of mind. When the day came to flip the network switch to the ‘ON’ position, everything came online as anticipated. Thanks to LPC’s efforts the people of Oyster Bay can benefit from the township’s public safety initiative.