Barix – QuakeGuard

An interesting real-world application for products from one of Automated Home’s favourite smart home companies – Barix.

“Barix Exstreamers Play a Critical Role in Revolutionary Earthquake Early Warning – Barix Technology AG, a leading manufacturer of standalone voice, music and data over IP solutions for commercial and residential applications, is proud to announce that their Exstreamer devices play a critical role in QuakeGuard earthquake early warning systems designed and manufactured by Seismic Warning Systems, Inc., of Scotts Valley, California. In the event of an earthquake, the Seismic Warning QuakeGuard systems are able to provide as much as 6 to 60 seconds advance notice before the major tremors strike, thereby allowing people to seek shelter. The QuakeGuard seismic warning system relies on the early detection of non-destructive, fast moving waves emanating from the origin of an earthquake. The QuakeGuard system has been installed in over 30 installations throughout California as of February 2006 and it is starting to be evaluated in pilot programs in other parts of the world…

Once installed in a commercial or residential building, QuakeGuard systems can generate their own warning signals and interface with existing automation, audio and security systems. The Barix Exstreamer, relied upon due to its reliability, robust construction, hacker-resistant design, and ‘always on’ status, is a critical component as it is the direct line of communicating QuakeGuard-generated warning messages through closed or wide area IP networks to distributed sound systems.

The Barix Exstreamer family of products are intelligent network-based MP3 decoders/players that effortlessly extract digital audio from an IP network (10/100 Mbit/s Ethernet), converting it into music or voice for playback over distributed sound systems in both residential or commercial applications. In commercial applications, such as arenas, office buildings, convention centers, QuakeGuard and Barix devices are fully compatible with digital and/or analog paging and communications systems from leading manufacturers such as BiAmp and MediaMatrix.

An earthquake produces four types of waves that emanate from its epicenter; P or primary waves, S or shear waves, L or Love waves, and R or Rayleigh waves. A P-wave, non-destructive and imperceptible to humans, is a vertical motion wave that travels faster and can be sensed much earlier, depending upon distance from epicenter, than destructive S- and R-waves. The QuakeGuard technology detects the non-destructive P-waves while filtering other sources of vibrations that can lead to false alarms. The elimination of false warnings is a result of QuakeGuard’s patented DSP algorithms that filter detected vibrations to isolate the signature waveforms of a seismic event that has just occurred. Depending on the geological composition of the terrain and the distance from the epicenter of the seismic event, a warning of 6 to 60 seconds is possible.

Individual QuakeGuard systems installed in fire and police stations, hospitals, and even broadcast news organizations, can be networked over wide areas via IP. These systems communicate when P-waves are detected to provide advance notice of the impending stronger shock waves. For instance, P-waves detected in San Jose, California, would be transmitted to other fire stations and emergency services facilities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, sometimes up to 100 or more miles away, so these facilities can provide advance warning to citizenry, as well as activate many pre-programmed automated emergency facility functions, such as opening the fire station’s truck bay doors, powering-up emergency generators in hospitals, or broadcasting automated wide area radio notices to a police force.

According to Michael Price of Seismic Warning Systems, Inc., “Barix Exstreamers installed in one campus-wide QuakeGuard application have proven to be worry-free and highly reliable since the system was first installed in August 2004. When QuakeGuard systems are installed in similar applications, we recommend Barix Exstreamers to systems integrators, as we feel they have been the most reliable IP solution we’ve come across.”  :

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