BOSCH’S new locally built Solution 144 was a surprise release at Security 2012 and it was a pleasure to see a new alarm and access control solution at the show. Building on the Solution 64 and the Solution 16i control panels but with far greater capabilities, the Solution 144’s design is clever in multiple ways, from its vast expandability to its suites of reader technologies and multiple onboard reporting paths. Best of all, the pricing targets Solution 64 pricing so you get more features for the same dollar.  
In terms of its core capabilities, the Solution 144 supports 256 users, has 16 zones with 144-zone wired or wireless expansion, 8 areas and integrated access control for 16 doors. There’s a selection of readers including weatherproof metal keypads, proximity keypads, fingerprint LAN readers, and internal and external LAN readers. 
The LAN readers include egress and lock control built-in, making for faster and easier installation. All the readers have built-in relays to operate door strikes and egress connections. There are also Ethernet modules and Voice modules.
Programming is by menu text or Solutionlink software either remotely or by direct connection. Other features include telephone fail line monitor, 5 four-way onboard outputs expandable to 37, Advanced RS-485 LAN with anti-substitution, and GSM/GPRS and Ethernet options. That Advanced RS-485 LAN has a proprietary data encryption algorithm and can be 1200 metres long – more with LAN isolators.  
According to Bosch’s Matt Bailey the Solution 144’s expansion boards incorporate a power supply module, a 4-output card and a 16-zone input card. 
“There’s also a new GSM/GPRS unit,” says Bailey. “This is the first time we’ve had a panel with GSM SMS event reporting. These reports can be sent to multiple contact numbers and the panel is also controllable by SMS. A strong feature is that as the NBN rolls out you can replace a PSTN connection with GPRS wireless reporting – all you need to add is a SIM. 
“There’s been good interest in the panel with many installers keen on it. Their typical reaction to many of the new features is ‘my customers have been asking for that’. 
“To my mind this panel is like a Solution 16i and a Solution 64 squashed together. The 16i is a big seller for us but it only has 16 inputs so if installers want to do 30-input jobs they cannot. With the Solution 144 they can do those larger systems and there’s plenty of flexibility for other functions like access control as well.” 
Making installers lives easier is high speed Windows programming software the Bosch people say is the easiest to use on market today. This software has a new cross reference bar so it installs easier and faster – the names of the doors, the outputs that are associated with the doors and the time schedules are included. It means installers don’t have to remember which door is which. There’s also a contact relay which is set up automatically for a garage door. 
“About 90 per cent of the people who call us asking for a relay ask for a garage door relay – now it’s already there for them,” says Bailey. 

Additional features

The Solution 144 has a serious features list including things like Sensor Watch which monitors zone activity when an area is disarmed and reporting trouble after a given time period. There’s also a chime mode, separate tamper inputs, walk test and 16 time zones with 4 possible periods. 
The keypad has a graphic user interface which has a text-driven menu similar to mobile phone menus. There are colour-coded illuminated keys to make night operation easy, along with red and green LEDs indicating status. Tones signal sound during operation. 
Out of the box the 144 has 5 onboard 4-way programmable outputs but these can be expanded to 37 in total. All outputs are protected and will shut down individually in the event of overload. Such output conditions are displayed on the code pad and can be externally reported. Outputs can be triggered via event or manually and can be set up for pulsing, polarity or one-shot operation. 
Outputs can be programmed to correspond with more than 60 different event types. Meanwhile, zone programming is what determines the panel’s response to open/short and tamper conditions on the zone loop and zones can be programmed individually to monitor all types of security alarms, fire alarms and supervision devices.
CID, SIA, DOMESTIC and SMS text reporting are all included and that neat dual-SIM reporting capability lets installers pick which reports need to be sent to which routes and in which formats. You can select open and close reporting individually for each user and area on the panel, allowing the owner to monitor things like cleaner access, kids returning from school or restricted area access, all via mobile phone.
A cool multi-tenant feature locks the first 128 users on the system to the first 128 zones so that each time a particular user enters their pin code a corresponding zone is automatically bypassed. It’s a feature that’s great for school class rooms or self storage facilities. The event log is comprehensive and includes 1000 events from all areas with all events recorded no matter the reporting setting. You can view the log from the keypad or using SolutionLink software. 
Due for release in the next couple of months, Solution 144 offers installers plenty of firepower for their larger alarm systems and for small/medium alarm and access control applications. Best of all, Bosch installers already know how to program it. 

“There’s been good interest in the panel with many installers keen on it. Their typical reaction to many of the new features is that customers have been asking for that”