The future

of

paging

The future of paging

Since the introduction of smart phones, the classical pager has obtained a reputation of being old fashioned. Some say that the classical pager is dead and will be replaced by smart phones. We at Pager Services have a different view on this and are committed to show that paging is very much alive.

Of course we cannot deny that developments in smart phones quickly surpassed the developments in pagers in the recent years. However, smart phones are developed with a completely different customer in mind. Therefore it has a focus more aimed at speed, many fancy features, looks, camera quality and so on. Because of this and the target market the lifespan is short (typically 2 years). The pager on the other hand is designed to be as robust, simple and reliable as possible. It therefore has a lifespan of over 10 years which is typically important to our customers. This also holds for the communication of these devices: 4G and WiFi are developed for speed and higher speed versions arise almost every year. Paging communication (VHF/UHF) is aimed at range and availability. Two different communication solutions for two different customer needs. Sure, there are some smart phones designed for robustness but they are still based on operating systems designed for consumer markets and the communication is still limited to 4G and WiFi.

We can also not deny that the needs of our customers are changing too. Being used to the fact that everyone is available through a smart phone with global coverage the pager seems indeed old fashioned. While for example professional care is shifting from dedicated institutions to the clients home there arises a need for global coverage of the pager too. The use of advanced equipment is also growing in all markets, from healthcare to industry to transportation. Next to monitoring a persons safety there also arises a need to monitor the state of this advanced equipment in order to prevent hazardous situations for the people using the equipment or people relying on the equipment. Think about infusion pumps, oxygen meters, but also manufacturing equipment, autonomous vehicles driving on large industrial sites and so on. In many of these applications the reliability and service level is of critical importance and therefore most existing Internet-of-Things (IoT) solutions are insufficient.

We can not deny that the needs of our customers are changing

Service
Service is also an important factor. While most smart phone and current IoT solutions are aimed at the convenience of consumers, our customers need to operate 24/7 without interruption and often the lives of the end users depend on the communication systems. Besides reliability of the product the level of service and support provided is also critical. At Pager Services this is at the core of our business and all new products are designed with serviceability in mind.

Given the growing gap in user experience between smart phones and pagers, the changing needs of our customers and the continuing need of high service levels, we are convinced that the solution is a next generation pager that combines the best of both worlds. The latest communication technologies combined with the highest reliability and availability in a new modern jacket. Designed specifically to suit the needs of our customers. This article shows a glimpse of the future.

Global paging
The next generation pagers will have national or even global coverage using LTE/4G/5G communication. It will also have global positioning using GPS. With the increasing availability and coverage of global networks many applications will benefit from this technology being able to leave the buildings covered by the classical local infrastructure. As a backup for hard to reach areas or when the global network (partly) fails a local UHF communication backbone will also be supported. These different communication technologies need to be seamlessly integrated into the pager such that the end-user does not notice whether the message comes from a local or global source.

5G
With the introduction of 5G networks a slightly different approach is followed. Besides the high speed network a low speed, high availability network is part of the 5G specification. This sub part is specifically interesting as providers might be able to give guarantees on availability. Of course we will update our global pagers to support 5G when the networks become widely available.

global coverage with local backup

Serverless and infrastructureless communication
The current UHF communication of pagers is based on a star architecture; one server controls all equipment and communication. The fact that everything is controlled from one point results in a weak spot. If the central server fails, all communication is down. In critical situations this problem is handled by putting an extra server in the system as a backup. But this also needs to be done with other critical parts in the system, such as cabling, transmitters, receivers and so on. Building such a redundancy is complex and expensive.

The next generation UHF communication works in a different way, like a mesh network. Every piece of equipment is a node in the mesh and operates independently. All server intelligence is distributed over the nodes. This results in a more robust communication since there is no single point of failure.

You can take out any node and the other nodes will continue working. Even if all equipment is defect and only two pagers are left, one pager can still receive alarms from the other pager. Note that all kinds of sensors could also be included in the mesh network; it will not be limited to pagers. This level of flexibility and redundancy is impossible in a star architecture. It also saves the cost of a central server which is especially desirable in small setups with only a few pagers.

The mesh structure also removes the need for hardwired infrastructure. Simply put in repeater nodes in the mesh network and the range is extended. Extension of the system is also easy; add another node and you are ready. This architecture saves installation costs and maintenance costs since 24/7 support is not necessary anymore. The system cannot be down completely and if a node is malfunctioning it will generate a technical alarm. Until it is replaced all other nodes will function normally. Besides this new UHF communication, the next generation pager will also be able to operate with classical star-based architectures to be backward compatible.

User experience
There has been a lot of research on the user experience of smart phones. Large smart phone companies invested millions in optimizing the menu structures, graphics and other user controls. The next generation pager must have an easy to use and intuitive user interface that makes it easy to scroll through old messages and see the content and importance of different types of messages it receives. By updating the user experience of a pager the gap between smart phones and pagers should be decreased. Of course the pager does not need to have all fancy user interface possibilities of a mobile phone but it must be more user-friendly than current pagers to get accepted. This also means that more effort must be put in the design of the housing, both functional (water proof, shock proof) and aesthetically.

We believe that the presented next generation pagers provide a modern solution for our customers critical communication needs. We plan to extend our product portfolio to include machine communication equipment based on the same principles serving the Industrial-Internet-of-Things market (IioT). At pager services we are committed to develop the next generation communication equipment that will fulfill all future communication needs.

At Pager Services we are committed to develop the next generation communication equipment

To provide dealers and end-users some insight in our exciting developments we present our 2020 development road-map. Note that no rights can be derived from the information provided here.

The roadmap can be downloaded in pdf format here: Roadmap_2020

If there are any questions regarding the roadmap, please contact dr.ir. Frans Kanters, MBI.

In the event of a fire or other emergency situation, it is vital that the evacuation proceeds quickly and orderly, without panic. Panic among residents, patients and employees is one of the biggest causes of physical suffering, especially when they cannot bring themselves to safety. The silent alarm system from Pager Services B.V. warns a select group of employees who can immediately initiate this evacuation and bring those who are present to safety.

The NEN/EVAC Control Unit is a complete control unit for the care of a wireless silent alarm system for evacuation in the event of a fire. The control unit is able to follow up a fire alarm by a Fire Panel or a manually issued evacuation signal and to enable a controlled evacuation. Extensive monitoring of proper functioning of other system components such as a paging transmitter and an EN54-4 certified power supply, as well as the control unit itself, ensures optimum availability of the evacuation system. An LCD display on the controller contributes to efficient programming of this unit.

  • Complete NEN2575 basic package
  • Expansion options
  • Easy to assemble and program
  • Optimal quality and reliability

Bring those who are present to safety.

“The solution to prevent panic

The package is composed of the following parts:

  • Central Unit developed specifically on the basis of NEN2575;
  • UHF paging transmitter 5W with transmitter monitoring;
  • 12 VDC / 6 A EN54-4 power supply with 48 Ah batteries;
  • UHF paging receivers (3 pieces) incl. Rechargeable batteries;
  • Cable set for NEN kit.

The heart of the system is the NEN/ EVAC Central unit in which all requirements of the applicable standards are united. A second important part of this system is the UHF paging transmitter including monitoring and antenna as well as 3 paging receivers. Depending on the applicable standard a standard loading rack or checking loading rack will be delivered . All these parts are supplied with power through of a power supply in accordance with EN54-4. Additional pagers can be added as required.

See the diagram here

When we meet Frans Kanters, he seems calmness personified. He talks in a thoughtful and measured manner. However, during this interview his eyes often flash with a thinly veiled passion. It doesn’t really matter, whether we are talking about his family or that  other big love in his life: technology. Frans is only 41 years old, but he already has many achievements to his name, when it comes to innovative technology. And now he has taken on a new challenge. As Pager Services’ new technical director he can live his technological dreams.

Frans is a versatile man. That’s what we find out, when we ask him about his career so far. Even when he was still studying, he combined several disciplines and he kept doing that after he had graduated. “I have set up and led very diverse projects. That started
while I was still attending university. For my graduation project I applied my primary subject, electrical engineering, to biomedical technology. I liked the combination so much, that I ended up conducting my doctoral research at the same faculty. That resulted in a revolutionary way of technical image processing, which is still used in intelligent cameras that are used for sports registration. I also developed a technique for detecting cracks in natural stone before they even show on the surface, which is, of course, very useful in construction. I worked as a consultant on very varied projects.” He talks about this as if it’s the most natural thing in the world to not only think up projects as intricate as this, but also make them.

Theory and practice: Frans doesn’t only invent it, he also makes it

Frans in short

Name:

Frans Kanters, Ph.D., M.Sc., MBI

Age:

41 years old

Family situation:

Married, 1 daughter who is 8 years old

Job title:

Technical director

Education

Eindhoven University of Technology, M.Sc. electrical engineering

Eindhoven University of Technology, Ph.D. biomedical engineering

Can we conclude from all this that you like building bridges, so to speak?
“Yes, I think so. I’m extremely interested in connecting apparently unrelated areas of expertise. That is what makes working at Pager Services such a challenge. The pager that we are developing at the moment, that’s not just a beeper, it’s a life-saving tool.

Building bridges between different disciplines

How did you end up at Pager Services?
“I have known André for a very long time. In the past I’ve developed something for him. When we got in touch a while back and André turned out to be looking for someone like me, it was a no-brainer really. Through time I have discovered that some circumstances are essential, if you want to develop innovative technology. Real innovation is created by space and freedom.

New generation pagers: combining technologies to save lives

Can you tell us a bit more about that?
“Absolutely. Some 6 years back, I started a new company at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven. As you might know, the history of this campus is linked to the NatLab. At one point it was meant to be a breeding ground for new technology. Things we now consider normal household goods, were once thought up over there. I have learned during that time that space and freedom are essential to enable true creativity and innovation. The best ideas come out when people, like myself and the people I had gathered around me, can really think outside the box. However, for several reasons that company suited me less and less and I started looking for a new challenge. That’s when André and I got back in touch. Knowing what I know now, I was immediately interested in what he had to offer. André is one of these exceptional people, who gives creatives exactly what they need to be able to blossom.”

So you can do revolutionary work here, at Pager Services?
“You certainly could say that. With my knowledge of collecting data, algorithms and movement registration we are developing a new generation of pagers. Devices which will not only communicate faultlessly and reliably when it matters most, but will also save precious time.”

How?
“We can register so much, that we can link certain events to automated initiatives. If the analysis of data supplied by the pager causes worry, it will result in direct action. That will win us precious time, which will definitely save lives.“

What sort of situations are we talking about?
“Think about, for instance, a prison guard who is overpowered. By means of the movement patterns, which will be automatically registered by the pager, quick action will be enabled. Faster than any man can ever act on his own. Or think of a someone who is frail, but still living at home, becoming unwell. The pager can send on vital information on the spot and that will enable the central unit to determine right away which emergency services are necessary.”

And you do all of that yourselves?
“Yes and no. We developed a framework in a way that – depending on the sector – data can be fed into. That way a device is created which is made to measure for its particular job. We will be doing that in cooperation with our dealers. They are the ones who know which customization is needed. We then implement those together, using all the input from the end-user that we can get.”

What is your big dream?
“I’m a very happy man in my private life. I have a loving wife, who complements me. She’s a psychologist and has taught me a lot about dealing with and managing people. And I enjoy time with my daughter. I would like to show her Hawaii someday. My business dream is not really a dream anymore. It was being able to have the space and freedom to develop myself creatively in technology. Here at Pager Services I have all that. I can get incredibly excited when I see people with a passion. That’s why I really enjoy myself, when I see the people here at Pager Services at work.”

a dream come true

As an electrical engineer and biomedical engineer I have been involved in many development projects. I often had discussions about questions like “Why did this development project take much more time than expected?” or “Why can’t you give me an accurate estimate on how long this development would take?”. In many cases these discussions were with investors or managers with little experience in high tech product development (although investors and managers that do have this experience might recognize the discussions too). In this post I would like to present my personal view on this topic by using a simple analogy: A bike traveler going from point A to point B.

Imagine this: Your boss comes in and asks you to give an accurate estimate how many days it would take you to travel from Gemert (small town in the Netherlands) to Wuzhenzhen (a town in Eastern China). By bike. This would translate to a large development project in our analogy.

First you would need to calculate the distance. You need to decide which countries you would cross, since some countries might be easier to travel through than others. This can be translated to a rough planning of the project and schematically drawing the outlines of the project. Then you would need to calculate the distance between places in the countries you would cross, resulting in a total estimated distance. This would translate in a more detailed description of the tasks that are needed for the project. Using the average traveling speed, an estimate on the total traveling time can be calculated. This would translate to estimating the time needed for each task and resulting in a total estimated time for the project. Done.

a simple analogy: A traveler going from point A to point B by bike

In a perfect world this would be a good estimate. But what if your bike is broken and no repair shops are near (you found this great component, but there is no stock and the lead time is 9 months)? Or what if you get injured and have to go to the hospital (one of your key developers is not available for some time)? Or what if some roads you chose earlier are forbidden to travel by bike (you made a design choice earlier and some necessary features are impossible)? Or what if the customer decides that the destination location changes to some other town in Eastern China (the specifications of the end product are changed).

Any developer can name many more examples of problems that can occur along the way. Common for all these problems is that although you can be certain that a problem will occur, you don’t know when or which problem. This does not mean that technical people are bad planners. It just shows that the uncertainties related to high tech developments are unpredictable. Common for all these problems is that although you can be certain that a problem will occur, you don’t know when or which problem will occur

This does not mean that technical people are bad planners

The best estimate is probably the perfect world average speed estimate with an added penalty for the uncertainties. These uncertainties depend on several factors, for example how experienced the traveler is (they take less risk, are in better shape, have more knowledge on traveling through different countries, etc.) which translates to the experience of the developer. An experienced developer can better estimate which uncertainties can occur and what the estimated chance of occurrence is. But also external factors play a role; do not underestimate a change in specification in the end product (even though it might seem small at first). It will result in a different route and seldom a shorter one. But also distractions can result in a non proportional loss of time. If the traveler has to stop often to do push-ups it will also affect the average speed during the remaining time on the bike. If a developer is interrupted often it takes additional time to “switch” back to his development project.

So next time that you ask your developer how long a certain development project takes, remember that the estimate is probably based on a best case average time plus some penalty time for expected problems. The latter is highly person dependent and often underestimated.

About the author

Frans Kanters received his M.Sc. Electrical Engineering and his Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering both from the Eindhoven University of Technology. During his Ph.D. he founded a company mainly focusing on consultancy in the field of image analysis. After his Ph.D. Frans worked part time as a researcher at the Eindhoven University of Technology and also received an Executive Master of Business Innovation from Tilburg University. In 2013 he was co-founder of a company developing intelligent camera technology for sports applications and in 2017 he co-founded Next Generation Technology, a company which focuses on critical communication technology. During his professional career Frans has been involved in many high tech development projects.

Force of nature, all-rounder, multi-passionate entrepreneur. These are just a few words that come to mind, when you get to know the founder of Pager Services, André van den Elzen. Within his company he is clearly well-loved. With his warmhearted ways and his generous laugh, he certainly has a captivating personality. Even those who enter the room feeling very nervously, feel at ease within minutes. Today he tells us about how it all started and what the power of Pager Services is.

It is impossible to not become enthusiastic about Pager Services, when you hear André talk about his company. And the effect isn’t limited to Pager Services alone. When he starts telling about his life, it comes across as an exciting audio book with a humorous tone of voice. One thing is striking about his life story: this man has done many different things and successfully as well.

“I can’t say that I’m a typical maker or typically a commercial man. I like it both and seem to be good at it as well.”

André’s career illustrates this. He worked at Philips for a very long time, with the company deploying him for all sorts of things, as long as they were complicated.

Outside his day job, he managed to set up several companies of his own, in both the technology sector and in music. He plays the sousaphone himself and loves jazz, which caused him to import musical instruments for years.

An exciting audio book with a humorous tone

Name:

André van den Elzen

Age:

66 years

Family situation:

Married, 2 sons, 42 and 44 years old, 4 grandchildren

Job title:

Founder and managing director

Past career:

Philips and several own initiatives

It seems like you bump into opportunities all the time, recognise them and have them work for you. Is that right?
“Yes, that’s about right. All my life I have just recognised what came onto my path and I knew how to make the best of everything. I still do. As I am used to saying: I am not hindered by any knowledge. I am convinced that practically anything can be figured out and have always been proved right so far.”

I know no fear and I’m not afraid to take risks.”

I thrive when things go wrong

So you just tumble into things?
“Pretty much so. I know no fear, am not afraid to stick out my neck. What’s more, I am energized when things go wrong. That’s when I really get on a roll and am at my best. It’s a gift that I am really grateful for.”

Pager Services came into existence in 15 minutes time. Is that what happened with Pager Services?
“Pager Services is an excellent example of this phenomenon. I had been working at Philips for years, in different capacities with a continuously increasing degree of intricacy. It was at Philips that I got to know pagers, but I also led a sort of A-Team for repairs. If it was really hard to solve and had to be solved quickly, my team was sent in. I also developed several initiatives to the side, which all did well. One of them was subselling the pager line that Pager Services still sells. That went a bit too well, which resulted in Philips giving me an ultimatum. It boiled down to them offering me to take over the whole line, but I had to decide quickly. It took me fifteen minutes to load it all and Pager Services had seen life.”

Can you tell us what the secret of Pager Services is?
“The Service part, no doubt whatsoever. When there is a problem, our first priority is to solve it. Once it has been solved, then we will talk money. Continuity is our first priority, especially with this kind of product. I have always emphasised that. It’s even the reason why we could take over Atus back in the days.”

What do you mean?
“Well, I was always busy anticipating. I purchased well in advance and strategically. That is how I made sure I could always deliver. Thus the takeover of Atus went very smoothly, exactly because I focussed on continuity and never spared any cost or effort to be able to deliver to my dealers. Pager Services could supply and produce from her own stock for over a year. That was our strength then and it still is.”

The power of Pager Services is reliability of both product and company

Continuity seems to be a recurring theme at Pager Services. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
“The power of the pager is its reliability. There is no means of communication that is more trustworthy. Of course, a product like that has to be produced by a reliable company. Trustworthiness has always been our priority. We are completely committed to connecting people, as our slogan states. These are not empty words. It’s our motto and it goes for both our products and every person that works within this company. One of my main competitors once said: ‘You can’t beat André. He has pagerblood in his veins.’”

How does that show?
“Our corporate culture is all about dedication. I’d stake my life for the commitment of every single employee of this company. And our stock levels guarantees our ability to deliver. There is no development in the market place that will rock our boat.”

Are there questions we can’t ask you?
“Ehm, I have think about that one for a bit… (some minutes later) Actually, I wouldn’t know. I’m an open book, really.”

How do you see the future? Do you have any dreams?
“I have it all, to be honest. If I’d have to review my old age, I’d give it a 9+. Although… old age? I’m actually quite busy with all my hobbies. I love motorcycles and mountain biking, shooting and golf. I travel often and still like to play the sousaphone. And these are only a few things I do. I would like to build a boat someday and sail it myself. But if that doesn’t happen, it is fine as well, because I have a great life anyway. I’m beyond proud of my sons. They have achieved so much and all by themselves. That makes me happy. I think no one teaches you as much as your own children. I see myself in them. They are, like me, self-taught and fearless.”

No one teaches you as much as your own children

The current DP6000 paging systems are all based on a star topology. A DP6000 system consists of a central server, some peripherals (transmitter/receiver) and a set of pagers. For small systems this central equipment increases the cost substantially. For large and critical systems redundancy can be complex and expensive. Therefore the development of DP7000 has recently started. DP7000 will co-exist next to DP6000 rather than directly replace it.

The DP7000 system is based on a mesh topology rather than a star topology. All devices connected to DP7000 are called nodes. A node can be a pager, but also a repeater, monitor, ESPA coupler and so on. Key is that every node works autonomously. No single node is dependent on another node to function (although a single functioning node that is out of reach of other nodes is probably not very useful). The strength of this method is obviously that there is no single point of failure. If one node is taken out, other nodes will continue functioning. Compare that to a star based topology, where the complete system is not functioning when the central server is not functioning.

Drawback of the mesh topology is that it is much harder to detect if nodes are not in reach or not functioning. There is no central server monitoring this. DP7000 provides several custom techniques to overcome this problem, where scanning of nodes and technical alarms are still possible. Also visualization of the status of nodes and active logging are still possible due to the extended DP7000 features.

DP7000 will co-exist next to DP6000 rather than directly replace it

Advantage of the mesh topology is that no hardwired infrastructure is necessary. All nodes communicate to other nodes directly, without central transmitters / receivers. DP7000 can be used with the same licensed frequencies as DP6000, but also with the license free LPD433 UHF band. Transmitters in the pager nodes have however much less power compared to central transmitters. So in order to guarantee coverage special repeater nodes must be placed at strategic places. These repeater nodes repeat messages from other nodes and can have higher power transmitters. If the total mesh is sufficiently dense, failure of one or several repeater nodes will have no influence on the coverage.

Similarly locator nodes can be used to have localization of other nodes. A pager node can also be programmed to act when a certain locator node is passed. Or the locator node acts when a certain pager node is passing. The DP7000 system is extremely flexible with regard to location technology.

Due to the absence of central equipment and hardwired infrastructure the installation of a DP7000 system is very easy. Small systems can be very cost-effective; a system consisting of only a few pagers combined with an ESPA node could be used to couple into a small fire alarm system. But the system can also be scaled easily to very large systems with many paging nodes, repeater nodes and locator nodes. Due to self checking of nodes and scanning of nodes the maintenance costs can be low. 24/7 support will be no longer necessary for many sites since the system will always continue working. If a node is malfunctioning, temporarily use a spare one and send the broken node for repair.

The difference between the classical DP6000 (star) and the new DP7000 (mesh) can be found here:  Star vs mesh.

Current status
Currently we are developing the DP7000 system. We expect to start in house testing of the first DP7000 nodes in Q2-2020 and expect to run a few customer pilots in Q3-2020. Fully tested and certified nodes are not expected to sell before 2021 however.

The development of our next generation pager is running at full speed. In this blog post the current status of the developments is presented.

First a set of requirements has been assembled. This list is based on our own experience and extensive discussions with our dealers and end-users. The gained insights have resulted in the following key requirements:

  • The housing must be more robust (impact proof) and water proof (minimum IP67)
  • The pager should be backwards compatible with the DP6000 architecture
  • The pager should have similar functionality as the current PS-pager
  • The pager should have an improved and better looking user interface
  • The pager should be able to support new communication architectures (4G/5G and our future mesh based architecture DP7000)
  • The pager should be able to work with user profiles (pagers are programmed for specific users at handout)
  • The pager should operate at least 16 hours without recharging (8 hours with global paging active)

The requirements have been translated to a printed circuit board (PCB) design. At the core of our next generation pager is an NB-IoT/LTE-M module. To this main processor, several sensors, switches and OLED displays are connected. The front display is a color graphic display. The next generation pager also has two independent UHF transceivers with several antenna options for compatibility with the DP6000 and DP7000 system. A layout example is shown in the image. The form factor is smaller than the current PS pager.

Recently 5 prototypes of the PCB have been produced that are used for testing and development of the firmware. These prototypes have just arrived and once all hardware on the PCB is functionally tested, the pager firmware will be developed. We also use these prototypes for the development of the new housing. In the upcoming Part 2 we will describe the results of the functional tests, the first housing prototypes and the first steps of the firmware. So stay tuned for the latest info!

In a robust looking building in Gemert, less than half an hour away from High Tech Campus Eindhoven, we find Pager Services headquarters. Initially, it seems like an odd choice for a high-tech company, this quiet village in the Dutch countryside. However, once we have gotten to know the company a bit better, choosing Gemert actually makes a lot of sense. It perfectly fits Pager Services’ vision, as well as the future that they look to confidently.

The building resembles the men whom we’re going to meet today. From the outside it looks reliable, calm and presentable. On the inside exciting things are happening. It offers room to grow and a lot of freedom, which is exactly what these pioneers in pagers are envisioning. From Gemert, it is an easy commute to those locations that are important for business – both when it comes to knowledge, as well as the dealer network – while all personnel are home in a jiffy. And family is important, all three gentlemen agree. That focus for welfare and wellbeing is exactly what makes them so proud of their products. Because people are ultimately what pagers are all about. Aid workers and dependents trust on the little, handy devices daily and entrust them with their futures.

“The pager is still the only completely reliable communication tool”

“Most people don’t even know that pagers play such an enormous part in our society.” says Piet Schueler, the company’s commercial director.
“The only time you hear something about anything, is when things go wrong. The fact that there’s hardly any news that involves the pager, is very telling.” adds founder and managing director André van den Elzen.
“It is still the only completely reliable way of communicating. Some hospitals tried to switch to a mobile network, but had to fall back to pagers. The mobile system just wasn’t as fool proof as the paging system.”
Frans Kanters, technical director, chips in with clear pride in his voice: ”A pager is more than a beeper. This device offers possibilities few yet know about. The common denominator of those possibilities, is that it can win valuable time and thus lives.”

Versatile and responsible, you can count on the people at Pager Services

We meet the men in the meeting room of the head office in Gemert. The room is tastefully decorated and shows that eye for detail, that keeps coming back to us throughout the organisation. The innovative products that will be presented at the end of 2019 are not the only things that have been well thought out. The corporate structure clearly is as well. André van den Elzen tells us that no one has ever left Pager Services, except to retire. That is quite an achievement for a company that has existed for twenty years. The reason? André has always given his staff members a lot of room for individual contribution and involvement.
“Every single one of our staff is versatile and independently deployable. They themselves determine how they achieve their goal, as long as the result is what it should be. They can therefore take full responsibility for their product and methodology. We have created a close-knit team with overlapping areas of expertise, which enables them to back each other up and form a stable unit together.”
“As a result, we do not have middle management,” Piet says, “and that is how we can guarantee that our company always runs. Even in the unlikely event that all three of us are incapacitated, all will just go on. That makes Pager Services as reliable as her product. We always work.”

Time to get to the forefront

“Because of the incomparable freedom that we offer, there is a lot of room for creativity. That enables us to come up with ideas that will take pager functionality to a higher level.” Frans says. “The possibilities that we are developing at the moment, will revolutionise the way we organise human safety.”
Which brings us to the reason why we are sitting here today. Pager Services is about to enter a new phase in her existence. Up till now, she, like her product, has been doing her important work in the background, quietly and steadily. However, lately so many exciting things have been happening within the company, that Pager Services wants to let everybody know what’s going on. As said, a new product portfolio will be presented within half a year, which will totally change the pager market. The company is also going to heavily invest in their dealer partnerships, in order to be able to serve the market even better. But there’s more. After all these years, André will gradually step back and Piet and Frans have joined Pager Services.

“Our product connects people at times when they need it the most”

Committed to Connect

André took his time to find both gentlemen.
“It is important for the continuity of our company and maintaining our high service level to uphold our corporate culture. Our people are our strength. And continuity is our ultimate goal. It was therefore essential, that any new people would fit in seamlessly.”
“Continuity is exactly the reason why I will be financially participating in this company.” Frans says. “That way I demonstrate my complete commitment to Pager Services.”
André has known Frans for over twenty years and Piet has been a frequent visitor at the office for years as well. Plenty of time to find out that both men share the values which characterise André and his staff. That the three of them are a perfect match shines through in the in depth interviews that follow. More often than not, they answer personal questions in practically the same words. They obviously have the same priorities, both in their personal and their professional lives.

We are 100% committed and involved

“We want to be there for the people around us, fully, always.” Piet says, while his two companions nod appreciatively. “That is exactly what our slogan ‘Committed to Connect’ means.” André reacts. “We are 100% committed and involved; we are dedicated to connect with our network in everything.” “That doesn’t only apply to us as a company,” Frans adds, “but also to our product. Our product connects people at times when they need it the most.”

Pager Services’ commercial director, Piet Schueler, radiates calm, authority and trust. He’s clearly comfortable in his role, sitting here at this table. We soon come to understand why. He has been one of the family at this company for years and had both the knowledge and experience to take the next step. What’s more, those qualities are inherent in this man. He’s someone who doesn’t rush anything, but does everything deliberate and with vision. Piet is a man of solid founding, sturdy building and detailed finishing.

Piet has been around the block when it comes to commerce. He studied commercial economics and business economics consecutively. The way he did that, is very telling about the kind of man Piet is. He finished both, pretty tough studies in his evening hours. That takes a lot of perseverance. He is modest about it himself. “At the moment it was the most logical way to go about it”.
Looking back, it does sound pretty heavy going, but at the time it didn’t feel that way.” His career shows the same pattern. At his latest employer, Tyco Fire & Security, he slowly and surely moved his way up through the organisation. He started at the commercial back office and ended as the person responsible for the whole contract portfolio of this large international company.
Tyco is a dealer for the Pager Services products and that is exactly how Piet – years ago now – met managing director André van den Elzen.

“It was the start of a long and solid relationship. We are both no-nonsense people, so we hit it off right away. In fact, we hit it off so well, that we moved on to a new phase in our relationship some months back.”

“Combining a unique corporate culture with optimal management”

Stability, thoroughness and sustainability in product, company and person

Piet in short

Name:

Piet Schueler

Age:

52 years

Family situation:

Married, 2 sons, 21 and 19 years

Job title:

Commercial director

Past career:

Tyco Fire & Security, Service Sales Manager

How do you see your role within Pager Services?
“Up till now, Pager Services has modestly stayed in the background, but that time is past now. We are busy developing innovative products and we want to tell the world all about it. These innovations will enter the marketplace towards the end of 2019. Until then, I will be conducting the professionalisation process, which will ensure everything in this company will run smoothly by that time. To achieve that, I’m analysing all corporate procedures to see where improvements can be made. Positioning is another key point of focus. I want to reconnect our inner world – how Pager Services as a company works – to the outer world – what we can expect in the marketplace and what the marketplace expects from us.”

Go-Getter who know where he wants to go and makes sure he gets there

How would you describe yourself as a manager?
“My way of working is fairly similar to André’s. I’m a great admirer of what he has achieved here and want to build on this. That means investing in the internal organisation to make sure that everyone keeps having the same goals. I think I’m the right person for this. People know what to make of me. I communicate directly and make things happen.”

What is your greatest ambition, business wise?
“Making sure that Pager Services is and remains the evident partner in her niche on the market. We have a brilliant product in hands and my task is to ensure that everyone will know about it and use it.”

And in your personal life, if we may ask?
“Of course you may ask. But the answer is probably not as exciting as you would hope. The thing is, I am a very happy man. I enjoy life thoroughly, my family, the exuberant lifestyle here in this beautiful part of the Netherlands. If you would have asked me a year back, I’d probably have said that I would like to work a bit closer to home. I was born in Helmond and still live close to my childhood home. At Tyco I spent a lot of time travelling and I could do with a little less time in traffic.  However, that wish has already become true, because I work here now.”

What is the best advise you could give your sons?
“That’s an easy question. Make sure you build yourself a solid foundation that suits you. Then take some time to look around you, before you move into a certain direction. And most of all, enjoy the road to wherever you’re going.”

That’s an answer which really suits how we have gotten to know you: stable and thorough. Is that why you fit into the Pager Services’ team so well?
“I think so. Pager Services is stability throughout. That applies to the product,  the company and to me as a person. It especially rings true, when you consider the direction we are developing into. We have listened to the marketplace, which enables us to move beyond our competitors. What’s more, we are achieving this in a manner that we can rally behind. We strongly believe in corporate social responsibility and sustainability. Sustainability is actually a must when it comes to our product. A pager has to be extremely durable and easily repairable. Our goal is to maximise its economic lifespan.  As such, it is a completely different story from the reigning ideology in the mobile phone sector, where one goes to great lengths to have you buy a new device every couple of years. That’s another reason why I see a bright future ahead for both pager and Pager Services.”

We strongly believe in corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

Preparing projects is an important part of the installation- and implementation process. Together with you we strive to respond to the developments we see.  With our knowledge and expertise we gladly support you.

“We are 100% committed and involved

The benefits for you:

  • Independent observation
  • Up-to-date knowledge
  • Expertise
  • Quality guaranteed

We can offer you the following services:

Training and education

Pager Services BV provides training for various disciplines, from installer to system administrator and user. These training sessions are provided by our enthusiastic team on location and even at a location desired by you.

Instructions and user manuals

Depending on the wishes of you or your client, we can provide instructions for both users and system administrators. We know from practice that this is always tailor-made and extremely important for the system acceptance. To support we often provide a project-specific Quick User Guide.

Field measurements

We can perform this for both DECT and Paging / Personal Security. Depending on the size and nature of the buildings, this can generally be done in 1 or 2 days. The basic principle is that on-site assistance is available from you or your client to guide us throughout the day and to provide free access to all areas.

Costs

We charge a fixed rate including travel costs regardless of which region within The Netherlands or Belgium. Overnight stays and accommodation are based on actual costs.

In this blog post we will introduce our new communication server that replaces the old (DOS based) alphadesk server.

As with the development of our next generation pager, the development of our new paging server also started with discussions with end-users and dealers. This resulted in the following key requirements:

  • The server should support multiple platform clients (Windows/Mac/Linux/Tablet/Phone)
  • The server should be multi user (multiple users could concurrently control the system)
  • The server should be multi site (multiple locations could be controlled by one server)
  • The server should support redundancy
  • The server should be NEN2575 compatible
  • The server should be compatible with the old DP6000 system
  • The server should support 3rd party interaction
  • The server should have a flexible autonomous alarm handling
  • The server should support secure remote maintenance
  • The server should be future proof and support other devices than pagers
  • The server should be connected to standard IP networks

The server should be future proof and support also other devices than pagers

The basis of our new communication server is a Linux based machine with a MySQL server, a web server and a custom service (zeus-server) that connects to a custom DP6000-IP converter. All communication goes through the MySQL database. The web interface can insert a call into the database and the zeus-server picks up the call and transmits the call over one or more DP6000-IP converters onto the paging bus. Similarly calls from a pager are converted by the DP6000-IP converter and received by the custom server which writes an entry into the database. All user interaction is handled by the web server and put into the database, while all autonomous functions (such as alarm handling) is handled by the zeus-server software. This architecture is very flexible and 3rd party integration is possible via standard MySQL communication. Using a reverse SSH tunnel a secure pathway for remote support is created.

The overview can be downloaded as pdf here:  Zeus_communication_server_overview

An improved user interface has all user, installation and supervision functionality in one unified framework. This makes it easier to prepare installations or modify installations in the field. Pager data only resides at one place instead of multiple setup tools. User access rights can be setup and users can be assigned to buildings to show only a selection of the pagers connected to the system. The new user interface includes most of the functionality of the Atus Commander Windows client. The new user interface also scales well with mobile platforms.

Current status
We are currently setting up three pilots together with end-users and dealers. When these pilots have been successfully finished, the roll-out of the new communication server will be started.