Sequans helps Qastle transform smart alarms

  • October 25, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

French IoT connectivity firm Sequans Communications is showing at this week’s Mobile World Congress in Los Angeles how it helped Arizona start-up Qastle transform its smart alarm controller so DIY homeowners can upgrade their wired alarm systems.

Sequans has LTE-enabled the smart alarm controller so homeowners can upgrade their wired alarm system to smart wired alarm systems using all existing wired sensors and devices by simply replacing the existing alarm system control panel with the Qastle product.

For the cellular connection, the controller uses the Sequans’ Monarch Go LTE-M and NB-IoT modem component that provides an instant connection to cellular IoT networks. Monarch Go provides all-in-one connectivity, including the modem, antenna and Verizon SIM, and it comes pre-certified by Verizon.

“Cellular connectivity was a requirement for our smart alarm from the beginning but our engineering backgrounds did not include cellular hardware, software or certification expertise, so we weren’t sure exactly how we’d deliver this when we started,” said Sean Maddox, co-founder of Qastle. “We were thrilled when we discovered Sequans’ Monarch Go. We brought it into the lab and quickly confirmed it as a complete, all-in-one solution that enabled us to instantly connect our smart alarm to the cellular data network by simply connecting Monarch Go to our controller.”

Kelly Duerr, co-founder at Qastle, added: “Monarch Go comes complete with everything needed for connectivity including an already tuned and optimised antenna and a Verizon SIM. Monarch Go lives up to its promises and made connecting our smart alarm to the cellular network entirely simple and fast, saving us from months of design and certification effort and enabling us to focus our efforts on other areas of product development.”

The smart alarm controller supports all low voltage wired sensors and devices and, with the Qastle app for iOS and Android, provides full user control and visibility from anywhere in the world, smart home integration, automation and robust security system features.

Patent-pending plug-and-play technology learns wired sensor zone types and sensors and configures the smart alarm to support them, which simplifies DIY user installation and setup. There is support for wired alarm system zone types, including normally open, normally closed, zone doubling, double balanced, series circuit zones, parallel circuit zones, combined series and parallel circuit zones, and zones with resistors in series and in parallel including end-of-line and double end-of-line resistors

Qastle’s virtual zone technology can separate sensors on a physical zone into virtual zones increasing visibility into the status of the property. There are 23 physical zones supporting tamper detection and up to 256 virtual zones.

The system has NFPA compliant support for two-wire and four-wire smoke detectors and tamper detection. A 12V DC, 2A NFPA compliant alarm output supports sounders, bells, sirens and tamper detection. A 12V DC, 5A auxiliary power is for keypads, devices and four-wire sensors including motion, glass break and liquid detecting.

The communications bus supports select keypads and expansion devices. Ethernet and wifi connectivity includes multi-WLAN technology.

Power management supports 12V lead acid battery backup, seamless switching between AC power and battery power and intelligent battery management and charging features.

“The Qastle smart alarm provides real value to homeowners and is an ideal residential security solution,” said Didier Dutronc, executive vice president at Sequans. “With the smart alarm, homeowners don’t have to replace their existing wired alarm system with an expensive wireless system but instead can quickly upgrade to a full-featured system that seamlessly integrates with the rest of their smart home ecosystem. Qastle is exactly who we built Monarch Go to serve, and we are pleased that it enabled them to get their smart alarm controller to market fast.”

Monarch Go is based on Sequans Monarch LTE-M and NB-IoT chip that provides support for power saving mode and extended discontinuous reception to enable long battery life. Monarch provides enhanced coverage modes, including a +23dBm power amplifier, that extend coverage for deep-indoor and remote deployments.

For LTE positioning, in addition to the optional GNSS, Monarch Go incorporates the positioning technology of Polte for low power, indoor and outdoor positioning capability using the LTE radio alone. Monarch delivers programmable RF filtering for global band support in a single-SKU, and proprietary dynamic power management technology, enabling power consumption of 1µA.

Qastle is a start-up founded in 2019 by Kelly Duerr and Sean Maddox as a result of their quest for ways to improve their own experiences with their existing wired alarm systems. After finding no satisfactory options, the two long term tech industry engineers founded Qastle to develop the smart alarm and make it available to other home owners also seeking ways to improve their own alarm system experience.

Founded in 2003, Sequans is based in Paris, France, with additional offices in the USA, UK, Israel, Hong Kong, Singapore, Finland, Taiwan, South Korea and China.