Aston University is one of the United Kingdom’s top 30 universities (source: Guardian University Guide 2021) located in Birmingham, in the heart of the West Midlands. Aston University is the Guardian University of the Year, and Times Higher Education’s Entrepreneurial University of the Year, as well as being ranked 2nd in the UK for improving social mobility and adding significant value to the employability of its graduates as pioneers of the placement year.

    Midland Fire Security Services Ltd. (MFSS) has recently undertaken a project utilising the Honeywell Connected Life Safety Services (CLSS) gateway at Aston University.


    Aston University has 17 buildings and over 11,000 students on campus, and is considered a live environment. The loss of fire protection, even for a minuscule time period, is considered unacceptable. This scenario makes upgrading and testing the system on site challenging.

    The typical testing procedure for a fire system like this consists of a minimum of 2 engineers attending site, and the disabling of part of the fire system before starting to test. This would effectively mean that the premise is without fire alarm protection in areas where the service is being carried out. Generally, Midland Fire’s approach would be to have an engineer positioned at the fire alarm panel, watching for incoming alarms, while in communication with the engineer testing in the field. If a device was activated that was not in line with the areas currently being tested, the engineer could take action to manually raise the alarm and trigger fire action procedures.


    With Midland Fire Security Services and Honeywell Gent working in close collaboration, the Connected Life Safety Services (CLSS) product proved to be an effective solution to issues arising from system testing within a “live” environment. CLSS is an innovative, all-in-one cloud platform that allows the system integrator – in this case Midland Fire Security Services – and the facility manager to deliver an enhanced fire safety service while maximining performance efficiencies.

    By using the Checkpoint Hub (Portable Gateway), MFSS could ensure that Aston University was protected while device tests were carried out. Whereas previously the device and age testing was completed by two engineers, by using CLSS and the Checkpoint Hub, the process could be carried out by just one. While carrying out the device tests, the panels and devices can remain active, and Aston University still protected.

    Using the CLSS desktop or mobile application, MFSS can check which devices are reaching the end of their expected lifetime, and proactively organise the replacement ahead of time, rather than having to manually check each device. Another benefit of CLSS is that the reports are exported with descriptions rather than codes. MFSS found this time-saving process very beneficial.

    “Focusing on Aston University, from a service point of view, audit tool and productivity, CLSS is 100% useful. To be able to find a device, carry out the testing and audit trail is brilliant. It’s really beneficial in a situation like Aston University, in fact CLSS certainly helped us win the contract, because we could demonstrate and provide an audit trail to show all devices had been tested, plus the added benefit of device ageing and one-man testing while still keeping the university safe.”