Editor, IFSEC Global

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James Moore is the Editor of IFSEC Global, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry. James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Global, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
March 15, 2021

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IoT in fire safety

“A clear consensus that IoT will play a key role in the future of fire”

The Fire Industry Association (FIA) has launched a Special interest Group (SIG) on the Internet of Things and its use in the fire industry, after publishing a report on how the technology is viewed and being utilised in the sector.

FIA-IoTReportFull-21The FIA says it wants to “start a shared, productive and necessary dialogue around IoT in the fire industry”, with estimates that 87% of businesses might be working with IoT in some capacity in the future. The report covers a definition of IoT, its current use and future importance in the fire industry, why organisations are using it and the barriers professionals face in adoption.

Ian Moore, CEO of the Fire Industry Association, commented on the importance of the subject for fire safety professionals in the foreword of the report: “The Internet of Things promises to transform the fire industry and many other industries. With over 20 billion devices connected to the internet in 2020 our members have made it immediately clear the Internet of Things (IoT) and how it relates to the fire industry is of the upmost importance for us all to understand.”

Alongside the report, the Association has launched an Internet of Things Special Interest Group, which will be designed to explore several facets, including:

  • Agreement on the aspects of IoT the fire industry will need to address
  • Assessing the specific barriers businesses need support on
  • Formulating appropriate solutions to alleviate barriers
  • Deciding which key stakeholders to engage with
  • Collaborating in shared dialogue with stakeholders.

Those interested in applying to the SIG need to be a current FIA member, and fill out a form on the FIA’s website, here.

Education necessary for IoT uptake in fire safety

The outcome of the report suggests that the industry does believe the Internet of Things is set to play an increasingly key role. 50% of respondents cited it would be ‘extremely important’ to the future of their organisations – while the remaining 50% said it would be ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ important. Certainly, these views are significant when considered that 18% answered they were ‘not at all familiar’ with IoT technology in the sector.

An education, therefore, will be necessary. IoT and networked technology is now embedded into the security industry, often considered a ‘sister sector’ for many professionals. Questions are no longer about why IoT, but rather about how do we make it better (and inherently more secure)? Initiatives such as the FIA’s Special Interest Group will look to promote a better understanding, and encourage conversations to be had about the potential benefits IoT fire safety devices can bring to improving life safety.

We’ve reported on several recent case uses for connected technologies being utilised in fire safety. Back in October, it was announced that Ealing Council had adopted FireAngel’s Connected technology as part of a significant investment into its housing services programme. The technology was specified, explains the council, to help monitor and manage its housing stock remotely, and eliminate the requirement for gaining intrusive physical access to properties. Similar technology from Aico and HomeLINK is being used as part of a new project for up to 1,000 homes in Leeds, too.

Education for customers will also be important, with 39% of respondents answering that ‘customers not being aware of the benefits’ was one of the major barriers for implementing IoT technology. 37% also highlighted standards and regulations – something that no doubt will be part of the stakeholder discussions when the SIG is formed.

Much more besides the above is discussed in the Fire Industry Association’s IoT Report, which you can read, here.

 

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Doug
Doug
March 18, 2021 12:42 pm

IoT is definitely the future for commercial and residential. Openreach delivering fibre to the premises and internal fireproof fibre optic cable is urgently needed as covid times have shown. Or will 5g take over from fibre and be a better alternative with speed of installation. Comms needs a review before public funds are put into a structure that would be out of date before completed, but that’s another subject. As I have mentioned on the website before tower blocks should have thermal cameras on each side to detect fire and automatically raise an alarm. Not expensive watchpersons who may go… Read more »