Adam Bannister

Editor, IFSEC Global

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Adam Bannister is editor of IFSEC Global. A former managing editor at Dynamis Online Media Group, he has been at the helm of the UK's leading fire and security publication since 2014.
June 15, 2018

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Aico Ltd Q&A: Award-winning training, rigorous quality control and innovations to see at FIREX 2018

IFSEC Global spoke to Michael Wright, product manager, Aico Ltd, to find out about the company’s plans for IFSEC 2018.

IFSEC Global: Hi, Michael. Can you give us a brief background of the company and where Aico Ltd sits in the market?

Michael Wright: We are UK market leaders in domestic fire and CO detection. We manufacture smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to supply the UK market.

Aico has been around since 1990 and we’re a subsidiary of EI Electronics, who have been around since 1963. Aico look after the UK, but EI also operate in other markets around the world including France, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, via other offices and distributors.

Our main customers are social housing providers: housing associations and local authorities. But our alarms are also used in private domestic properties and we supply through electrical wholesalers across the UK. Electrical contractors will then install the products.

Aico 3000 Series of fire and CO alarms offer full circle protection in homes

 

IG: With fire safety being higher on the agenda, especially for landlords and housing associations, have you sensed a growth in demand over the past year?

MW: Certainly. We’ve seen lots more general queries and requests for training over the last 12 months.

Training and education is a big part of what we do and we offer a number of options. We hold industry events and focus days at our premises – our head office here in Oswestry – within our dedicated Centre of Excellence facility.

We also have three regional mobile training units that cover the UK so that we can demonstrate our products and provide training at a customer’s premises.

“Expert Installer recently won us the Electrical Wholesalers Awards for Best Training Provider but we are committed to continuous improvement”

Essentially this is to service an overall demand and thirst for knowledge from our customer base so they know what alarm systems they need to select and how to correctly install and maintain them and fulfil their duty of care.

But its not just fire – there’s an awareness role for the industry to perform in regards to educating people on the risks of carbon monoxide also, which we highlight.

IG: You recently relaunched your CPD-accredited scheme, Expert Installer?

MW: Yes. Expert Installer recently won us the Electrical Wholesalers Awards for Best Training Provider but we are committed to continuous improvement.

The scheme gives an overview of everything you need to design and install an alarm system based on standards, regulations and product types. It includes new technologies like our heat and CO multi-sensor alarm and CPD hours are available under the scheme.

In total we’ve trained over 17,500 people since it was first launched in 2009 and roughly 5,500 people in 2017 alone. We offer the training for free and it’s a huge part of what we do.

IG: How else does the company stand out from its competitors?

MW: Alongside the training aspect, the other thing that differentiates us is our products and we focus on three main aspects: quality, service and innovation.

Obviously they are life safety products so they absolutely have to perform and be reliable. All our products are manufactured in Shannon in Ireland and we have good controls and input feedback from the market very quickly into our production.

“Every alarm we manufacture is tested multiple times during manufacturing in whatever it’s designed to detect, be it smoke or carbon monoxide or heat”

Every alarm we manufacture is tested multiple times during manufacturing in whatever it’s designed to detect, be it smoke or carbon monoxide or heat. Those tests are performed for every single unit we make.

So we stand by the quality of our products.

From a service perspective, we cover the entire UK with technical support and sales support. The vast majority of our orders are next-day delivery.

And in terms of innovation, over the years we’ve brought several new technologies onto the market. We were the first domestic alarm manufacturer to offer wireless RF interconnection with our RadioLINK technology and the first to offer domestic Multi-Sensor fire detection.

IG: You’re going to be showcasing some training on your stand at FIREX 2018, right?

MW: We are, yes. We’re actually further developing our Expert Installer scheme and we’ll be launching the next version at FIREX.

We’ll be offering taster sessions for some of the training modules on the stand. We’ll have two sessions per day for the three days of the show.

Essentially we’re modifying the training to become much more interactive and hands on. We’re also incorporating new aspects such as videos and animations.

IG: And what about products on show at FIREX?

MW: In terms of Multi-Sensor alarms, we have a new 3000 series range we’ve released recently that will be showcased at FIREX. That includes two Multi-Sensor alarms – a Multi-Sensor fire alarm and a Multi-Sensor heat and carbon monoxide alarm combined, as well as single sensors within the same series.

Through this product range we’re also moving towards smart, cloud-based connectivity. We’ll be adding capability to add an additional gateway product that sits within a property. Information from the alarms can then be fed up to a cloud portal.

So for example, a housing association with 10,000 properties to manage – 10,000 systems – they can monitor centrally from that portal. If there’s an alarm activation or they’re coming to the end of their life and need to be replaced then they can get that information through the portal.

We’re very much looking forward to demonstrating our latest technologies to FIREX visitors.

Aico is exhibiting at FIREX International, 19-21 June 2018, ExCeL London. You can find them on stand A625. Register now.

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