The world is changing at an exponential rate and whilst this could be a cause for concern amongst those of us that are perpetually fighting against progress, for the rest of us there has never been a better time to be alive.
Of course, any new technology will always be laboured with its drawbacks, but one emerging tech trend that appears largely devoid of pitfalls (aside from the occasional self-driving car accident) is the Internet of Things (IoT). This is a technology that has ramifications in almost every industry under the sun and, if used properly, it could also revolutionise fire safety.
What is the IoT?
For those who are not perpetually living on the cusp of the technological grapevine, the Internet of Things is a term that has been growing in popularity in recent years as technology has allowed all of your devices to connect and interact with one another.
It’s more than just one of those “does it really mean anything?” terms that executives like to pepper their conversations with too – it’s got real-world potential for a number of industries.
The Amazon Echo devices are a perfect example of the IoT in action, as are the smart metres that are now installed in thousands of homes across the UK. It’s about data being shared between devices to make life easier and better for the user. So how can that be used in the case of fire safety?
Location location location – The IoT can not only be used to transmit data about what a device should be doing or what it should be sharing but location data too.
This means that fire safety sensors could be installed in your home or office that will automatically be able to transmit locational data to fire fighting services should a fire break out. This is not only faster than the old fashioned approach of making a phone call, but it’s more foolproof as fire can burn through a phone line but not through a wireless signal.
It’s getting hot in here – Those same heatproof smart fire sensors that are used to confirm your location can also be used to track the temperature of a room.
That way, firefighters could be alerted as soon as a fire starts and will know exactly where the fire is located, where it might spread next and the intensity of the fire. They can then plan their equipment and their approach to the blaze accordingly.
Smart alarms – It’s not only new-fangled sensors that benefit from the connectivity offered by the IoT. Fire alarms and smoke alarms are getting smarter too, with companies offering smoke alarms that offer helpful voice alerts, are colour-coded based on the severity of the blaze and are connected directly to a smartphone app.
For commercial use, meanwhile, there are fire alarm systems available from Lee Security that are not only wirelessly connected devices but live feeds and mobile device integration.
Firefighting support – The IoT can also be of great use to the firefighters themselves. A modern fire engine can be fitted with sensors that will help the team coordinate how they attack the fire and should also improve response times.
In the case of larger buildings, they can also use mobile devices to download building schematics and share tactics from one side of the building to the other.
Safety – Finally, these connected devices can be used not just to inform the authorities should the worst happen, but as a preventative measure too. An IoT system could, for example, detect a fire and automatically shut off the ignition source before it has a chance to get any worse. The ability to sense exactly where a fire is, also means that smaller fires can be targeted to prevent fires from spreading.
There’s no telling exactly what the future brings for fire safety and the IoT. A few years from now firefighting drones might even be a legitimate option. For now, though, it’s more the IoT is more than just hype and is too powerful to ignore, particularly when it can be used to save lives!