How Fire Alarm Technology Is Evolving
This issue offers an in-depth look at how fire alarm hardware is evolving and beginning to adopt the more mainstream technologies such as touchscreens, apps and the cloud.
There are two major articles in this issue of SDM that stand out for the positive news they offer the industry and, perhaps more importantly, for conveying the idea that fire alarm technology is indeed starting to change — and that is welcome news.
“For a market characterized as stable, code-driven and conservative, 2015 seemed to be a turning point for many in the fire detection business, marking the true end of the downturn and the return to growth,” writes SDM Senior Editor, Karyn Hodgson, in “State of the Market: Fire Alarms” beginning on page 53.
Hodgson says both SDM’s and others’ research supports the idea that the fire market is in a growth cycle. For example, MarketsandMarkets predicts the global fire protection systems market size will more than double by 2022, growing at a combined annual growth rate of 10.1 percent. SDM’s Industry Forecast studies in recent years also reflect this bullish stance on the fire alarm market.
This month’s cover features Scott Sessions, senior vice president of Mountain Alarm. He says Mountain Alarm’s fire business grew 22 percent from 2014 to 2015, and he anticipates an even better 2016. “Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, ‘I want to put a new fire alarm system in my four-story.’ But fire alarm systems are wearing out. Mass notification has helped, as well as new construction. Our backlog is humongous and better than last year. 2016 looks bright for us,” Sessions says.
When it comes to the use of more modern technologies, Hodgson explores how fire alarm manufacturers, within the constraints of code-compliance, are beginning to incorporate tech such as touchscreens, apps, and even integrations with other subsystems.
“Unlike the security market where apps seem to proliferate daily, on the fire side they are still in their infancy, primarily because code doesn’t allow anyone to remotely change anything on the fire panel. Industrious dealers and manufacturers, however, are increasingly turning to apps for a different purpose on the fire side,” Hodgson writes, delving into how dealers are using them to manage inspections and maintenance of fire alarm systems.
In the article, “Easing the Fear of Fire With Technology,” beginning on page 66, Hodgson further explores the use of apps, as well as things such as remote tools that allow property managers to look in on what a panel is telling them or touchscreen displays that make it easier for facility managers to interact with a fire alarm system, rather than using difficult-to-understand buttons.
“For us we are trying to stir the pot in fire,” says Potter Signal’s Craig Summers. “The industry doesn’t move fast, but we have a mobile app that allows us to connect all the panels to the cloud and the dealer can now see the whole install base from a single dashboard.”
You can check out these two thought-provoking articles in this issue on pages 53 and 66. The impetus for bringing more modern technologies to the fire alarm industry is to help stimulate sales where older systems are outdated and need to be replaced, as well as to help dealers operate as efficiently as possible.
A New Addition to SDM & Security Magazines
We are pleased to announce Gary Merrill has joined Security & SDM as our new East Coast Sales Manager. Gary has been a part of the publishing community for more than 18 years — having sold integrated media solutions to customers focused on business growth.
“Through my years at Shore-Varrone, Bill Communications, and The McGraw-Hill Companies, I’ve taken great pride in partnering with our customers to offer assistance in every way possible. I look forward to being a part of the BNP Media family and specifically the Security and SDM teams,” Merrill said.
Gary grew up in Monmouth County, N.J., and graduated from the University of Rhode Island. He’s lived in the Atlanta suburb of Roswell, Ga., for the last 20 years with his wife and two children.