We recently covered how the Internet of Things is impacting the security integration space, and what owners in that space can do to use it to keep their companies profitable. But the integration space isn’t the only one that can benefit from the new ways technology is developing.
Fire protection is another area that is feeling the impact of the Internet of Things. And owners in this industry can also use the world’s digital evolution to help them maximize their service offerings. Here’s how the Internet of Things is changing fire safety and how fire protection companies should be working to adapt:
How the Internet of Things is Changing the Fire Protection Industry
Just to recap from our last article about this topic: the Internet of Things is a fancy term used to describe the digital connection between physical devices that is created and supported by the existence of the online world. These physical devices can include anything that connects to the internet or cloud, from smart home devices and cars to cell phones and laptops. It also includes things like security cameras that use sensors to detect and then notify someone off-site of a change in a specific environment. The connection formed by the internet enables all these devices to share data and even perform automated actions based on the data itself.
Recent trends show fire protection companies using the Internet of Things to add advanced capabilities to their products or improve their services. One example of this is the National Fire Protection Association’s new online database, NFPA LiNK, which allows teams to cross-collaborate while accessing all the NFPA codes and standards through mobile devices. This can help technicians in the field find the answers they need faster, enabling them to provide better service with greater efficiency.
Researching new ways to use technology to stabilize and improve safety systems in buildings has also sparked many conversations around Power over Ethernet (PoE) systems. These use cables to physically connect devices to a local network or each other to keep detection, notification, and control safety systems communicating. In a 2018 conference about these topics, the NFPA concluded that most of a building’s systems will use versions of both the IoT and PoE to equal an “Internet of Everything” that keeps every device and system within a structure perfectly connected, in sync, and able to react to each other in the near future.
Why Integration Can Be a Great Option for Fire Safety Companies
If your fire protection company is not using the Internet of Things to expand your services, integrating security services can be a great starting point! Integration can help fire protection companies harness the full potential of the IoT by easing them into learning about the digital services on the market. If your company already offers fire alarm services, there’s a good chance you’re already aware of some of these digital offerings and using them in the field. It can be a relatively easy step to then add some security features or systems to your existing alarm offerings.
Fire protection companies who specialize in other areas of fire protection and don’t currently have alarm divisions can consider adding alarm and security services together. Doing this can make sense, as working with alarm systems requires specific licenses and certifications that other technicians won’t have. Investing in the personnel and the equipment it takes to start offering alarm system services can be expensive upfront. So, offering integrated services can be the best way to start profiting from your investment faster.
Exploring the integration options available can help you find natural ways to use the IoT to update your fire protection services or begin expanding them to stay ahead of market demands.
Existing Fire Protection Services the IoT Can Help You Expand
Today’s customers want to know that they are using smart solutions to keep their employees and physical assets protected. They also want to be able to easily provide reports to authorities and know the safety status of their facilities without physically being present. They are used to having a large range of options to protect, monitor, and learn more about their homes. They want the same at their commercial properties.
While some of the more advanced services and capabilities may be a little daunting, there are a few options on the market that could be easier to add. These include:
Fire Protection Equipment Barcoding
Fire protection companies can partner with barcode technology platforms to offer their customers the ability to print compliance reports and check the status of their fire extinguishers and safety systems in real time from any device. A sticker with a unique barcode is added to each extinguisher, which is then scanned into a system that technicians re-scan and update during every inspection. This gives property managers an easy way to see when maintenance is coming up on specific extinguishers or to see if some were missing or failed inspection. It is also easy to download reports that show the current status of the extinguishers to keep on file or hand over to building or safety inspectors.
Wireless Fire Alarm Systems
If you already offer hardwired fire alarm systems, adding wireless systems to your service offerings can be an easy way to use the Internet of Things to expand your contracts with existing customers and attract new ones. These wireless systems are easier to install, maintain and upgrade. They are a great option for building owners who need a faster way to add or increase their fire protection without spending a fortune. They can also be used as a temporary alarm system on construction sites or in areas of buildings that are being remodeled.
Additional Reporting and Predictive Maintenance
Similar to barcoding technology, the NFPA and their Fire Protection Research Foundation are researching new ways to use the IoT to put more information about a building’s safety in the hands of facility managers and safety authorities faster. While the practical ways to start doing this are still being developed, it would be a good idea for fire protection company owners to keep an eye on this area and the NFPA’s progress in it. As additional reporting capabilities become available, this will be a prime area for fire protection companies to upsell their existing service packages while also giving their customers the expanded information they want.
Convinced the Internet of Things Would Help Your Fire Protection Company? You Need AFS!
Using the Internet of Things to expand your fire protection company can give you an edge over your competition and establish you as a fire safety leader in your market. Whether you are already an integrated fire and life safety company looking to stay ahead of the trends or a specialized fire protection company ready to expand into new areas of fire and life safety, Acquisitions and Funding Services can help!
Adding more digital and technical services to your fire protection company can take a lot of time and money. But, today’s market won’t wait! If you want to get things up and running now, AFS can provide the funding to make that possible. There are various ways to help you access the capital you need to use the Internet of Things to expand your fire protection business. You may also consider selling your business to another industry leader to help them expand into an area that is your specialization.
To learn more about how AFS can help your company stay competitive, fill out our confidential form here or give Rory a call at 800-354-3863.
Interested in learning more about the fire protection and life safety industry?
These resources are a great place to start:
Investors Love Fire Safety Companies for These Reasons – Thinking of adding a fire protection company to your portfolio or expanding your organization? Read on to find out what sets fire safety businesses apart as popular and profitable investment opportunities.
Fire Protection Services as Revenue Streams – Learn more about a number of fire protection services and their ability to generate reliable revenue for your organization.
Fire Protection Industry Insights – Get an inside look at the fire protection industry and learn about key features and offerings that set successful fire protection businesses apart.