IHS Research Note: ‘Fire market to embrace wireless and IP technologies?’

In the latest Research Note from IHS, Justin Siller (manager of the security and building technologies group) informs on the global fire detection and suppression market.

Despite traditionally being slow to use new technologies, the fire market is starting to see increased interest in wireless and IP (Internet Protocol)-enabled products.

Wireless products have typically been used in specific applications where wiring is difficult (such as historical buildings), but outside of this the market has been virtually non-existent. Barriers such as reliability, price, variations in frequencies and installer reluctance have slowed adoption.

However, wireless is now beginning to be embraced. This is particularly true in the United Kingdom (UK) and Nordic countries.

Despite traditionally being slow to use new technologies, the fire market is starting to see increased interest in wireless and IP (Internet Protocol)-enabled products

Despite traditionally being slow to use new technologies, the fire market is starting to see increased interest in wireless and IP (Internet Protocol)-enabled products

IHS estimates some 25% of wireless product sales in Europe are taking place in the UK. End users are now willing to spend a bit more upfront for such solutions in exchange for lower installation costs as wiring is obviously unnecessary.

Focusing on the integrator/installer channel

The main barrier to mass-market adoption is the integrator/installer channel. Installers continue to be reluctant to market wireless products because they would need to complete more installations in order to realise the same financial returns as they do with wired installations.

That being the case, while end users see the benefits it remains the case that installers struggle to see any advantages.

For IP, increasing demand to integrate multiple building systems is driving acceptance. The managers of large facilities, centrally-managed chains and campus-style buildings want to connect multiple building systems together to gather higher levels of data on a single platform.

Surprisingly, most demand for these solutions is coming from the Middle East and South East Asia where legislation is more lax on integration standards. Here, building managers are integrating fire equipment with building management, security and lighting equipment to improve operational efficiencies and have fewer people reviewing/monitoring the information.

These moves are expected not only to increase the adoption for networked addressable panels but also enhance the adoption of more sophisticated communication channels such as IP and Modbus.

Demand for these technologies is expected to remain modest in the short-term. However, as other building technologies – such as access control, video surveillance, intruder alarms, building automation, elevators and visitor management systems – move to use wireless and IP-ready products, and are integrated, the fire industry may be hard-pressed not to follow suit.

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