Andreas Justermark, Sales Director and Antony Everington, Product Manager share their thoughts on the five top trends that are likely to impact the Fire & Security market this year:
1. Environmental commitment
With the COP26 summit in Glasgow at the end of 2021 — and plans already underway for COP27 in Egypt this year — we can no longer ignore climate change and our environmental responsibilities. We need to embed sustainability in every aspect of our sector’s work — everything from designing and manufacturing our products to running our business, aligning efforts across the supply chain and collectively reducing our environmental impact.
The Fire and Security industry needs to play its part in combatting climate change. This will involve setting out policies and goals — but most importantly, we will have to translate our good intentions into positive action. With that in mind, over the next 12 months, we’d hope to see more businesses gain sustainability accreditations and use that knowledge to proactively tackle climate change within their organisations.
2. COVID-19 as a catalyst for change in technology and innovation
The height of the pandemic may well have passed, but the social and cultural after-effects of COVID-19 will continue to impact the Fire and Security sector during 2022. For example, we’ll see the ongoing use of no/low touch access control and video solutions to help ensure that any remaining social distancing and public health guidelines are being adhered to.
Supply chain issues caused by the pandemic will mean more businesses will design and manufacture their own components — and we predict this will become even more prevalent in the future. In addition, organisations have leaned heavily on technology to replace face-to-face site visits, and working from home has become far more commonplace. We believe this will continue for the foreseeable future.
3. Artificial Intelligence to reduce false alarms
Around 95% of alarm activations each year are false alarms. To combat this issue, we predict businesses will increase investment in AI software solutions. This will free operators from the repetitive and time-consuming task of identifying costly false alarms from thousands of cameras. It should also enable them to focus on genuine activations and the more complex jobs that add real value to their employer and customers. Businesses will also increase use of AI technology to help monitoring stations prioritise alarms and despatch the appropriate emergency service.
4. Migration to cloud-based solutions
With home working now firmly established as a viable option for many people, the ability to access data from any location has never been more critical. While many people will go back to their offices post-COVID, many will likely only do so occasionally or, at most, a couple of days per week. The switch to cloud-based fire and security monitoring software seems like the sensible option; it also has the added bonus of delivering continuous updates reducing IT support and hardware costs while increasing security.
5. Phasing out 2G and 3G networks
2022 will mark the beginning of the end for 2G and 3G. European countries that have presented plans for shutdown have stated that 3G will be shut down within about three years and 2G within five. It’s anticipated the move will free up airwaves and complete the roll-out of 5G. So, on the face of it, this seems like a logical step, and many consumers will be delighted with the high speeds and connectivity that it brings.
But the phase-out and change-over could prove problematic in the short term for Fire and Safety devices — particularly for security systems, alarms, and cameras with Internet Connection (or IoT devices) as many of them rely on 2G technology. Some parts of our community have also expressed concerns that replacement frequencies may result in weaker signals that are less able to penetrate buildings and walls.
It’s essential that businesses across Europe check now if their Fire and Security equipment uses 3G or 2G — and if it already supports 4G or VoLTE. We’d recommend contacting your equipment provider at the earliest opportunity to make sure you’re not caught — literally — off guard.