With every industry is being digitised, how far can fire protection and prevention be from catching up? The gaseous fuel eco-system lays emphasis on a strong fire protection system and the changing trend in this industry has revolutionised the way fire protection eco-systems work.
In line with the 4th Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0), the term Fire Protection 4.0 signifies the 4th evolution in the fire protection system. Since its inception as an industry, fire protection has seen many changes – from water & sand buckets in the 18th Century to Cloud and IoT connectivity in the 21st Century. The internet and the Artificial Intelligence (AI) are dramatically changing the way the fire protection systems operate or can operate. The fire industry is known to adopt the new changes as soon as they are introduced and also the people working in this industry are quite adaptable towards new methods and techniques to detect, fight and suppress a fire.
The Drivers of Fire Protection 4.0
The Fire Protection industry is using technology to its maximum utilisation in furthering the cause of detection, prevention, and suppression of fire. The future of Fire Protection 4.0 is dependent upon these four technology drivers:
- Intelligent Wired/Wireless Sensors and Sensor Networks
The use of intelligence wired and wireless sensors and sensor networks provide the backbone to the connected fire protection system. These sensors can be used for detecting gas leakages or the presence of flammable gases. The hydrant and sprinkler systems can be sensor operated which can detect the water pressure, flow, and levels and activate those accordingly. The wireless battery operated smoke and heat detectors devices like MCPs can help in quick detection of smoke. Sensors for fire suppressant systems can help in automatically activating those systems which can save the valuable time which otherwise could be wasted in case of manual activations.
- Internet and Cloud Computing
The internet and cloud connectivity is set to change all industries including the fire protection industry. These technologies help in improving the connectivity between man and machine. The continuous data generated by the sensors (as described in point #1 above), can be effectively and safely stored on the cloud. The data on the cloud is accessible from anywhere, anytime, all the time. With appropriately designed integrated workflows, the data from the cloud can be readily accessed via smartphones and tablets which helps in accurate positioning of the location of the fire breakout. The accuracy of location during an emergency helps in providing help at a faster speed and in case of a fire breakout, time is an essential aspect. Another advantage of the cloud is the 24×7 connectivity.
The Blockchain technology is an incorruptible digital ledger that lets one store and share data and information through the internet. Blockchain technology decentralises the data storage which makes it almost safe from hackers as there is no one source of the data stored. Every system on which the data is shared becomes the server. The Blockchain technology in the fire protection industry can help in streamlining data and communication between contractors, manufacturers, AMC providers, insurance companies, and users
The streamlining of information via Blockchain can help in creating a bridge between the contractors and manufacturers thereby eliminating the communication gap between these parties. The information can be available to all the parties all the time. Besides this, keeping the insurance companies in the loop in this data sharing can help in claim settlement as well.
- Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is turning around the ways in which industries can operate. Sticking to the Fire Prevention Industry, artificial intelligence can play a big role in changing the way this industry operates. There are several things that can be done in preventing a fire with the help of artificial intelligence.
- Artificial intelligence can help in resource planning. For example, automated analysis of the number of buildings in the area of fire breakout, the population and the type of road to reach that area, can help in knowing the number of fire tenders needed and the method to be used to douse the fire. Knowing these before reaching the spot can be extremely useful.
- Conducting an assessment of the surrounding forest area through satellite imaging can help in forewarning the fire department so that they can take preventive measures accordingly.
- Establishments can use intelligent smoke and heat detectors.
- Use of audio and vibration analytics can help in detecting leakages in gas pipelines which can help in preventing fires caused because of gas leakages.
- AI can help in the analysis of sensor data from motors, pumps, diesel engines, water reservoirs, pressure switches and can accurately predict the health of the system – this information is extremely useful in preventive maintenance
Technology is the future and what better than the fire protection industry to utilise the full potential of technology to eliminate the casualties caused by fire breakouts. The latest cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence, Blockchain, IoT, and Cloud are dramatically transforming various industries such as manufacturing, retail, automotive, etc. Even the fire protection industry can greatly benefit from these – it is just a matter of the industry professionals and the experts to adopt these quickly and enjoy the benefits of the transformation.