Following a number of recent conversations, it is clear that there is a need to set up an Innovation Forum, to allow innovators and would-be innovators a place to discuss their ideas and seek advice on how to bring their product/solution to market...

31 March 2020

Innovation is described as the successful creation and implementation of new ideas; and it is crucial to a business being able to improve its processes, bring new and improved products and services to market, increase its efficiency and therefore, most importantly, improve its profitability.

The FIA through access to its 900 member companies, its skilled and dedicated secretariat and its relationships with a network of key stakeholders, has an enormous well of knowledge to call upon when supporting its members and the public at large in the World of fire safety.

Following a number of recent conversations, it is clear that there is a need to set up an Innovation Forum, to allow innovators and would-be innovators a place to discuss their ideas and seek advice on how to bring their product/solution to market or how to exploit an existing product/solution into a wider field than they currently operate in.

The FIA has been involved in this area before, the most recent being part of a triumvirate to set up a Research and Development Hub for the Fire & Rescue Services so we know how to help. Should this Innovation Forum accelerate, then it could build into something bigger later in the year (when normality returns!), so, for now, join in and contribute as best you can and who knows where this can go.

We do not know how this will develop and what the take up will be, but we want to do something to help facilitate such a forum for our members (whilst being inclusive of academia and other organisations that would benefit from collaborative interaction on innovation in the fire safety world). It will be an open forum so do not add any information that you consider confidential and we will be monitoring it closely to ensure it is being used correctly. We will withdraw access to any user at any time should the FIA feel it is being used inappropriately (e.g. selling, promoting, personal comments, criticising other users etc).

Ian Moore, CEO of the FIA said

“There are endless barriers to bring a fire safety system to market and rightly so as it is a life safety solution. Knowledge of standards, codes and best practice (never mind getting the technology to work!) is vital to understand what is expected. However, sometimes you need to be prepared to write new standards, new testing criteria and best practice guides as those in existence don’t cover your new technology.

I remember being told during my time at Cerberus that the first smoke detector was found purely by accident. Swiss scientist, Walter Jaeger was attempting to invent a device which could detect poison gas. The idea was that the gas would enter the alarm system, and alter an electrical current inside, thereby setting off the alarm. However, when Jaeger tested the device, the gas did not alter the currents or trigger anything. Frustrated, he lit a cigarette and noticed that the smoke did register in his device. This was the beginning of what would later become the smoke detectors that we see everywhere. I am sure this is one of a number of anecdotes on how things were invented…

I was lucky enough to lead a number of talented teams over the years that had that exact problem. One of the systems we developed back in the ’90s was Video Smoke Detection and although it clearly worked in areas that nothing else was suitable (e.g. large voluminous areas), proving repeatability was a huge issue which stopped it being a mass-market product. Anyway, it is now fitted all around the World in a number of applications, we won the coveted Queen’s Award for Innovation, but it took years of hard slog to get it accepted as a viable option in the arsenal to effectively detect fire. So, you have my whole-hearted support in your efforts to bring new solutions to market to make the World safer from fire.”

Requirements to apply to join:

Be an FIA member.

How to join: Complete this short application form and send it in for review

 


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