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16 June 2021
We have started a Special Interest Group (SIG) to have a shared, productive and necessary dialogue around the Internet of Things (IoT) in the fire industry. Our IoT Report highlighted how IoT can and will impact us all; with estimates that 87% of businesses might be working with IoT in the future and 100% of respondents claimed it will play a vital role in the future of the fire industry.
To move forward with IoT as one it is crucial that we agree on what the IoT is defined as. We agree that the IoT is:
the network of physical objects—a.k.a. "things"—that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the Internet
Here are the four titles of categories that we plan to use to help us frame the fluid topic of IoT – it must be stated that IoT services and providers can sit within a multitude of categories at the same time:
- Communication (how “things” talk to each other)
- Security (how we keep that communication private and secure)
- Things (devices\equipment that want to communicate)
- Management (soft services monitoring)
With over 50 FIA members already signed up and participating in the SIG, we are already starting to work towards our goals.
We plan to work with our members, the industry and like-minded organisations from different industries to reduce and remove the barriers that are hindering the adoption of IoT and its benefits in the fire industry. Our initial goals are to:
- provide a platform for IoT to be discussed within the fire industry that will, in time, bring together FIA members, the wider industry, Approval Bodies, other trade associations and the Government.
- help educate end-users to the benefits of IoT and address concerns that they may have on the security, reliability and availability associated with the IoT.
- work to better collate and fully understand the relevant standard and regulations involved with working with the IoT in the fire industry to make them accessible to all; and ultimately work to influence, guide and create standards to incorporate the IoT where needed. See our collated standards here
The IoT is a wide-ranging, at times complex and ever-changing topic. Unlike most issues, it doesn’t fit neatly within the remit of any one particular FIA Council or Working Group. As such it is important to provide a flexible framework that allows information from a variety of areas to flow both in and out of the SIG.
To ensure that we are giving our IoT SIG the best chance to make the biggest difference we have:
- added IoT to the agenda of many of the FIA Councils it directly affects namely the Fire Detection & Alarm, Services, Fire Risk Assessment, Extinguishing, Export and FIRESA Councils.
- assigned many Councils with a specific IoT liaison who will relay information, ideas and news back and forth between their Council and the IoT SIG.
- created Task Groups within the IoT SIG that are able to focus on a specific area of how IoT is and can play a role in the fire industry – currently we have Domestic, Commercial and ARC Tasks Groups. We are keen to expand these Task Groups as and when the SIG decides.
With the ever-growing nature of IoT, it is crucial that our SIG provides tangible results quickly, to address the above-mentioned goals. If our industry fails to take advantage of the opportunity IoT has to improve our industry then it is likely that this chance will slip beyond our grasp; as other industries are likely to try and use the IoT to expand the services they offer and unfortunately one of those might be fire. Here are some of the actions that we are getting our teeth stuck into:
- researching, collating and organising into categories and bringing it all to one home for all the relevant standards and regulations that would be vital to know for those who are working with the IoT in the fire industry.
- creating Fact Files and Best Practise Guides through our Task Groups to help inform professionals, educate end-users and fill in where current standards and regulations are perhaps unclear.
- showcase the best of what the fire industry has to offer end-users through turning presentations given to the SIG by its members into news stories that can be promoted through the FIA’s wide-reaching social media and e-communications to help promote the role IoT is currently playing in making the fire industry safer – this free promotion to presenters is worth £1350 and the full package can be read here
How to join:
The FIA IoT SIG provides a great opportunity for FIA members to work with other members under the banner of the FIA as the industry-leading voice to enable the fire industry and the customers we serve to benefit from IoT.
If you are eager to join or just want to know more, please email Adam Richardson, FIA Business Liaison and Secretary for the FIA IoT SIG at [email protected]
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