The new year comes with new opportunities, both in the realms of fire safety and security, and from a residential and commercial perspective. In a new column, Justin Hawkesford, Comelit’s operations manager, looks at how compliance and fire safety, connectivity and the cloud will be timely technology topics as the industry evolves
With the Queen’s Speech confirming plans to implement Dame Judith Hackitt’s proposals and introduce a new buildings safety regulator, fire safety is clearly high on the agenda of the newly formed Government.
It has been suggested ministers will introduce a raft of new measures covering all 53 of Dame Judith’s recommendations, following the Grenfell Tower fire. Plans for a new building safety regulator have also been confirmed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG.)
The new legislation will include “a new safety framework for high-rise residential buildings”.
The government said it will go further than Hackitt’s proposals by “providing clear accountability for, and stronger duties on, those responsible for the safety of high-rise buildings throughout the building’s design, construction and occupation, with clear competence requirements to ensure high standards are upheld”.
New sanctions to deter non-compliance with the system will also be introduced and a “stronger” framework to ensure construction products meet performance standards.
What is clear is the need for compliance and competence within the industry, with consultants, installers and engineers under stringent pressure to comply and achieve testing standards in product and service to meet the needs of essential safety works in all residential buildings, across the UK.
In 2020, the Internet of Things (IoT) will redefine the concept of "identity management" to include what people own, share, and use.
Within this, consumer demand for integration will continue to increase, with the expectation for a seamless security experience, especially when it comes to home automation and surveillance, but also for business access.
Facial recognition is set to make a significant impact. It has come a long way since its initial days, achieving vast improvements in accuracy, reliability and efficiency. The biggest challenge as we move forward will be responding to concerns about data privacy and the management of facial recognition data and templates.
Continued improvements in algorithms will allow facial recognition technology to be deployed with peace of mind on more edge devices, further driving down costs and opening up additional opportunities for systems integrators and solutions providers.
Winners in the year will bring such advanced systems together with well-designed user interfaces. Thinking beyond the technologies themselves and focusing on developing a deep understanding of customer needs is what will be key to establishing integrated solutions and connected devices that drive growth. Indeed a focus on passion, technology and design.
The benefits of home automation, and smart technology, when considered with the eco-friendly sustainable attributes and ability to help save on energy costs, will also see businesses benefit from true ‘office automation'.
Here, even formerly disparate products will need to become connected platforms, showing security today and in the year to come will be much more than a single solution and instead be created to work together holistically and to suit bespoke specifications.
This approach will see enhanced integration of IoT devices into enterprise-level solutions. The rise in city-living is also putting pressure on infrastructure, so it will become increasingly important for the truly smart and safe city to move beyond a vision into reality.
New landmark developments across the UK, including our works with 250 City Road in London and Angel Gardens in Manchester - especially in tall buildings and multi-purpose developments comprising residential, retail and community offerings - are demanding automated solutions for the benefit of home and business owners, all operable via mobile devices.
These influences will combine to make 2020 a memorable year for the fire and security industry. With the need for strict compliance, it is one for us to embrace the technology but also look to value added services that end users crave, whether it be in design, smart operation or maintenance capability.