Use of wireless, IP products on the rise in fire market

The fire market is beginning to see increased interest in the use of wireless and IP-enabled devices, according to IHS.

Although wireless fire solutions have been used in places where installing new cabling is difficult such as historical buildings, their use outside of these applications is extremely rare. Some of the barriers that have slowed their adoption include concerns over reliability, price, variations in frequencies, and installer reluctance.

However, IHS said that is now beginning to change, especially in UK and Nordic counties. IHS estimates that some 25 percent of sales wireless fire products in Europe are taking place in the UK. The research firm said that end users are also now willing to spend a little bit more upfront for the product in exchange for savings in installation costs.

“The main barrier to mass-market adoption is the integrator/installer channel,” explained Justin Siller, manager of the security and building technologies group at IHS. “Installers continue to be reluctant to market wireless products because they would need to complete more installations to make the same amount of money as they do with wired installations. So while end-users see benefits, installers struggle to see any advantages.”

When it comes to IP, IHS said that the increasing demand to integrate multiple building systems, especially in large facilities, centrally managed chains and campus-style buildings, is driving acceptance of the technology.

“Surprisingly, most demand for these solutions is coming from the Middle East and Southeast Asia where legislation is more lax on integration standards,” added Siller. “Here buildings are integrating fire equipment with building management, security, and lighting equipment to improve operational efficiencies and have fewer people reviewing/monitoring the information. It is expected to not only increase adoption for networked addressable panels but should also increase use of more sophisticated communication channels such as IP and Modbus.”

Siller said that demand for both wireless and IP products in the fire market will remain modest in the short-term, but as other building and security technologies continue to increasingly move in this direction that fire solutions are likely to follow.