Editor, UBM

October 20, 2016

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Is the life safety industry ready for smart cities?

Smart cities are hailed as the future for the urban environment. However, when it comes to life safety, this raises some serious questions of the industry tasked with protecting lives. Is the life safety industry ready for smart technology? 

The life safety industry is not equipped to deal with the technological demands of smart cities, according to a study conducted with hundreds of installers.

The research, which forms part of a report from Hochiki Europe: Smart Cities: Building Life Safety into the Urban Landscape, examined the views of installers across EMEA and India to determine the future of the urban environment and the place of life safety technology within it.

The study found that:

  • More than 57% of life safety installers had not heard of the term ‘smart city’
  • 31% of respondents said a city planned with residents’ health and wellbeing in mind is the most important aspect of a smart city
  • A quarter said facilities management is the sector in which smart technologies will have the most impact
  • Two fifths said life safety industry is not equipped to adapt to the technological demands of smarter cities
  • Only 15% thought smart cities won’t make any difference to safety
  • 40% thought the demand for smart city technology will come from the Government 

Nearly half of the installers who responded said they were confident that the life safety industry would still be able to keep people safe in future smart cities – with nearly 20% saying they thought that people would actually be safer in smart cities than they are in ‘non-smart’ ones.

impacted-by-smart-technologiesorangebranding-01Simon May, Technical Manager at Hochiki Europe explained: “With smart cities now a focus for many global planning authorities given their potential to improve the sustainability and ‘live-ability’ of the built environment, urban planners are only now scratching the surface of how advanced communications infrastructure can help enhance life safety provision to city residents.”

The results of the survey indicated that the important aspects of planning smart cities were:

  • environments that are connected, efficient and sustainble;
  • areas planned with residents’ health and wellbeing in mind;
  • greater communications connectivity; and
  • sustainability.

The sector predicted to feel the greatest impact in building a smart city was facilities management, followed closely by the life safety sector, healthcare, education and construction.fm-professionalsorangebranding-01

May continued: “Examining the value of smart technology in city planning provides a breadth of information to help explore the impact of smart cities on life safety, both in terms of the possibilities they offer and the challenges that will need to be addressed to ensure we succeed in further improving fire safety in the built environment. In doing this, we can make sure every area of the sector is equipped to face the future, laying the foundations to deliver an even safer urban landscape that everyone can enjoy.”

To download Hochiki Europe’s report, Smart Cities: Building Life Safety into the Urban Landscape, visit: www.hochikieurope.com/report.

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