Two-in-five professionals say life safety industry “not equipped” to tackle future demands of ‘Smart Cities’

According to the results of new research published by fire safety and emergency lighting specialist Hochiki Europe, 39% of respondents believe the life safety industry isn’t equipped to adapt to the technological demands of the burgeoning ‘Smart City’ movement.

The research forms part of the detailed report entitled ‘Smart Cities: Building Life Safety into the Urban Landscape’ which examines the views of hundreds of system installers across the EMEA region and India in a bid to determine the future of the urban environment and the place of life safety technology within it.

Despite concerns about the readiness of the life safety industry to adapt to ‘Smart City’ ways of working, almost half (48%) of solution installers said they were confident that the life safety industry would still be able to keep people safe in future ‘Smart City’ environments. Some respondents went further still, with nearly a fifth (18%) stating that people would be even safer in the ‘Smart City’ of tomorrow than they are in current ‘non-smart’ towns.

Advanced communications infrastructure

Simon 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 ‘liveability’ of the built environment, urban planners are only now scratching the surface of how advanced communications infrastructure can help enhance life safety provision for city residents.”

Looking to the future of city planning, almost a quarter (24%) of respondents questioned thought demand for the smart approach would come directly from consumers who want to live in environments that are connected, efficient and sustainable.

According to nearly a third (31%) of installers interviewed, the most important aspect of a ‘Smart City’ is a metropolitan area planned with residents’ health and well-being in mind. This was followed by over a quarter (26%) who stated their focus was on greater communications connectivity, and almost a fifth (17%) who thought sustainability would be top of their agenda.

The Internet of Things and ‘Smart Tech’

Given the value of the Internet of Things in creating and building an advanced cityscape, it’s perhaps of little surprise that, when asked to list the sectors most affected by smart technology, one-in-four (24%) of installers questioned thought facilities management would feel the greatest impact.

Equally, with cloud-based monitoring systems at its heart, the life safety sector came in second with 18%, followed by the healthcare sector at 12%, education (11%) and construction (10%).

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 across the built environment. In doing this, we can make sure every area of the sector is equipped to face the future, in turn laying the foundations for delivering an even safer urban landscape that everyone can enjoy.”

*To download a copy of Hochiki Europe’s report ‘Smart Cities: Building Life Safety into the Urban Landscape’ visit:

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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