Focus on Fire in 2021
COVID was the catalyst that caused a slowdown of the fire market, however, toward the end of 2020, the market began to bounce back. Throughout 2021, the fire market is expected to keep improving and realize improved stability.
“The industry has adapted well in the face of the changes that 2020 brought, and with the political climate stabilizing and progress being made toward normalization, we could expect an increase in business openings and new constructions toward the second half of the year,” Daniel Rosales, senior director of technical services, Telguard, says.
Commercial consumers have limited choice as to whether they should purchase fire safety or not since this portion of the industry is regulated by codes, standards and the authorities having jurisdiction.
“There is little left to interpretation; this is a ‘must-purchase,’” Angela White of Central 1 Security says, noting that fire will remain the most consistent source of revenue with must-install, must-inspect.
Because fire is considered a ‘must,’ Dee Ann Harn, CEO, RFI says that inspections and upgrades are a huge opportunity. Additionally, “fire is going to continue to be in play for consolidation of commercial space and the increase of TI work as the design of office space changes to accommodate social distancing and safety protocols,” she highlights.
Consumer fire education — both residential and commercial — is also a large opportunity for fire professionals in 2021.
“This topic becomes more important as people spend more time in their homes: cooking, using space heaters, using candles to help build ambience,” says Alice DeBiasio, VPGM, Security at Resideo, focusing on residential.
As the fire education process continues into 2021, Tim Creenan, CEO of Amherst Alarm, Inc., predicts that because code enforcement officials are becoming more educated about proper application and requirements of fire alarm systems, the cost of the average system and inspection rates will increase in addition to “continued conversion from traditional phones for monitoring fire alarm systems to approved radios/cellular units.”
Concerning fire-related technology and communications, 3G cellular technology sunsets are in 2022 and we should see increased effort from the industry in upgrading devices.
“Considering this is the third sunset that the industry will be going through gives me hope that this will be a gradual process,” Rosales explains, “however, if I were a betting man, I would say that we will see the biggest movement toward the second half of the year.”
Overall, 5G, IoT and the continual evolution of hyper-connected smart devices will bring the biggest changes to the fire industry in 2021, but with changes comes opportunities.
“Fire has been and will continue to be a staple of our profession,” says White. “The ‘tug at your heartstrings’ is that we can save lives … that is impactful! Fire is not something that professionals dabble in; you need to be fully committed and remain fully committed to this sector of the industry.”
Coming out of 2020 and entering a whole new year and space, commitment to the industry, yourself and your business, and to resilience and partnership as well as focusing on these trends and key takeaways as steppingstones into 2021 will propel our industry to newer and greater heights.