Is outdated technology crippling the fire safety and security sector?

June 13, 2024



Rob Gilbert, Managing Director of Commercial & Infrastructure at Totalmobile discusses whether ageing technology is having long-term negative implications on the security and fire safety sector.

In the challenging world of fire safety and security services, organisations are constantly juggling the need to maintain high efficiency with the relentless push for technological advancement.

This industry, marked by a high volume of daily tasks and the necessity for rapid, sometimes unplanned responses, calls for robust and adaptive solutions.

Yet, surprisingly, many fire safety and security engineers still rely on outdated tools like text messaging and spreadsheets.

Outdated technology

So, we must ask: is outdated technology crippling the fire safety and security sector?

Consider the typical day of a fire safety or security engineer.

They manage a multitude of vital tasks, often with schedules that can change at a moment’s notice.

This fluidity, combined with the need for both planned and reactive work, demands swift and efficient action to meet the tight demands of competitive contracts.

However, reliance on old systems disrupts workflows, causes inefficiencies, hampers productivity, and could lead to safety risk.

Many of these engineers still depend on basic communication tools and manual scheduling methods.

These methods, though familiar, are far from adequate for the modern world we operate in.

New job assignments often throw long and meticulously planned schedules into disarray, leading to delays and increased stress.

The manual effort required to organise and adjust these schedules is immense, consuming valuable time and being prone to human error.

Furthermore, the use of spreadsheets and messaging apps for coordination isn’t just inefficient—it’s risky and unsustainable.

Automated scheduling and intelligent management systems could transform this sector.

True, dynamic software solutions can streamline operations, ensuring that work quotas are met ahead of schedule.

By automating the scheduling process, companies can significantly cut down on the time and effort involved in manual planning.

This improvement not only boosts efficiency but also reduces the risk of errors and ensures a fairer distribution of tasks.

Technology, unlike human planners, does not have biases, promoting a more fair work environment for all.

Supporting scalable growth

Moreover, advanced technology can aid sustainability and support scalable growth.

Automated systems can optimise engineers’ travel routes, cutting fuel consumption and contributing to environmental goals.

Efficient job management software helps organisations handle more tasks without compromising quality – enhancing customer satisfaction, and driving business growth.

One significant advantage of using technology in scheduling and task management is the prevention of knowledge loss.

In a workforce that operates around the clock, with regular shift changes and employees leaving to competitors or retiring, valuable knowledge can easily be lost.

Dynamic software stores all necessary information and makes it accessible at the click of a button, ensuring operational continuity and stability.

Despite these clear benefits, many organisations hesitate to adopt intelligent management systems.

This hesitation stems from uncertainty about what makes up good field service management software, resistance to operational change and the high stakes involved in operating in the sector.

Organisations need systems that are not just isolated and unconnected but truly dynamic and integrated.

Operational change can be daunting, especially in a high-stakes sector like fire safety and security, where there’s no room for error.

Organisations must seek software providers with deep industry expertise who understand their unique challenges.

The right technology partner will offer comprehensive support throughout the software lifecycle, from pre-purchase consultation to post-sale assistance, mitigating risks and ensuring seamless implementation is crucial.

Many software providers cannot meet these needs, either because of slow enablement processes or outsourced support services.

Organisations should look for in-house developers who offer customised support and faster deployment.

From my experience, leveraging the right technology has saved customers countless hours and a significant amount of money.

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has published several articles and reports on the importance of adopting new technologies in various engineering fields, including fire safety and security, often highlighting the benefits of automation and integrated systems in reducing operational inefficiencies.

Integrating advanced technology

There’s a common misconception that integrating advanced technology leads to job losses.

On the contrary, it facilitates sustainable growth and allows the workforce to focus on core responsibilities.

By automating routine tasks and optimising schedules, engineers can complete more jobs efficiently.

This not only supports performance related bonuses (that are common in the industry) and fairer work distribution, but also enhances job satisfaction and the overall customer experience.

However, the benefits don’t just stop at an operational level, as adopting job management software has a green element.

Efficient travel management reduces the carbon footprint, aligning with global sustainability goals. Technology plays a crucial role in making the fire safety and security sector more efficient, fair and environmentally friendly.

According to the latest stats from on fire statistics, 2023 saw the largest rolling year figure of false alarms raised since 2011 – 250,000 or nearly 700 a day.

The primary culprit? The failure of apparatus.

In conclusion, the fire safety and security sector stands at a pivotal moment.

The decision to either cling to outdated technology or embrace truly dynamic, intelligent management systems will shape the industry’s future.

By overcoming resistance to change and investing in robust technological solutions, companies can unlock unprecedented efficiency, sustainability and growth, but it’s up to the sector to seize this transformative opportunity.

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