Mark McLoughlin Key Account Manager – Siemens Industries and Markets, Siemens Financial Services examines how tailored financial solutions support the case for investment in sophisticated fire safety systems.
Digitalisation, it seems, is touching every area of business, and of life. Fire safety is no exception, and this technology continues to develop apace.
Intelligent solutions, such as ASA (Advanced Signal Analysis), developed by Siemens, aim to determine the cause of detected emissions enabling the system and its operators to react accordingly. When fumes hit the chamber of an ASA detector signals from the different sensors are processed using sophisticated algorithms to determine the particular ‘signature of the emission. By finding a match, the system can determine exactly what’s causing the fumes. If the system detects fumes such as cigarette smoke, steam, deodorant fumes, or burnt toast it can ignore that emission or in the worst case allow the operator time to manage the situation before instigating a full alarm, and potentially evacuating the building and alerting the fire brigade. This means that when the detector does go into alarm, occupants know that it’s a real emergency and can act accordingly.
Fire safety systems are a required investment for businesses and organisations. Nevertheless, when upgrading to more sophisticated technology a business case needs to be made to justify the investment.
Clearly, safety concerns are high priority, and any system with improved sensitivity that will detect fires more quickly and accurately delivers a compelling argument. Early detection of fire also has an obvious – and potentially significant – cost benefit, in terms of minimising damage, enabling business continuity and limiting loss of custom and damage to corporate reputation.
In addition, it is estimated that false fire alarms cost the UK economy £1bn a year. Reducing the number of false fire alarms saves the organisation money through limiting disruption to productivity. But also has an impact on the cost to the taxpayer where buildings’ alarms are automatically programmed to alert the emergency services when a fire is detected. Similarly, reducing the number of false alarms reduces apathy and means that when building occupants hear an alarm they are likely to take it seriously and act accordingly. Alongside these factors, smart financing options are available to help support the business case for fire safety upgrades by making the associated investment financially sustainable. Many organisations are keen to optimise their capital deployment by moving tangible investments – such as building technology– away from capital expenditure (CAPEX) on the balance sheet and into operating expenditure (OPEX). Investment in a new fire safety system, which often represents a substantial financial commitment, can be incorporated into a monthly fee across an agreed-upon contractual period. The customer still receives all of the benefits of the new technology but has not had to devote a large amount of capital in one go. Experienced financiers can tailor the terms of the agreement specifically to the organisation in question, for example by adjusting the contract length to make payments more manageable, and building in the opportunity to upgrade further in the future as technology continues to develop.
In addition, by partnering with an organisation that can deliver both the technology and the associated finance, customers can benefit from a seamless end-to-end solution.
Digitalisation is accelerating the sophistication of fire safety systems. Luckily for building owners, finance solutions that can enable their acquisition are developing too. By embracing these solutions, building owners can access these state-of-the-art systems while preserving precious capital required for other commitments.