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Intersec 2016: Latest fire & security products

fmme tours Intersec 2016 catching up on the latest products and designs that is taking the region’s fire and security market by storm

ANALYSIS, Facilities Management, MEP, Fire, FM, Gcc, Honeywell, Intersec, Intersec 2016, Security, Siemens

Honeywell

Mark Fenton, general manager, Middle East, Turkey and Africa, Honeywell Security & Fire.

Going beyond simply showcasing its latest technologies in fire safety and security systems, Honeywell’s participation at this year’s edition of Intersec focused on highlighting the benefits of system integration.

From their stand, the team from Honeywell demonstrated to passers-by how efficiencies could be realised by combining system functions, such as access control, CCTV and cyber security, into a single interface for easy management.

In addition to the demonstrations, the company’s newest offerings were on display, designed for commercial, residential, critical infrastructure and industrial environments. Honeywell’s security portfolio continued to impress, but given the recent drive and demand for fire safety technologies, the company like many others, has been increasing awareness of its offer within this particular arena.

“At Intersec 2016, Honeywell is displaying fire safety products, software and solutions from Esser, Gent, Notifier, and Morley-IAS, which are at work in the Middle East’s busiest airports, healthcare institutions, business centres, stadiums, industries and schools,” comments Mark Fenton, general manager, Middle East, Turkey and Africa, Honeywell Security & Fire.

From its Notifier line, Honeywell featured its ONYX Series, a set of intelligent fire alarm control panels equipped with fire detection technologies. The series includes the IntelliQuad Advanced Multi-Criteria Fire Detector, IntelliQuad Plus and the FAAST Fire Alarm Aspiration Sensing Technology.

Honeywell also showcased the Vigilon system from its Gent product line, an analogue addressable fire detection and alarm system. Designed for owners of medium to large-sized structures, Vigilon’s interface gives users a complete and integrated fire detection, public address and voice evacuation system.

“As Dubai and the UAE continue to grow and evolve, it’s important that effective fire safety solutions and technologies are used to protect residential, commercial and industrial facilities, and the people who use them,” says Fenton.

“In addition, we need to ensure that sufficient training and rigorous maintenance programs are available to operators who are responsible for ensuring peoples’ safety during a crisis.”

While training staff and devising evacuation plans is a crucial aspect of an effective fire safety strategy, Fenton argues that raising general awareness amongst residents is equally as important.

He explains that residents would greatly benefit from understanding the potential causes of fires and how to avoid them. This in turn ensures that should an incident occur, building occupants will know how to react and how to safely exit from a building.

“Continued public awareness about fire safety is critical to getting people to take the required steps to make sure they are protected from potential dangers,” concludes Fenton.

Smiths Detection

Paul Baker, regional managing director Middle East of Smiths Detection

Having built a long-standing reputation that stretches back over a century, Smiths Detection continues to be a driving force within the global security market. Its participation at this year’s edition of Intersec was no exception, the security system provider putting on display its latest in detection technologies.

This included the Ionscan 500DT, a trace detection kit utilised in airports to identify explosives and other chemical substances, as well Sabre 5000, a handheld trace detector used to detect explosives, chemical agents and narcotics.

The crème de la crème of Smith Detection’s Intersec 2016 line-up however, lay with the unveiling of the HI-SCAN 6040C, an x-ray system designed to screen hand-carried items.

The unit boasts an intelligent image display that helps to identify both organic and inorganic threats quickly, and is also equipped with an optimised background constrast function, which makes it easier for users to recognise objects on screen.

The HI-SCAN 6040C is designed for use in critical infrastructure assets such as government buildings, power plants and other utilities, as well as public venues, which include hotels, exhibition centres and sporting facilities.

“We support borders, aviation, military and emergency responders. We have our equipment in critical infrastructure and across major governmental buildings,” asserts Paul Baker, regional managing director Middle East of Smiths Detection.

In region, Smiths Detection supplies and is actively involved with security elements within aviation and critical infrastructure, but also works a great deal in the logistics sector. The company supplies both local players, as well as global brands such as FEDEX and DHL.

“Interestingly, this is the only region I’ve seen where people of VP level are on technical training courses. We get a lot of savvy customers, who don’t just want to understand what it costs them, they want to understand how it works,” explains Baker.

“I don’t really need to educate people as much as here, as I have seen elsewhere… it’s not about education for them not knowing, it’s more about educating to a level that you would normally see further down organisations.”

Commenting on how the GCC’s security market is evolving, Baker has seen a number of national governments adopt a more proactive approach towards border security.

With the ongoing conflicts in the region and the increasing possibility of threats transcending borders, demand in technologies such as car portals and high energy scanners, are seeing even greater adoption.

“From a ports and borders perspective, everybody’s corner has become a little bit more sacred, a little more important… people are moving towards high energy pass scanning of trucks for borders,” comments Baker.

“Trends towards critical infrastructure will be looking more at x-ray detection,” he adds.

While lauding the region’s aviation market for remaining up-to-date on the latest technologies, Baker predicts, in line with the rest of the global market, x-ray computed tomography (XCT) will once again be considered for processing hold baggage.

He states that both the US and European markets will likely lead this trend, while the Middle East will make the switch over, further down the line. The upcoming Midfield Terminal Complex, part of the Abu Dhabi International Airport however, reportedly will include XCT capabilities as part of its portfolio.

Western Digital

Dinesh P. Menon, director, worldwide business marketing, Western Digital

Participating once again as an exhibitor at Intersec 2016, Western Digital, a storage technology provider, presented its newest line of WD Purple hard drives. Made specifically for video surveillance in mind, the high capacity hard drives are designed for high-definition surveillance systems that utilise up to eight hard drives and up to 32 cameras.

Western Digital’s drives are equipped with IntelliSeek technology that aid in keeping the unit’s power consumption to a minimum. IntelliSeek helps to calculate optimum seek speeds, lowering energy usage, noise and vibration. In addition to reducing wear and tire over time, this also enables the drives to remain operational on a 24/7 basis.

WD Purple’s firmware upgrades are also equipped with AllFrame technology, which is computable with ATA streaming. What this does is help to reduce the types of error pixilation and video interruption, one might experience when utilising traditional hard disks as storage in security platforms.

Compatibility across a variety of surveillance security systems is an area that Western Digital invested heavily into, in order to ensure WD Purple could be adopted across a number of systems.

“We make sure that our drives are compatible. If you buy a typical desktop hard disk, it might not work with surveillance applications,” warns Dinesh P. Menon, director, worldwide business marketing, Western Digital.

The director went on to add that another fundamental difference between traditional hard disks versus ones designed for video surveillance, is that they are typically designed for reading and writing data. For a surveillance application, it is mostly centred on writing and only read in the case of an event.

Throw in the fact that most security perimeters utilise multiple cameras and feeds, the read/write design can often leave gaps in the footage or poor image quality.

When pressed on how he sees the video surveillance market evolving, Menon is quick to point out that it a segment that is growing quite strongly, driven by increasing demand from consumers, as well as smart city development.

According to a recent report by Research and Markets, the video surveillance storage market is expected to reach $18.28bn by 2020, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.41%.

The report highlights increased interest from enterprises and governments across the globe to switch from traditional analogue-based solutions to IP technology, as the key contributing factor.

In terms of camera technology, the leading trend at the moment lies with improving image quality, particularly through the use of 4K resolution.

“When they want to identify a particular event or a person, or any type of activity, resolution plays a key role. We are seeing the resolution, especially the arrival of 4K resolution, as a very big trend in the surveillance industry,” comments Menon.

“All this for us means that data is getting stored in high-definition and is getting stored longer, because people not only want to save the data, but they also want to analyse the data.”

Menon adds that outside of security, the analysis of video surveillance has also proven useful in foot traffic analytics. Retail stores for example, can utilise video feeds to identify trends in consumer behaviour, such as the timing that people arrive to a store to shop and what individual products hold their interests.

Siemens

Gregor Steiner, head of product marketing, Siemens

The big attraction at Siemens’ stand this year lay with its single-source fire suppression system, which boasts a ‘silent’ fire extinguishing design. Made with data centres in mind, the team at Siemens found that traditional suppression systems had a tendency to generate too much noise, thus harming hard disks nearby.

Siemens’ silent extinguishing system utilises a silent nozzle that helps to prevent damage to sensitive equipment in the event of a fire.

“Data centres are getting more important in the market. It’s a growing market and we are relying more and more on our data. We have to protect them accordingly,” comments Gregor Steiner, head of product marketing, Siemens.

Demand for products designed for sensitive environments, such as data centres and small servers, is one of the key trends that Steiner sees as driving the fire safety market. He has also seen increased demand from facilities, such as museums and historical buildings.

Beyond fire suppression, Siemens also showcased their latest offerings in fully integrated building management systems. It is an area that Steiner believes is quickly gaining popularity, and one that has the multinational conglomerate collaborating more and more with facilities management providers in order to prepare them for managing such platforms.

“We made an effort to simplify the operation and how to react in case of the fire, but also the maintenance. The new building management software has their special use guidance, where you show step-by-step to direct in case of an event—depending on the event” explains Steiner.

Starting Point

Evacuation operations following the New Year’s Eve fire at Address Hotel in Downtown Dubai were a testament to the efforts of Dubai Civil Defence, which is now compiling the UAE Fire and Life Safety Codes of Practice 2016.

A fortnight after a blaze took down Dubai’s Address Hotel in Downtown area, officials claim a fire drill held at the facility in September 2015 played an instrumental role in ensuring successful evacuation operations.

Speaking to Construction Week on the sidelines of the Safety and Security Design in Buildings 2016 conference, Matt Bright, a risk analyst and fire investigator at Dubai Civil Defence’s operations department, said the hotel’s staff and local forces were aware of the facility’s logistics due to the drill.

Bright also revealed, during a speech he delivered earlier in the day, that up to 3,000 guests were present in the hotel when it caught fire on 31 December, 2015. Of these, 2,000 were visiting restaurants and other hospitality outlets at the hotel.

“A high number of people obviously impacts [evacuation operations], but that everyone got out without serious injury is testament to the fact that the evacuation plan worked,” he said.

“We’ve done evacuation drills in that building, and the last one was in September 2015. So the staff was prepared, and local forces were prepared [too]. They know the building well.”

The hotel had also undergone evacuation drills in previous years, Bright noted, reiterating that the absence of any serious injuries during the evacuation was proof the Civil Defence’s plans were effective.

Bright’s statements underscore the role of facilities management operations in structural emergencies, such as high rise fires.

One of the more complicated situations at The Address involved the building’s sprinkler system, which Bright claimed stopped working approximately 15 minutes into operation.

“The sprinkler systems are designed to operate to suppress the fire so [firefighters] can arrive safely and put it out, but when you’ve got sprinklers running on multiple floors, think about the pressure put on the water supplies within the facility,” Bright said.

“The sprinklers worked like they were supposed to, but the water was drained rather quickly because of how many were [in operation] that night.”

While passive systems, such as doors, helped curtail the extent of smoke spreading into the stairwell, firefighters were restricted by the lack of elevator access during evacuation.

“Almost all fire doors stayed intact. In any fire, we look at compartmentation. Fire doors are a key aspect because they not only contain flames, but smoke too.

“In the Tamweel and Torch towers, for instance, the stairwells were pretty much free of smoke because of the fire doors.”

The Address fire paved the way for long-planned measures and initiatives aimed at improving fire and life safety standards in the UAE. In January 2016, Dubai Civil Defence announced it will carry out a federal study to assess the risk factor of existing buildings across the UAE.

The survey, according to Arabian Business, will “aim to identify which buildings pose an unacceptable level of risk to public safety”.

A week later, Lt. Col. Jamal Ahmed Ibrahim, director of preventive safety at Dubai Civil Defence, said – while addressing the Middle East Fire 2016 conference in Dubai – that an updated UAE fire code would be presented in March 2016, comprising stipulations for increased focus on building owners and consultants.

UAE Fire and Life Safety Codes of Practice 2016 will be the second edition of the standards and regulations, which were launched in 2011 in a bid to improve fire safety in the country.

Pramod Challa, chief of engineering at Dubai Civil Defence, said these codes are being formed by incorporating the best international fire standards, such as NFPA, British Standards, and Singaporean codes. The fast pace of construction in the country has necessitated an update in the UAE’s fire codes, Challa added.

“The 2016 code will feature more tables and figures for better understanding,” he said.

Unlike the 2011 code’s schematic drawings, the 2016 code will feature 3D drawings to make them easier to understand, interesting, and appealing to users. These drawings also incorporate measurements and specifications for parts used in the construction of a structure.

Whilst standards regulating cladding, fire stopping, and balconies and terraces were added as annexes to the 2011 code, the 2016 update includes regulations for each as part of the main code, Challa continued.

Furthermore, the 2016 code also increases the accountability of all stakeholders involved in a building’s development. These extend into various modules, such as responsibilities of developer, consultant, owner, tenant, as well as facility, school, and hospital management.

These measures are aimed at improving the overall quality of consultancy and construction services in the country, Lt. Col. Ibrahim said.

“Dousing the massive fire [which] broke out in Address Downtown Hotel [highlighted] the importance of integration between Civil Defence and other supportive operations, such as planning, training, administrative, and technical works,” he remarked, adding he is confident the UAE’s construction industry can fulfil these requirements.

Under the updated UAE fire code, consultants will be responsible for the overall operations and lifecycle of a building, such as acquiring the no objection certificate (NOC) from civil defence bodies; contractor qualification; selection of approved material; inspection during construction; and, testing and commissioning works.

Dubai Civil Defence’s Challa said manufacturers will have to submit a legal undertaking with local civil defence authorities and municipalities stating selling non-listed materials is illegal and punishable.

“[The manufacturer] cannot sell anything that is not listed by the municipality and civil defence,” he continued, adding “a comprehensive list of approved materials” exists for manufacturers’ reference.

“Even if there is demand in the market, he cannot supply it. [This includes] not only cladding, but everything that goes into a building has to be listed. Anything that is not listed is going to be [considered] illegal,” Challa said.

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