Service and Maintenance Tools
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Most fire alarm service and maintenance companies rely on their service contracts to survive. It’s their “Bread & Butter” business. Many use software packages to schedule maintenance, track the whereabouts of engineers as well as produce reports and invoices. However, the data recorded automatically does not include the critical bit, the information about which fire alarm system devices were allegedly tested, or more importantly, those not tested or any proof that the device has in fact been tested! This element of information relies on an honest operative to record which devices he has tested. At best a bar code label can be scanned to prove that he visited the device but it still doesn’t prove that he has triggered it.  With some control panels it is possible to download the event log to a lap top providing some proof but this requires manipulation before it can be sent to the customer and the information presented differs from one manufacturers equipment to another making it difficult for the unskilled end user to understand.

However, technology exists that can fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle providing both the service and maintenance company and the end user with a solution that provides extensive data in a consistent format for all sorts of uses. Data that used intelligently can improve productivity, reduce costs, ensure compliance with the RR(FSO) and improve the green credentials of all the organisations involved.

Internet connected devices have arrived in abundance from smart TVs, smart phones and even smart central heating. And there are more on the way. By some estimates, there could be 50 billion Internet-connected devices by 2020. An August 2013 survey of 120 OEMs by US based research analyst’s Aberdeen found that 35 percent of assets in the field were now connected. Respondents expected that number to increase to 42 percent within one year.

If fire alarm systems are permanently connected a significant amount of data can be collected in real time. This information can be used by the end user, their FM company as well as the service and maintenance company to ensure faults are dealt with immediately and the engineer visits site equipped with the right parts to fix the system first time. Automatically generated notifications can reduce the time to respond still further.

Even if fire alarm systems are not connected to the internet, hand held devices carried by the engineer can be temporarily connected to the fire alarm control panel, recording his activities whilst he carries out his maintenance visit and downloaded when he has a suitable internet connection later in the day. This reduces the costs but still improves the service provided to the customer.

Like many successful businesses these days there is a need to invest in technology in order to remain competitive and stay ahead of your competitors. Why should the Fire Industry be any different?