IoT hardware and software provider IoT.nxt with partner Gilela Business Innovations developed a fire control panel monitoring solution, now live at 25 sites across South Africa, that improves the protection of R3bn worth of insured assets.

“The risk of a fire breaking out at a business facility, whatever the nature or industry, is often considered one of the biggest physical risks to operations. Most companies have alarm and detection systems installed in order to deal with any fire as fast as possible. Adding Internet of Things (IoT) technology to warning systems already in place significantly improves response times and thus the management of this risk,” says Richmond Nkambule, Business Development Manager at IoT.nxt.

According to a global claims review report by Allianz, published in 2019, over a five year period fire and explosion incidents have caused in excess of €14bn worth of losses and are responsible for more than half (11) of the 20 largest non-natural catastrophe events analyzed. “The average claim is almost €1.5mn,” according to the report.

“Our project is focused on risk mitigation. The first part of our project now rolling out is centered around monitoring of fire control panels at facilities – to see in real time when any notifications are triggered or when the panel is not working. In the second phase of this application electrical panels or distribution boards will also be added to the IoT solution as many building fires are caused by electrical faults,” Nkambule says.

IoT sensors have been added to Gilela’s technology – the fire control panels – which reduces response times to incidents as data is available in real time on a single dashboard.

“The project was developed and designed to improve risk mitigation for a large insurer. Although our project is for the insurer that wants to improve the protection of insured assets, it also mitigates risk for the facility,” Nkambule adds.

“The aim is to predict with certainty the risk of damages to insured property. Using the data, we can predict potential incidents. Our platform is designed to provide insight on a probable risk of fire system integrity failure, electrical fire, preventing spoilage of fridge content due to inadequate storage temperature or any other negative occurrence that is caused by external or internal vulnerabilities, and that may be avoided through pre-emptive action. Organisations that are not harnessing the power and undeniable value of their data, will find themselves unable to compete. In the technology domain, data is paramount to run a lean, cost effective, highly optimised, resilient, and agile technology landscape that enables the business to deliver high customer satisfaction and shareholder value. Gilela is a specialist digital monitoring company that provides managers with critical business data that enables them to make smart decisions faster. To this end, the importance of knowing is implied, but the detriment of not knowing is potentially catastrophic,” says Kholwani Mbambo, Managing Director of Gilela Business Innovations.

The further phase of the project, adding Smart electrical distribution boards and Smart fridges, will be added in the coming year and the solution will be rolled out at 450 sites in the months ahead.