|IMS Research forecasts the world market for Video Smoke Detection (VSD) to grow at a CAGR of 38.8% to reach $36 million by 2011. The vast majority (72% in US and 68% in UK) of non-residential structures do not have automatic fire detection equipment installed and so are prime targets for this new technology. |
Unlike traditional point-based detectors, VSD does not rely on proximity of smoke to the detector which enables it to detect the start of a fire before it causes any real damage. In 2005, a cost of over $2 billion was attributed to fires in US non-residential structures, many of which could potentially have been prevented. Companies such as AxonX, Detector Technologies (D-Tec) and Fastcom Technology have been the early pioneers of the technology and have been exploiting the shortfalls of traditional fire protection products, creating a new market niche.
VSD incorporates standard video surveillance cameras with sophisticated image recognition and processing software to identify the distinctive characteristics of smoke and flame patterns, differentiating between smoke, dust and haze. Until recently, most VSD technology has been server-based but the software is increasingly being embedded into video surveillance devices, such as network cameras. This is expected to bring the cost of the solution down, making it more affordable. Newer systems are combining flame detection and remote monitoring capability, enabling 24-hour-a-day fast response.
The market demand for VSD has been hindered by a general lack of awareness and acceptance by the characteristically conservative fire industry. However, IMS research predicts that as suppliers gain further legislative approval and market experience, VSD will increasingly be used. The technology is already used in the power generation sector and is showing great potential in areas such as tunnels, rail depots, shopping malls, aircraft hangers and other large non-residential structures.