The initial concept of the FireUnite solution was developed when Hercules Wessels, a South African entrepreneur who has been involved in fire suppression solutions since 1998, found that insurance companies were taking on huge risks when insuring their clients against fire damage with very little back-up information to calculate the level of risk.
Proof of a maintenance certificate that verified annual or bi-annual servicing of fire detection systems was all that insurance companies had to monitor the maintenance and upkeep of their clients’ fire detection mechanisms.
The international research conducted on fire detection systems revealed the many unseen risks that the insurance industry endured without knowledge, and prompted Wessels to conduct local research and develop an affordable solution that monitors the functionality of a client's fire detection panels, enabling both the owner of the building and the insurance company to benefit and save money.
FireUnite helps the client or building owner to be proactive and consistent with maintenance of their fire detection system, and to build up a documented history of a well-maintained system for future credibility with insurance companies.
Subsequently, major insurance companies are able to assess the level of fire risk before taking on a new client by looking at the history of the fire panel through reports generated by FireUnite and confirm if the fire detection system is well maintained and in good working order.
The FireUnite solution uses GSM technology to monitor the fire panels making it possible to monitor even remote sites, for example substations at a mine, and to provide notifications via e-mail or SMS to relevant personnel based on the system status and alerts.
FireUnite partnered up with XLink Communications, who manage all communication of devices on behalf of FireUnite including SIM management, data management and a number of outsourced services to ensure service continuity such as fist-line telephonic support, onsite technical support and SLA management; Trinity Telecomms for enablement of the telemetry solution and Fourier Approach for data-warehousing and information management to provide the different components of the integrated solution.
XLink chief commercial officer, Hymie Marnewick, says, “XLink is excited to be involved in this unique machine-to-machine communication solution for the insurance industry, enabling insurance houses to proactively monitor and manage fire risk. Many industries are set to benefit from tailored machine-to-machine communication solutions such as this one in future."
FireUnite targets savings to all stakeholders and in addition to insurance companies, property owners and fire detection system maintenance and support contractors, as well as the manufacturers of fire detection equipment who also benefit by gaining insight into areas for product and system improvement and value-add services.
Above all, FireUnite has the potential to save lives and prevent damage to properties that are too often caused by ill-maintained fire detection systems.