A Different Kind of Smart Sensor

Today, we will talk a bit about a unique product that can help save lives and property without hurting consumers' wallets.

According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), electrical fires cause over 1,300 injuries, 420 deaths, and $1.4 billion in residential property damage each year. The report also attributed 38% of home fire deaths to homes without smoke alarms and identified early detection and reporting of the fire as key to minimizing loss of life and property.

1,300 injuries, 420 deaths, and $1.4 billion in residential property damage each year. 38% of home fire deaths are due to homes without smoke alarms!

Traditional smoke alarms generate a warning inside the property via a loud siren alert, but they provide no indication to the outside world, meaning they are not connected to the internet. As you can see from the Parks Associates report diagram below, the second highest smart home value proposition is for receiving alerts when smoke, fire or carbon monoxide is detected.

Today, there are a few smart smoke alarms available on the market which can provide alerts to the outside world when smoke, fire or carbon monoxide is detected. Even though these solutions provide the desired connectivity, there are still barriers to entry:

  • Unit Cost  - Most smart smoke detectors requiring an internet connected hub/gateway device to communicate with the outside world range between $50 and $100, and that's without professional installation costs, if any.
  • Setup Cost - Smart smoke alarms that meet NFPA regulations need to be professionally installed.
  • Compatibility - Many houses have multiple smoke alarms to cover the whole home. When upgrading to a smart smoke alarm solution, you would need to replace each one of your existing smoke alarms with a new smart version.

The Parks Associates report said consumers who purchased a smart smoke alarm in the past 12 months own an average of 1.6 smart smoke alarms, so many of these households are buying multiple detectors at once. The report also said nearly 50% of U.S broadband households find a connected device that alerts them to smoke and fire highly appealing. As you can see, consumers want to purchase this type of solution but it can be rather cost prohibitive, in terms of installation cost and purchasing multiple smart smoke alarms, to do so.

Ecolink, a wholly owned subsidiary of Universal Electronics Inc, has developed and patented a unique product called the Fire Fighter to address limitations mentioned above. Focused primarily on innovative new sensing and monitoring products for home safety and security, Ecolink provides tier one brands with solutions ranging from leak detection and freeze damage prevention, to more security oriented products such as our best in class motion detectors with built-in pet detection capabilities.

Fire Fighter intelligently listens for the sound of your existing smoke and/or carbon monoxide alarm and if the alarm is valid, Fire Fighter will send a notification to the internet connected hub, panel or the gateway which in turn can notify the user via a text message or a push notification on their mobile device, or if integrated with QuickSet enabled entertainment systems, it could show a notification on TVs across the home or MDU (Multiple Dwelling Unit). We’ve taken old legacy technology already installed in the home and made it smart and relevant again.

We’ve taken old legacy technology already installed in a building and made it smart and relevant again.

The Fire Fighter is very easy to install and, unlike traditional smoke alarms that meet NFPA regulations, does not require any special wiring or professional installation. You can retrofit your existing smoke alarm system and simply mount the Fire Fighter approximately six inches away from one of the smoke alarms and then add it to your current smart home hub's network. It also achieves an incredible 5 year battery life which is longer than most standard smart home devices can achieve. Also, in most modern buildings, smoke alarms are required to be interconnected which means one Fire Fighter can service the entire home by being next to at least one of them.

Fire Fighter is an easy to install solution that makes any existing smoke/carbon monoxide alarms smart.

By offering zigbee, Z-Wave and proprietary RF versions of the Fire Fighter, we've made it compatible with popular hubs and gateways currently on the market such as Smartthings and Vera hubs as well as Tyco/DSC and Interlogix security panels. In the end, the Fire Fighter is a great cost effective way for consumers to add a potentially life saving feature to their smart home without needing any professional installation.