As well as an audible alarm, FIRETEXT smoke alarms send out a text alert to a maximum of four mobile numbers when smoke is detected, offering a crucial early warning when there is a fire risk. The alarms are battery powered, making them safe and simple to set up and install while providing peace of mind to anyone with vulnerable relatives or multiple properties.
Such a simple but practical idea was seen by Barclays ‘Take one small step’ competition which recognises innovative new products and awards business owners with a £50,000 boost. The thinking behind FIRETEXT belongs to company founder, Matthew Newman who, through concerns for the safety of his own house, dreamt up the idea of an SMS alert when smoke is detected in an empty house.
“Smoke alarms are essential when you’re at home. But with the house empty, a screeching alarm will be heard by nobody. A text to my phone and an emergency might be averted, or damage limited,” explains Matthew.
Key to the technology is the GSM SIM-based connectivity required to complete the FIRETEXT concept. With a number of options, Matthew turned to Wireless Logic, Europe’s leading M2M aggregator to look at a number of options. Whilst only SMS messages are the main data output of the SIMs, the FIRETEXT proposition required a consumer solution where straightforward billing is required to go directly to the FIRETEXT homeowner.
Coupled with this, the strength of network signal is fundamental.
“Giving customers a choice of just one network was not an answer,” explains Matthew Newman. “We want to let consumers choose which network is best for their location. They know what works best in their own home and by empowering them, then they have the confidence knowing that their FIRETEXT alarm will always be in contact with them. Working with Wireless Logic gives us access to all of the networks, and further, we’ve developed billing systems where customers sign direct debits directly with them, minimizing the costly administration burden for us.”
For Wireless Logic, Jon-Paul Clarke Business Development Director thinks that as applications go, FIRETEXT is amongst the most important M2M concepts that he has witnessed to date.
“We are working with solutions of many types, a lot of which are complex requiring secure infrastructures, Fixed IP to a SIM, and VPNs. Our challenge with Matthew has been to provide the choice of network and the ability to tailor tariffs that make the consumer offering attractive. Over and beyond the £89.95 initial cost, homeowners will pay Wireless Logic circa £0.99 per month, plus the cost of any text if the alarm is activated. We are also exploring a higher monthly cost option with no initial outlay cost for the alarm itself.”
Working with the guys at Wireless Logic has taken away all of the headaches often involved with connectivity. We’ve capitalized on this by spending more time and the investment, thanks to Barclays, on the overall package. We’re confident that FIRETEXT will become an even more essential must-have to fire safety at home.