GE iO: Intelligent fire for all
BRADENTON, Fla.--With the message that intelligent fire technology is not just for big-budget, large applications, GE Security on Sept. 15 introduced its new iO-Series, designed specifically for smaller buildings.
The system includes control panels, intelligent detectors, control modules and signaling devices built using technology from GEÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Signature Series. This means that, for example, Ã¢â‚¬Å“the same [highly intelligent] smoke detector technology used in the 6,000-room hotel can be used in a smaller system,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Steve Hein, general manager, fire and life-safety products for GE Security.
However, the Ã¢â‚¬Å“most key aspect of the product,Ã¢â‚¬Â Hein said, is that for retrofit jobs, no rewiring is required. This saves money and time and is less intrusive for the customer, he noted.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The technology has microprocessors in every device, so weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve moved the intelligence to the device level,Ã¢â‚¬Â Hein explained. This means that an installer can Ã¢â‚¬Å“replace the control panel and the devices and re-use the existing wiring; they can put in the latest and greatest technology using existing infrastructure.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Hein said that there are Ã¢â‚¬Å“no restrictionsÃ¢â‚¬Â to that rule. GE has been using this technology over existing wires in its larger applications for some time, he said, and has Ã¢â‚¬Å“never run into any problems.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The target market for this product is buildings of 50,000 square feet, although itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s suitable for larger and smaller buildings. GE has broken the market segment into three tiers and will be conducting a trial in October of a version of the series suitable for installers who do $10,000 to $20,000 worth of work a year.
Hein said GE has seen a substantial increase in the fire retrofit business recently. Ã¢â‚¬Å“In times of recession,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said, Ã¢â‚¬Å“building owners try to attract tenants by retrofitting and modernizing buildings. And the standards state that if you modernize a building, you must bring the life-safety system up to modern standards as well.Ã¢â‚¬Â