Digitization and connectivity are changing many aspects of our lives. Which is why INTERSCHUTZ 2022 has chosen “Teams, Tactics, Technology – Connecting Protection and Rescue” as its lead theme. Numerous companies and organizations will be appearing at the world’s leading trade fair for the fire and rescue services, civil protection, safety and security in June 2020 to reveal how they plan to shape the future of their industry by harnessing new technologies.
When a trade fair decides on a lead theme, that is just the beginning. It is then up to exhibitors to take the next steps by breathing life into the lead theme – by featuring it at their stands, providing hands-on demos and sparking dialogue. “We are absolutely delighted at the early, strong commitment of our exhibiting partners and companies at INTERSCHUTZ 2022,” says Martin Folkerts, Global Director of INTERSCHUTZ at the Deutsche Messe group of companies. “Our exhibitors are in the process of developing an abundance of great ideas and concepts which they will be showcasing at the fair, highlighting the opportunities that digitization and connectivity will provide for fire brigades, rescue services, civil protection and security.” The following details some of these.
“Digitization, automation and connectivity are more than just modern buzzwords for us,” says Dirk Aschenbrenner, President of the German Fire Protection Association (vfdb). “The application of digital technologies is a prerequisite for speed and effectiveness. The use of robotics in danger prevention, for example, is no longer merely a utopia, but, in many areas, has already become a part of everyday life. Let me simply mention the use of firefighting robots or drones to explore emergency deployment sites.” In Hannover in 2020, the vfdb association will present the current state of research in the field. “INTERSCHUTZ 2020 offers the best opportunities for sharing international experience among developers, manufacturers and users,” says Aschenbrenner.
The German Fire Service Association (DFV) is taking the connectivity lead theme literally and planning a showcase whose visualizations are all interconnected by an overarching network/web. At a number of different levels, the web will symbolize the importance of connectivity for the further development of fire protection. “Under the keyword of ‘Fire Brigade 4.0’, there are already visible opportunities and capabilities to improve, accelerate and change the tasks of the emergency services – even if this might seem a long way off,” says Frank Hachemer, Vice President of the German Fire Service Association. “But these opportunities are also associated with challenges that need to be mastered, such as data protection, training and budgets.” In addition to technological and tactical connectivity, there is also connectivity between people. “Political and social connectivity will become increasingly important and intensive for mastering problems, for securing livelihoods, for the further development and daily work of the fire brigades,” says Hachemer. “Connectivity is therefore the keyword, not least for the fire brigade associations and – as their umbrella – the German Fire Service Association, which we, as the central element, are placing at the core of our activities – and not just at INTERSCHUTZ.”
The keyword ‘Fire Brigade 4.0’ is derived from the oft-cited term ‘Industry 4.0’, which refers to digitized production and a high degree of connectivity between industrial enterprises. The two terms however cannot be equated. “Different conditions apply to the area of fire prevention and civil protection,” says Dr. Rainer Koch, from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Paderborn. “High-connectivity solutions are possible for areas like preventive fire protection and resource planning. And 3D simulation systems for managers and staff training are already available in the training sector.” But the conditions for emergency services are different, he maintains. “For information systems to support us in this area, they need to offer a maximum of robustness, user friendliness and speed,” says Koch. “In addition to providing already prepared information, these systems would then also be able to interact with building systems – and initial projects for the use of smart home technologies have already been launched. Digitization and automation can definitely facilitate the work of the emergency services here.”
When it comes to game-changing digital technology, industry is called upon to gear up, and by that I particularly mean industrial manufacturers and automotive makers. “Especially in an age of rapid technical change, INTERSCHUTZ is a definite must for everyone on the lookout for innovations,” remarks VDMA Managing Director Dr. Bernd Scherer. “Real-time communication over ultra-fast 5G networks, networked deployment processes, digital assistance systems and electric drives are high on the industry’s innovations agenda.” But digitization must not be an end in itself, as Scherer also makes clear: “Manufacturers of chassis, superstructures and equipment who are members in VDMA rely on reliable, robust and intelligent technology, true to the motto that what is sensible is also that which is useful for the purpose at hand.” According to VDMA, the advantages of digital technologies include the promise of transparent and sustainable processes, effective coordination and a significant increase in operational reliability. These promises are not, however, a guarantee. “The central prerequisite consists of reliable, manufacturer-independent standards,” says Scherer. “This is the only way for interfaces to function smoothly – regardless of whether they are mechanical, hydraulic, electric or digital in nature.”
Rosenbauer is one example of a vehicle manufacturer that has been relying on its own developments and innovations in the field of telematics systems and IT-supported deployment management for over ten years. “These systems are now being massively further developed, with the focus on customer benefit,” says Michael Friedmann, Head of Group Strategy, Innovation and Marketing at Rosenbauer International AG. “This is not only about digital solutions for vehicles, but connectivity now also includes new technological options, with the keyword here being drones or smart wearables.” Friedmann is convinced that a trade fair is also the right place for this, even in the digital age: “We want direct communication on site, because as the innovations, technology and world market leader at INTERSCHUTZ, we act as a platform for partnership-based networking on the megatrends of our time and on approaches for joint solutions.”
The fields of rescue services and civil protection are also positioning themselves in relation to the lead theme. Johanniter Unfall Hilfe, for example, focuses on connecting people and technology for the benefit of people. “In the rescue service and in civil protection, everything revolves around the optimization of processes and procedures in order to serve the ultimate goal of saving human lives,” points out Hannes Wendler, State Director of Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe (German Order of St. John) in Lower Saxony and Bremen. “Digitization, communication and overarching forms and systems of cooperation play an obvious role in this. “The challenge lies in enabling rescuers and helpers – equipped with specialist skills and all the available technical aids – to consistently act in a targeted and manner based on the situation at hand. “We see ourselves as networkers for people – including our staff members and volunteer helpers,” he says. “In addition to progressive HR development, this also includes space for innovative projects and services like telemedicine in offshore rescue and VR rescue simulations.”
Stefan Truthän, Managing Partner of hhpberlin Ingenieure für Brandschutz GmbH, focuses on civil security. His company deals intensively with the digital answers to new challenges, such as advancing urbanization, growing infrastructures and the increasing strength and frequency of natural phenomena. At the same time, digitization itself presents people with new challenges: As the flood of data grows, so does the complexity of the decision-making process. This leads Truthän to demand: “If civil security wants to take its mission seriously, data and thought silos need to be cracked open and the growing volume of data intelligently connected,” he says. At INTERSCHUTZ 2022, hhpberlin will display a series of showcases highlighting the potential of digitization for civil security and fire protection. “Together with RXSK GmbH and selected partners from the digital industry, we will be using concrete connectivity scenarios to demonstrate the possibilities of new, non-redundant and latency-free collaboration,” says Truthän. “Only if all actors interact more intensively and transparently than in the past, can cities become safer in the long run.”