Saving lives and property using the Cambodian ‘smart’ fire alarm

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
FireDot’s developers, Kao Panha and Sieng Oubol, pose with the device. Hong Menea

Technology firm ArrowDot have announced their latest device FireDot is now available to the public, alerting home owners and those who in charge of buildings and factories to possible fire damage via a fire alarm-linked app.

The device, priced at $45, has been produced by young Cambodian developers Kao Panha and Sieng Oubol.

Like a standard fire alarm, it alerts those nearby of a fire via a siren, but unusually it also sends out an SMS from its cellular SIM card and automatically calls the users’ cellphone.

FireDot was developed to prevent fatalities and catastrophic damage to property as a consequence of fires in the Kingdom.

According to a report from the Fire and Rescue Police Department, fire incidents in the first half of this year throughout Cambodia have caused damage to 418 homes and buildings, killing 10 people.

Lim Sangva, a co-founder of ArrowDot, told The Post: “FireDot is a device that will help to solve the problem we are experiencing in our society of fire disasters, which we have seen happening almost every day recently in homes and markets.”

It has two main functions upon detecting a fire; to expel an alarm and to send an SMS and call to the users’ phone automatically in order to inform them of a possible fire so that they are able to address the problem promptly.

“It is a sensor device that detects smoke and flames. It sends the information to alert a home owner, as well as people in charge of buildings or markets, via a phone call and message to let them know about a potential fire before it burns everything,” said Sangva.

Local tech innovation

ArrowDot is a local tech innovation company that specialises in three main areas: preparing users for industrial automation systems and the Internet of Things (IoT), hardware and software product development, and running an electronics specialised training centre.

Sangva, 35, a former student of Electrical, Electronics, Automation and Telecommunication at the Institut de Technologie du Cambodge, told The Post: “So far, we have seen in the domestic market a demandfor these three main solutions, mainly coming from factories working in garments, plastics, pipes and metal, as well as NGOs.

“Due to this demand, my co-founder and I started the company in 2012.

“In 2017, we won an award for best research and development company in the field of technology from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications after we displayed our advanced robotics technology in their competition,” said Sangva, who believes his firm will have no issue rolling out their latest product.

“Due to our experience in hardware and software design, our team members are very experienced and capable in doing research to manufacture FireDot. So with enough tools and machinery, we won’t have any challenges in developing the product.”

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Like a standard fire alarm, it alerts those nearby of a fire via a siren, but it also sends out an SMS from its cellular SIM card and automatically calls the users’ cellphone. Hong Menea

FireDot’s developers say they can supply between 20 to 30 devices per week to meet current demand.

“ArrowDot’s developers, Kao Panha and Sieng Oubol, spent six months researching and developing the device. FireDot can run on a battery for when flames cause a power cut,” said Sangva.

“FireDot can show the location of the fire via GPS to alert the owners and the fire brigade. If linked with water systems in the building, it releases water to put out the initial flame.”

Oubol, one of the developers, explained the benefits of the device to The Post: “Sometimes the building is already half-burned before a neighbour calls the fire brigade about the tragedy. If we install this device, we can put the fire out before it even starts destroying the building.”

FireDot, which is set to be upgraded to become a USB rechargeable device in the future, is white with a flame logo in the middle.

Panha, the device’s other developer, said: “I want users to know that it will look and perform better in the future. When connecting with GPS and Wi-Fi, it takes a code number to access the Internet so we know the location of the fire.”

Though FireDot is suitable for all types of buildings – including homes, offices and factories – both the third-year university student developers highly recommend its use in markets.

“The first essential use is in markets that have many stalls loaded up with tonnes of products. If a fire starts on one stall and FireDot is alerted, then the flame can be put out in time,” said Oubol.

“It is only priced at $45 and it could save millions of dollars of products from burning in markets.”

Industry 4.0

In order to boost the Kingdom’s preparation for Industry 4.0 – a key goal currently of the Cambodian government – ArrowDot is also working with partners to develop technology as a whole in Cambodia.

“So far, we have partner ed with foreign tech companies and other development partners, such as USAID’s Development Innovations Cambodia programme, in promoting knowledge of electronics, robotics, and product development among Cambodian youth.

“This is so they can develop their skills in preparation for the Fourth Industrial Revolution [Industry 4.0],” said Sangva.

He said that besides FireDot, ArrowDot has other IoT devices currently in production.

This includes a smart farm device called Smart Farm Assistance, which will control water systems in agricultural fields, lessening the burden for the Kingdom’s farmers.

Sangva also hinted at the company’s next device – a product that can measure air quality for use in homes, buildings, factories and public areas.

For more information you can visit ArrowDot’s website (www.arrowdot.io) or Facebook (@ArrowdotTech).