We are living with the emergence of artificial intelligence (A.I.) and its use with connected devices with the internet of things (IoT). Many homes and buildings are wired for connectivity and monitoring. Part of the monitoring is for electrical systems, which sheds light onto the safety risks of electrical safety hazards and fire. A.I. and IoT are providing data about the electrical risks prevalent in many homes.
According to Whisker Labs in a June 2023 white paper, “2023 Data Analysis Update: Internet of Things (IoT) System Preventing 4 of 5 Home Electrical Fires,” data used for their findings came from a database collected from homes monitored using IoT and connected devices. Specifically, the company analyzed more than 4,100 documented electrical fire hazard cases involving 265,000 homes across the United States.
Here are some of the key findings from their research as explained in the white paper:
- 1 in 68 homes each year experiences an electrical fire hazard from electrical infrastructure, devices and appliances, or electric utility faults.
- 80% of home electrical fires are being prevented by an IoT monitoring program
- 25% of homes are between 40 and 60 years old, and they accounted for 33% of electrical fire hazards found in home wiring infrastructure.
- 51% of electrical fire hazards found in the home are caused by devices and appliances, with lighting and heating pad blankets accounting for 47% of those hazards.
- 27% of electrical fire hazards found in the home are caused by wiring infrastructure, with outlets and circuit wiring contributing to 69% and 18% of those hazards, respectively.
The data supports using Whisker Labs’ Ting product. However, it does illustrate an important lesson for electrical contractors and property owners: data is an important factor in preventing electrical fires.
In the white paper’s conclusions, a notable comment from Whisker about their findings was that while some electrical fire causes were on the decline, others were on the rise. They stated, “Notably, the 10-year period from 2012 through 2021 saw a slight reduction in residential fires in the cooking, smoking, and heating categories; however, electrical fires saw an upward trend, with an 11% increase over that same period. The system has proven to be an effective approach to preventing electrical fire ignitions, and we expect a positive impact on this 10-year trend as the system [their IoT system] continues to expand.”
While specific data gathering and monitoring can make owners aware of hazardous and risky conditions, that same data may be used to model and simulate better and safer electrical systems and equipment, according to the report.
A lesson to be learned from all of this is that electrical fires continue to be a risk to commercial and residential properties. Data monitoring use is probably not as robust as it could be, but new software and monitoring systems are on the rise. Data monitoring will be most useful in alerting property owners to take corrective actions before problems occur. As IoT systems are more prevalent, perhaps less expensive, more accessible and easy to observe, there’s no reason that safety should not improve. A.I. and the introduction to data aggregation stands to make a positive effect on electrical safety.
About The Author
ROMEO is a freelance writer based in Chesapeake, Va. He focuses on business and technology topics. Find him at www.JimRomeo.net.