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Shahab Anjum, Head of Sales, Hochiki Middle East talks Intersec 2023

For over 100 years Hochiki Corporation has led the way in the design and manufacture of innovative life safety solutions. IFSJ sat down with Shahab Anjum, Head of Sales, Hochiki Middle East, to find out more about the Middle East branch’s 10th anniversary, Hochiki’s plans for Intersec 2023, and its latest products.

What is your role at Hochiki and what is your background in the industry?

I have worked in the fire industry for over 20 years, with almost half of that time at Hochiki as head of sales for the Middle East operation. In that time, I have seen Hochiki lead the world in life safety technology, helping our customers around the world to ensure they have the best on the market when it comes to fire detection.

Can you give me a brief overview of who Hochiki is and what they do?

Hochiki was launched in Japan in 1918 as a fire alarm design and manufacturer. Since then, with its HQ still in Japan, Hochiki has grown to become a multinational, publicly listed group of companies with over 2000 employees working across six manufacturing plants, 38 sales offices and 14 subsidiaries including the Middle East, India, Europe, the USA, Australia, Asia Pacific, Taiwan and Mexico.

For over 100 years Hochiki Corporation has led the way in the design and manufacturing of innovative life safety solutions. I am immensely proud to be a part of a global team whose fire detection innovation has acquired global acceptance as the benchmark for high-integrity and long-term reliability.

The Middle East Hochiki operation is a team made up of fire industry experts and we are proud that Hochiki Fire Detection and Emergency Lighting Solutions are approved in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras al-Khaimah, Ajman and Sharjah.

Congratulations on Hochiki Middle East’s ten-year anniversary – are you doing anything to mark the occasion?

Thank you. Ten years is quite the landmark for the Middle East team, and I am proud of the work we do – the feedback from our customers is testament to my team’s hard work in building trusted customer relationships. We will be celebrating with our valued customers and partners at a seminar for our business partners during the Intersec 2023 show followed by dinner that evening.

We are also going to be previewing our new emergency lighting system at the Intersec event ahead of the official launch in 2023, so it’s a great opportunity for visitors to see a demo on our stand.

Can you tell me about Hochiki Middle East’s history in the region and how it has grown and developed?

 Many countries in the region are now expanding into new economic activities, such as banking, tourism and manufacturing. This diversification has led to a substantial increase in infrastructure, and therefore, an increased requirement for the installation of fire detection and emergency lighting systems.

Hochiki products were already selling in the Middle East region directly via our American and European offices. However, as the demand grew, we felt it was important to establish an office in the Middle East to be near our customers and provide them with the support and products, they needed. So, in November 2012 the Hochiki Middle East office was established and here we are ten years later celebrating with our customers.

Are there any lessons you have learned since entering the Middle East market?

Fire safety awareness has increased substantially over the past decade, which is partly due to western influence. However, as regulations and standards in the Middle East are developed, installers are looking to Europe and America for best practice. As such we are now seeing an increased demand for EN, UL and FM approved fire detection and alarm systems.

We are working in a fast growing and competitive market, and as such we have always offered a high level of service to our customers, in order to build confidence. I’d say this is the most important aspect, to really listen and understand the customer in order to achieve their goals. You are always learning as the market evolves so we keep our eyes and ears open as there might be learnings from one sector that could be applied to another. By understanding the marketplace, and how modern technology might evolve you can provide better options to your customer.

Have you noticed any recent trends in the Middle East region in terms of detection?

Yes, there is a greater awareness of the importance of life safety – protecting people, assets and buildings. The customers we work with understand this is an essential part of their business, they also want to know if the technology can be more efficient, so in the case of our emergency lighting range it has been proven to save money on running costs. Or perhaps they are looking to reduce false alarms which can lead to less interruptions to productivity levels, especially in manufacturing businesses. These are important questions for businesses in the Middle East, all of which we can help with.

Do you have any examples of customer projects you would like to talk about?

Hochiki offer a wide range of robust and reliable solutions, all approved to the highest standards. In addition to point detectors, beam detectors, wireless devices etc. we also offer devices for specialist application. For example, our Intrinsically Safe (I.S.) and SIL approved products are ideal for use in hazardous environments – particularly useful when you consider most of the revenue in the region comes from the oil and gas sector.

As a global business, at Hochiki we are always striving to be the first to provide the latest and most reliable technology to our customers. We have worked on some of the most prestigious projects in the Middle East – Hochiki has been installed to protect lives and property. One such example would be an exciting and intricate project we completed with Dafoos Fire and Security, where we installed a new fire safety system for the Dubai Metro.

With tens of thousands of passengers using the network daily and the system itself operating in a hot and sandy environment, any false alarm could potentially cause mass disruption and cost the operator financially, especially during peak service times. Hochiki sensors were installed inside the metro and tram coaches and the feedback we had from the customer has been excellent.

We are a customer insight driven company, and feedback like this from the Dubai Metro project is encouraging. Our customers are vital to the research and development arm of our business and often that feedback leads to improvements to many of our products. It also shapes the training we provide to our customers.

What is Hochiki’s focus for Intersec this coming year?

Firstly, Intersec is a great opportunity to meet with customers, new and old, as well as colleagues from across the fire sector. We’re looking forward to many conversations on innovation and the latest news from the wider industry, as well as running demos on a range of high-quality products including our fire detection system, Latitude and FIREscape Nepto, the latest generation of our intelligent emergency lighting system.

What is the Latitude range?

The Latitude range of fire alarm control equipment combines the very latest hardware and software to produce an approved control and indication system, which is powerful and sophisticated, yet simple to use and understand. The flexibility of the Latitude platform is such that it can be re-configured to realise many other control and indication applications, with direct integration into intelligent buildings.

The modular nature of the Latitude system allows all field wiring to be connected to a passive mother board enabling addition, re-configuration or replacement of all electronic hardware without the need to disconnect any field wiring.

This modularity also allows each panel to be customised with addressable loop detection circuits, conventional detection circuits, relay cards, sounder outputs or programmable I/O modules as required.

What is FIREscape Nepto?

Brand new to the market and demonstrated for the first time exclusively at Intersec 2023, FIREscape Nepto is the latest generation of our environmentally friendly, cost effective, compliant emergency lighting system.

Moving away from bulk heads and central battery systems, Hochiki offers a unique, cost effective and fully compliant emergency lighting system. FIREscape Nepto is based around an addressable, emergency lighting control panel with addressable, intelligent self-contained LED luminaires and exit signage connected via screened, extra-low voltage (40V) cabling.

The whole system is networkable, fully self-monitored and self-testing with a central point of control, with the added benefit of cloud-based interrogation and reporting. These features, along with integral batteries with a 10-year lifespan, make installation and maintenance of the FIREscape Nepto system quick and easy.

Hochiki will showcase Latitude, FIREscape and more at Intersec 2023 In Hall 4, Stand 4 B22.

This article was originally published in the January edition of IFSJ. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

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