Dealing with megatrends is often equated to trying to predict the future – while that may be desirable, it is only partially true. Megatrends are nothing more than a summary of developments and currents which have recently shaped our a society as a whole in many areas of life – business, politics, technology, culture and many more – and which are slowly but fundamentally changing the future world – including the world of firefighting!
The Firefighting Trendmap 4.0 provides an overview of the most relevant changes and trends that have a direct or indirect influence on fire departments, their operational areas, resources and their environment as a whole. In addition, it also provides an outlook on “possible” future scenarios and general conditions with which fire departments could be confronted. As time always brings new insights, the content is checked for its significance, updated and revised at regular intervals. So what has actually changed since the last Firefighting Trendmap was issued?
In principle one may claim that the megatrends of Connectivity, Neo-Ecology, Mobility and Health have become noticeably more relevant for the firefighting sector. Strongly linked to Connectivity are of course inevitably terms such as digitalization, Internet-of-Things or Big Data, which in many respects can also be found more and more in the context of the blue-light organizations, as well as these are gaining acceptance there. Access to and seamless exploitation of vehicle data as well as traffic & infrastructure information for the smooth execution of missions, IoT-supported real-time navigation within buildings or also robotic systems that autonomously perform mission tasks are just a few examples of what is already possible with today’s technology.
The continuing climate crisis and phenomena such as heavy rainfall, prolonged heat waves, and devastating forest fires have brought environmental concerns back into focus for people and politics. The intensity and frequency with which such weather phenomena occur present emergency crews with challenges that are sometimes very difficult to tackle. Prevention and early detection will be a key factor in this context. The megatrend Neo-Ecology also deals intensively with sustainable technologies. Alternative drives and forms of energy generation play a major role therein, thus fire departments will be increasingly confronted with this in the future – especially when it comes to accident-damaged e-vehicles, lithium-ion battery fires etc. Linked to this is the megatrend of Mobility, in which – in addition to autonomous driving – car sharing and micro mobility, as well as drones, whether used as manned air taxis or unmanned autonomously flying transport units, are gaining in importance.
As far as Security is concerned, the basic privacy regulations, and the issue of cybercrime in particular, are important cornerstones to which attention must be paid. Also smart homes are at potential risk when it comes to cybercrime. The megatrend Health focuses primarily on the increasing health awareness of people. In the firefighting sector, this can be seen, among other things, in the increasing attention paid to operational hygiene, the strict separation in case of pollutant contamination or the reduction of physical stress. In the future, the monitoring of vital signs and health parameters, which is now easily possible using conventional fitness watches and bands, can also reduce the health risks during strenuous operational activities.
One trend that has been significantly boosted by the current Covid-19 pandemic is New Work. In recent months, mobile workplaces and working from home have brought the world of work into turmoil, forcing companies to rethink their approach to more flexible working methods. In comparison, the trend of Globalization is experiencing a slight slowdown. As the importance of shortened supply chains and regional production has become apparent in recent months, regional and local value creation in particular is regaining relevance.
Of course, the megatrends Silver Society, Gender Shift, Knowledge Culture, Individualization and Urbanization continue to have an impact on fire departments and their environment, albeit not as intensely as those mentioned above. Likewise, in discussions with firefighting experts and on the basis of secondary research, four drivers were defined, which, independent of trend impacts, are to be regarded as essential influencing factors for the entire firefighting trend landscape. On the one hand, this concerns the Speed and Dynamism with which trends prevail and new technologies evolve, and on the other hand Migration and Politics, representing framework conditions to fire service and thus exert a constant influence on the firefighting sector.
If you would like to dig deeper into this topic of future firefighting, we invite you to take a look at the digital Rosenbauer Firefighting Trendmapp 4.0.
This blog post was created in cooperation with Marlene Pichler (Knowledge Management).