Dublin-based Safecility, an Internet of Things (IoT) specialist startup that focuses on smart and safer buildings, has been chosen by the European Space Agency’s Space Solutions Programme to demonstrate a new blockchain-based database for building safety. Currently, building safety is managed on paper or spreadsheets and has yet to adopt the transformative change that digital technology can bring. The project, Safeblock, starting in Q1 2022 will address this challenge through sensors, geolocation and distributed ledger technology (blockchain), providing timely, accurate and transparent information for a range of stakeholders.
Safecility will demonstrate a database capable of verifying legally-required safety data collected from smart sensors in buildings and publishing it to a secure database that cannot be manipulated. The data will make use of the GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) derived positioning data to authenticate the data entries.
Safeblock supports trust by offering a standard for transparent and immutable data from devices in buildings and making a database directly available to key stakeholders, such as owners, tenants and regulators. Safeblock addresses key issues internationally around building safety, trust and compliance and the Safeblock standard will support more trusted sharing of information, better safety enforcement and support moves to introduce a Golden Thread for building safety.
Safecility already develop and sell their smart building sensors for emergency lighting and fire safety across the UK and Ireland. The company offers a platform to manage compliance testing and reporting to customers. With ESA support, the company will offer Safeblock so building safety data can be shared among all parties in a trusted way. The startup has already been shortlisted for five awards including the UK’s Housing Digital Innovation award for its technology and ambition.
The two year project is rolling out in Q1 2022 and supports Safecility’s vision to support safer communities through technology. It also underlines the importance of research, development and innovation to the startup’s success and represents another vote of confidence in the IoT sector in Ireland.
Speaking about the announcement of the contract, Safecility CEO Cian O’Flaherty said “We are delighted to continue our work with the ESA’s Space Solutions programme on Safeblock. They have supported this project since its inception and are a fantastic resource for companies with innovative ideas for services using space data and technology. Safeblock will fundamentally change how building safety is managed and improve transparency, trust and safety in buildings. Technology has a crucial role to play in ensuring ongoing safety of buildings to the standards we all want. We see Safeblock as a key tool in the regulator’s toolbox to keep owners, tenants and occupants informed and safe. It can address global challenges with a simple, truthful record of building safety built on sensors that report in real time. In the same way we have come to expect a BER (building energy rating) for any property, a BSR (building safety rating) is now becoming possible.”
“Since 2018 Safecility has been awarded more than €550,000 in Research, Development and Innovation contracts”, he continued, “this has enabled the company to increase staff and contribute to the development of a vibrant Irish Internet of Things startup community. With the support of the ESA, Safeblock will now recruit additional roles in development and engineering. This project cements Safecility’s reputation as leading global innovators in the field of smart, safe buildings.”
Rita Rinaldo, Head of Projects and Studies Implementation Division at ESA added “Through the Business Applications and Space Solutions programme we support start-ups and new-entrants to the space sector such as Safecility to develop, test, and scale-up their business proposition. Safeblock is an excellent demonstration of the innovative utilization of GNSS, IoT and digital technologies applied to the housing sector. It will contribute to solve the urgent issued around building safety faced by tenants, occupants and regulators, delivering a standard to be used internationally.”
Welcoming the announcement, Gearoid Mooney, from Enterprise Ireland said:
“Safecility is an ambitious, innovative company that is changing how we monitor and report on the critical issue of building safety. The European Space Agency contract will support Safecility to combine the most advanced satellite positioning technology into its building safety management platform leading to safer living environments for building occupants and tenants.
“Safecility is one of a number of Irish start-up companies use space-based solutions to develop commercial market opportunities. This access to transformative technology is supported by the Government’s investment in the European Space Agency.