Last year around this time, we published our very first "State of the Fire & EMS Industry" where we shared our public-safety technology predictions for the remainder of 2022. The trends we saw on the horizon not only materialized over the past year, but the speed of change in fire and EMS technology was even faster and more impactful than we predicted. We're excited to take another look at these three core areas of change as we move further into 2023.
In 2022, we saw many legacy fire and EMS platforms sunset or retired completely. We knew this was coming, but this shift in software availability and support presented a significant challenge for agencies relying on sunset software to run their operations. Customers were left with depleted and abandoned software without any feature growth or a product support roadmap … which is incredibly limiting given the swift pace of change and tech advancements in our space.
This dangerous combination of a “keeping the lights on” culture and a deliberate lack of modernization negatively impacts all members of an organization, from struggling IT and support staff to command staff and frontline firefighter's and EMS crews.
In 2022, forward-thinking agencies seized the opportunity to look for a new, consolidated solution with staying power and future growth potential. We should expect to see the shot clock continue to run out on tested legacy solutions in 2023. And just like last year, we anticipate the same dire need for an evergreen, all-in-one business management solution for fire and EMS.
The timebomb of sunsetting software reflects a far more impactful industry trend. More than 10,000 US public safety agencies were impacted by the recent slew of M&A activity in fire and EMS software. Nearly every corner of our space has felt the effects of software provider mergers and acquisitions.
We anticipate the processes, relationships, and strategies agencies rely on will continue to be strained due to continued M&A on diligently constructed software ecosystems. To add insult to injury, customers should also anticipate price increases as their old providers may be assimilated into new organizations.
Just like we saw in 2022, point-solution providers will be prime acquisition targets in 2023. For these point-solution vendors, joining a larger company might feel smart at first, but we know that it takes years to completely align product vision and business operations -- that is, if the product they rely on is not retired first.
In 2022, software provider consolidation and legacy solution sunsetting led to a boom in interest in public safety all-in-one platform solutions. Agencies were motivated by the idea that all day-to-day operations, from incident reporting to truck checks to prevention activities, could all be performed with one tool, in one place.
We see this trend continuing in 2023, as the point-solution software space becomes more crowded and unsupported.
As we move further into 2023, we expect the fire and EMS tech industry will encounter even more of the same fundamental software issues many first realized in 2022. As always, First Due is focused on creating certainty for agencies who face uncertainty today - as a team. We’re looking forward to serving your crews this year and beyond.