While the automated building market is not new for commercial buildings, it has traditionally focused on four conventional sectors: HVAC, lighting, access control, and fire and life safety.
Now, new emerging applications in space management, environmental monitoring, asset management, and cleanliness & hygiene management are being offered as either standalone solutions or to augment existing building automation systems for improved building sustainability. Together, these new solutions will grow at 32% CAGR over the next 8 years to create US$2 billion in software and services revenues by 2026, according to a new report from global tech market advisory firm, ABI Research.
Space management solutions are being created and engineered with a variety of sensors, including contact, motion, and occupancy. Typically implemented into office buildings, new space management solutions are becoming more useful in significantly larger commercial buildings, such as airports or stadiums. “Occupancy and motion sensors can be used to help improve the speed in which travelers can maneuver themselves through the airport. Real-time insights mean that managers can deploy staff as needed to relevant areas of the building,” explains Harriet Sumnall, Research Analyst at ABI Research.
Environmental monitoring consists of sensors that are monitoring noise levels, air quality, and natural lighting systems. These solutions enable the ability to see real-time conditions of areas within buildings and monitor the conditions in each room to improve overall occupant wellness and comfort. Saint-Gobain, manufacturer of high-performance materials, in 2018, created a subsidiary Kandu to offer turnkey IoT service for companies to enhance the quality of their workspaces.
Asset management solutions are becoming increasingly important within specific commercial buildings, especially healthcare entities. The use of asset management solutions helps hospitals improve their inventory management, lower operational costs, and automate the clinical inventory processes. American Zebra Technologies Corporation offers solutions that track assets specifically made for hospitals using of RFID technology.
Cleanliness and hygiene management is a newer solution for the smart building market. Georgia Pacific (GP) and Kimberly Clarke offer intelligent systems to run restrooms more efficiently. For example, GP’s restocking solutions use sensors that send alerts when soap and paper dispensers are running low. “Their biggest value comes from reduction in labor costs through cleaning optimization and higher customer satisfaction by reducing stock-outs,” says Sumnall.
The current HVAC, lighting, access control, and fire and life safety solutions combine to create the core applications of Building Management Systems (BMS) offered by market leaders, Honeywell, Schneider Electric, Signify, and Siemens. However, as the smart building market evolves, the ecosystem is no longer limited to the traditional BMS vendors. Now it includes the OEMs of consumables and construction materials adding complementary IoT solutions.
Sumnall concludes, “The more important competitive dynamic to recognize is that newer suppliers, most with wireless solution offerings, can more easily sell into the untapped market of older and smaller buildings. This won’t necessarily change the focus of the traditional BMS vendors however their competitiveness will be greatly diminished if their systems are not interoperable with solutions from these newer suppliers. In this more complex supplier market with more applications, interoperability will be what differentiates all market participants.”