Smart buildings

A global approach to dismantle the silos

by Nikita VLASOV

The building sector is one of the main beneficiaries of digitisation. The use of new technologies is very widespread, not only in construction processes, but also in building operation and management. IDATE DigiWorld estimates that market growth will mean an increase from 98 million connected objects in 2019 to more than 174 million in 2023.

Still in the trial phase, but with huge market potential

The focus for smart building is largely on commercial buildings, especially shops, commercial properties, government buildings and care facilities, with the exception of residential buildings. The market’s main subsegment are heating, ventilation and air conditioning, security and smart elevator systems.

Smart elevator systems are, however, the only smart building element that has been widely adopted to date. Most deployments today are being used to test technologies designed for large buildings – office buildings and care facilities – and large sites.

In the coming years, smart buildings will become increasingly common, as prices decrease and interoperability issues are finally resolved.

Smart elevators, the only widely adopted smart building solution

Global smart building market (HVAC, smart elevators and security systems), by region

Source : IDATE DigiWorld in "Smart buildings"

A fragmented ecosystem dominated by veteran heavyweights

Established smart building companies are primarily suppliers of automation systems, often targeting large corporations with whom they already have a longstanding relationship. They therefore benefit from a lack of barriers to entry to the smart building market.

New entrants, most of which are start-ups, tend to cover only one of the basic components to be incorporated into a broader solution.

The smart building market’s ecosystem is a fragmented one, populated by established companies and a multitude of start-ups. Established construction system suppliers have expanded into supplying building automation solutions, with the goal of covering all of the sub-segments. Start-ups are also entering the fray, most selling software solutions.

A fragmented smart buidling ecosystem, populated by veteran players

Key smart building market players

Source : IDATE DigiWorld in "Smart buildings"

Services for residents: a smart building's priority

Top smart building development priorities

Source : IDATE DigiWorld in "Smart buildings"

The “truly” smart buildings

There are several levels of “intelligence” in building automation, most of which integrate the building’s systems around a single convergent platform. But there are still only a few examples of “truly” smart buildings, outfitted with several, interoperable digital technologies.

One of the most outstanding (and green) examples is “The Edge” intelligent office building in Amsterdam. Schneider supplies its management platform and Philips its smart connected lighting system. The building is powered by more than 28,000 sensors that collect data, which are reinjected into the building’s services management system in real time.

A mobile application for employees detects their actual presence in the building. It creates the ability to monitor employees’ working hours, assign parking spots and office space, according to each person’s movements, and their temperature and lighting preferences.

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