Energy savings key as smart building tech explodes in value

"While the 'Internet of Things' is a topic of much speculation in the consumer market, smart building technology has steadily been increasing its footprint and impact among commercial buildings."

An increasing number of case studies are emerging to demonstrate the business case and benefits associated with developing smart buildings.

According to a new IDC Energy Insights report, leading organisations around the world are encouraged to evaluate their current smart building status and to implement short to medium term plans to capture those benefits.

In fact, the new report, Business Strategy: Global Smart Building Technology Spending 2015–2019 Forecast, forecasts smart building technology spending to grow from $6.3 billion in 2014 to $17.4 billion in 2019, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.6%.

The most aggressive adoption will be in Asia/Pacific, North America, and Western Europe.

After several years of slower-than-expected growth, the smart building technology market is expected to grow rapidly as there is increasingly broad market awareness of the business values generated by deploying smart building solutions.

Smart buildings enable facility optimisation through the convergence of information technology and building automation. Building owners and key decision makers are increasingly aware of the business value of these solutions.

In fact, the 2015 IDC MarketScape on Smart Building solutions (forthcoming) shows that over 90% of firms will increase their investment in smart building technologies once the methodology for valuing those investments becomes more widely accepted and standardised.

"While the 'Internet of Things' is a topic of much speculation in the consumer market, smart building technology has steadily been increasing its footprint and impact among commercial buildings,” says Jill Feblowitz, Vice President, IDC Energy Insights.

“Smart building solutions are valuable technologies for deploying energy management strategies that generate operational efficiencies, cost containment, and sustainability benefits that appeal to key stakeholders in building management.”

Key findings from the report include:

• Although the overall pace of adoption is slightly lower than predicted last year, more competitive pricing and technology advances will result in a higher level (and more "smarter" buildings) in the years ahead.

• Despite the aggressive growth of the smart buildings market (a global CAGR of 22.6%), adoption still represents a small share of the total addressable market.

The continued development of case studies and best practices by early adopters will promote awareness and support longer-term expectations for market expansion.

• In 2015 and beyond, adoption is anticipated to recover as the economic recovery takes hold and as energy costs remain a large and variable component of building operation.

The adoption of smart building solutions in North America, Europe and Asia/Pacific is particularly positive due to a combination of policy and business dynamics, which help drive market awareness of the business value of these solutions and as a result the market demand.

There are also growing regulations at the local, regional, and national levels driving awareness of the benefits of energy efficiency and energy benchmarking. In addition, a number of large corporations have made commitments to sustainability and energy management.

Smart building solutions are attractive tools for energy management because they provide visibility into system-wide operational and energy efficiency and provide tools for analysing, tracking, and communicating the impact of energy-efficiency improvements.

In developing this forecast, several trends were identified. The first is that vertical industries have a large impact on the rate of adoption of smart building technologies.

Buildings managed in the government or healthcare verticals, for example, tend to be more mature in their appreciation of the benefits of smart buildings and more advanced in their deployment.

Secondly, investments over the past several years have focused on HVAC systems. Customers are now beginning to expand their evaluation to lighting, plug load, equipment maintenance, and other issues.

From a geographic perspective, within Asia/Pacific, China's rapid building boom continues apace, resulting in new construction with many smart building capabilities designed in from the beginning.

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