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How IoT Technology Drives Smart Building Innovation

Commercial buildings are getting smarter. They now include a growing variety of technologies that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT) phenomena. Across the globe, new buildings are being constructed with both wired and wireless IoT infrastructure that enables innovation.

According to the latest worldwide market study by Berg Insight, the installed base of sensors, actuators, modules, gateways and other 'connected devices' deployed as part of IoT-based automation in smart commercial buildings was an estimated 151 million units worldwide at the end of 2018.

Commercial Building Automation Market Development

Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33 percent, the installed base will reach 483 million units in 2022.

About 4.5 million of these devices were connected via cellular communication networks in 2018. The number of cellular connections in the building automation market will grow at a CAGR of 44 percent to reach 19.4 million in 2022.

In terms of revenues, Berg Insight estimates that connected devices into the global building IoT market generated revenues of more than $1.2 billion in 2018. This figure will grow at a CAGR of 21 percent to almost $2.7 billion in 2022.

Berg Insight analyses the market for building automation in smart buildings along multiple verticals ranging from well-known ones such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), indoor lighting, fire & safety, access & security, to less known ones such as electric vehicle charging, irrigation systems and pool monitoring.

The most successful building automation solutions to date, in terms of sold units, include access and security, fire and safety, HVAC systems and elevators and escalators management.

These solutions are marketed by product OEMs such as Assa Abloy, Avigilon, AMAG Technology, HID Global, Comark, Tyco, Albireo Energy, Cimetrics, Delta Controls, ENGIE Insight, Silvair, KONE, Otis, Schindler and ThyssenKrupp.

The automatic control may be done through a centralized system such as a Building Management System (BMS). Examples of BMS solution providers include ABB, Honeywell, Johnson Controls, Schneider Electric, Siemens and United Technologies.

Building automation has been around for many decades, but there is a new urgency due to factors such as energy conservation as well as mandates for green construction, according to findings from the Berg assessment.

The latest smart building solutions leverage new technologies such as IoT, big data, cloud computing, data analytics, deep learning and artificial intelligence for the benefits of saving energy, reducing operational expenditures, increasing occupancy comfort, and meeting increasingly stringent global regulations and sustainability standards

"A major change is starting to happen now especially in new construction, where the primary driver is changing from cost reduction to features that enhance the user experience and change how users and buildings interact. Instead of there being a single killer-app, we are starting to see a combination of use-cases," said Alan Varghese, senior IoT analyst at Berg Insight.

Outlook for Smart Building Application Growth

These use-cases leverage the Internet of Things, sensors and connectivity to enable customization of spaces in offices and conference rooms based on occupancy levels and occupant preferences, efficient mobility throughout the building, and they help occupants with location and wayfinding – all controllable by mobile communication platforms.

Most important, they are capable of predictive awareness of individual needs.

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