Growth spurt

Growth spurt

Terry Sharp assesses some interesting trends in smart technology and its use in buildings.

According to MarketsandMarkets, the smart buildings market is projected to grow from USD 66.3 billion in 2020 to USD 108.9 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10.5 per cent during the forecast period. The major drivers for the smart building include rising adoption of IoT-enabled building management systems, rising awareness of space utilisation, increased industry standards and regulations, and increasing demand for energy efficiency in order to meet net-zero targets. Also set to play a pivotal role is the introduction of 5G technology, which enables quick building data transport, interpretation and efficient actions taken in an economical manner. We have already seen the development of the UK’s first 5G smart factory, with the Worcester Bosch factory using 5G to run real-time machine sensors, allowing them to address problems on the production line before they happen.

Building security systems will also see changes. Last year a US report titled State of the Security Industry, An Integrator’s Perspective, by Security Business magazine, revealed that security integrators have prioritised technology solutions that will help end-users manage health-related concerns as they return to work, including temperature screening, contactless access control, mask detection and occupancy monitoring solutions. Building lobbies and reception areas could therefore look quite different, almost resembling airports, with screening kiosks and check-in stations to assess health and temperature as well as monitoring occupancy levels.

Energy efficiency still remains at the heart of smart building technology. In its 2020 Energy Efficiency Indicator Survey, Johnson Controls found that more than half of organisations plan to increase investment in energy efficiency, renewable energy and smart building technology in 2021. Efficiency and health were the key drivers revealed in the survey with 85 per cent saying that reducing energy costs was a very or extremely important driver of investment and 76 per cent believing that protecting the health and safety of occupants during emergencies was very or extremely important. Indoor air quality, already increasing in importance even in pre-Covid times, was also revealed as one of the most pressing issues for facility managers to address with 79 per cent already or planning to increase air filtration, and three-quarters already or planning to install an air treatment system.

With buildings needing to be clean as well as smart and energy efficient the building management systems that integrate the technology will certainly be put to the test, and the market will continue to grow.