Smart buildings to grow rapidly through 2017

After several years of slower than anticipate growth, the smart buildings technology market is expected to grow rapidly as there is increasingly broad market awareness of the business values generated by deploying smart building solutions, according to IDC Energy Insights. Smart building technologies have matured to enable facility optimization 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; however, adoption of these technologies has been slow due to changes in business processes required for deployment and utilization.

Different countries experience different drivers of smart building expansion, including owners and managers seeking to reduce and control energy costs (U.S.) to governments driving environmental and energy efficiency objectives (Germany) to meeting energy supply challenges (Japan), according to IDC research. The research projects the global smart building technology market to grow from $6.3 billion in 2013 to $21.9 billion in 2017 — a 28.4 percent compound annual growth rate. Adoption rates are expected to vary by region, with the most aggressive adoption in North America, Western Europe and Asia/Pacific over the next five years.

Prior to 2013, the global smart building market grew more slowly than expected due to less expensive electricity in several markets and a slow economic recovery leading to deferred capital investments. In 2014 and over the next several years, adoption is expected to recover along with the economy.

With many basic control and monitoring systems in place, a need is developing for intelligent software and external services to help analyze, interpret, and prioritize the data that is being collected. According to the research, buildings managed in the government or healthcare verticals tend to be more mature in their appreciation of the benefits of smart buildings and more advanced in their deployment. Over the past several years, investments have focused on HVAC systems, but are beginning to evaluate lighting, plug load, equipment maintenance, and other issues.

“As businesses recover following the “great recession”, building owners continue to focus on managing their operational energy costs and risks. Often, gathering building data is not the issue — rather combining, interpreting, and prioritizing that data is becoming the key challenge,” said 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 across chain of command in building management.”

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