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PERSPECTIVES

The era of smart buildings is here


One of the tech trends making everyone’s list of “trends to watch in 2023” is the proliferation of smart apps and systems that can control nearly every function in both commercial and residential real estate. However, these apps don’t just make life easier and more efficient for landlords, employees and residents; they also collect massive amounts of data. And while this data can lead to more sustainable buildings, it also opens the door to cyber security risks and a loss of employee privacy.

 

QUICK TAKES

  • The global smart buildings market size is expected to grow from $72.6 billion in 2021 to $121.6 billion by 2026, a compound annual growth rate of 10.9%. (Markets and Markets)

  • The number of active smart home households is expected to amount to 93.6 million users by 2027, a 68.7% penetration rate. (Statista)

  • The global smart building market—commercial plus residential—is estimated to reach $201.2 billion by 2031, a compound annual growth rate of 11.3%. (Allied Market Research)

 

Smart buildings, with the integration of IoT and automated technologies, have revolutionized the way buildings function, from controlling heating and cooling systems to lighting, security and more. By improving asset reliability, reducing energy consumption, optimizing space utilization and minimizing environmental impact, smart building solutions offer significant benefits to building owners, operators and facility managers.


The growth of the smart building industry is driven by increasing demands for better building utilization and resource management in urban environments, as well as the advancements in artificial intelligence and the IoT market. As hybrid work models have become more common after the pandemic, smart building technology has moved beyond managing basic infrastructure and now includes systems for personnel and sales management, predictive analytics, building optimization, disaster recovery and demand response, as well as security and other building management functions involving people.


Providers of smart building solutions offer a range of services, including consulting, implementation, support, and maintenance. With the continued growth of the smart building industry, the services sector is expected to thrive, providing cost-effective and efficient operation and maintenance through intelligent automation and technology.


Smart technology has not been limited to commercial buildings, but has also been adopted by homes. With the use of sensors, cameras, robots and digital hardware, homes now have the ability to control HVAC services, water consumption, security, cleaning and entertainment systems, and more, all through the use of phone apps.


However, smart buildings also produce vast amounts of digital data—which is all connected to one system—making it vulnerable to cyber breaches and leading to concerns about privacy and security. This data also requires sophisticated platforms and analytics on the other end to make full use of the information being received from the sensors, actuators, and microchips located throughout the building. Many of these data firms are realizing that as the amount and types of data captured grows, they are needing to upgrade their architecture and adopt new models, often with the help of outside consultants, to be as efficient as the buildings they are monitoring.


While some employees may feel uneasy about the level of surveillance and tracking inherent in these systems, smart buildings appear to be here to stay and will only continue to advance as AI and robotics become more integrated into our lives. As a trend to watch in 2023 and beyond, smart buildings will likely continue to shape the future of building management.

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