Like everything nowadays, even buildings are getting smarter. Smart buildings use automation to monitor and modify numerous elements. These include things like heating, ventilation and air quality (HVAC).
Virtually everything in a smart building is connected. As a result, energy is used more efficiently. This is highly beneficial, not only on the level of the individual building, but also globally. As we continue on the journey of digitalisation, we are simultaniously fighting climate change.
This increasing level of smart technology has a powerful impact in several critical areas that could benefit the environment.
Not only do smart buildings increase sustainability, they also increase productivity. By closely monitoring lighting, air quality and temperature, offices can be turned into spaces in which well-being thrives, and individuals are happier and more productive.
Additionally, all of this will surely reduce costs.
A Tenfold Increase in Investment
The data gathered from our pool of over 300,000 emerging tech companies provides valuable insights. It can help predict future trends and help understand the market better.
As can be seen below, interest in the field has increased throughout the years. However, it wasn’t until 2018 that a real growth in investment was experienced. Since then, the number of investment deals has decreased while the total amount invested has increased.
In 2018, the average value of a deal was around €2.2M. A year later, that number increased over 50% with the average being €3.4M. A similar trend can be seen already from the first quarter of 2020. With only 11 deals made, the total investment amounted to €242M, making the average deal value €22M – A tenfold increase since 2018.
The 2020s will without doubt be the decade of smart buildings. This fact is further supported in a forecast by Statista. The forecast expects the number of smart homes to double worldwide in the space of five years, increasing from 221 million in 2020 to 483 million in 2025.
The market breakdown can be seen below. It focuses on the 5 most heavily-invested elements in the market.
The most heavily-invested element is smart surveillance. It comprises video surveillance, image recognition and analytics, among other things.
Each element is further discussed below the graph.
The Most Heavily-Invested Elements
As mentioned earlier, this group of investments included a range of security-related components. Of these components, video survaillance gained the most attention, and the most investment.
Surveillance appliances that enable AI and other emerging technologies can detect risks and threats at an early stage and are more reliable than people.
A threat could be anything from a burglary to a fire. For example, if the oven would be accidentally left on, a smoke sensor would detect the smoke, send a notification to the mobile app, turn off the oven and change the light to red as an indication of emergency. This would give you the time to call the fire brigade before it’s too late.
Click here for a humorous example of smart surveillance in action.
Energy Efficiency Applications
Energy efficiency devices include things like smart HVAC and smart lights. By utilising cencors, these devices can create the perfect enviroment for each space and situation.
As an example, lowering the temperature indoors by just 1°C lowers energy expenditure by about 6% during the winter. Such devices can address this type of issue via automation. A device will know when a room is not in use and will switch off the lights, lower the temperature and deactivate any unused appliances.
The same device can be instructed when things should be switched back to normal again. In this way, energy consumption can be optimised and thus save you money.
Access control consists of solutions that are designed to ensure safety, and regulate and provide access to buildings.
It is basically a method of guaranteeing that the right people have access to the right places. It consists of authentication and authorisation, without which there would be no security.
Smart access control relies heavily on emerging technologies, such as IoT and biometrics.
Tenant engagement is a concept in which tenants and landlords co-operate. It’s a way to get tenants more involved in the decision making of their community.
Tenant engagement is beneficial for all parties involved and has therefore gained traction in recent years. Digitisation has had an impact on this as well, especially during 2020 when most businesses have been forced to digitise.
There are apps that fully incorporate tenant engagement and make it much easier to approach and implement.
These apps enable convenience by digitising services. Within the app, one could book meeting rooms, engage with the community or get help on a building-related issue. It is a way of linking the smart building with the smart community.
As GPS cannot be used to detect position indoors, indoor positioning system (IPS) comes in handy. The IPS market is in fact currently where the GPS market was 15 years ago and is expected to triple in value by 2025.
Different technologies can be used for indoor tracking depending on the desired accuracy. Wi-Fi has a location accuracy of 2 to 5 metres, whereas ultrasound has an accuracy of 1 to 5 centimetres. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) has gained the most interest as it is reasonably widespread and has an accuracy of 1 to 3 metres – a level of precision that suits most purposes.
BLE beacons in indoor positioning are increasing in popularity as they are inexpensive, consume very little power, and are easy to operate and setup.