The global smart buildings market is continuing to grow, with a new report from Zion Market Research projecting its value to increase from $7 billion in 2014 to $36 billion in 2020, growing at a compound annual rate of 30%.
The report considers airport, commercial, hospitality, industrial, institutional, residential and other project types. Geographically, Europe led in smart building adoption in 2014, with Asia Pacific and North America following.
Factors driving the smart buildings market include the global trend of urbanization, government incentives to implement such systems and their ability to reduce energy consumption. Continued barriers include the relatively high cost of implementation.
One critical factor in the proliferation of smart buildings is how security is handled. Connecting a building's systems to the internet makes the structure and its occupants vulnerable to a new host of threats. A new Market Research report notes that managing cybersecurity threats is critical to encouraging owners and the general public to continue to accept smart buildings and the related technology.
Worldwide, the smart building cybersecurity market will reach $8.65 billion by 2021, more than double its 2016 value, according to the report.
Among the companies at once fueling and gaining from the trend toward internet connectedness in buildings is Cisco. The technology company earlier this year began its rollout of a series of network and hardware upgrades aimed at centralizing smart building operations, in part with the goal of better protecting them. The first component is a smart switch that allows IoT devices and building automation systems to exist within a single digital network.
The need for streamlined protection comes as more buildings get onboard with smart systems. Intel last fall launched a building management system for small and midsize buildings. Residential builders are getting on board, too, using automation and voice control features such as the Amazon Alexa or Apple HomeKit as a central command center.
Smart systems remain a priority for large projects as well. The Milwaukee Bucks recently selected Johnson Controls as the smart building systems integrator for its forthcoming $524 million arena. And in Virginia, a 2.5-million-square-foot mixed-used project, the Gramercy District, is rising around the concept with the goal of becoming a replicable solution for other developers and municipalities that want to create smart cities from the ground-up.
Systems that aggregate, analyze and automate building actions bring a host of opportunities, including the ability to incorporate predictive maintenance, establish convergent networks, conduct wireless retrofits, integrate biometric features and, ultimately, lead to buildings that are (somewhat) self-aware.