July 2012


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William Rhodes

William Rhodes and Ken Sinclair

William Rhodes,  Market Analyst, Building Technologies, Security & Fire
IMS Research

Integrating Smart Building Systems

  In the Americas, the two most highly integrated markets in 2011 for integrated and intelligent building solutions were education and healthcare buildings. 

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IMS Research (recently acquired by IHS (NYSE:IHS)) published a new report on integrating smart building systems in June. We interviewed senior analyst and report author William Rhodes to discuss the research and key findings.

Sinclair: In the new study, what does IMS Research classify as an integrated smart building system?

Rhodes: IMS Research adopted the following definition for intelligent and integrated building systems – the integration of building automation systems, lighting control systems and physical security equipment. IMS Research identified a scale of integrated systems from the basic installed base of equipment through to the use of an integrated solution for business process optimisation.

Sinclair: What is current market size for smart building systems?

Rhodes: We forecast the Americas market for integrated and intelligent building systems will be worth more than $24 billion in 2012. However, only $1.1 billion of this is forecast to be for the highest level of integration of building systems where more than two building systems are integrated.

Sinclair: What are some of the benefits of integrated and intelligent buildings?

Rhodes: One of the key drivers for integrating building systems and making buildings more intelligent is the energy efficiency savings that can be achieved, particularly from the integration and installation of building automation systems and lighting control systems.

Another benefit is the operational efficiencies that can be achieved through installing integrated and intelligent solutions within buildings. For example, the human resources departments can use access control information to track billable hours.

Sinclair: Are there any downsides to integrating across different building systems?

Rhodes: During the research for this report it become apparent that some end-users had adopted technologies early to enable them, in theory, to operate a more cost-effective and efficient building. However, many early adopters did not get the efficient building they were hoping for. In some cases, equipment was only partly integrated. In other situations, the equipment was in beta testing and required many bug fixes.

Over the past two-to-three years, the technology used to integrate building systems has now proven its capabilities. However, the early experiences of some early users and others will shape the market potential in the short term at least.

Sinclair: What are the most common building systems to be integrated?

Rhodes: The most common integration across building systems is currently between building automation and lighting control. Building automation installations almost always start with environmental or HVAC-R control as the first priority. For many buildings, HVAC-R is the largest consumer of energy and is seen as one of the simplest systems to control and automate. In 2011, nearly 30% of building automation systems were integrated with lighting control.

From the perspective of the security integrator and installer, the priority, and often the first challenge, is just to integrate physical security equipment. Security integrators knowledge of other building systems, such as building automation, can be limited. The movement to integrate the two systems is being pushed mainly from the building automation side rather than the physical security side.

Sinclair: Which types of buildings are using the highest levels of integrated building systems?

Rhodes: In the Americas, the two most highly integrated markets in 2011 for integrated and intelligent building solutions were education and healthcare buildings. 

IMS Research forecasts increased adoption of integrated network equipment in the education sector over the next five years. Since 1996, the E-Rate in the US has allowed public and private K-12 schools and libraries to purchase discounted telecommunication services, internet access and closely associated wiring (networking). This widespread IT infrastructure means that as schools upgrade or purchase new systems, they are choosing IP systems as much of the infrastructure they require is already in place. Furthermore, the campus layout of schools, colleges and universities lends itself to the installation of network building systems.

Integrated and intelligent building systems is one way in which healthcare facilities can maximise energy efficiency, saving money in a time of budget cuts and austerity measures. Furthermore, hospitals are long-term users of their buildings and infrastructure; this enables them to install equipment that has longer payback periods. Many new healthcare projects integrate other systems such as: nurse call, infant abduction and paging systems.


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