12 June 2017 | Martin Read
The Internet of Things will lead to a fundamental change in the way we design, operate and interact with buildings in future, claimed James McHale, managing director of smart building research consultancy Memoori, at last week's ThinkFM conference in London.
McHale spoke about the need for a smart building of the future to understand its occupants rather than its occupants understanding how best to operate the smart building.
But McHale warned that the designing of smart buildings needed to begin with an assessment of what a building's users really wanted from it.
"Design needs to be uncomplicated by features," said McHale. "Simplifying and starting over with the user in mind, a smart building can become what its users want. As humans we are not robots, our actions not always logical. Technology is a means to an end and not an end in itself. We need buildings that are built to provide outcomes, not outputs."
The Internet of Things is a 'feedback loop', continued McHale - "but a lack of communications protocols in each individual business silo have until now been a barrier to integration. I've seen some expensive and ugly proprietary solutions in my time; too many of these technical services are tendered for and acquired as individual contracts, belying a lack of "joined-up thinking" across the enterprise.
Data analytics is key, McHale continued. "We need a fundamental shift in thinking, looking at outcomes and not outputs. The Internet of Things will allow us to measure and validate those outcomes, to close and validate that feedback loop."
The market for cybersecurity in smart commercial buildings doubled from $4.26 billion to $8.65 billion from 2012 to 2016, while the market for smart building devices will grow more than threefold in the commercial real estate environment between now and 2021, comparing favourably with far smaller (yet still significant) growth in manufacturing, retail and the home. By contrast, converting property in the healthcare and hospitality sectors to smart building status would be a considerably longer process.
McHale quoted market growth statistics indicating that the global market for the Internet of Things as a whole will grow threefold between now and 2021. However, the various components of this IoT revolution will grow at varying rates; cloud-based software and services will quadruple in value between now and 2021, compared with the markets for hardware and connectivity services, both of which will slightly more than double in value over the same timeframe.