Navigant Research Blog

Focus on Occupant Health and Well-Being Is Transforming the Commercial Buildings Market

— October 25, 2017

There has been growing interest and demand for occupant health and well-being in commercial buildings. Historically, occupant health policy was more limited and focused on preventing accidents and exposure to hazardous materials. In recent years, there has been a shift from the minimal safety requirements to improved health, increased productivity and performance, and enhanced occupant comfort.

Occupant health and well-being is a notable theme. The focus of the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo this November is human health. Educational sessions covering this area range from The Wellness/Energy Nexus – a Case for Effective Design (WELL Specific) to From Lab to Workplace: Research Advancing Health & Wellbeing.

Based on the human health educational track at the conference, it is clear that conference organizers and speakers alike view this as an essential building trend. It is a trend observed at Navigant Research and discussed as a driver in the upcoming report IoT for Lighting. I’m looking forward to attending Greenbuild to further explore this trend and learn about efforts to promote health and well-being through lighting and building technologies.

Motivation for Human Health in Buildings

A report from the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) 2013 Summit on Green Building & Human Health is titled Health is a Human Right. Green Building Can Help. While much in the development of green buildings and occupant health and well-being has progressed since 2013, the notion that health is a human right has not.

The trend to focus on human health and well-being within buildings can largely be attributed to attracting and maintaining talent in office workplaces, incentivizing students or shoppers to build environments that focus on their health. Many green building features, such as energy efficient lighting paired with more sophisticated controls, provide motivation via energy savings in addition to improving the health of building occupants. Beyond lighting, occupant health and well-being can be prioritized through improved indoor air quality, thermal comfort, and sound quality.

Promotion of WELL-Being through Standards and Certifications

Founded in 2013, the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) is a public benefit organization driving the promotion of health and well-being in buildings. The WELL Building Standard, launched in 2014, is based on medical research that analyzes the connection between environmental health, behavioral factors, health outcomes, and demographic risk factors that affect health with the built environment. The WELL Standard covers seven core concepts (air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind) to create a flexible building standard.

Currently, there are pilot programs in progress across various areas, including multi-family residential buildings, education facilities, retail buildings, restaurants, and commercial kitchens. The aim of the pilot programs is to test and refine how WELL can best apply to different building and space types. The standard continues to evolve based on new evidence, and to incorporate new technologies. A WELL certification is a declaration of that building’s commitment to the prioritization of its inhabitants.

Certifications Setting an Example

The USGBC has incorporated the Integrative Process for Health Promotion in the LEED certification for new construction. Participants can earn credit by beginning in the pre-design phase to “achieve synergies that promote health across disciplines and building systems.” They can also work with a public health partner to help determine how to promote health and accomplish related sustainability goals.

While the USGBC and IWBI are not required across buildings and are voluntary certifications, the significance they place on human health in buildings is helping to promote these values and drive increased focus on these trends. These organizations can provide tools and resources for building owners and managers and can help drive the adoption of building elements focused on the health and well-being of building occupants.

 

IoT Provides a Changing Landscape for Lighting

— September 5, 2017

The commercial lighting landscape is shifting these days, giving way to a less siloed market. While historically, lamp and luminaire manufacturers have focused primarily on lamps, the emergence and growth of LEDs with their increased lifespan has led to a stronger market for luminaires, which in turn has negatively affected the lamp market. This has decreased lamp revenue for many incumbent lighting manufacturers.

In order to differentiate themselves within the shifting lighting market, traditional lamp and luminaire manufacturers are looking toward controls and new business use cases. Some use cases provided by lighting controls fall within the Internet of Things (IoT) landscape. Many lighting companies are entering the controls and IoT markets through mergers and acquisitions, rather than focusing solely on internal expansion into those areas.

OSRAM Makes Play toward Increasing IoT Offerings

The German-based lighting manufacturer OSRAM, a spinoff of Siemens in early 2013, has agreed to purchase Digital Lumens. Founded in 2008, the Boston-based industrial and commercial IoT solutions company offers software, products, and systems integration. Digital Lumens’ SiteWorx platform integrates intelligent lighting control, energy use, security systems, and air quality monitoring. The IoT platform will allow OSRAM to strengthen its portfolio for IoT applications. There are currently plans to integrate some of OSRAM’s existing digital services into the platform, such as location-based services utilizing Bluetooth primarily in a retail environment.

Competitive Landscape

While OSRAM has clearly positioned itself to advance its IoT offerings, it faces competition from other lighting incumbents interested in expanding their IoT offerings. Earlier this year, Acuity Brands announced its Atrius Brand, the company’s IoT business solutions portfolio. Atrius provides connectivity through a network of intelligent LED lighting and controls and its software platform that enables indoor positioning, asset tracking, space utilization, spatial analytics, and energy management.

Philips Lighting is also an incumbent that has expanded into this space with its indoor positioning for retail applications and connected lighting for offices utilizing Power over Ethernet (PoE) and SpaceWise wireless technology. Another is Eaton, which has partnered with IoT platform, sensor, and solutions company Enlighted to integrate the company’s hardware, software, and services into Eaton’s LED lighting and controls portfolio.

The technology developments, acquisitions, and partnerships all demonstrate the shifting market and provide a glimpse into the future of commercial lighting. Startups, systems integrators, IT companies, and network providers are mixing with the traditional lighting manufacturers in this market, providing more collaboration and merger and acquisition opportunities. Navigant Research’s upcoming IoT for Lighting report will look at the key players in this industry and provide an overview of the market, including drivers and barriers, technology issues, and a global forecast of hardware, software, and services.

 

Smart Street Lights Shine on Further Advancements in Lighting Innovation

— June 9, 2017

Smart street lighting is growing as a platform for smart city applications, and cities are increasingly seeing the benefits of smart street lighting deployment. The rise of LEDs, in large part due to their increased energy savings, longer life, and declining prices, has launched the connected street lighting market. Companies are working together to help drive innovation and continue the momentum of smart street lighting and smart city adoption.

Driving Innovation

Even with the benefits of LEDs and increased control and data available through a smart street lighting system, there are still hurdles to overcome for widespread adoption. The Smart Cities Council, a global consortium of smart city experts and companies, is working to promote sustainable smart cities that provide clean and healthy living conditions and high quality jobs. The Smart Cities Council has more than 120 members and is continually expanding its presence. In May, Telensa, a specialist in connected street lighting, joined the Smart Cities Council as a North America Lead Partner. The company will work toward the goals of the organization of advancing the development of smart cities. Lead Partners, along with Global Lead Partners, provide financial support and help guide the Smart Cities Council’s actions either regionally or globally, based on partnership level. Global Lead Partners include Cisco, Hitachi, IBM, Microsoft, Schneider Electric, Current, powered by GE, Itron, Sensus, Qualcomm, and SAS Institute, among others.

Providing a Smart City through Lighting

Several cities have started to invest in smart street lighting, which are further advanced than LEDs and have the benefits of increased control and artificial intelligence. The city of Spokane, Washington is one of the latest cities to deploy smart street lights. It is using vision control traffic-adaptive LED street lights with artificial intelligence from Echelon—a developer of open standards control networking platform for lighting and building management. Echelon’s lighting platform transmits traffic information to help reduce response time and improve reliability. Each unit, deployed on traffic intersection street lights, will determine light levels based on traffic volume and reduce or increase light levels accordingly.

Lighting and technology vendors are working to advance their offerings to create a smart street lighting platform that can be utilized as the foundation for a smart city. Though many offerings are currently available on the market, further advancement and price declines will help with continued adoption of smart street lighting systems. Partnerships between lighting and technology providers and utilities, as well as organizations such as the Smart Cities Council, are continuing to advance smart street lighting. This relatively young industry is worth monitoring as it continues to experience growth.

 

Continual Change for the Smart Homes Market

— May 19, 2017

The smart homes market, an important segment of the broader Internet of Things (IoT) market, is continuing to develop through partnerships, acquisitions from a variety of incumbents, and startups with point solutions. 2016 saw many acquisitions in the IoT market, and 2017 seems to be just as promising. With the number of partnerships, acquisitions, and new offerings, it’s clear the smart homes market will also continue to thrive. While there are many new players, the market is seeing consolidation through these partnerships and acquisitions. This consolidation may encourage further development of the smart homes market by mitigating issues such as interoperability—a barrier to adoption.

Expansion through Acquisitions and Partnerships

One of the most recent acquisitions in this market is the purchase of iDevices by Hubbell, an international electrical manufacturer. Hubbell offers a range of solutions for residential, commercial, industrial, and utility applications. iDevices, a smart homes company founded in 2010, has a number of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-enabled products for connected power, lighting, and climate control—including a connected thermostat, lighting sockets, and dimmable, color-tunable, and scheduled lighting. The acquisition will allow Hubble to further its offerings in the smart home and IoT market by leveraging iDevices’ products, which are compatible with the Apple HomeKit and Amazon Echo.

Rather than an acquisition, Vivint Smart Home—a smart home solutions provider—is looking to grow sales of its offerings via increased adoption through a partnership with Best Buy. The partnership will allow Vivint to sell smart home products in 400 Best Buy stores. It also includes placement of a Vivint employee within each of the stores to better assist customers. This is the first time Vivint Smart Home solutions will be sold within brick-and-mortar stores. Vivint hopes the new aspect of its business will help alleviate one of the largest barriers to adoption of smart home devices: lack of consumer knowledge.

Creating Competitive Advantage

In the quickly growing smart homes market, it is important to gain and maintain a competitive edge. Smart homes vendors are working to differentiate themselves by creating a unique value proposition. The largest companies are working to further expand into the space and maintain market share through acquisitions. On the other hand, smaller companies are looking toward partnerships with larger players like Amazon Echo and Apple HomeKit.

Within the smart homes ecosystem, connected lighting plays a significant role. A recent report, Navigant Research Leaderboard Report: Residential Connected Lighting, analyzes the companies that currently have residential connected lighting offerings available on the market. Thanks to partnerships, acquisitions, and integrated offerings, these companies gain an advantage in the smart homes and broader IoT markets.

Through evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of these products, it is clear the companies that will continue to grow are those that have created a strong value proposition. As smart home applications gain more traction, it is vital for survival that companies continue to uniquely position themselves in this shifting landscape.

 

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