Navigant Research Blog

Two Big Reasons 2017 Looks Bright for Intelligent Buildings

— November 30, 2016

Intelligent BuildingInformation technology has permeated nearly every aspect of our daily lives, and the convenience, efficiency, and productivity benefits of utilizing our favorite apps has created a new set of expectations for workspaces. As we look to the beginning of a new year, this widespread demand for technology underscores two signals that 2017 will support continued investment in intelligent building technologies. First, customer satisfaction is paramount;  second, major corporations remain committed to sustainability. Intelligent building technologies, specifically Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled analytics and managed services, are cost-effective investments that provide broad business insights to meet these two top line goals.

IoT for Customer Satisfaction

The bottom line for business is growing revenue and building market share, and customer loyalty is fundamental to this success. IoT-enabled intelligent building solutions can help businesses by creating comfortable and productive space. From retail stores to offices, intelligent building technologies help facilities managers and building owners maximize equipment performance and direct the use of their spaces to maximize customer satisfaction.

Navigant Research recently hosted a roundtable webinar on IoT for small and medium businesses, and the conversation several times turned to the importance of customer satisfaction. The deployment of an IoT-enabled intelligent building solution can generate comprehensive data sets on equipment performance and space use, and analytics can then translate these data streams into valuable business information. For example, in retail stores, occupancy sensors can send data about foot traffic to direct improvements in HVAC and lighting for energy savings, but also provide insight for product placement and customer service needs that can ensure and enhance customer satisfaction. Once an IoT platform has been deployed, there are many software as a service (SaaS) analytics options to translate data into information for strategic business decision-making for any vertical.

IoT for Sustainability

According to a recent Forbes article, a recent international manufacturing conference in Japan provided some surprising new statistics on sustainability. In particular, the study found that 75% of US consumers account for sustainability while shopping, and an even more striking 7 of 10 millennials define themselves as social activists—as put in the conference presentation, “For millennials, CSR [corporate social responsibility] is the new religion.” Even more striking is the corporate commitment to combating climate change, underscoring the importance for business bottom lines. Companies including the Gap, General Motors, Levi Strauss, and Starbucks have signed a plea to the incoming administration to retain the commitments set in the Paris Climate Accord.

What does this mean for intelligent buildings? US businesses can tackle their sustainability footprint head on by optimizing operations to reduce energy consumption and associated carbon emissions.

Commercial buildings are notoriously inefficient, generating about 20% of the total CO2 emissions in the United States. IoT changes the game by delivering cost-effective devices (moving price points from tens of thousands of dollars to hundreds of dollars) that bring insight into waste that was previously invisible. Customers that manage smaller buildings likely never considered deploying automation and controls for energy management and sustainability, but with the IoT platforms and SaaS analytics available today, they can access facility information remotely, quickly identify inefficiencies, and improve performance to improve their sustainability.

 

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