Interest in Smart Buildings Is Growing

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Until recently, smart buildings were often thought of individually. These days, they are becoming a trend unto themselves—a real force. As a result, opportunities for electrical contractors, both in traditional electrical work, but especially in low-voltage work, are expected to grow exponentially this year and into the foreseeable future.

A new report published by Research & Markets looks at smart building opportunities in the commercial real estate (CRE) market, with a focus on how internet of things (IoT) technologies are being integrated into the CRE market, such as office buildings and warehouses.

"In addition to optimization of tenant operations, CRE owners recognize the ability to realize significantly higher leasing fees with intelligent buildings," states the report. "Accordingly, over 80 percent of new construction involves at least one facet of IoT and/or related smart building technologies."

The report, which evaluates the growth of smart buildings worldwide, adds that North America is expected to lead the IoT smart building market with 36 percent market share by 2023.

For contractors looking for the easiest access to smart building work, another report offers a hint—hotels.

"As competition intensifies among hotels to cater to guests and encourage repeat business, hotel owners are starting to invest substantial resources into smart building technologies," states a new report from IHS Markit. As a result, according to the report, in the next five years, smart building retrofit projects will grow most rapidly in the hotel market.

"While most other commercial building types are renovated approximately once every 25 to 30 years on average, hotels are generally retrofitted with updated equipment in less than 10–year intervals," states the report. This year alone, according to the report, hotels will spend over $500 million on connected equipment and will invest over $2.2 billion to refurbish guest rooms.

Other industries are taking notice. One of these is insurance.

Last week, Coalition, a San Francisco-based insurance firm, announced that it will offer the first cyber-insurance specifically designed to address emerging risks facing real estate developers, property managers, and other businesses across the real estate industry.

"Over 1 billion IoT devices and sensors will be installed in commercial buildings by the end of 2018," said Joshua Motta, founder and CEO of Coalition, in explaining his firm's foray into this market. "So-called 'smart buildings' offer enormous safety and productivity benefits but also come with new security risks."

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