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Clients unprepared for smart building revolution

Half of respondents say ‘a limited number’ or ‘very little’ of clients’ buildings have connected technology installed

Martin: the ECA will work with wider industry to help clients build their knowledge
Martin: the ECA will work with wider industry to help clients build their knowledge

40 per cent of building clients are unfamiliar with the phrase the 'Internet of Things'

61 per cent have no plans to evaluate and install connected technology in buildings

Clients do expect to encounter a smart technology buildings revolution 'soon'

Two-fifths of building clients are unfamiliar with the term the Internet-of-Things, according to a new study.


In addition, more than half of respondents (55 per cent) also said that a lack of clear advice/knowledge is a barrier to installing connected technology in their buildings.


The latest survey findings from the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), and Scottish electrical trade body SELECT also revealed that three fifths (61 per cent), don’t have any plans to ‘evaluate and install connected technology’.


Survey respondents include consultants, engineers, end clients, local authorities and facilities managers.


Despite this, respondents reported that clients expect buildings, across sectors including residential, commercial, retail and industrial, to soon encounter a smart technology revolution. At present, more than half of respondents say ‘a limited number’ or ‘very little’ of these buildings have connected technology installed, but a similar number expect this to increase to a ‘significant’ or ‘overwhelming majority’ in the next five years.


“The survey findings show that clients rightly recognise that a smart technology revolution in buildings is on the horizon, but are generally unprepared and lack the knowledge at present to make this a success,” said Steve Martin, head of specialist groups at the ECA.


“In the coming period, the ECA will work with the wider industry to help building clients develop and implement plans to take advantage of these commercial and technological opportunities.”


At present, clients said the main reason for installing connected technology was to ‘improve energy efficiency and reduce energy bills’ (58 per cent). Over the next five years, respondents said the technologies most likely to be installed in buildings are: CCTV and security (78 per cent), heating (74 per cent), fire systems (69 per cent), and BEMS (67 per cent).


“As digital technology becomes ever more pervasive, it will have an increasing penetration in the buildings sector,” added Dr Hywel Davies, technical director at CIBSE. “The real challenge for our sector is to deliver digital technologies that can satisfy users who are used to technology offerings, functionality and user experience from Silicon Valley.”


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