Global Hot Spot For Building Automation

India remains a global hot spot for building automation, fire safety and security, and is expected to fuel a U.S. $3 billion market by 2012.

According to analyst firm Frost & Sullivan, the economic growth-induced demand, changing attitudes and perceptions about comfort, central monitoring and control, energy conservation, carbon emissions, safety and security, among other factors, have increased adoption of IBMS (Integrated Building Management Systems), leading to annual market growth of over 27 percent. Moreover, advancements in building technology such as Internet Protocol (IP) systems, Web-enabled systems, machine-to-machine communication (M2M), eXtensible Markup Language (XML) communication and Web Services enabled anywhere/anytime monitoring.

Says Mushtaq M. Khan, deputy director, Environment and Building Technologies Practice, South Asia and Middle East, Frost & Sullivan, “It is important that stakeholders—end-users, industry, consultants, and facilities management companies—accord priority to achieving operational excellence in buildings in order to bring down lifecycle costs. An estimated 75 percent to 80 percent of the lifecycle cost is spent on operations and maintenance of buildings, and measures to reduce this huge cost brings the focus on building management systems, energy management systems, and facilities management.”

Market evolution

The market has evolved steadily from simple integration of disparate systems such as fire safety, security and other utilities, to fully integrated and intelligent systems that incorporate the latest technology, applications and features. The industry is being shaped by changing needs, the competitive and performance-focused business environment and the advent of innovative technologies whose catalytic effects offer new growth opportunities.

Frost & Sullivan believes that end-users need to be made aware of not only the multi-level benefits of investing in building solutions, but also of the importance of selecting appropriate building management solutions, technologies and products. More importantly, they need to implement measurement and verification systems as well as energy metering and monitoring systems, while tracking return-on-investment (ROI) to enable the maximization of benefits from capital investments in building systems. The industry also needs to follow best practices, such as providing open systems and customized solutions rather than cookie-cutter building solutions.

Despite the market boom, a variety of issues continue to challenge the industry, say industry observers. These include a lack of awareness of methods to measure and verify ROI, a lack of skilled manpower to install and operate IBMS, and integration challenges.

Uday Lal Pai, udaylalpai@gmail.com, is a freelance journalist based in India.
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