Home News ECA/CIBSE/SELECT Survey finds clients “unprepared” for ‘Smart Buildings’ revolution

ECA/CIBSE/SELECT Survey finds clients “unprepared” for ‘Smart Buildings’ revolution

by Brian Sims

Four in every ten building clients questioned for a new survey orchestrated by the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) and Scottish electrical trade body SELECT claim to be “unfamiliar” with the heavily-used phrase that is ‘The Internet of Things’.

In addition, over half of respondents (55%, in fact) – who include consultants, engineers, end user clients, local authorities and facilities managers – say that a “lack of clear advice or knowledge” is a barrier to installing connected technology in their buildings. Over six-in-ten respondents (61%) state that they don’t have any plans to “evaluate and install” connected technology.

The survey* findings highlight that clients expect buildings across the residential, commercial, retail and industrial sectors to soon encounter a smart technology revolution. At present, over 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.

Steve Martin, head of specialist groups at the ECA, commented: “The survey findings show that clients rightly recognise 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. In the coming period, the ECA will work with the wider industry to help clients develop and implement plans to take advantage of these commercial and technological opportunities.”

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

The phrase ‘Connected Technology’ refers to any technology that enables devices within a building to communicate with each other, be controlled remotely via the Internet and undertake automated and reactive tasks.

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

*The ‘Connected Technology Survey for Clients’ ran for three weeks during November and December last year, with a total of 229 responses being received

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