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Smart Buildings: In 2024

Commercial real estate in the UK is undergoing a transformative shift, with ever-improving smart building technologies leading the charge. Front and centre of this new change is Acutro, emerging as a pivotal player and redefining building management through cutting-edge technology.

But what are smart buildings?

This white paper explores the burgeoning realm of smart buildings, focusing on their growing significance in the commercial real estate sector.

The State of Smart Buildings

In the UK, the commercial real estate market has jumped to adopt smart technologies, quickly seeing the energy efficiency, enhanced occupant comfort, and operational optimisation that smart buildings provide. According to a recent study, the UK smart building market was valued at approximately £6.5 billion in 2020, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 12% over the next five years. This means an estimated £11.45 billion in value by 2025, almost doubling in value in just five years. All in all, pretty exciting growth metrics.

This growth trajectory demonstrates how the commercial real estate sector is increasingly recognising the value that smart technologies add to commercial properties. And in the driving seat of this smart buildings revolution are innovative technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and advanced data analytics. Not only are these technologies transforming building operations, they also serve as enabler to synthesize an ocean of data across the built environment. Data that until now, has often been left unharnessed.

This, however, is starting to change. In the UK, the utilisation of this data is becoming increasingly sophisticated, with an estimated 70% of commercial buildings expected to become data-driven by 2025. And at the forefront of this change is Acutro, with its expertise in leveraging this data making it one of the primary players in enhancing building efficiencies and occupant experiences.

It is estimated that 70% of commercial buildings are expected to be built by 2025.

Smart building technology isn’t just great for saving money and time – it quite literally saves energy. By saving energy, smart building technology in the UK can contribute greatly to improving sustainability. The country's commercial buildings account for a significant portion of energy consumption, and smart technology can be a pivotal technology in reducing this energy footprint. Recent data shows that smart buildings can cut energy costs by up to 25%, aligning with the UK's broader sustainability goals. After all, one of the best ways to improve sustainability is to make it mutually profitable, and what better solution than saving energy through smart building technology!

Smart buildings can cut energy costs by up to 20%

But how exactly does smart building technology help save energy, money, and time? This white paper will delve into the specific technologies, data analytics, and market opportunities that define smart buildings in the UK. Through Acutro's lens, we will explore how these technologies are not just reshaping buildings but are also redefining the future of commercial real estate for the UK

What is Smart Building Technology?

Smart building technology is more than just a single tool or instrument. Instead, it is an orchestra of interconnected systems and devices working in harmony. These various devices bring a range of innovations and new technology designed to make buildings more responsive, efficient, and user-friendly.

These systems often include the following components

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT devices are the sensory organs of a smart building. From PIR devices and vibration sensors to corrosion monitoring, these devices collect a multitude of data points, with integrated IoT technology bringing their data together to be easily analysed.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

AI and ML components, often an optional, desired bolt-on feature, are offering an additional layer of intelligence behind smart buildings. Intelligence underpinned by augmented human knowledge to calculate and make predictive decisions, accelerate data analysis across high volumes of data to achieve positive outcomes.

Building Management Systems (BMS)

The Building Management Systems is often a solid primary data source to ingest as it capture the base-build infrastructure of HVAC systems and assets’ telemetry data, time schedules, alarm points and rule logic.

Energy Metering

Often integrated with the an energy metering data source, BMS or a network of independent meter devices, it collects detailed energy consumption data to enable precise monitoring, analysis, and optimisation of energy usage for improved efficiency and cost savings.
A smart building represents the pinnacle of the latest in modern architecture and new technology combined to create something better. These buildings go beyond just brick and mortar; they are integrated ecosystems. Structures where technology, connectivity, a n d sustainability coalesce to create dynamic environments, structures that respond intelligently to the needs of their occupants and the external environment.

The glue that holds a smart building together is its Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Like the human nervous system, IoT brings together an interconnected network of sensors and devices that continuously collect and exchange data. This vast sea of data, containing information on everything from energy usage and temperature control to occupancy patterns, is then leveraged to optimise building operations, ensuring efficiency and comfort. At the forefront of this technological wave sits Acutro. By leveraging advanced AI algorithms and machine learning to interpret and act on this data, Acutro is bringing a level of automation never seen before. Not only do these systems ensure advanced levels of energy efficiency, they also enhance the overall occupant experience, adapting easily to individual preferences and environmental conditions.

But smart building technology wasn’t always this good. The journey began with basic automation systems focused on simple tasks like lighting and heating control. Over time as technology advanced, these systems evolved into more sophisticated networks capable of handling complex big data analysis to dictate decision-making. This industry evolution mirrors Acutro's growth story – from a company focusing on basic system integration with legacy control systems to working towards commoditising data-driven smart building solutions.

Within the realm of smart building technologies, predictive maintenance stands out as the latest rapidly growing trend in the UK, fundamentally altering how building maintenance is approached.

The adoption of predictive maintenance has accelerated in recent years, driven by advancements in IoT and AI. Many asset owners are just now integrating smart sensors and advanced analytics tools to forecast maintenance needs – for many this is their first foray into smart building technology. This shift is evident from the increasing investment in IoT technologies in the UK, which according to a recent report accounts for approximately 16% of the total European market.

Predictive maintenance offers the following benefits:

  • Cost Efficiency: By anticipating required maintenance, predictive maintenance helps avoid costly breakdowns, as well as prolonging the lifespan of building equipment
  • Operational Reliability: It ensures the smooth functioning of essential systems like HVAC, elevators, and lighting, minimising disruptions to building operations and tenant activities.
  • Energy Savings: Smart maintenance systems contribute to energy efficiency by ensuring that all equipment operates at optimal levels, saving both money and the environment.

An Ocean of Data

When used to its greatest potential, data can be a transformative force. Nowhere is this more true than in the realm of smart buildings. This vast ocean of data, continuously generated and harvested by smart technologies, serves as the foundation for intelligent decision-making and operational efficiency.

With the right analytic systems in place, underpinned by a robust data and technology strategy championed by the right property operation - the more data the better.

Parameters such as energy usage, temperature, air quality, asset runtime, and occupant behaviour. This data provides a granular view of the building’s functioning, enabling a deep understanding of how spaces are used and how systems can be optimised.

The capability to collect high volumes of data has been around for a little while. But the ability to accurately interpret and analyse that data? That is something very new. The integration of data analytics and AI in building management has transformed how decisions are made. Instead of relying on assumptions or outdated practices, building managers can make informed decisions based on real-time data. This leads to more effective management strategies, tailored to the specific needs of the building and its occupants.

One of the most critical applications of this data is in enhancing sustainability. By analysing energy consumption patterns, and understanding the distribution of energy across a building, overlayed with meteorological and occupancy data – it becomes easier to identify where efficiencies can and should be made dynamically.

Acutro is creating data environments that can work with any data source across a property operation. An environment where the data can be visualized, interrogated, and trended was topical years ago. It’s now become a minimum requirement to be able to apply logic and build a rules-engine specific to that individual building’s dataset.

Acutro advocates working with the asset owner and supply chain at a building level to augment knowledge into its rule-builder so we can label and classify events so that the system can become more suggestive in predicting events. While this data-centric approach is the future of all of building management, it’s the current reality that Acutro technology is pioneering.

A future built on smart buildings The integration of smart building technologies is revolutionising property operations in the UK's commercial real estate sector. Service providers have been particularly empowered, with smart building technologies allowing them to adopt innovative operating models and deliver enhanced value, all through using AI-driven data insights and predictive maintenance.

Predictive maintenance, facilitated by smart technologies, is a key driver in this transformation. By utilising IoT data and ML models, service providers can predict and address maintenance needs before they escalate into reative costly repairs. Imagine you could go back in time and stop your building’s air conditioning from breaking, or fix the heating before it got too cold. Well, this is the future that this technology is paving the way for, all through using predictive maintenance solutions. A study by Jones Lang LaSalle

(JLL) indicates that predictive maintenance can reduce repair and maintenance costs by up to 25%, significantly impacting the bottom line.

AI-driven data analysis is another pillar of this change. It empowers service providers to cultivate a data culture across their workforce with actionable insights into building performance, occupant behaviour, and energy efficiency.

According to a report by Deloitte, buildings employing AI for operational efficiency can see a reduction in energy consumption by up to 18%, showing just how tangible the benefits of these technologies are. These advanced technologies are enabling service providers to move beyond traditional management, offering services that are proactive, efficient, and tailored to specific building needs. The ability to analyse large data sets through AI/ML leads directly to better resource allocation, enhanced tenant satisfaction, and sustainable building operations.

Data analytics are becoming core components adopted by FMs and its supply chain. An increasing number of MEP tender specifications are requesting data solutions to unlock data-driven and predictive approaches in property management and facilities management. It is not only setting new standards in the industry but also paving the way for a future where commercial properties are managed with unprecedented efficiency and foresight.

Contacting the Acutro team

Contact our team of experts today to learn how Acutro can transform your property performance. Whether it's meeting sustainability targets, reducing costs or you're simply curious about our revolutionary technology, we are happy to help.
hello@acutro.co.uk
0333 577 2019
Acutro HQ, London

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