Smart Buildings with AI: It’s Only the Beginning


While AI is seen as the ultimate future of smart building management, there’s still a lot of work to be done before it takes hold..

The idea of smart buildings — outfitted with automated energy management and maintenance alerts — has been well-documented for years now. Now, the rise of artificial intelligence promises even greater levels of automated management.

“Artificial intelligence accounts for just 10% of the global $2.5 billion building management systems platform market we’re only just scratching the surface of what’s truly possible with AI in smart buildings,” says David Green, an analyst with Omdia, in a preview of a presentation for the 2020 AI Summit. “The capability of AI, in terms of what systems can analyze, learn and reapply, is likely more advanced than the average end-user is ready to implement or invest in just yet… but the investment is growing. The exciting part about AI is then the snowball effect, the more that connects and feeds into the system, the more powerful and beneficial the outputs or cost savings can become.”

An Omdia survey of smart business technology users finds 70% of those in the commercial sector have put these systems in place.

Typically, individual subsystems within a building have long operated in silos, Green states. “However, the current trend is moving towards an interconnected environment.” AI will increasingly be a part of this emerging environment — this year, the market for AI analytics in smart buildings is estimated to be worth $325 1 million.

Smart buildings apps with AI abound

The use of AI in buildings is enabling a wide range of applications. Many are based on the use of Internet of Things devices and other smart devices that provide data. Innovative applications reply on the fast analysis of such data and the quick derivation of insights from the data.

“There is both belief in AI and investment in its solutions for smart buildings,” Green comments. “AI is considered the natural way forward and should help increase operational efficiency and effectiveness as these solutions continue to develop.”

While AI is seen as the ultimate future of smart building management, there’s still a lot of work to be done before it takes hold, the Omdia survey confirms. Close to nine in 10 respondents, 87%, believe AI will become a necessary element of smart building management. While 77% of end-users keep the data generated by their facilities, only about half, 42%, do not yet analyze the data.

What’s holding back AI in smart buildings? Lack of proper equipment and a lack of talent to put the technology in place are the greatest challenges to business technology users, the survey shows.


About Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is RTInsights Industry Editor and industry analyst focusing on artificial intelligence, digital, cloud and Big Data topics. His work also appears in Forbes an Harvard Business Review. Over the last three years, he served as co-chair for the AI Summit in New York, as well as on the organizing committee for IEEE's International Conferences on Edge Computing. (full bio). Follow him on Twitter @joemckendrick.

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