The digital era comes to the building industry

The business of home automisation expects to reach 20,000 million euros by 2020 throughout the world. The need for remote control that the user has has meant that new applications and products are continuously emerging which will allow for any elements in houses or buildings to be regulated. This evolution, albeit slower, has also reached Spain.

The upturn of residential construction and the increase in investment in the tertiary sector have been two of the causes that have encouraged the growth in technological product sales for the building sector in Spain in recent years. This varied sector unites more than one hundred companies that are committed to the manufacture and sale of security systems (cameras, video-surveillance systems, anti-theft and fire alarms), energy control and regulation (smart meters, measuring equipment and control systems), opening automations (for doors, blinds, awnings, garages and barriers), access and presence monitoring, as well as intercom systems (both standard and video intercoms), and automation systems, amongst other products.

In practical terms, since 2013 the sales of these types of products in Spain have been on the rise. The sector reached a business volume of 935 million euros in 2017, with a 6.7% growth in comparison with 2016. For their part, sales in these products on the domestic market reached 730 million euros, a figure that makes up 8% more than that recorded in the previous year. Although it is a business where there are lots of companies, from small manufacturers to large multinational companies, the technological product market for the building sector is still dominated by multinationals. In this sense, companies like Securitas Direct, Tyco, Honeywell, Siemens and Bosch control more than 80% of this market in Spain.

Forecasts for 2018 indicate that the technological product market for the building sector will keep growing. Sales will surely exceed two figures. Increase in demand, especially from residential building, will be a significant aspect. We mustn’t forget that new construction will account for more than 60% of the technological products for the building sector that are sold in our country.

The type of property being built now has changed, becoming more suited to the technological changes that society has gone through. The many foreign investment funds that have moved into the property developer business and have reactivated the residential market are looking for a specific client. Their main objective is a middle or middle-upper class that has been on hold until the availability of new construction resurfaces. This type of client is looking for a quality product that brings together the three axes upon which automation turns: comfort, security and energy-saving.

Main challenges for the sector

The technological products sector for homes, however, is still facing several challenges that will mark the evolution of this market for the next few years. Firstly, educational work stands out. Companies are still insisting on the need to make the end consumers aware so that they make the commitment in their homes for these products which reduce energy use. The challenge isn’t easy because the consumer still sees these solutions as a luxury item and not as an investment.

At this point, it is fitting to review the arrival of large technological multinational companies to the market such as Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung and Belkin. These companies have positioned themselves with applications that are not expensive for the consumer and replace cables with the wifi network. Solutions like HomKit, Nest, Amazon Echo, SmartThings and WeMo are making society put the spotlight on a connected home and the consumer see that they are products for all budgets.

This competition will force down prices in the mid term, which is one of the main handicaps of this type of products, and these technological solutions for homes will be equipped with more and more functionalities.

Single intercommunication protocol

Another of the big challenges that the sector must resolve will beachieving a single intercommunication protocol. The objective must be to enable the inclusion and installation of any solution. Currently there are several open systems for automation in homes and buildings on the market, including those by each manufacturer.

 

The main challenge will be to simplify the multitude of connected communication protocols that the market offers (Knx, LonWorks, BacNet, ModBus, Z-Wave, ZigBee, etc.). The purpose is that any element will be able to be part of a connected home, regardless of the manufacturer or brand. From 2014, open protocols have started to have more weight on the market, as the association of home technologies, Cedom, highlights, so in the end, the one that is able to include a greater number of solutions will be imposed.