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Survey finds significant headroom for data analytics in smart buildings

May 23, 2023
Altair's Toggled Survey reveals that 78% of businesses have adopted smart building technology to drive energy efficiency, lower costs, decrease carbon emissions, and manage return to work, yet that gaps still exist in the area of data analytics.

Toggled, a wholly owned subsidiary of Altair (NASDAQ: ALTR) focused on intelligent building management, recently released survey results revealing that while many businesses are embracing smart building technology to increase energy efficiency and lower costs, they fall short of their goals due to an inability to master the data. The company said its independent survey of more than 500 facility decision-makers in several industries gauged smart building technology adoption, its business benefits, and its impact on sustainability initiatives.

The national survey was commissioned by Toggled and conducted by Atomik Research between April 13 and April 19, 2023. The survey drew responses from 505 U.S. decision-makers who hold authority over their organization's facilities throughout several target industries, including construction, financial services, information services, manufacturing, healthcare, education, real estate, agriculture, restaurant/food and beverage, transportation, energy, hospitality, and tourism.

Daniel Hollenkamp Jr., chief operating officer at Toggled, commented:

"It's clear from our survey the battle for smart building adoption has been won. But we can't stop there. By helping facilities establish a complete tech-to-intelligence loop, they can fully optimize energy and cost efficiencies. Most businesses are only scratching the surface of what the technology can do. Once facility managers start to capitalize on what their performance data is telling them and where to adjust, the true business value of a scalable and flexible IoT-enabled smart building network comes to life."

Tamping down the carbon footprint

According to the survey, as many as 78% of respondents have deployed smart building features, and the same percentage of this group (78%) has seen an increase in energy efficiency and cost reduction as a result of using the technology.

While the results demonstrate businesses are making great progress in lowering energy use and costs, the company noted that nearly two-thirds of facility decision makers (64%) say they are still looking for ways to monitor and analyze their carbon footprint or greenhouse gas emissions in their facilities. Only 36% have seen measurable results in decarbonization.

According to Toggled, most survey respondents (94%) who have implemented smart building technology said their organization has invested in data analytics. However, as many as 34% said they lack the talent and skills to integrate data science into their smart building platforms. This underscores the importance of businesses choosing a system capable of customizing analytics to the facility and providing simple actionable information in a timely manner.

These features enable users to monitor building performance based on real-time data insights, directly from web-based devices without extensive coding or data science knowledge. By doing so, organizations can gain awareness into how these systems are optimizing performance while also lowering their carbon footprint.

Integration complexities a hurdle

Also according to the survey, while many decision-makers surveyed expressed some degree of knowledge when it comes to smart building technology, as many as 88% have the desire to learn more. Many respondents said they face several challenges when it comes to upgrading their lighting and HVAC systems with advanced smart technology.

More than half (55%) of respondents named complexities around integrating smart technologies with their current infrastructure as one of their significant challenges; 38% said they lack a dedicated, knowledgeable staff to keep smart building tech running smoothly.

Meanwhile, although most organizations have turned to smart technology to monitor energy consumption and bring down costs of operations, climate control – including temperature (65%) and humidity (45%) – scored high among respondents along with occupancy and space utilization (52%), which can be attributed to a renewed focus on the evolving workplace post-pandemic, according tot he company.

The race toward green spaces

Toggled added that the survey indicates that commercial real estate (CRE) owners better get smart fast. While the data confirmed smart building adoption is more prevalent among decision-makers at organizations that own their facilities, it revealed 41% of organizations that lease their space are looking to relocate to commercial space that's more "green," with 51% seeking facilities with more smart building technology.

Over half (58%) of this group said are looking to secure a new lease within 11 months or sooner.

"So many of the issues underscored in the survey results are something we see every day and why we developed our solution with so much intention around simplicity, customization, and integration," concluded Toggled's Hollenkamp. "By giving users a customizable data analytics dashboard that generates real-time overviews on building efficiencies and anomalies, they gain complete control over their smart building environment so they can optimize performance."

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