Recently, automation has become one of the most heard topics in almost every industry. The concept of automation has spread its roots deep in day to day lives of humans. Automation consists of applications ranging from a household thermostat controlling a boiler to a massive industrial control system with tens of thousands of input measurements and output control signals. In control complexity, it can have a spectrum ranging from simple on-off control to multi-variable high-level algorithms.

What is an Automation System?

Automation is the technology by which a procedure of process is done with minimal human assistance or interference. Automation or automatic control is the utilization of various control systems for operating equipment such as processes in factories, machinery, boilers, and heat treating ovens, turning on telephone networks, steering, and stabilization of ships, aircraft, and other applications, and vehicles with minimal or reduced human intervention.

In the simplest form of an automatic control loop, a controller compares a measured or observed value of a process with a desired set value and processes the resulting error signal to transform some input to the process, in such a way that the process remains at its desired set point despite various disturbances. This closed-loop control is an application of negative feedback to a system. The mathematical foundation of control theory was laid in the 18th century and developed swiftly in the 20th century.

Explaining Building Automation

Building automation is the automatic centralized control of a building's following aspects:

  1. HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air conditioning)

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) is the technology designed for indoor and vehicular environmental comfort. Its major goal is to offer thermal comfort and acceptable indoor air quality. HVAC system design is a sub-discipline of mechanical engineering. The concept is based on the principles of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics along with heat transfer.

HVAC is a crucial aspect of residential structures/buildings such as single-family homes, apartment buildings, hotels, and senior living facilities, medium to large industrial and office buildings such as skyscrapers and hospitals, vehicles such as cars, trains, airplanes, ships, and submarines, and in marine environments. The HVAC system is used to regulate healthy building conditions are regulated with respect to temperature and humidity, using fresh air from outdoors.

  1. Lighting

Lighting or illumination is defined as the deliberate utilization of light to generate practical or aesthetic effects. Lighting consists of the utilization of both artificial light sources such as lamps and light fixtures.

  1. Access Control

In the fields of physical security and information security, access control (AC) is defined as the selective constraint to access to a place or other resource while access management describes the process as a whole. Some consider the act of accessing might mean consuming, entering, or using. Permission to access a resource is known as authorization.

  1. Security Systems

A security alarm is a system engineered to spot and detect intrusion or invasion– unauthorized entry – into a building or other areas such as school or home. Security alarms are utilized in residential, industrial, commercial, and military properties as a precautionary measure against burglary (theft) or property damage, as well as personal protection against intruders. Security alarms in residential areas exhibit a correlation with decreased theft. Similarly, car alarms help protect vehicles and their contents. Prisons also utilize security systems for the control of inmates.

All of the above aspects are controlled by the Building Automation System (BAS). The major purpose of building automation are improved occupant comfort, efficient and effective operation of building systems, reduction in energy consumption, increased security, reduced operating costs, historical performance documentation, remote access/control/operation, the improved life cycle of equipment, and utilities related to it.

A Building Automation System has two major components: software and hardware. Generally, the software program is configured hierarchically, can be proprietary, utilizing protocols such as C-Bus, Profibus, and so on. Vendors are also making a BAS that combines the utilization of Internet protocols and open standards such as DeviceNet, SOAP, XML, BACnet, LonWorks, and Modbus.

Following is a list of systems that can be controlled or monitored by a Building Automation System:

  • Illumination (lighting) control
  • Electric power control
  • Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning
  • Security and observation
  • Access control
  • Fire alarm system
  • Lifts, elevators, etc.
  • Plumbing
  • Closed-circuit television (CCTV)
  • Other engineering systems
  • Control Panel
  • PA system
  • Alarm Monitor
  • Security Automation

Benefits of Building Automation System

  • Possibility of individual room control
  • Amplified staff productivity
  • Efficient monitoring and targeting of energy consumption
  • Improved plant reliability and life
  • An effective response to HVAC-related complaints
  • It saves time and money during the maintenance
  • Occupancy sensors enable automatic setback override at the time of unoccupied periods as well as adaptive occupancy scheduling.
  • Lighting controls decreases unnecessary artificial lighting with the help of motion sensors and schedules as well as by controlling daylight harvesting louvers
  • Controllers save water and energy by controlling rainwater harvesting and landscape irrigation.

Four Latest Trends in Building Automation System

    1. IP Products are in Massive Demand in the Marketplace

All of the key players in the building automation space have introduced Internet Protocol (IP)-based systems, according to Scott Cochrane, president, and CEO of Cochrane Supply and Engineering. In an IP-based building automation system, every device on the network has its IP address, similar to the way computers are networked.

    1. Master Systems Integrators Bridge Facilities Management and IT

The latest trade is getting into facilities management from the security system industry. Master systems integrators are specially designed for building and maintaining data plumbing, or the way cloud computing systems are linked. The job is a combination of IT and facilities and is the natural generation of facilities management strategies that substantially depend on networked devices.

    1. Staffing Needs to Change Constantly

The rise of master systems integrators explains why staffing decisions are so important and at such high stakes. Facilities professionals require substantial knowledge, not only in building systems, but in engineering, computer science, and other areas that are vital for controlling, monitoring, and managing today’s buildings. Part of finding these people is making sure they know facilities management exists, Cochrane says.

    1. Facilities Improvements Actively Drive Revenue

Facilities departments have historically had an undeserved reputation as a cost center. However, facilities professionals in today’s world are utilizing automation and digital tools to directly benefit the bottom line.

Market Scenario for Building Automation System
According to a report published by Growth Market Research, the Global Building Automation System Market was valued at around USD 75 billion in 2019 and is anticipated to reach about USD 168 billion by 2027, flourishing at an approximate CAGR of 11%, during the forecast period, 2020-2027.

Market Dynamics

The market is driven by factors such as surging demand for energy-efficient BASs, increasing focus on reducing energy costs, prevention of accidents, and mishaps due to uninvited breakdowns.

1. BAS transforms a normal building into an environmentally friendly one.
Building Automation Systems helps in optimizing HVAC and lighting systems, saving around 5% to 30% of the total energy consumption of the building. The HVAC also generates a substantial amount of Carbon Dioxide. As per the US Energy Information Administration, in 2017, the construction sector in the US accounted for 40% of the total energy consumption in the world, 38% of CO2 emissions, and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions.

2. BAS amplifies energy utilization and cuts energy costs.
Surging awareness about energy conservation and increasing focus on cutting the energy utilization and maintenance costs of buildings are fueling the demand for BAS. The system plays a significant role in maximizing energy use and reducing energy costs. HVACs and BASs are major consumers of energy. Air heating and cooling together with water heating currently account for around 60% of global energy consumption in houses, according to International Energy Agency (IEA).

3. BAS helps in preventing accidents and mishaps due to unexpected breakdowns.
BAS helps to reduce the overall cost of building maintenance by offering (if any) early diagnosis to building managers of operational issues in the equipment. This supports them in preventing accidents and mishaps because of unexpected breakdowns. Technological advancements in the BAS are amplifying their efficiency. The surge in automated security systems in buildings is expected to propel the market growth in the coming years.

4. Lack of knowledge regarding installation cost.
BAS focuses on saving resources and high operational and maintenance costs. However, end-users and building owners are doubtful about adopting BAS because of their misguided belief that these systems have high installation costs.

5. Favorable initiatives by governments
Several authorities are playing a vital role in energy savings and promote CO2 reduction measures. Various governments have enacted legislation and policies to improve energy efficiency to cut the footprint of a building.

Segmentation of Global Building Automation Market

Based on types, the building automation system market is bifurcated into, wired technology and wireless technology. The wired technology segment is projected to account for a substantial share of the market during the forecast period. However, the wireless technology segment is anticipated to expand at an impressive CAGR of 11.2% during the forecast, attributing to surging focus on wireless building automation system and connective solutions. Wireless technology in the building automation system has eased up the installation process and improved operational efficiencies, which in turn, amplifies the overall value of the system. Furthermore, wireless functionalities as compared to wired technology, are integrated with remote operations, which improves the performance of the building automation system for different operations.

Companies providing construction automation systems are propelling Research & Development investments to transform the system into a cost-effective, scalable, fully programmable, and wireless one. Also, acceptance of wireless building automation system among property owners is majorly influenced by marketing strategies utilized by companies to fill the gap between customer requirements and product capabilities.

In terms of applications, the building automation system market has been divided into residential, commercial, and industrial. The commercial segment is projected to lead the market during the forecast period. Growing implementation of building automation systems in big shopping centers, office buildings, and public transport, such as airports and train stations, is propelling the growth of the business segment. HVAC, lighting, and security & access control system are major products utilized in commercial applications. The security and access control system have become a crucial part of commercial buildings due to the surging security concerns in this sector.

Regional Analysis of the Market

In terms of regions, the market has been divided into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. North America is expecting to be a promising region for the market. It constituted a total of 37.6% share of the market in 2019. The market in the region is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 10.5% during the forecast period. The demand for building automation systems is expected to rise owing to the utilization of building automation systems for residential, commercial, and industrial purposes to boost energy-efficiency. The building automation system market in Asia Pacific is anticipated to flourish at a high CAGR during the forecast period. Growth of the market can be attributed to the quick expansion of the construction sector in developing countries such as China and India and increasing implementations of government policies to promote the utilization of building automation systems. The market in Middle East & Africa and Latin America is projected to expand at a moderate CAGR, as the governments in the countries in the region are focusing on upgrading their regulations for the construction industry.

Major Players in the Market

Key players in the market consist of Honeywell International Inc., Siemens, Johnson Controls, Schneider Electric, Carrier (United Technologies Corporation), Robert Bosch GmbH, Hubell (Hubbell Incorporated), ABB, Legrand, Building IQ, Ingersoll Rand (Trane), Lutron Electronics Co., Inc., and Crestron Electronics Inc.

The players are substantially aiming at product innovations to sustain in a highly competitive and fragmented market. Moreover, the partnerships, mergers, and acquisition are some of the other strategies being used by these prominent players to expand geographical presence and have a hold of potential market opportunities.

Following are some of the key developments of the above-mentioned players:

  • In February 2020, Honeywell International Inc. rolled out Forge Energy Optimization Solution, a closed-loop and cloud-based machine learning solution that continuously analyzes a building's energy expenditure patterns and automatically adapts to optimal energy-saving settings.
  • In December 2019, Siemens launched an updated Desigo CC platform for small- and medium-sized buildings. The technology enables building operators to improve energy efficiency, comfort, and safety of occupants.
  • In 2019, Johnson Control and Evoteq got into a partnership to enter the market in the UAE and roll out the country’s first PaaS-based integrated AI Platform to transform offices and operations and make them sustainable, streamlined, and next-generation workplaces. Evoteq is a Middle East-based digital transformation company.