An Intelligent Look at Smart Buildings

John Smith by John Smith | 03.15.2016

Recently, we released findings from a first-of-its kind survey designed to gauge just how “smart” America’s buildings are. The good news for security integrators – organizations realize that safety (and therefore, security) is a critical component to making a building smart. The not-so-good news – many of these organizations don’t quite realize just how far their buildings have to go to become truly smart.

Honeywell Connected Building

51% of survey respondents cited safety as the primary gauge of a smart building.

The survey polled nearly 500 buildings across seven major U.S. cities.  The participating organizations were asked to self-assess their buildings on a 1-100 scale against technologies used to make them green, safe and productive (the three main indicators of smart buildings). Then, Honeywell did its own assessment of the buildings.

What Makes a Building Smart?
The findings show that building operators prioritize the safety and security of their facilities over sustainability and productivity. In fact, 51 percent of respondents cited safety as the primary gauge of a smart building, compared to green (27 percent) and productivity assets (22 percent). This indicates that system integrators who aim to design connected buildings with security at the core can likely grab a customer’s full attention with this message.

Generally speaking, though, the “smartness” of buildings in the U.S. is low; on the 1-100 scale, the average smart building score was 35. But the organizations themselves didn’t see it that way during their self-assessments. The average difference between perceived and real scores was more than 20 points. In other words, the organizations believe their buildings to be smarter than they actually are (even while acknowledging their facilities aren’t all equipped with the right technology to maximize things like energy efficiency and sustainability).

What Are the Implications for Security Integrators Going Forward?
One potential implication is that the conversations with customers need to change. Building owners and managers are correct to prioritize safety and security; after all, nothing else really matters if their people and property are not adequately protected. But as people still struggle to articulate what a “smart or “connected” building really is, and why it’s important, the conversation with customers must also turn to the business value of a smart building.

Honeywell’s Pro-Watch security management system is one example of this. Its web-based client saves costs by allowing customers to use existing network infrastructures to provide remote security management for badging, reporting and monitoring. And less software means lower installation costs and less set-up time.

By helping customers put their buildings to work with advanced safety, security, energy and productivity technologies, their businesses become more valuable. Read more about the Honeywell Smart Building Score here.