This article was written by Daphne Tomlinson, Senior Research Associate at Memoori.
Smart building startups are gaining a foothold in the commercial real estate sector as indicated by the Increasing deployment of innovative building technologies developed by new entrants.
Building owners and operators are adopting AI and IoT building systems to reduce their carbon footprint, achieve higher levels of operational efficiency, maintain low running costs and make buildings more comfortable places to work and visit. This trend to deploy innovation from startup companies was illustrated in October 2020 when several new building projects and installations, across complete portfolios were announced.
Australia-based AMP Capital awarded Brainbox AI a contract to install an autonomous AI HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system across its managed real estate portfolio. This includes central business district office buildings, retail shopping centers and logistics facilities throughout Australia and New Zealand. BrainBox AI was created in 2017 with the goal of redefining building automation through artificial intelligence and is headquartered in Montreal, Canada. BrainBox AI launched in May 2019 after three years of “stealth mode” development. Since then, it has installed its self-learning technology in over 30 million square feet of commercial properties.
“In an ever-evolving commercial real estate market, companies around the world face mounting pressure to address environmental concerns while maintaining low running costs to ensure they can deliver the highest possible returns to their shareholders and investors,” said Sam Ramadori, President at BrainBox AI. “Our partnership with AMP Capital is a great example of how BrainBox AI can help a real estate owner, anywhere in the world, make their portfolio fully autonomous and achieve levels of efficiency that are only possible with AI.”
KODE Labs, a Detroit based real estate technology startup founded in 2017 announced that it has been selected by QuadReal Property Group and Stream Realty Partners to provide the smart building operating system for the RiverSouth property, which consists of more than 350,000 square feet of sustainable workplace space in Austin, Texas. Expected completion date for this 15-storey property, described as “the smartest tenant-centered building in Texas” is late 2021.
KODE's vendor-agnostic and open enterprise level operating system will collect live data into a single pane of glass for operations to visualize, schedule, and coordinate in real time enabling smart scheduling, predictive analysis, and energy optimizations. KODE's OS will also serve as the centralized data platform that integrates all other IoT devices, allowing for data flow between various systems as required to best optimize building operations.
SpinalCom, based in Paris, France has created a Building Operating System in the form of a digital platform able to centralize, analyze and manage its data to supply all the necessary information for effective operation and for its occupants’ well-being. Their smart building OS will be deployed at the 40,000 sq.m Union Atrium headquarters of CNP Assurances located in Issy-les-Moulineaux in the department of the Hauts-de-Seine in France.
“CNP Assurances has selected SpinalCom’s Building Operating System to develop its future smart platform for digital services on the basis of a multi-system digital twin management technology in real time. SpinalCom offers a genuinely innovative, open, secured and mostly scalable solution to ensure the vital links between all the IT, IoT, BMS (OT), BIM and CMMS tools in the long term.” said Gia An Nguyen, Department of Customer Experience and Information Systems, Smart Building Manager.
Other recent startup projects announced include the deployment of bGrid technology at MiddleCap’s Southworks building, a 70,000 square feet office scheme on Rushworth Street in London, UK. Netherlands based bGrid, founded in 2017, offers a smart building solution which connects a series of sensors to the Internet of Things. With the platform functioning as the building’s ‘brain’, the sensors will be plugged into the lighting controls and will also measure other environmental variables such as density, occupancy and noise levels.
Projects such as these demonstrate the critical contribution that startups are making to the introduction of innovation in the Smart Buildings space. As a result, established players are likely to see stronger competition from new entrants.