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“Much of the hype of the early years of the IoT revolved around the technologies, with articles hailing the billions of connected devices that would be rolled out,” our latest report The Internet of Things in Smart Commercial Buildings 2018 to 2022 discusses. However, as the market has emerged the focus of vendors and that sector as a whole has shifted from the hype of emerging technology to the reality of the outcomes we can achieve with these developments.

In the early days it was all about “the dazzling speeds promised by emerging networking technologies, the communications protocols that were going to revolutionize the way we interact with machines and the zeta-bytes of data that would be generated,” the comprehensive report continues.

“Whilst all of these metrics provide solid indicators of the actual state of the market, they mean little to end-users and discussions and marketing focused on these areas often only serves to unnerve and confuse potential clients,” the report highlights. This was technology for technology’s sake and only understood by technical experts who, in turn, would struggle to explain its worth to the people expected to use it and invest in it.

In fact, “the term ‘Internet of Things’ itself often failed to capture the attention of decision makers, as they were unable to interpret how this new concept might help them to generate business value”. The result was a fragmented market that lacked direction, and a promising but uncertain investment climate. Success seemed certain but the path to it was unclear with influential forces pushing in different ways.

A change of mindset was needed across the sector, and in recent years that’s what we got. Getting excited about what’s possible with new technology is all well and good, it triggers the inspiration that is essential in the early stage of technological development. However, when this stage persists it loses track of its goals, it becomes self-fulfilling, and it leaves out the people who really matter – the users. The essential refocusing that we have experienced in recent years is one that sets its mind firmly on the outcomes of technological development.

“As a consequence, vendors that have taken the early lead in terms of market penetration and revenue generation from BIoT solutions have focused on demonstrating the business value of their offerings,” the report explains. “They have developed a portfolio of case-study projects with demonstrable outcomes, showcasing deliverables that align with the business goals (KPIs) or address the pain points of building owners, occupiers and enterprise managers.”

The world of technology may be changing but the real world it intends to serve is governed by the same rules – money talks. Only when a technology proves its ability to generate value will it find its way to market, through investment and adoption. When the BIoT moved from showing off its zetabytes to showing off its ability to reduce operational expenditures, it captured the attention of end-users and, in turn, investors.

Our 3rd edition of research into the market for the Internet of Things in Smart Buildings, released last week, focuses on this change of mindset that is bringing cohesion and clarity to this hugely disruptive technology development. It provides a completely fresh assessment of the market based upon the latest information, it includes market sizing and opportunities, covered by application and by region. It shows what is working, what isn’t and why, to help navigate this new era in the complex world of Smart Commercial Buildings.

“Building trust between vendors and customers based on proof-of-concept projects that deliver iterative improvements, supported by ongoing support and scalable systems architectures has been the winning strategy for many vendors in the space,” the in-depth report makes clear.