The impact of ‘big data’ on building operations: CABA

A new study conducted by Navigant Research on behalf of the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) provides an analysis of new tools and resources to help companies filter, analyze and use ‘Big Data’ collected from intelligent buildings to improve their performance.

BigData CABA

“’Big Data’ is a growing and very important part of the world of intelligent buildings and the research highlights some very interesting findings,” said CABA president and chief executive officer Ron Zimmer.

In the study, Navigant defined ‘Big Data’ in intelligent buildings as “the next generation in business and operational intelligence derived from the analysis of data integrated across multiple streams or sources for the purposes of overall system understanding, performance and optimization.”

The study used feedback from 34 interviews and 400 survey responses from a mix of technology and service providers and end-users. 

Most data management systems for buildings aren’t capable of processing the influx of data that can now be generated through intelligent devices and Internet technology. As a result, companies are forced to ignore much of the available information and properties operate less efficiently than they could, which in turn undermines their competitiveness.

The study found end-users would value assistance from ‘Big Data’ for: visualization and reporting; fault detection and diagnosis; predictive maintenance; and continuous improvement and optimization.

“We’re in an era where there are a lot of really great ‘Big Data’ solutions out there; however, the market isn’t quite ready for it,” said Navigant Research director of research Noah Goldstein.

“’Big Data’ can help users understand building performance, improve optimization of building performance and become a nexus of integrating all of the incredible data that’s being gathered right now in intelligent buildings.”

Chasm between technology and end-users

“There’s a chasm between the technology and the end-users, and that gap has to be bridged by educating people on what the value of ‘Big Data’ solutions really is — and that value in terms of ROI or in terms of increased operational efficiency — but also there’s the technology deployment side of things,” said Goldstein.

“A lot of buildings today in North America are run with older systems and are running at a level that’s OK with their owners or operators, but that performance can be incredibly improved and energy can be saved and carbon can be saved.”

End-users surveyed in the study cited saving money as the biggest factor they consider regarding making improvements to buildings, followed by reducing energy consumption and increasing occupant comfort.

The study projects ‘Big Data’ solutions will change the paradigm for managing facilities, energy consumption and business operations. While building control solutions for such things as lighting, ventilation, heating and air conditioning systems have traditionally taken a top-down approach at the supervisory level concerning integration, ‘Big Data’ analytics are expected to shift the architecture of building systems to a more distributed platform with more control based on a variety of inputs and outputs from multiple systems.

‘Big Data’ revenues will triple in five years

It’s estimated ‘Big ‘Data’ revenue in intelligent buildings in North America derived from equipment, services and software associated with building performance and analytics will grow from $170.5 million this year to $511.7 million by 2020. The biggest share of the market is tied to software, which is expected to represent more than half of the market in 2020.

“There’s going to be a significant impact, but it’s going to affect different companies in different ways,” said Goldstein, who added buildings of different sizes, classes and uses will make their own unique use of ‘Big Data’ and will have to be addressed separately.

Data security and privacy are major concerns for end-users and have kept some from embracing ‘Big Data,’ and technology providers need to demonstrate how standards and procedures can protect businesses investing in such solutions as part of a broader education campaign to make their customers feel more comfortable with their products and their uses.

About the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA)

CABA was founded in 1988 and is supported by an international membership of more than 300 organizations and 15,000 industry professionals involved in the design, manufacture, installation and retailing of products relating to home and building automation. Educational institutions and public organizations, including utilities and government representatives, are also members.

CABA is an international not-for-profit industry association dedicated to the advancement of integrated technologies for homes and buildings, and 24 of its member organizations sponsored the “Intelligent Buildings and Big Data” report with the intention of showing that leveraging ‘Big Data’ can enable a better understanding of customer behaviours, competition and market trends.

Thirteen of those organizations were also part of the steering committee that helped direct the scope of the research.

More in-depth information on the ‘Big Data’ study will be provided during a three-hour workshop conducted by Goldstein and Navigant Research colleague Casey Tallon as part of CABA’s Intelligent Buildings & Digital Home Forum at the Renaissance Hotel in Austin, Texas from April 14 to 16.


Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot…

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Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot…

Read more

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