Market Insight

Open protocols and cloud-based architectures led the conversation at ISH 2019

April 01, 2019

Thomas Barquin Thomas Barquin Senior Analyst II, Smart Buildings
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At the ISH 2019 trade fair this year, leading companies competing in the home and building automation sector were once again present in Frankfurt, Germany, showcasing their latest products and advances, with a highlight on open protocols and cloud-based architectures. There was additional emphasis placed on building information modelling (BIM) services, as this is a topic of substantial industry interest.

Both BacNet and KNX protocols had a strong presence at ISH 2019, with an exhibition stand each. This suggests the market for most domains of connected equipment has continued to shift from supporting proprietary protocols to open protocols, which enable universal communication between compatible devices. In both stands, international suppliers presented new solutions for interoperable building systems, including technologies from Siemens, Johnson Controls, and ABB. BacNet is currently considered the most successful standard in building automation, with a global market share of over 60 percent, a number that is set to increase during the next few years, according to IHS Markit.

With regard to data processing, most building management systems platforms available on the market today involve software installed on local hardware, such as computers or managerial controllers. Nonetheless, because the cloud can provide the big data processing that local software can’t offer, the European BMS industry is pushing for cloud-based architectures that provide remote data processing through data centers, corporate servers and hosted services. However, growth uptake could soon reach its peak, as some building owners and managers remain reluctant to opt for cloud-based architectures, due to concerns regarding the security of data. In the future, cybersecurity should certainly remain a crucial topic and become a key differentiating factor among smart building offers and projects.

In today’s evolving construction industry, digitalization is changing the entire building lifecycle. In fact, following the global digitalization, the internet of things (IoT), combined with BIM services, represents a continually growing segment and a major building component in the creation of smart buildings.

At ISH 2019, one of the objectives was to promote BIM solutions as a worthwhile investment, demonstrating the benefits of BIM implementation along the entire value-added chain. In recent years, the main adoption barriers for BIM have been a lack of knowledge about the uses and the benefits brought by the technology. BIM enables building owners, investors, architects, planners and contractors to plan and construct buildings with grander insights. For example, Siemens exhibited its BIM services and offerings, among its wide-ranging portfolio for smart buildings. 

Smart buildings specialist companies such as Siemens, Sauter, Kieback&Peter, Loytec and Johnson Controls also showcased the latest in building management system (BMS) platform offerings. Siemens presented a new version of the fourth version of its Designo CC integrated BMS platform, which comprises new extended power management functionalities. The company also displayed a compact version, launched in 2018, which meets the practical requirements of small and mid-size buildings. Sauter displayed the newest version 6.1 of its BACnet-certified SAUTER Vision Center building-management software that encompasses additional visualization and operation functions. Kieback&Peter presented its Qanteon software for energy and building management, the first BMS with B-AWS certification. Additionally, the company exhibited its Model Predictive Control 2.0 that operates with external data and artificial intelligence. Finally, Loytec and Johnson Controls were also exposing BMS platforms: LWEB‑900 and Metasys, respectively.

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