Tracking the Leaders in the Booming Building Energy Analytics Space

Tracking the Leaders in the Booming Building Energy Analytics Space

The practice of facilities management is transforming to meet the demands of a new group of decision-makers. Stakeholders from engineering, information technology, and the C-suite are now coming to one table to determine goals, budgets, and priorities for facilities management.

The bottom line is that commercial buildings are inefficient when it comes to energy consumption, and that waste is expensive and dirty. One result is that the wasted energy associated with operating commercial buildings translates to a hit on corporate bottom lines because of rising and increasingly variable energy costs.

But this also signals an opportunity for operational improvements that can support broader strategic corporate goals including sustainability and GHG emission reduction.

The opportunity to overcome energy waste in commercial buildings is enormous. Earlier this year, IDC Energy Insights forecasted global spending on Smart Building technology solutions will grow to over $10 billion by 2015 at a compound annual growth rate of 27 percent.

Vendors from traditional information technology to building controls to specialty start-ups are jumping in the game with solutions for next generation energy management. These vendors are developing an increasingly sophisticated array of Smart Building solutions to give facility managers heightened visibility into the operations of the energy-consuming assets in their buildings.

Building operators can utilize Smart Building systems to control, automate, and integrate lighting, heating, air conditioning, ventilation, plug loads, and fire & security systems to meet the specific requirements of their new energy management platforms.

A significant challenge in effectively evolving a facility to a Smart Building is managing and utilizing the increasing speed and volume of data coming from the systems monitoring and controlling the energy-consuming assets in a building.

Energy Analytics is the software solution that becomes the interface between the Smart Building systems and the facilities operators. Most commonly, the user interface will be a dashboard that illustrates a customized suite of information from energy loads related to specific assets, utility costs and pricing, occupancy to weather. Underlying the most useful dashboards are statistics and algorithms that enable project prioritization and management for facility optimization.

Smart Building Energy Analytics are crucial to the process of optimization for evolving a facility to a Smart Building because it enables management of information. The user can track specific changes in energy consumption that signal improvements or decline in an energy management program's progress toward specific goals.

The most sophisticated Smart Building Energy Analytics programs enable integration with building automation and controls systems, as well as other enterprise systems. The idea is to generate an interface that allows the building operator to have a concise, holistic vision of the operations and maintenance of their facility to track and manage energy consumption.

IDC Energy Insights has determined that the value of a particular Smart Building Analytics solution lies in an array of market success criteria around the vendor's strategies and capabilities related to its offering its business and its go-to-market programs. An IDC MarketScape vendor analysis report is designed to quantify these market success criteria for specific technology solutions.

Recently we published the first in a series of IDC MarketScapes on Smart Building solutions -- this first study focused on Smart Building Energy Analytics. This study evaluates a particular sub-segment of Smart Building Energy Analytics solutions focused on commercial and industrial building management and sold to building managers and owners.

We broke down each of the top line criteria -- go-to-market, business, and offering -- into subcriteria specifically related to Smart Building Energy Analytics solutions. The study followed a formally structured methodology and the results provide a market position for each vendor relative to other market participants to provide facilities management decision-makers with critical information necessary to make important technology decisions.

The key illustration of the analysis is the IDC MarketScape graph, which plots the vendor's relative market position along 2 axes: capabilities and strategies. Eight vendors in the study (BuildingIQ, EnerNOC, GridPoint, Hara, IBM, Optimum Energy, SCI energy (formerly Scientific Conservation), and Serious Energy) are spread across three categories for success: leaders, major players, and contenders.

The newness of Smart Building Energy Analytics solutions and the rapid pace of change in the market lead us to believe that these positions are likely to change in the future. Vendors continue to refined their solutions, hone in on target markets, and differentiate themselves from their competition.

Understanding what makes a market leader in Smart Building Analytics from the IDC Energy Insights perspective ties directly to how well the solution enables the user to strategically optimize facility operations and maintenance to reach specific energy management goals. We expect the demand for Smart Building Energy Analytics to continue to grow as end users become more familiar with the suppliers and value of their solutions.

Fundamentally, the value of Smart Building Energy Analytics lies in the capacity of these solutions to help building operators reach strategic corporate goals such as greenhouse gas reduction or corporate social responsibility metrics while improving the bottom line by reducing energy costs.

Building photo via Shutterstock.