Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, Advancements in Communication Protocols Transforming Building Automation Systems (BAS), finds that open communication protocols help BAS provide better interoperability and connectivity among connected devices than proprietary protocols. Features such as scalability, networking flexibility, and interoperability offer smoother integration of third-party devices to the BAS network. With multiple proprietary communication protocols, the lack of a common communication standard among devices and systems is one of the major challenges hampering the market growth. Non-traditional building automation communication protocols are emerging due to the increase in IoT devices. Therefore, leading players are now working toward developing IP-based communication standards that can work alongside the existing communication standards.

“5G and Wi-Fi 6 will have a major impact on the connectivity of building technologies and are likely to accelerate the growth of IoT. 5G can provide greater accessibility when managing buildings more remotely, and Wi-Fi 6 can provide faster data transfer speed between devices and enhance device performance at low energy utilization standards,” said Harikrishnan Manoharan, Senior Research Analyst, TechVision at Frost & Sullivan. “On the other hand, the emergence of IoT in BAS has somewhat blurred the lines of traditional networking standards. Protocols such as LoRaWan, MQTT, OPC-UA, and IQRF remove the need for all the IoT devices to be physically connected to the same network in the BAS and allow limitless connectivity and expansion scope.”

Harikrishnan added, “One of the key communication trends in the industry is the ‘Everything over IP’ approach, which provides high levels of standardization, reliability, and availability in building automation communication standards. Leading industry players are, therefore, working toward developing IP-based communication standards that can work alongside the existing communication standards. Initiatives such as Project Connected Home over IP, IP-Blis, and the recent strategic partnership between Cisco and Schneider Electric are a few examples.”

Ongoing smart building or green building development initiatives and facility managers focusing on improving the tenant experience are factors driving the adoption of emerging technologies. The following growth opportunities should also be considered:

  • Building automation service providers need to consider IP-based communication standards as they help access multiple channels for communication.
  • BAS suppliers and connected device manufacturers need to increasingly focus on enabling IP as the standardized communication protocol to improve interoperability between devices without complex and expensive gateways.
  • New product innovation and integration should be leveraged to their full potential to introduce efficient products in the market and stay competitive.
  • Considering the possibilities in emerging technologies, building automation suppliers must partner with reputed and reliable system integrators and acquire innovative startups to bring best-in-class solutions to the BAS market.