• Robotics
  • Smart Buildings
  • Urban Innovation

Robots Increasingly Integrated into Smart Buildings

Young Hoon Kim
Jan 31, 2023

Guidehouse Insights smart building

Smart buildings, which began to appear in the 1990s, utilize various solutions to reduce building management costs and make occupied space safer and more convenient. In a traditional sense, a smart building pursues economic feasibility, efficiency, comfort, functionality, and safety by integrating architecture, communication, and automation to provide advanced service functions. The concept of smart buildings continues to evolve with new technologies such as the Internet of Things.

Emerging Opportunities for Service Robots in Smart Buildings

Robots can be classified into industrial and service segments. The industrial robot market has high barriers to entry; traditional machine industry companies like FANUC, ABB, and KUKA have a market share of close to 70%. In contrast, the service robot market has high future growth potential. A recent article from Modern Restaurant Management, for example, reports that robots are becoming involved in the day-to-day restaurant business, with restaurants in Pennsylvania, New York, and Texas using robots to deliver food to tables and clear plates.

Robots are also being deployed to a greater extent by smart building businesses. For example, Korean telco KT has applied its GiGA Genie to hotel services, allowing guests to control room lighting or personal appliances through voice commands and request concierge services delivered by service robots. In the commercial building space, Korean IT company NAVER unveiled its new office building in 2022 as the “world’s first robot-friendly building.” The company considers the building, dubbed 1784, a test bed for the convergence of its advanced technologies, including robots, autonomous driving, AI, and cloud computing.

Delivery Robot in Commercial Building in Korea

A white, column-shaped robot, equipped with a screen, navigating through a commercial building

(Source: Guidehouse Insights)

As service robots become more and more integrated into our daily lives, business is expected to thrive. For instance, Hyundai Robotics, a Korean robotics company, and Vodafone, a UK-based multinational telco, announced a partnership in 2022 to launch service robots in Europe. The collaboration will begin by testing 5G-powered robots to disinfect surfaces at Düsseldorf University Hospital, with plans to later expand to provide various services in the European hospitality industry. Incorporating service robots in emerging smart building solutions has substantial market potential and will become increasingly common as companies engage in pilots.