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Technology Vendors Should Not Ignore Small and Medium Buildings

Neil Strother
Feb 11, 2021


Technology vendors can create opportunity by directing their smart building solutions toward small and medium building owners and managers. But not everyone has received this message, creating a big gap in filling the needs of customers. This dynamic is the crux of a recent post by Peter Fehl, president of Honeywell’s building technologies group. Fehl notes, “Traditional smart building technologies have focused on the needs of large skyscrapers or sprawling corporate campuses, not the small- to medium-sized buildings that consumers use daily, such as banks, grocery stores, restaurants or medical clinics.”

Small and Medium Building Owners Represent Opportunity

What Fehl says is spot on. In the US, an estimated 94% of all commercial buildings represent facilities below 50,000 square feet in size, according to government data. In other words, there are plenty of buildings not in the large category that are missing out on some of the latest smart solutions and there are missed opportunities for stakeholders to take advantage.

Small and medium building owners and managers have struggled to find the right technology to meet their needs. Large building smart solutions do not scale down well for small and medium facilities. Owners seek advanced building management systems that match their facilities beyond what is available for residential buildings. However, they want balance and something not so complex nor expensive as is readily available for the large structures.

Vendors Consider How to Service the Small and Medium Buildings Market

Besides Honeywell, some vendors are on board with targeting small and medium buildings with smarter technology, and not just those in the US. Schneider Electric, for instance, recently launched its EcoStruxure Microgrid Solution for small and medium buildings for the Canadian market. The product aims to help customers easily integrate distributed energy resources at their facilities in a way that is simple to install and cost-effective. It also provides what many building owners in this segment desire but often find challenging to achieve: How to meet goals for greater energy resilience, reduce energy costs, and lower their carbon footprint.

There is some hope for better tools to help small and medium buildings customers adopt smart building technologies, though it has been slow to arrive. Guidehouse Insights noticed this gap more than 4 years ago in a similar post. Such a trend is not a new notion and it bears repeating. Solutions providers should not sleep on the small and medium buildings segment.