The occupancy analytics market in commercial office space achieved systems sales of $1.54 Billion in 2017, and could rise to $4.60 Billion by 2022, growing at a robust rate of 24.5% CAGR – according to Memoori’s latest report, Occupancy Analytics & In-Building Location Based Services 2017 to 2022.
However, it will not be all plain sailing for occupancy analytics vendors, or building owners and operators seeking to adopt these technologies. The sheer variety of different technologies competing for a space can be confusing and this fragmentation is a point brought up by experts across the industry.
According to surveys, security and privacy concerns continue to act as the major barriers to occupancy analytics market growth. Surveys show that market confusion over the variety of solutions available, as well as a lack of effective system interoperability and open standards, make up the other key factors holding the market back.
In January 2016, the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper installed heat and motion sensors underneath its employees’ desks to monitor their movement in the office. The major media group stated its intention was to use data generated by the occupancy tracking technology to spur better energy efficiency.
Employees at the Daily Telegraph were not told about the devices, however, and when they found out they protested. The devices were removed within a day after the National Union of Journalists declared that the newspaper were carrying out ‘surveillance’ on their staff.
“Users’ and workers’ willingness to provide or share personal information and sign up to Internet of Things services will increasingly depend on whether they trust the entity responsible for storing and analysing the data to protect their privacy and to use the data in a fair, legal and accountable manner. Ethical strategies and data access authorisation protocols must therefore also be adopted by both device manufacturers and building owners to avoid misuse of data and loss of user confidence or trust,” the report explains.
A recent Accenture research paper, Digital Trust in the IoT Era, reported that data breaches, accidental and otherwise, had shot up nearly 10 times between 2004 and 2014 to from 96 million to 891 million breaches per year. IDC meanwhile, forecast that by 2018 as many as 66% of networks will have had an IoT security breach, and that by 2020 they think 10% of all attacks will target IoT systems.
Organisations are beginning to realise that it is not enough to simply not intentionally invade occupant privacy. Building owners and enterprise tenants must also protect their occupant data from leaking to unauthorised internal and external sources.
“Effective stewardship of personal data is essential, as data breaches could lead to serious legal, financial or reputational damage, regardless of who is at fault,” the Memoori report continues.
The industry and end users may have to accept data privacy and security problems may never be completely solved. Many would agree that both physical and cyber threats are impossible to stop entirely. Those responsible for protecting data will simply have to do so to the best of their ability, and failure will depend on them pursuing reasonable measures rather than avoiding breaches.
It is widely perceived that occupancy analytics solution implementations require a significant level of capital expenditure. This comes from hardware costs and related data capture, transmission and storage, as well incurring ongoing licensing and maintenance costs. However, the true cost of the technology is not being made clear.
“Suppliers need effective means of demonstrating Return on Investment (ROI) and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) as an essential factor to justify investments,” the report points out.
A perceived lack of common standardised solutions is also frequently cited as a major barrier to market growth, but the market will have to settle on solutions before standards can materialise.
“The sheer variety of different technologies competing for a space in the market, and the current fragmented, immature nature of the market may mean it is some considerable time before more standard solutions come to the fore,” the report explains.
With the huge value presented by collecting data in smart buildings, occupancy analytics solutions will become critical to our future workplaces. Understanding how best to seize the opportunities that will emerge, will depend on having all the information and expert insights on this uncharted technology landscape.