Selecting the Right Smart Building Software Provider for Your Property

Building owners are increasingly focused on the operational and energy efficiency of their properties. A growing emphasis is placing a societal and economic value on carbon emissions and, given that buildings are major contributors to carbon emissions, there is an additional impetus to adopt smart building platforms. This resource identifies some of the vendors offering the most sophisticated and user-friendly smart building software platforms for property owners/managers.

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Market Background

Building owners are increasingly focused on the operational and energy efficiency of their properties. A growing emphasis is placing a societal and economic value on carbon emissions and, given that buildings are major contributors to carbon emissions, there is an additional impetus to adopt smart building platforms.

Currently, buildings are broadly unconnected ecosystems where operational data are often compiled in homegrown spreadsheets or application-specific data silos. Smart building Internet of Things (IoT) platforms aim to collect, standardize, and share those data to enable buildings to operate with increasing efficiency and with much lower levels of carbon emissions. In this resource, ABI Research identifies the top smart building solution providers, broken down by innovation and implementation criteria.

A graph that ranks smart building software providers on their innovation and implementation capabilities

Smart Building Platform Innovations You Should Prioritize

In this section, we highlight which innovation factors building owners should consider when evaluating a potential smart building platform

Platform Scale and Scope: This first innovation criterion pertains to how well the smart building platform can handle varying project sizes, application scope, and data volume, as well as having small-scale and high-scale case studies available. The software solution(s) should be able to support or integrate across the following application areas:

  • Asset management and monitoring
  • Facilities management
  • Cybersecurity and data regulation adherence
  • Access control and monitoring
  • Fire and safety
  • Energy management and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting
  • Building and space utilization, reporting, and analysis
  • Building occupant wellbeing
  • Enterprise workplace management and services

Ease of Adoption and Deployment: A robust smart building platform will offer low/no-code tools and services to streamline the onboarding process for inexperienced users. This means users are provided with pre-built templates and can tailor the solution to their unique building environment so they can skip hiring a System Integrator (SI). Further, the best platforms can be deployed in a diverse range of settings, including multi-tenant hosted, on-premises, remote, etc.

Platform Data Connection: Evaluates the smart building platform’s ability to collect data from various pieces of equipment, protocols, and wireless network infrastructure.

Platform Data Collection: For this innovation factor, ABI Research looks at the solution’s capability to collect structured and unstructured data from systems. Moreover, it’s key that the building platform can contextualize data with Machine Learning (ML) and Deep Learning (DL) in real time to pick up on analytics patterns. Finally, the top platforms clean all the collected data to weed out corrupt/inaccurate records, perform data translation, and add metadata and/or business rules.

Platform Data Reporting and Analytics: Vendors that score well in this innovation criterion offer smart building platforms that process data by an analytics engine. More specifically, the following features should be included:

  • Descriptive Reporting: Includes alerts for remote monitoring, etc.
  • Predictive Analytics: What-if analysis, and what does it mean for expenditure, energy use, etc.
  • Prescriptive Analytics: Outlines what is occurring and analyzes the root cause of an event. This means the smart building platform can make suggestions to resolve an issue.

Platform Data Presentation and Availability: It’s advisable to choose a platform that allows you to easily digest and analyze the building's operational/energy data. Dashboards, dedicated displays, and mobile device support are key here. It’s also important that the smart building platform can seamlessly transmit data to other enterprise software applications such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Human Resources (HR). This will allow users to build a comprehensive digital thread. Finally, the platform should be interoperable with other transformative technologies, such as Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Building Information Modeling (BIM), or digital twins for optimizing a piece of operations.

Top Three Innovators of Smart Building Platforms

Schneider Electric, Johnson Controls, and Siemens are the top three innovators of smart building platforms, according to ABI Research’s competitive assessment. Here’s why these companies’ platforms are so innovative.

# 1: Schneider Electric

The EcoStruxure platform offered by Schneider Electric extends across asset management and monitoring, facilities management, cybersecurity, and data regulation adherence. Deployment of the smart building platform is aided by low-code configuration and drag-and-drop interfaces. For platform data connection, the company’s solution is compatible with BACnet, Modbus, LonWorks, TCP, HTPP/HTTPS, WebSocket, SMTP/SMTPS, SNMP, MQTT, OPC, UA, and its SmartConnector Application Programming Interface (API) framework.

#2: Johnson Controls

Johnson Controls’ smart building platform, OpenBlue, accounts for a wide range of operational efficiencies. Users can expect to improve energy efficiency, asset performance, maintenance operations, and occupant comfort across myriad areas. This is done through integrating with the Building Automation System (BAS), lighting, elevators, video surveillance, access control, and more. OpenBlue lets customers perform low/no-code customization of the solution and provides a number of energy Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) templates spanning energy and water management, chiller setpoint, and energy use by square meter or by equipment, among many others. Being hardware-agnostic, Johnson Controls’ OpenBlue software offering supports many protocols and intelligent edge analytics.

#3: Siemens

The third most innovative smart building platform we studied was Siemens’ Building X suite. The solution supports asset and maintenance management (Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS)), Enterprise Asset Management (EAM), strategic asset management, IoT remote monitoring, sustainability, and community engagement through the recently acquired Brightly platform. Standalone offerings, including occupancy, temperature, energy, and reservation data collection, can be accomplished through integration with Enlightened. Building X also has a Security Manager offering that provides a unified and automated workflow (e.g., alarm and incident management, security dashboards, security rules, etc.). Users can also expect consistent coding and a single product architecture to ease the adoption and deployment process.

Are you currently planning to implement smart building solutions on your property? Visit our Smart Buildings Research Service for technology assessments, key solution providers, best practices, market forecasts, and more.

Smart Building Platforms Implementation Factors

Here is what ABI Research evaluated regarding the best-implementing providers of smart building platforms.

We generally considered whether a supplier has a growing order book, increased customer base, and attracts high-profile firms.

Commercial Success: Key customer wins and market acceptance

Geographic Reach: Does the smart building platform supplier have a global rollout, or is it geographically constrained? Moreover, the platform may support multiple languages, currencies, regulations, and time zones.

Solution Adaptability: This criterion concerns cloud support (public, private, hybrid), marketplace availability, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model offerings, and API support.

Go-to-Market (GTM) Strategy: Evaluates partnerships and channel strategy, including partnerships with firms across different regions, verticals, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), and technology specialists.

Deployment Support: For this, we gauge the extent to which the smart building platform supplier provides resources, tutorials, training (in-person, online), and consulting services to enable users to maximize solution benefits.

New Client Engagement: For this final implementation criterion, our competitive assessment measured how effective the supplier’s marketing and business tools are at generating product awareness, value, and suitability.

Top Three Implementers of Smart Building Platforms

Johnson Controls, Schneider Electric, and Envision Digital were named the top three implementers of smart building platforms in the competitive assessment. The sections below highlight the strong points of these companies’ implementation efforts.

#1: Johnson Controls

With big-name customers (called “Pioneers”) like Microsoft and Chase, Johnson Controls touts impressive commercial success worldwide. The OpenBlue platform was leveraged for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. These high-profile clients stem from the fact that the company has made significant progress both within its core Building Management System (BMS) and Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) installed base.

While nearly 60% of Johnson Controls’ revenue comes from customers based in North America, the company still has clientele across 150 countries, signaling a global footprint. Users of the company’s smart building software benefit from deployment adaptability due to multi-tenant public cloud, private cloud, and on-premises deployment options. For its GTM strategy, Johnson Controls has partnered with Microsoft for its SaaS cloud infrastructure, as well as Accenture, KPMG, and 3Degrees to deliver building sustainability implementations and distributed/renewable energy offerings.

#2: Schneider Electric

Commercially speaking, Schneider Electric has had its EcoStruxure smart building platform used in a wide and geographically dispersed range of locations. Its customer footprint primarily revolves around North America (32%), Asia-Pacific (30%), and Western Europe (16%). The company’s GTM strategy involves four key channels: partners, OEMs, wholesalers, and direct-to-enterprise (e.g., healthcare, hotels, data centers, etc.).

Like all the top smart building vendors, Johnson Controls’ EcoStruxure platform is supported across the cloud and on-premises, in addition to at the edge. Moreover, once a customer has adopted the smart building platform, Johnson Controls provides deployment support such as advisory, consulting, certification, remote management, on-site maintenance, workforce empowerment, and lifecycle/circularity/repairability services. Finally, the firm’s acquisition of digital Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) procurement software company Ziego connects corporate personnel with renewable energy suppliers.

#3: Envision Digital

Envision Digital, being based out of Singapore, has a significant foothold on the smart building platform market in the Asia-Pacific region. Notable partners include Starbucks in mainland China to support environmental monitoring for staff/customer well-being, and SITA to facilitate net-zero emissions goals in 62 airport terminals. With support from an alliance with Santander, Envision Digital is establishing smart building software and services solutions to other regions as well.

Deployment wise, the company supports edge only, private or public cloud, and some remote on a private cloud. Envision Digital has teamed up with well-known SIs, including IBM, Accenture, and Dassault Systèmes, to help deliver a Center of Expertise (COE) where the partner team is trained and certified by the Envision Digital Academy. This enables consolidating experience and best practices from projects.

Get the Complete Ranking

These company evaluations were sourced from ABI Research’s Smart Building Management Platforms competitive ranking. The assessment identifies the key trends shaping the smart building market and then explains the “why” behind each vendor’s ranking. For this more in-depth look at these top suppliers—as well as an evaluation of five other suppliers not covered on this page—download the report today!