How the Internet of Things (IoT) is Transforming the Built Environment

Network Infrastructure

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The Internet of Things (IoT), defined broadly as “a network of everyday items with embedded computers that can connect directly or indirectly to the internet,” is rapidly changing the landscape of commercial building design. The proliferation of the IoT has a broad impact on an organization, affecting everything from the employee experience to facility safety. Successful integration of smart technologies is expected to yield significant benefits for building owners, building occupants, and surrounding community, but the ongoing implementation of IoT devices and systems will have a large downstream impact on the network infrastructure.

The projected growth rate of the IoT varies considerably. Some have predicted that about 20 billion devices will be connected by 2020 while other experts forecast the number closer to 50 billion. Some forecasts even project that as many as 100+ billion connected devices will be in place by 2020. Whether the actual number of connected IoT devices by 2020 is at the low or high end of the forecast, it is clear that annual spending in the IoT market is increasing substantially. The International Data Corporation (IDC) calculates that the worldwide market for IoT solutions will reach $7.1 trillion in four years.

The adoption rate of Internet of Things sensors and devices in commercial real estate (CRE) is expected to escalate quickly, especially as the market places downward pressure on the cost of data storage, sensors, and connectivity. A study conducted by Deloitte shows that IoT sensor deployment in commercial real estate is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 78.8% between 2015 and 2020.

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