Last edited 06 Jul 2021

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BSRIA Institute / association Website

BACS building automation controls - the information revolution

The industry is in the early stages of what could become a revolution in which data, the Cloud, analytics, IP connectivity and system convergence all “come together” to create the genuinely ‘smartbuilding. This is according to BSRIA’s latest global study of the market for Building Automation Control Systems (BACS), published in January 2019.

BACS software.PNG
The advance of BACS software is shown in the graph above.

BSRIA’s annual World BACS study for 2018 focusses in detail on nine national or regional markets. It shows that the global market for BACS products grew by an estimated 4% AGR to reach more than US$6.3 bn in 2018 and is forecast to reach US$7.8 bn in 2023. This in turn supports the larger market for value-added services and maintenance.

BACS rising in the East.PNG
BACS rising in the East

While hardware such as controllers and field devices still accounts for most of the turnover, software is growing at 10% CAGR, which is well over twice the overall rate for the market. This includes the software used to run building systems and also, increasingly, to analyse and optimise them, as well as building energy management (BEMS) and other more specialist software.

Globally, almost 90% of BACS software installed is still run on local servers and there is growing acceptance of the Cloud and ‘software-as-a-service’ (SaaS) applications. Europe leads this field with the Swedish market being ‘especially enthusiastic’. Clients in German-speaking countries continue to be markedly ‘more cautious’ about entrusting data to the Cloud.

IP connectivity is also gaining ground and typically comes in two ‘waves. In the first wave, devices are delivered with inbuilt IP connectivity. This applies to about half of controllers sold globally. It is also increasingly true of big investment items, such as chillers, and of those where an IP connection is most useful.

In the second wave, which often comes later, the device is then connected up as-and-when there is a need for the connection.

BSRIA’s Senior Analyst, Henry Lawson, commented:

“As part of the general quest for smarter and more integrated buildings, we are also seeing increasing convergence in building systems. While HVAC tends to remain the primary focus, we found that in over a quarter of projects there was convergence, especially with lighting, where the synergy is most obvious, but also with security and even fire-safety systems.

“This trend is particularly pronounced in new buildings and especially for larger and higher-profile projects. Often it is not technology that is holding convergence back, but management issues, such as different departmental owners for different building systems.

BSRIA research suggests that the trend towards smarter and more integrated, and software- and data-driven buildings is set to continue. At the current rate of change, it might still take decades for software data and analytics to become the dominant element. On the other hand, we could well see a kind of ‘tipping point’, where breakthroughs, whether in the technology or in market awareness, causes a rapid acceleration in this trend.

“If this happened, then we could, for example, move from buildings which aim to improve wellbeing, to ones in which wellbeing can be accurately monitored and adjusted down to the level of individuals in the building. This could represent either the ‘dream’ or the ‘nightmare’ scenario.

“The world of BACS is going to become increasingly dynamic and exciting: there has never been a better time to be involved in buildings and t.heir systems.”


BSRIA market studies for 2018 are available for Austria, Canada, China, India, Saudi Arabia, South East Asia, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA, each including both data and analysis. A global overview is also available.

The countries published in March / April 2018 are: France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Poland, UAE and the UK.

BSRIA Worldwide Market Intelligence (WMI) is a leading provider of high granularity global market reports in a wide range of HVAC segments including heating and renewable technology, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration, energy and smart buildings, structured cabling, lighting, security, fire detection and building controls.

BSRIA WMI also offers a highly-valued market consultancy to the building and HVAC&R market stakeholders building on its comprehensive database of information, its profound expertise of the market’s competitive environment, its technical knowledge and strong analytical power.

BSRIA is a non-profit distributing, member-based association, providing specialist services in construction and building services. More information at

This article was written by BSRIA and was published on its website in April 2019. It can be accessed here.

Further information on this study: Contact 01344 465 540 or e-mail [email protected]

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