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Last edited 07 Apr 2020
BSRIA study shows uptake of convergence and IoT in commercial buildings
|Wired Ethernet connection/nodes for data, WAPS and DBS worldwide 2019.|
While there is a great deal of interest in convergence and in the potential for IoT in commercial buildings, there is still limited understanding of just how many devices are being connected. BSRIA’s latest study, ‘Convergence - IoT in commercial buildings’ provides clear numbers and analysis of what is happening in the market.
 A connected world
Connectivity, convergence and IoT are about connecting devices, collecting data and undertaking analytics and diagnostics that will enable end-users and building operators to run their buildings more efficiently. It is a hot topic due to an increase in employee mobility (allowing employees to pick and choose their working environment) and the increasing focus on wellbeing and productivity. Connectivity is also a key element in the efforts to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency in buildings, and in their interaction with smart grids and smart cities.
This study uses the IT/Ethernet network as the basis for estimating the number of connected devices in commercial buildings. Connected devices use an average of 40–50 metres of structured cable per device, except for some products that use one connection point for several devices. Daisy chaining is mainly used for access control products such as lock actuators, readers and keypads, thermostats, sensors and Power over Ethernet (PoE) lights.
There were an estimated 154 million Ethernet connections/ports worldwide in 2019. The majority of these are supporting data (and voice), but a significant number are connected to wireless access points (WAPs) and Distributed Building Services (DBS). The key products included under DBS are surveillance cameras, audio/video, access controls and building automation controllers.
An average of 3.6 devices are connected to each of the 17 million Ethernet ports for DBS, equivalent to more than 60 million connected (cabled) devices.
 Wireless technologies
The use of wireless technologies in commercial buildings is increasing. The most prominent short-range, low-power technologies in commercial buildings are Bluetooth and Zigbee followed by EnOcean. The typical applications for short-range, low-power technologies are sensors and lighting. BSRIA estimates the number of connected (wireless) devices in commercial buildings in 2019 to be 150–200 million worldwide.
The uptake of low-power wide-area (LPWAN) technologies such as Lorawan, Sigfox and NB-IoT is still limited in commercial buildings. They are used mainly for smart metering, tracking the supply chain, monitoring of soil and livestock, smart parking, etc.
BSRIA Senior Manager Lone Hansen commented: “BSRIA has been tracking convergence over the last 15 years and the uptake of convergence has been slow, but we expect to see an increase in the number of connected devices over the next 5–10 years due to the latest developments in both wired and wireless technologies. One example is the emergence of new Wi-Fi access points (Wi-Fi 6, 802.11ax) that can handle multiple devices using several protocols such as Bluetooth and Zigbee.
“The majority of devices today are IP and are linked in subnetworks with a common backbone or connected via V-LANs, which enable centralised monitoring and control.”
 Further information
- EMEA sales enquiries: BSRIA UK: [email protected] ¦ +44 (0) 1344 465 540 www.bsria.co.uk
- America sales enquiries: BSRIA USA: [email protected] ¦ +1 312 753 6800 www.bsria.com
- China sales enquiries: BSRIA China: [email protected] ¦ +86 10 6465 7707 www.bsria.com.cn
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