by Madhav Mohan

Technology Drives Sustainability in Real Estate Industry in 2016

Jan 27, 2016
Access ControlBusinessCollaboration Software

Indian CIOs and CXOs share insights on the growth of Intelligent Building Management Systems, and Smart Homes in 2016.

In the field of infrastructure, the real estate sector with its core activity as the construction of buildings including the homes, has to survive in a relatively competitive environment. India with millions of people moving into the middle class with higher levels of job creation every year, the mood for better bargain—in cost and quality–for offices and homes has never been so acute as it is today.

Urbanization in India is poised for a quantum leap from 30 plus per cent to 60-65 per cent in another decade plus period. Metros, tier 2 and tier 3 cities have been seeing the unprecedented spurt in innovative designs, capitalizing on their technological content making the business and the living spaces, safer and efficient. More and more gated inclusive communities are mushrooming spoiling the customers with options and choices.

Real estate, in the immediate past has been beset with the ‘malware’ of a template based on stereotype designs due to embedded legacy issues. In a demand driven market the developers could thus roughshod the customers. The technology driven environment today has brought out the innovation to the front by offering solutions, rich with smart operations.  

The landscape is growing greener with verdant ‘green’ buildings   sprouting in sync with freshly fertile innovative ideas. The ‘digital India’ has had a compulsive overarching   mega  firmament, under which the developers and architects  look up  to  install the plug and play systems creating  the new age smart  buildings .

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change that survive,” said Charles Darwin


With strain on energy management due to power shortages and security in metros getting maximum importance, time has come for planning intelligent buildings.

Building management systems have evolved today to offer 3D architecture of the designs with inclusive security solutions and sensor rich environment managing access, temperature, fire safety, sewage treatment, surveillance etc. 

According to IDC Energy Insights, companies worldwide have spent $5.5 billion on intelligent buildings in 2012 and it is expected to increase to $18.1 billion by 2017, which is 27.1% annual rate growth.

On Intelligent Building Management System becoming an emerging trend in 2016, Sathish Pendse, CIO, Hindustan Construction Company, says,“ today, people wish to move into a working environment which is less people driven and more process driven. That calls for integrated systems. It integrates all business processes, making it efficient and cost effective.”

At present, some of the main subsystems of Intelligent Buildings comprise of – Access Control Systems, Building Management Systems, Mechanical Systems, Closed Circuit Televisions, Fire Alarm Systems, Uninterrupted Power Supply and Communications/ Internet and Data Centers.

Intelligent Building management Systems provide flexibility, reliability and minimize operating costs.  This technology can govern, monitor and augment services such as lights, security, heating, alarm, access control, ventilation, air-conditioning, computer systems, secure the networks and manage data centers. Incredibly, the ‘information is available quickly to aid managers make good decisions that have an immediate impact on profitability and productivity.

How does integration take place? “The sensors communicate with a control-system layer and intelligent systems extract data, for enabling collaboration, deeper analysis and predicting patterns for improved insight and decision support,” says Shrinivas Kowligi, Partner, Ernst and Young Services.

Also, Kowligi added that multiple types of sensors are embedded for control of lighting, temperature, measuring air quality, and humidity. These systems are standalone in terms of an alarm, or reports going into the room of security or facility manager.

“During the planning stage itself, sensors need to be incorporated and cables need to be laid, for IBMS solution to be effective,” explains Pendse.

IBMS also helps to save a lot on energy. Globally, buildings account for 40% of the world’s energy use. According to the IEA [International Energy Agency], lighting ranks among the major end-uses in global power demand. Grid-based electric lighting is commensurate to 19% of total global electricity consumption. The need for artificial light will be 80% higher by 2030.

Saving energy is equivalent to generating it. But, is there a way to do this and manage it efficiently? Yes, there is – by using Intelligent Building Management Systems.

Highlighting this point, Pendse said,“ The lights go off when there is no one in the room, the intensity of it increases or reduces based on the light outside, and there is smart air conditioning.”

However, the picture is not rosy, when it comes to implementing IBMS. Pendse and Kowligi believe that lack of skilled workforce is a major hindrance.

The amount to be paid for training operators to handle difficult equipments such as HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air conditioning), security and access control, outdoor controls, energy management systems and smart meters is quite high. That’s why, small scale companies find it tough to invest in large capital to train their operators. Subsequently, it is likely to affect the growth of the IBMS market in the country.

 Highlighting, the technical challenges, Kowligi expresses, “integration in terms of legacy technology is a big challenge. For instance: if there are two lifts of different makes, it would be challenge to integrate two or more systems that use varying data protocols and information exchange standards. The latest genre of IBMS helps overcome this hurdle.

On expectations from the government, Kowligi, said, “the government should consider a phased implementation program of mandating energy ratings for new buildings, especially in cities that have significant A grade commercial buildings coming up in places like Bangalore, Gurgaon, Hyderabad etc.”

Pendse is of the opinion that if indigenous production of building material for IBMS takes place in India, time and cost will drastically come down.

According to research and consultancy firm, Frost and Sullivan, the market for IBMS has earned revenues of more than 258.6 crore in 2011 and it is likely to reach to Rs 515.5 crore in 2016 with a staggering compound annual growth rate of 14.8 percent.  

This shows that the market for IBMS solution is quite promising.


Visualize this: You are watching a sci-fi 3D movie in the theatre with killer graphics. In one of the scenes in the movie, a person walks into an automated home and with the touch of a button, his home comes alive. Now, who would not want to own a smart home?

This has become a reality now as smart homes are on the verge of growing at a significant pace in 2016. Real estate players have sharpened their arsenal and are all set to construct digital homes for urban consumers.

The Smart Home solutions market in India is growing in India at a rate of 30 percent Year on Year.

It is estimated that Smart Home solutions market in India is growing in India at a rate of 30 percent year-on-year. Subsequently, the market will double in revenue every three years. Having said that, the market is likely to explode over the next few years.

In regards to smart homes becoming an emerging trend in 2016, Adarsh Narahari, MD, Mantri Primus Lifespaces , said, “empowered with rising disposable incomes, the burgeoning middle class of the country is driving the demand for homes that can provide them opportunities to lead better lifestyles, and address their need for sustainability, efficiency and functionality.”

In the last few years, digital homes have picked up momentum among Indians due to leaps in technology and price affordability. Thankfully, automation in homes is a reality now and is economically more acceptable.

“The urban population today is living in nuclear formats and people are looking at smart homes to provide the comfort of monitoring their loved ones remotely,” says Vinay K. Mehta, Executive Director, Unishire.

Smart homes also provide the user with energy efficient living capabilities. They also provide added security to the homes and increase the convenience of usage of various utilities with in the home.

Smart homes have unique and dynamic features. The home owner has the option of viewing the entire home remotely via the application in the hand held device and dynamically control each facet of the home remotely.

Consider, for instance: “If the water heater has not been turned off, the person could turn it off using the smart home feature on their hand held device. This is taken to another level by adding smart sensors which could be armed to automatically switch off when the house is locked,” said Mehta.

Interestingly, at present, all the devices can be pre-configured in a smart home. For example – one can tell all the curtain blinds to close by six o clock and open by seven in the morning.

And more will happen in 2016 in a smart home.

The houses will be IoT enabled. Internet-of-things (IoT) is triggering a big push to the demand so that one can experience more avenues to make their lives convenient, safe and sustainable.

“The next level is when intelligent devices interact with each other and change as per your need. There will be a cloud with algorithm which will tell the devices what to do.  For example, if the elders of the house enter a room the same lights will glow at a higher brightness, the water may be warmer and the AC temperature higher,” said Narahari.

Doesn’t this sound undeniably cool?

 Road Ahead

India is poised for a major leap ahead in terms of urbanization. We have a great opportunity in 2016 to create modern eco-friendly and innovatively designed green field infrastructure which will contribute to sustainability and efficiency.

 The architects and planners need to optimize the cost of technology to make the house affordable for low income group   ensuring affordability.