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Healthcare Sector to be Fastest Growing Market for Smart Building Technologies in the Next Five Years

Global demand for connected equipment in the healthcare sector is forecast to increase at a rate almost 2 percentage points higher than the market average for the overall smart building market, with a 13.9 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2018 and 2023.

Healthcare is expected to increase at a faster rate than the commercial sector in terms of smart building revenue, which is set to grow at a 12.6 percent CAGR over the same period according to IHS Markit | Technology, now a part of Informa Tech.

“By 2020, the healthcare sector is expected to represent the second-largest global market for both building management system (BMS) platforms and connected equipment, with total consolidated revenue of around $1.9 billion,” said Thomas Barquin, senior analyst for smart buildings at IHS Markit | Technology.

The growth is predominantly galvanized by high construction rates for new projects worldwide, combined with the rising demand for healthcare services due to aging populations—a particularly prominent trend in North America, Western Europe, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. New construction projects represent the bulk of demand for connected equipment in this application, with a 53.4 percent share in 2018.

As a result, these trends have contributed to increase installations of complex systems that require more connected equipment and advanced BMS platforms compared to other industries. Hospitals have been particularly dynamic in implementing integration platform architectures and predictive analysis to enhance not only their operational resources, but also the quality and efficiency of their patient-care services. Subsequently, IHS Markit | Technology estimates that hospitals constitute most of the total market opportunity in the healthcare segment.

Furthermore, hospitals are inclined to adopt supplementary software that relies on data from connected equipment and works beside BMS platforms. These systems all share a common objective: increasing patient-focused care and comfort while improving operational efficiency.

Asset-tracking solutions are among the most common types of smart-building technologies being introduced in hospitals. Smart hospitals can use internet-of-things (IoT) technologies and applications to find out which items need to be restocked and where assets are on the premises via radio frequency identification (RFID) or Bluetooth beaconing technology. IHS Markit | Technology notes that this software is often integrated with BMS platforms, as asset-tracking technologies often use data from sensors installed in luminaires in connected-lighting systems.

Hospitals are often considered leaders in the adoption of smart speakers in the non-residential sector, with the most compelling uses occurring in patient rooms. These speakers can assist patients in operating appliances and forwarding patient requests and notifications to mobile devices used by doctors and nurses. Smart speakers also provide similar support for physicians in operating rooms by accessing patient records and providing them to doctors and surgeons.

The use of smart speakers in this context is set to expand since Alexa from Amazon gained permission to use protected patient records regulated under the U.S. privacy law in 2019. More recently, Amazon announced a collaboration with the NHS in the U.K. to provide patients with reliable health information from the NHS website through voice-assisted technology.

Patient flow software is another solution that has been regularly utilized in advanced hospitals. Scheduling software guarantees that activities and operations are managed efficiently and offers patients real-time information on future activities and the expected date and time of their discharge. Digitized patient records, smart-room solutions and hygiene management solutions are also applications that participate in the healthcare digitalization movement.

AI-powered solutions are expected to enhance patients’ experiences or treatment outcomes in the near future, while increasing convenience and efficiency and reducing costs and errors. For instance, and Google have released an AI-powered autonomous monitoring platform for healthcare on the edge which is known as the “Self Aware Room.” Focusing on fall prevention, pressure ulcers and hand sanitation, the Self Aware Room sends intelligent alerts to staff and informs them about events occurring in any room at any time, creating proactive workflows.

While the market is still in its infancy, IHS Markit believes that the healthcare sector could become a key source of demand for solutions powered by artificial intelligence.

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