by Lynxspring

As we approach another year, the landscape within the built environment continues to be dynamic. In fact, I believe we are experiencing the most transformative and compelling period we have seen over the last twenty-five years.

In the coming year, it is more than about how buildings and facilities are managed and operated. It is about understanding the business implications and their importance in delivering insights and business outcomes that will drive the significant push for smarter buildings.

So, what does the road ahead look like?

Here are the top ten market characteristics that I see will be big influencers in 2024:

  1. Outbreak of Caution: I believe we will experience an outbreak of caution. This is being driven by the evolving workplace and continued adjustment in the hybrid work environment. Even though several big companies have embraced new ways of working, there remains many more that are still trying to figure out what this new era of negotiation looks like as some employees return to traditional workplaces and others seek the benefits of remote work. Also, contributing is the redirection of actual square footageuneeded by companies as evident in the continued number of office vacancies seen in the market and the recent number of lease expirations coming up for renewal. Despite this caution, companies are increasing their operation technology budgets with the added notion of “we want to expand, but a bit later.”
  2. Business Outcome-Focused: There is a rebalancing of the conversation whereby the business side is leading the discussion followed by the technology side. Organizations are shifting their priorities from just cost reduction to strategically improving their business. They are looking for solutions that help drive revenue, enhance business decision making, address risk mitigation and resiliency, and improve their sustainability metrics. Owners and operators are strategically recalibrating their approaches to align with business and outcomes and striking a balance between investment and real returns.
  3. Importance of Data: The importance of data and the fundamental necessities of owners, operators, and service providers to maximize the performance and efficiency of their facilities from the use of data. Proliferation of data and its importance in managing and operating buildings will reach its highest level ever. In 2024, doubling down on data, rethinking data models and common data sets and data standards adoption will drive more data decision making.
  4. Alignment of OT: The alignment of OT to ensure not only integration, but also universal automation, interoperability, and cybersecurity autonomy.
  5. Financial Climate: The current financial situation whereby businesses are having to adjust to today’s conditions.
  6. Regulatory Requirements: The increase of compliance and regulatory requirements which are continuing to evolve.
  7. Net Zero Commitments: Continuing to move forward on keeping commitments to net zero, decarbonization, and sustainability goals driven by 360 pressures from mandates, employees, shareholders, occupants, and customer expectations.
  8. Artificial Intelligence (AI): 2023, saw a great deal of buzz around AI, and that will not be stopping anytime soon as we step into the new year. We are witnessing a massive experiment take place in real time. With pressures mounting on infrastructure resources and sustainability requirements, AI has a plethora of possibilities, however, we still have a long way to go especially as we monitor the technology’s challenges such as security, privacy, trustworthiness and establish guidelines and regulations for its use. Achieving its potential will take longer and cost more than many expect.                              
  9. Cybersecurity Curve: Staying ahead of the cybersecurity curve and the risks and operational disruptions incidents bring. As we dive into 2024, it is crucial to be aware of the evolving landscape including the new compliance directives and the continuance to strengthen defenses and mitigate threats. Make no bones about it, staying informed and proactive is crucial.
  10. Cost of Doing Nothing: And rounding out the characteristics influencing 2024, is the cost of doing nothing. This is the cost of not making decisions that could have a positive impact on your business and in our case, building and facility management and operations. The cost of doing nothing is often used in various contexts to highlight the potential negative consequences or missed opportunities that can arise from inaction or the decision to maintain the status quo. It is always important to keep in mind that the cost of doing nothing is not always financial. When evaluating the cost of doing nothing, it is essential to consider the specific context and the potential short-term and long-term implications. While the cost of action may seem high, the cost of doing nothing is higher.

Making an investment in smart building solutions is a big step but it comes down to identifying gaps, finding right-sized solutions, and unifying systems so that you can control, monitor, and take a proactive approach. We need to “de-complexify” the space and focus on what really matters to deliver outcomes and value from the solutions and technology that is already here now.

For the smarter built environment in 2024, achieving operational and business balance is going to be required. The challenge is not the need for technology or solutions—they are here and proven—but rather, it is the willingness and preparation to take advantage of them.