As an IoT product leader, you know that there’s never been a better time to be in the smart building business. 

More and more smart building managers are exploring how IoT devices like yours — from smart HVAC systems to smart lighting and security —  can help them find new efficiencies, improve responsiveness, and deliver a better experience for their residents. 

So, what are smart building managers looking for from their IoT devices? How can you stand out from the competition as an IoT product leader?

Here are three approaches that could make your smart buildings devices a hit with building management companies. 

1. Integrate AI into your IoT 

When you’re developing smart buildings technology, it’s important to understand the challenges that smart building managers are facing. 

Human behavior is unpredictable – which can cause problems for smart building managers, who are responsible for the safety and well-being of both their buildings and their tenants. How can they predict the perfect temperature for a building? Or when to turn on lights in communal areas? 

This is where IoT devices like smart HVAC systems or smart lighting can help , saving significant time and money by allowing building managers to turn on lights or adjust the temperature remotely. 

But, as an IoT product leader, you could win significant market share by going one step further: by either integrating AI into your devices, or by showing that it’s easy for companies to use the data your devices collect to power their AI algorithms. This way, you can become the product leader that makes it easy for your customers to build artificial intelligence into their buildings and go beyond reactive property management. 

You can show that your devices won’t just help them passively monitor the situation. Instead, you’ll help them use the data gathered by your IoT devices to proactively anticipate the best plan of action for their building, their tenants, or their bank account.

Let’s say you’re developing a smart HVAC system that allows smart building managers to adjust air temperature or humidity levels without leaving their office.  

This is already much more convenient for smart building managers than manually visiting the property. But with AI, you can do even better. By analyzing data on everything from footfall in your lobby and the number of building occupants per hour, your IoT devices could help smart building managers predict the perfect temperature and humidity levels for each hour of the day.  

As AI becomes more and more embedded in our day-to-day lives, showing that your smart buildings devices can easily integrate with AI platforms is going to become essential. If you want to keep wowing smart building managers, make sure you make AI part of your marketing and product strategy.   

2. Market your IoT devices with digital twins in mind 

Digital twins and IoT are already closely intertwined – a detailed digital twin just isn’t possible without a robust network of IoT sensors. 

Digital twins have always been mostly associated with construction, where they’re used to track project progress, plan timelines, and compare blueprints with the final product. 

But that’s beginning to change. More and more property management and real estate companies are using digital twins to maintain the condition of buildings and keep residents safe. 

As an IoT product leader, it’s important for you to bear this trend in mind, because it can have a huge impact on how customers see and use your smart buildings product. 

Alone, IoT sensors can provide discrete, detailed information about the status and performance of the different elements of a building. A smart meter can track the temperature and how often the building needs heating and cooling, or smart lighting can monitor the hours at which residents turn lights on and off. 

But the insights your IoT sensors provide are even more powerful for smart building managers when they’re contextual – when they can see how the whole picture fits together, instead of looking at each element in isolation. A digital twin can provide this insight, allowing smart building managers to see the data and positioning of every IoT device in a building in one space – all without leaving their desks. 

As more and more smart building managers adopt smart devices, you can differentiate your smart buildings product by showing how easily the data that your devices generate can be incorporated into a digital twin. 

And it’s an even better opportunity for cross-selling and up-selling; the more devices your customers implement in one building, the more detailed and useful their digital twin becomes. 

3. Provide built-in security for your IoT devices 

Worries about IoT security breaches are growing just as fast – if not faster – than the IoT industry itself. Thirty-five percent of IoT non-buyers say that security is their biggest concern about the technology. 

It’s an understandable concern.The idea that someone could, for example, hack into their smart surveillance cameras, disable their perimeter security or take control of a smart elevator is a scary prospect. 

Even devices like HVAC systems can be used by hackers as a ‘gateway’ to their entire IoT network; one compromised device could bring down the entire building.  

If you’re an IoT product leader, you probably already know the security risks associated with IoT – and it’s likely that your customers will have considered these too. 

The problem is, most smart building managers won’t really know what needs to be done to keep their IoT devices safe. Less than 42% of organizations surveyed in June 2020 could identify which of their IoT devices were unsecured. More worryingly, even when they could identify a security breach, only 14% of organizations made moves to replace or secure their devices. 

That’s why built-in security – or Cyber as a Feature, as it’s known – is going to become a vital differentiation point for IoT product leaders. If you can position yourself as a company that proactively protects against security threats – and, crucially, takes that concern off customers’ shoulders – you’ll be in an excellent position to win over IoT enthusiasts and skeptics alike. 

Of course, this isn’t something you need to do alone. At Firedome, we partner with IoT product leaders to help them build proactive cybersecurity into their products – and then help them leverage security to win more deals, gain more trust and stand out from the competition.

We’ll provide you with: 

An easy-install software agent that will provide real-time security detection and protection for all of  your IoT products throughout production as well as post deployment, together with 24/7 monitoring.  

How can you make sure your IoT devices stay relevant for the smart building industry?

So, what are the key trends you need to know if you want your connected products to win over your smart building customers?

Artificial intelligence and data analytics – Show that your data can be used to spot hidden patterns, make more informed decisions, and take some of the burden of analysis away from smart building managers. 
Digital twins – Emphasize how the insights gathered by your IoT devices can help create a detailed, contextual picture of how a property is performing.
Cyber as a Feature – Show smart building managers that you’ll go above and beyond to protect them and their tenants from attacks with proactive, built-in security measures. 

If you can understand what smart building managers need and give it to them, you’ll be in an excellent position to lead this technological revolution – and, in the process, win a huge slice of the market. 

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