The promise of smart buildings is cropping up across the ICT industry lately. Our calendar of vendor briefings and events is crowded with announcements of new products, acquisitions, and partnerships as ICT suppliers seek to connect their digital and analytic systems with the physical world of HVAC, security, lighting, and other in-building systems.
There are a number of goals that smart building projects hope to achieve, including:
Improving customers' bottom lines by reducing energy consumption and expense.
Improving employees' physical surroundings and therefore productivity and satisfaction.
Improving sustainability metrics and perceptions by baselining and then reducing corporate carbon footprint.
It's been clear for some time that sustainability is moving from the periphery toward the center of many companies' strategic agendas, and that IT systems and software will play a crucial role in accelerating that movement.
But what's been missing -- until now -- is an overarching framework for understanding who the stakeholders (and buyers) of IT-for-sustainability (ITfS) systems are, what motivations and barriers they face, and which categories of products, services, and solutions can help them. With the research report that we will publish next month, Forrester takes a giant step towards providing that framework. Based on interviews with sustainability leaders at more than a dozen large global enterprises, we developed three company archetypes of sustainability adoption (see Figure 1):
• Marketer: Improving branding and transparency with advanced reporting. Companies that fall into this category are either early in their sustainability maturity or just do what they have to do when it comes to regulatory compliance.
I meet with about three or four sustainability solution providers each week, getting an update on their customer and product progress and sharing our latest research plans and client inquiries in the IT-for-sustainability (ITfS) space. In the past few weeks, I heard again from vendors about their excitement for new regulatory mandates appearing on the horizon.