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Web-based services breathe new life into HVAC market

19 July, 2007

The global market for HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) control systems exceeded $10bn last year and will approach $13bn by 2011, according to a new study. This is equivalent to a CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) of nearly 4% over the five-year period.

Unlike traditional HVAC systems, the latest systems have to give managers the tools to perform sophisticated analyses, similar to business applications. "The goal is to develop intelligent HVAC solutions capable of providing facilities managers with the ability to base operational decisions on real-time performance data and uncover hidden costs," says the reportís principal author, ARC research analyst Jared Malarsky.

Factors driving the growth of the HVAC controls market include the need to upgrade ageing facilities and to operate them more efficiently. Building owners want to minimise the long-term lifecycle costs of running their properties - one of their largest expenses.

Integrated control systems are bringing transparency to this process, enabling strategic and efficient management of existing building assets. In addition, many smaller buildings that did not justify expensive, complex HVAC control systems in the past are now benefiting from lower-cost, simplified control systems.

There is a trend toward integrating enterprises across departments and buildings using Web services. Leading suppliers have spent the past two years developing such systems. While offering Web-based control will be less of a strategic differentiator going forward, there are still many related areas in which companies can distinguish themselves and improve their competitive advantage over peers, ARC suggests.

As well as upgrading existing HVAC control systems, there is a substantial business in new buildings around the world. From hotels in China, to shopping malls in Dubai, these clean-slate projects offer opportunities to implement advanced HVAC and related building automation services. Multinational corporations often prefer Web-based control systems that give them real-time access to information about their overseas facilities.

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