A glimpse into the future of the corporate energy management market

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The market for enterprise energy and building management is maturing, which means we are likely to see more consolidation and verticalisation over the next few years.
This and other trends in the corporate energy management sector were recently analysed by Joseph Aamidor, a senior product management consultant focused on smart buildings, IOT and energy, in an article for Greentech Media.
Aamidor highlighted four key trends that stood out at Greentech Media's Grid Edge World Forum 2017, a conference and exhibition focused on the distributed energy system of the future. They are: the coming consolidation, the growing diversity of delivery models, verticalisation, and improved clarity in the technology stack.
At present, the enterprise energy and building management market is still is very fragmented, with dozens, if not hundreds, of software firms offering energy and operational efficiency solutions to enterprises.
As markets mature, they typically consolidate into a few key players. However, while some acquisitions have already been made, there is a long way to go. The sheer volume of firms and complexity of offerings may slow down consolidation, Aamidor said.
Diversity of delivery models
Behind-the-meter firms still provide a mix of hardware, software and services. For instance, some offer software-only solutions, while others have their own hardware metering system with integrated software.
"While startups with their own hardware may be considered less attractive to venture capital, especially given the VC move away from cleantech, corporations looking to make strategic investments may find innovative hardware to be an advantage," Aamidor said.
What's more, some high-profile software-only firms have been unsuccessful, leading new entrants to consider adding their own hardware.
When startups first started offering cloud-based energy management software, they sold to any and all enterprises. But, as Aamidor explains, each building type requires different features. Most firms now focus on one or two verticals, at least initially.
Clarity in the technology stack
While many vendors have built the whole technology stack on their own, some companies are beginning to focus on solving just one aspect -- such as building automation, lighting control or interval metering -- and partnering with other firms that provide complementary pieces. This model is likely to continue to succeed, Aamidor believes.
"Vendors may be less focused on owning the end-user relationship and more focused on finding the most challenging problem to solve, and being best-of-breed at addressing it," he said.
All of these changes are positive for building owners and operators, who will find it easier to choose between the various different offerings in the market, and will be able to procure deeper and more effective solutions.
"It's hard to know if this is one, five or 10 years away, but the momentum is moving in the right direction," Aamidor concluded.
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