Doha, Dubai have smartest buildings in the Middle East - survey

Doha, Dubai have smartest buildings in the Middle East  survey

Doha and Dubai have the “smartest” buildings in the Middle East, a new survey by Honeywell has found.

The study evaluated 620 buildings across Abu Dhabi, Dammam, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait City and Riyadh, including airports, hotels, hospitals, office and residential buildings and educational and retail facilities.

It assessed a building’s use of 15 technology assets to find out which systems are in place to make them green, safe and productive.

In the Qatari capital of Doha, the average score was found to be 70 out of a possible 100 while Dubai’s score stood at 65. Their high scores were attributed to the “presence of stronger building regulations in both cities, both past and present.”

Meanwhile Abu Dhabi came third regionally with a score of 48.

On average as well, the smart building score across the Middle East was found to be 48. However, the report also said that 70 per cent of building owners and managers believe safety is the most important aspect of a smart building - with upgrades in safety and security being planned for during the course of 2016.

“The survey results show that the region is well on its way to achieving its smart city goals, with Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi in particular serving as great examples for the region,” said vice president of Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions for the Middle East Pete Costa.

“The scores also reflect the local regulatory focus on building codes, which is a crucial driver behind creating and maintaining smarter buildings.

“Investing in smart building solutions can make facilities more connected and adaptive, reduce energy and operating costs, and improve the safety and quality of life for occupants and users.”

Overall, the region’s airports were found to have the best smart building technologies with an average score of 80.

Hotels had an average score of 57, followed by hospitals at 56, retail at 52 and private offices at 46.

Scoring the lowest were high-rise residential buildings at 45 and education facilities at 41, the study added.

“Smart buildings are the fundamental building blocks of smart cities,” said president for Honeywell Middle East, Russia and Central Asia Norm Gilsdorf.

“We spend 80 to 90 per cent of our lives in buildings; they are an integral part of a city’s ecosystem. With the advent of new technologies, the role buildings play is being redefined from a static environment to a more dynamic and interactive space that impacts the happiness, lifestyle, well-being and productivity of occupants.”

The study found that across the Middle East, buildings scored an average of 38 on asset capability. That includes investment in smart systems such as gas and water leakage detection, health and fire safety fixtures, energy-efficient components and emergency power systems.

Also, with the exception of airports, every industry vertical across all markets demonstrated poor integration of their building assets, the study claimed.

Up to 57 per cent of the 620 buildings surveyed had very limited integration across subsystems.

“Many Gulf Cooperation Council government initiatives clearly indicate how the importance of smart buildings has moved up the agenda,” the report said.

“In the GCC, the next generation of buildings will reflect contemporary global as well as regional challenges. This will include measures to conserve natural resources, and meet rising security and productivity needs,” it added.

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