Dubai and Doha house most ‘smart’ buildings in the region

Discussion during the release of smart building score by Honeywell.

A new survey of buildings across the Middle East shows that while Dubai and Doha top the list for cities with the “smartest” buildings, more than half of those surveyed in the region had only limited connectivity and integration of building systems.

The Honeywell Smart Building Score, a first-of-its-kind index designed by the US-based global technology firm Honeywell for the comprehensive assessment of any building, was used to evaluate 620 buildings across seven major Middle East cities: Abu Dhabi, Dammam, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Kuwait City and Riyadh.

The survey, developed by Honeywell with researchers Nielsen and global advisors Ernst & Young, assessed airports, hotels, hospitals, office and residential buildings along with educational and retail facilities.

The Smart Building Score evaluates a building’s use of 15 technology assets to find out which systems are in place to make them green, safe and productive — the three main indicators of smart buildings.  The systems’ overall capabilities, coverage of the facility and uptime are then factored in. Overall, Dubai and Doha led the scores across the board.

Key findings from the survey include:

The average smart building score in the Middle East was 48 out of a possible 100.

The average building score in Doha was 70 – more than 20 points above the regional average. The average score in Dubai was 65. Abu Dhabi came third, with a score of 48.

Overall, the region’s airports are leading the way with 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.

With the exception of airports, connectivity and system integration were found to be lagging. 57 percent of the buildings surveyed were found to lack efficiency-boosting technology that helps centralize facility information and streamline operations.

Across the Middle East, buildings scored only an average of 38 on asset capability. This number is influenced by investment in smart systems such as gas and water leakage detection, health and fire safety fixtures, energy-efficient components, and emergency power systems.

“Smart buildings are the fundamental building blocks of smart cities, and every city in the survey showed clear leadership in delivering examples of benchmark-setting smart buildings,” said Norm Gilsdorf, president for Honeywell’s Middle East, Russia and Central Asia regions.

“We spend 80 to 90 percent 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.”

Norm Gilsdorf, president for Honeywell’s Middle East, Russia and Central Asia regions.
Norm Gilsdorf, president for Honeywell’s Middle East, Russia and Central Asia regions.

“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,” adds Pete Costa, vice-president, Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions for the Middle East. “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.”