Discussion, debate and innovation make Smart Buildings 2017 a show to remember

Visitors poured through the doors of Birmingham’s NEC to ensure the go-to event for the smart buildings industry lived up to its billing.

Smart Buildings 2017, sponsored by National KNX, took place on 10-12 October as part of UK Construction Week, which boasted an 11% increase in visitor numbers compared to last year’s show. UK Construction Week covered nine trade shows dedicated to the built environment all under one roof and attracted a total of 33,697 of the construction industry’s experts over the course of its three days.

The excitement that surrounds smart technology and how it can revolutionise buildings meant there was plenty for visitors to enjoy, with several exhibitors showcasing brand new products, engaging talks in the various seminar theatres, as well as an inaugural awards event to celebrate the huge impact smart technology has already had.

Leading names on the show floor included Bosch, whose ‘Smart Living’ display proved a popular attraction, as well as Proactive AV and Theben, both of which had products featured in the UK Construction Week Innovation Trail. VERDE LED, making its UK Construction Week debut, showcased its new state-of-the-art mobile showroom, the VERDEBUS, displaying the company’s high performance LED luminaires, Asset Mapping demonstrated its shared digital workspace platform, and Fibar Group promoted its wireless smart home system, Fibaro.

John Keohane, CEO of VERDE LED, commented: “VERDE LED were delighted to be part of the Smart Buildings Show, which gave us access to high quality leads. We managed to meet key decision makers in large multinational and government organisations who are often extremely hard to get in contact with. The show was extremely well run and we were delighted with the decision to take part for the first time this year showcasing our energy saving LED lighting solutions.”

Another company that enjoyed show success was Atamate, which provides smart building software for commercial and domestic buildings. Marketing Director Helen Peach said: “UK Construction Week provided us with some great leads, and the networking we did with other exhibitors as well as attendees will help to move the business forward. There was a high quality of attendees keen to engage with us and hear from us about our product and services. We would definitely consider exhibiting next year.”

The Smart Buildings Hub hosted a number of absorbing seminar talks and discussions. Highlights included Graham Brown of Envelope Architects who took a look ahead to the smart cities of 2020, and a six-strong panel focused its attention on mental health in the work place and how smart technology is helping to ensure that staff wellbeing is being looked after.

Nokia’s Frank Mullany explained why 5G wireless is set to be a game changer for the digital infrastructure of the future home, and Jas Clare of Helvar examined some lighting control systems in smart building projects.

Of course, a show like this would not be complete without some industry awards and it was Voltimum that provided them with the first ever Smart Solutions Awards, sponsored by the Electrical Contractors’ Association. BBC TV presenter Steph McGovern handed out prizes to installers, manufacturers and wholesalers that have made their mark in the smart technology industry in the past year. Winners included Smartcomm, which took home the ‘Best Project’ award for its work at Riverwalk House on the banks of the River Thames, ABB, which won the ‘Best Manufacturer’ category, and QMotion, whose impressive QiS Roller Shades took the honours for ‘Best Product’.

Daniel Tovey, Editor at Voltimum UK, said: “With a focus on innovation and efficiency in the built environment, UK Construction Week was the ideal platform for us to host our first ever Smart Solutions Awards. We are delighted with the efforts of the organisers to help the event run smoothly and to line up Steph McGovern as our host for the evening. We have had some fantastic feedback from attendees and are looking forward to next year’s ceremony!”

Iain Gordon, President of KNX UK, said: “Smart Buildings 2017 provided the perfect platform to promote the KNX standard and meet with new and existing partners. Footfall was consistent across the three days and the Smart Buildings Hub offered valuable insight into the opportunities and challenges associated with the growing smart buildings industry.

“As the headline sponsor of the show, we had a lot of interest in both our stand and seminar sessions, fielding visitor enquiries from across the industry and offering advice on using KNX to enhance building control.”

With over 40% of this year’s exhibitors already rebooked, Smart Buildings 2018 will return to Birmingham NEC as part of UK Construction Week next year and will also include a brand new section dedicated to lighting.

UK Construction Week 2018 will take place on 9-11 October 2018.

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