Smart Glass: Technologies and Global Markets

Published - Feb 2009| Analyst - Margareth Gagliardi| Code - AVM065A
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Report Highlights

  • The global market for smart glass applications was worth $1.0 billion in 2008, a figure that is expected to reach $1.9 billion in 2013, for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.8%.
  • Transportation applications dominate the market, generating $889.0 million in 2008. This should reach $1.6 billion in 2013, for a CAGR of 12.3%.
  • Construction applications have the second largest market share, worth $138.7 million in 2008. This should increase at a CAGR of 9.5% to reach $218.3 million in 2013.


Smart glass represents a category of technologically advanced products that, in recent years, has been gaining increasing interest for use in various applications, particularly in the housing and automotive sectors.
The main goal of this report is to provide insight into smart glass technology by outlining technological trends and supplying a market analysis of various smart glass-based products.  
The major objectives of this study are to:
  • Provide a detailed review of smart glasses, including descriptions of their types and fabrication technologies.
  • Highlight new technological developments in smart glass manufacturing and outline technical issues.
  • Review current fields of application for smart glass and investigate emerging applications.
  • Estimate current global markets for smart glass-based products by type, application, and region, and provide growth forecasts through 2013 for each market segment.
  • Identify important technological and market trends within each market segment.
  • Supply an updated review of current producers of smart glass.
  • Provide a description of current worldwide research activities and evaluate their impact on industry growth.
  • Determine trends in recently issued U.S. patents. 
The term smart glass indicates a group of chromogenic materials that change their light transmission properties when a voltage is applied. The origins of smart glass can be traced back to the year 1704, when the first electrochromic material was discovered. The first scientific studies related to these materials were initiated in the second half of the 1800s, and the first practical applications were commercialized during the 1930s.
Starting in the early 1970s, the number of research activities resulting in patent applications and issued patents increased rapidly, leading to the development of improved fabrication processes, advanced properties, and an increased number of applications spanning many industrial sectors. The ability of these materials to change opacity and/or color under an electrical charge has been exploited in numerous applications, including architecture, residential and commercial construction, interior design, museum artwork expositions, high-end appliances, advanced displays, automotive mirrors and privacy glass, just to name a few.
The market for smart glass-based products has reached $1.0 billion and continues to grow at a healthy rate.
The principal reason for doing this study is to establish a detailed market overview of the smart glass industry by quantifying sales of products containing smart glass, based on their types and fields of application.  There is also a need to evaluate the current status and future trends of the smart glass industry from a global standpoint. As use of this technology expands, information on regional production, sales, and type of suppliers becomes more valuable.
An equally important reason for performing this study is to provide technical insights into smart glass manufacturing by:
  • Supplying a review of fabrication methods
  • Identifying current technical issues 
  • Providing an overview of global research and development (R&D) activities related to smart glasses within both public and private organizations
  • Illustrating the latest technological developments
This information can assist companies in finding opportunities for process and productivity improvements, resulting in a positive impact on future market growth.
This study will be of primary interest to all companies that:
  • Manufacture, sell, and distribute smart glass and smart glass based products
  • Fabricate advanced glass products
  • Offer coating and lamination services for the glass industry
  • Supply electrochromic materials, liquid crystals, emulsions, films, and coloring chemicals
  • Provide solar and heat-control devices and related instrumentation
  • Offer technical and/or marketing services for architectural, residential, and commercial window installation
  • Provide exterior and interior design for light vehicles
Overall, this study applies to industry segments such as construction, transportation, aerospace, electronics, energy, and consumer products.
The study is mainly directed toward executives, directors, operations managers, sales and marketing managers, and strategic planners working within the above industries. Universities and research facilities may also find this study to be a good source of technical information regarding smart glass technology, materials, and applications, which can be used as a baseline for new or expanded R&D activities.
This study provides a current review of smart glass technology, including materials and fabrication processes, and identifies current and potential applications for this technology.
BCC Research determines the current market status of smart glass, defines trends, and presents forecasts of growth over the next 5 years.  Technological issues, including the latest process developments, are also discussed.
BCC Research analyzes the smart glass industry on a worldwide basis from the standpoint of both manufacturing and consumption.  In addition, this study examines commercial and public research activities currently underway in major regions of the world.  Research objectives and areas of interest related to materials, fabrication processes, and applications of smart glass are also outlined.  
More specifically, BCC’s market analysis is divided into five parts.
In the first part, a historical review of smart glass is provided, including an outline of recent events. In addition, the report supplies a detailed description of smart glass types and their fabrication processes. In this section, current and emerging applications for these products are also identified and divided by sector (e.g., construction, transportation, and electronics). 
The second part of the report entails a global market analysis for smart glass. Current technical issues are described, followed by a review of related, recent technological developments and patent abstracts. Global revenues (i.e., sales data in million of dollars) for smart glass are presented by product type, application, and region, with actual data referring to the years 2006 and 2007, and estimated data for the year 2008. 
This section is completed by a presentation of market growth trends based on industry growth, technological trends, price trends, and regional trends. Projected revenues for smart glass are reported, with forecast compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) for the period 2008 through 2013. 
In the third part, covering global industry structure, the report provides a complete list of suppliers of smart glass with a description of their products. The analysis includes a description of the geographical distribution of these firms and an evaluation of production versus consumption for smart glass, always from a geographical standpoint. Detailed company profiles of the top industry players and relative market share for the five leading companies are also provided.
In the fourth part of this study, an analysis of industry competitiveness is performed. This analysis encompasses a review of global research and development activities, with profiles of the most important R&D players divided by region, and an outline of the most critical factors contributing to industry competitiveness.
The fifth and final section includes an extensive analysis of U.S. patents, with a summary of patents related to smart glass materials, fabrication processes, and applications, issued during the period 2006 through 2008. Patent analysis is performed by region, country, assignee, patent category, application, and material type. 
The technology section of this report is based on information derived from technical literature, related BCC reports, professional journals, the author’s field experience, and online sources.
Global market analysis was performed by analyzing 58 manufacturers and developers of smart glass, accounting for at least 95% of the global market. Data for each company were obtained by thoroughly analyzing Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, Internet websites, annual reports, industry directories, industry magazines and catalogs, government sources, and other public sources. 
Additional data were obtained from the direct contribution of primary sources, including: company executives, managers, engineers and other technical personnel representing manufacturers and developers of smart glass; representatives of academia and trade associations; and industry market analysts.  
Secondary sources of information include:
  • EDGAR – U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Filings
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  • European patent office
  • Company websites
  • Company annual reports
  • Thomas registers
  • Moody’s directory
  • S & P industry survey
  • Dun & Bradstreet Business Directory
  • American Ceramic Society publications
  • Foreign Chamber of Commerce directories
  • Foreign stock exchange listings

In addition to utilizing the above primary and secondary sources, market growth trends and forecasts were compiled by gaining additional insights from relevant financial and market information, relevant BCC reports, and the author’s own in-depth and comprehensive analysis of the collected information.

Margareth Gagliardi has 25 years of experience in the field of advanced materials, specializing in ceramic formulations, materials processing, and new product development. She has held management positions in both manufacturing and R&D within U.S. and European firms producing electronic, mechanical, chemical, and structural components. She holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an M.S. in Ceramic Engineering. She has authored several BCC Research studies, including the following which are related to advanced materials, thin and thick film technologies, and glasses:
  • SMC037D Sputtering Targets and Sputtered Films: Technology and Markets, 2008
  • NAN043A Nanofibers: Technologies and Developing Markets, 2007
  • AVM052A Aerogels, 2006
  • AVM054A Bioactive Glasses, Ceramics, Composites, Other Advanced Materials, 2006
  • SMC061A Atomic Layer Deposition, 2006
  • SMC057A Thin Films: Raw Materials, Technology and Applications, 2005
  • AVM046A Thick Film Devices, Processes, and Applications, 2004
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The information developed in this report is intended to be as reliable as possible at the time of publication and of a professional nature. This information does not constitute managerial, legal, or accounting advice; nor should it serve as a corporate policy guide, laboratory manual, or an endorsement of any product, as much of the information is speculative in nature. The author assumes no responsibility for any loss or damage that might result from reliance on the reported information or from its use.

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