Global Markets and Technologies for Smart Glass -- Focus on Construction

Published - May 2012| Analyst - Margareth Gagliardi| Code - AVM082A
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Report Highlights

  • The global market for smart glass-based products increased from $883.1 million in 2009 to $1.2 billion in 2010, and was valued at nearly $1.6 billion in 2011. The market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.6% from 2011 to 2016, reaching global revenues of nearly $4.2 billion in 2016.
  • The construction segment reached $92.7 million in 2010 and $113.3 million in 2011. This segment is expected to reach $224.3 million by 2016, a CAGR of 14.6%.
  • The smart glass products in the construction segment are frequently used in commercial buildings for privacy glass. This market reached reached $69.8 million in 2010 and $79.7 million in 2011. The market is expected to reach $129.5 million by 2016, a CAGR of 10.6%.

INTRODUCTION

STUDY GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

The origins of smart glass can be traced back to the year 1704, when the first electrochromic material was discovered, but interest in smart glass technology only started to gain significant momentum in the early 1970s, when the number of research activities resulting in patent applications and issued patents increased rapidly.  This led to the development of improved fabrication processes, advanced properties and an increased number of applications spanning many industrial sectors. 

BCC published its first report on smart glass in February 2009.  Since then, the market for these materials and related products has continued to expand.  New technological developments and industry changes have also taken place.

The primary goal of this report is to provide new insights into current smart glass technology, as well as to outline technological trends and offer an updated market analysis for these materials. 

Specifically, the major objectives of this study are:

  • To provide an update review of smart glasses, including a description of their types and fabrication technologies.
  • To highlight new technological developments in smart glass manufacturing while outlining technical issues. 
  • To review current fields of application for smart glass and investigate emerging applications.
  • To estimate current global markets for smart glass based on type, application and region, with growth forecasts through 2016 for each market segment.
  • To identify important technology and market trends within each market segment.
  • To offer an updated review of current producers of smart glass.
  • To determine trends in U.S. patents issued during the period from 2009 to 2011.

REASONS FOR DOING THIS STUDY

The term smart glass refers to a group of chromogenic materials that change their light transmission properties when voltages are applied.  The ability of these materials to change opacity and/or color when voltages are applied has been exploited in numerous applications, including architectural use, residential and commercial construction, interior design, museum artwork expositions, high-end appliances, advanced displays, automotive mirrors and privacy glass. 

In 2008, the market for smart glass-based products was valued at more than $1 billion.  After several years of healthy growth, the market for smart glass experienced a slowdown in growth as a result of the global economic downturn in 2008 and 2009.  Since BCC’s last report in 2009, global economic conditions have gradually improved.  In addition, smart glass fabrication technologies have continued to evolve.  Several new applications have been developed, whereas others are ready to exit the development stage and enter commercialization.

The principal reason for doing this study is to present a current assessment of the smart glass industry by focusing on markets and technologies, as well as to outline future trends and key developments. 

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 smart glass-based products expands and new fields of application emerge, information on regional production, sales and supplier types becomes more valuable. 

An equally important reason for undertaking this study is to provide technical insights into smart glass manufacturing by:

  • Providing a review of fabrication technologies.
  • Identifying current technical issues.
  • Providing an overview of the main global research and development (R&D) activities related to smart glass, resulting in the issuance of patents.
  • Illustrating the latest technological developments. 

This information can assist companies in identifying opportunities for process and productivity improvements, resulting in a positive impact on future market growth. 

INTENDED AUDIENCE

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 applications for the automobile industry.

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 previously mentioned 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.  Librarians of technical information and research centers can also use this report to provide critical data to product managers, market analysts, researchers and other professionals needing detailed and updated analysis of the smart glass industry.   

SCOPE OF REPORT

This study provides an updated review of smart glass technology, including materials and fabrication processes, and identifies current and emerging applications for this technology.   

BCC Research determines the current market status of smart glass, defines trends and presents growth forecasts for the next five years.  The smart glass industry is also analyzed on a global basis from the standpoint of both manufacturing and consumption.  In addition, technological issues, including key events and the latest process developments, are discussed. 

More specifically, BCC’s market analysis is divided into eight sections.

The first section provides a historical review of smart glass technology, including an outline of recent events.  The report also offers a description of current and emerging applications for smart glass.

The second section provides a technological review of smart glass types, materials and their fabrication processes.  This section concludes with an analysis of the most important technological developments and improvements since 2009, including examples of significant patents recently issued or applied for.   

The third section entails a global market analysis of smart glass.  Global revenues (i.e., sales data in millions of dollars) are presented by product type, application and region, with actual data referring to the years 2009 and 2010, and estimates for 2011.

This section concludes with a presentation of market growth trends based on industry growth, technological trends and regional trends.  Projected revenues for smart glass are reported, with forecast compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) for the period 2011 through 2016. 

Next, three optional sections are offered.  These sections provide a more focused discussion of the smart glass market for the three main sectors in which smart glass finds application: transportation and aerospace, construction and electronics and others.  In these optional sections, additional details by sector on applications, current market breakdown, industry growth and key trends and developments are provided, in addition to a market summary for the last three years and growth projections for the next five years for each application.  Also included are market data by smart glass type, material and region for each sector evaluated.

In the next section, which covers global industry structure, the report offers a list of the leading manufacturers of smart glass, along with descriptions of their products.  The analysis includes a description of the geographical distribution of these suppliers and an evaluation of smart glass production versus consumption, always from a geographical standpoint.  Detailed company profiles of the top industry players are also provided.

The final section includes an extensive U.S. patent analysis, with a summary of patents related to smart glass materials, fabrication processes and applications issued during the period from 2009 through 2011.  Patent analysis is performed by region, country, assignee, patent category, application and smart glass type.

METHODOLOGY and INFORMATION SOURCES

To analyze the overall market and market segments, both primary and secondary research methodologies were used to obtain market data.

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 65 manufacturers and developers of smart glass, accounting for at least 95% of the global market.  Data were obtained from the direct contribution of primary sources, including company executives, managers, engineers and other technical personnel representing manufacturers, developers and users of smart glass; representatives of academia and trade associations; and industry market analysts.

Additional 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. 

Secondary sources of information include, but are not limited to:

  • U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Filings .
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  • European Patent Office.
  • Company websites.
  • Company annual reports.
  • Thomas Register.
  • Moody’s Directory.
  • S & P Industry Survey.
  • Dun and Bradstreet Business Directory.
  • American Ceramic Society Publications.
  • American Chemical Society Publications.
  • Foreign Chamber of Commerce Directories.
  • Foreign Stock Exchange Listings.

In addition to utilizing these 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.

ANALYST CREDENTIALS

Margareth Gagliardi, BCC’s Chief Research Analyst in Advanced Materials, has more than 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. 

Ms. Gagliardi has authored numerous BCC Research studies, including the following that are related to advanced materials, thin- and thick-film technologies, and glasses:

  • SMC057B Global Markets, Technologies and Materials for Thin and Ultrathin Films, 2012
  • AVM018G Rare Earths: Worldwide Markets, Applications, Technologies, 2012
  • SMC037E Sputtering Targets and Sputtered Films: Technology and Markets, 2011
  • SMC070A Paper-Thin Displays: Technologies and Global Markets, 2011
  • EGY068A Supercapacitors: Technology Developments and Global Markets, 2010
  • AVM014D Ceramic Matrix Composites: Technologies and Global Markets, 2010
  • NAN043B Nanofibers: Technologies and Developing Markets, 2010
  • AVM069A Photocatalysts: Technologies and Global Markets, 2010
  • SMC061B Atomic Layer Deposition, 2010
  • AVM046B Thick-Film Devices, Processes and Applications, 2010
  • AVM018F Rare Earths: Worldwide Markets, Applications, Technologies, 2009
  • AVM052B Aerogels, 2009

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DISCLAIMER

The information developed in this report is intended to be of a professional nature and is as reliable as possible at the time of publication.  This information does not constitute managerial, legal or accounting advice, nor should it be considered 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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