Global smart glass market size is expected to reach USD 4.71 billion by 2022. The technology has gained prominence owing to its ability of energy conservation, thermal & acoustic insulation along with elegant 3D designer proposition. Residential and automotive demand has witnessed a dynamic phase change in functionalities from legacy weather protection features to advanced energy conserving and seclusion apparatus.
Smart glass is incorporated with photovoltaic cells that in the backend conserve energy and supply power to windows, in case of liquid crystal display windows and sun roofs. Sophisticated interfaces have been developed which consider the entire range of PDLC in fabrication of contemporary tech gadgets. Dynamic façade provision capabilities of electrochromic glass have revolutionized the aerospace, defense and automotive markets.
In European Union territories as well as in the U.S., the government has made plans to regulate smart glass electronics equipment adoptability and have directed the same to Department of Transport; for example, Google Glass is foreseen to be banned in the UK due to mounting concerns pertaining to reckless driving. Further, in the residential sector, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and NZEB (Nearly zero-energy buildings) have laid certain discretionary regulations to augment green building construction and consequently ensuring environmental friendly material use. Specific automotive laws bound the application of tint and glazes on the automotive windows to maintain a certain degree of transparency for security concerns. Presence of viable substitutes such as chemical glazes and decals & coatings may hamper smart glass industry growth.
U.S. smart glass market by application 2012 - 2022 (USD Million)
The transportation and aerospace sector is projected to emerge as a major application segment, contributing to market revenue. Commercialization of suspended particle device products has unveiled numerous opportunities, such as installations in side-view windows, rear-view mirrors and in sun roofs. This product is foreseen to be installed in side-view mirrors, rear view mirror, automobile doors and in the sun-roofs.
However, the growth in the automotive sector is foreseen to be hampered up to a certain level by cheaper substitutes such as tint and glazing solutions that provide adequate seclusion benefits. Each offering seeks specific application domain depending on the geography where its deployed, its cost, its heat & light insulation features and its bio-energy conserving characteristics.
Suspended particle devices accounted for substantial market share in 2014, contributing to over 35% of the overall revenue; the segment is expected to witness a gradual increase in market share over the forecast period. Increasing per capita income, recovering global recession phase and growing penetration of enterprise wearable devices across the globe has increased the reception for solicitations among sophisticated technology enthusiasts in both construction and transportation sectors.
The electrochromic glass market growth can be attributed to dynamic applicability in automotive and domestic sectors, for example, protecting objects under museum display cases and picture frames from the damaging effects of the visible wavelengths of artificial light and UV rays, rear-view mirrors in automobiles. Surging penetration of luxury automobile in Asia Pacific along with elevated income levels are major drivers for electrochromic technology growth.
The substantial growth prospects of smart glass market can be attributed to surging eminence of green energy initiatives, such as green buildings and eco-friendly, non-electric technologies, such as thermochromics. Administrative support through financial benefits & tax initiatives globally is also stimulating industry growth. Architecturally advanced construction philosophies incorporating large windows installation in majority of buildings is projected to drive growth in Europe. Owing to these advantages, it has been estimated that the European smart glass market will outpace the North American industry over the forecast period.
New construction is anticipated to be more responsive to these solutions as compared to refurbishment industry. This can be attributed to contemporary architectural philosophies emphasizing on increased window frame and atmospheric connectivity module inclusions such as roof of attics and lobbies to be framed by increased adoption, specifically electrochromic and PDLC (polymer dispersed liquid crystal) technologies.
Competitive Market Share Insights
Supplier capability of forward integration is limited owing to lack of specific patents and technical expertise. Consequently, the ecosystem is expected to be highly competitive, with each vendor striving to supply superior goods by differentiating them either on quality or cost. Since this technology is significantly costly as compared to its legacy counterpart, it is imperative to ensure a good value proposition in order to gain smart glass market share.
Saint-Gobain is one of the leading vendors; it provides innovative solutions to the challenges of energy efficiency, growth, and environmental protection. Key industry participants also include DuPont, View Inc., Corning, PPG Industries, and Asahi Corporation.
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