“Switchable glass” is a widely used term for “Smart Glass”. Smart glass is a type of glass whose light transmission properties undergo change due to external stimulus like heat, light, or voltage. Smart glass was first introduced in the year 1986, however, this product witnessed rapid commercialization post 2000. The popularity of smart glass can be owed to its efficiency, reliability, and durability.
Since, smart glass exhibits changing light transmission properties, it is also known as magic glass or even dimmable glass. Smart glass is also used for manufacturing smart windows that have the capacity to control the amount of light that passes through them.
Earlier, the application scope of smart glass was confined to only a few specific types of experiments. However, nowadays smart glass is widely applied in several sectors like electronics, architecture, power generation, and transportation.
Segmentation of the Global Smart Glass Market
The global smart glass market is segmented on the basis of application, technology, and geography. On the basis of application, the global smart glass market is segmented into electronics, architectural, power generation, transportation, and others. As per market estimates, the architectural segment holds that largest share in the application segment of the global smart glass market. The architectural segment consists of residential and commercial building applications.
Since, smart glass does not let light and heat to easily pass through, these are mostly used for making partitions, windows, skylights, and doors in residential, and commercial buildings. The transportation segment in the global smart glass market also holds significant growth potential. In the aviation sector, the Boeing Company was the first to introduce the trend of adopting smart windows. In order to ensure luxurious passenger experience, the Boeing Company had introduced smart windows in the 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
There are two types of technologies that are incorporated in the global smart glass market which are Passive smart glass technology, and Active smart glass technology. Under these technology types, passive smart glass responds to the external stimulus of heat and light, and active smart glass responds to voltage acting as a stimulus. The goods that are manufactured by the passive smart glass technology are generally controlled by the inherent and natural properties; whereas, the active smart glass technology products are dynamically controlled by simple switch.
Global Smart Glass Market to Witness High Commercialization in the Forthcoming Years
It is expected that the global smart glass market will witness high degree of commercialization within the forthcoming five years. The trend in commercialization will mainly pertain to factors like better cost and working efficiency, multiplied and varied applications, and integration of advanced material. The prominent growth driving factors are low cost of maintenance, supportive government legislations and regulations, and high degree of energy efficiency.
The striking feature of smart glass is that it is highly energy efficient. This is a major factor that is driving the governments of several countries to encourage the extensive use of this glass product. The maintenance cost of smart glass is low because it possesses the inherent properties of auto dimming, and self cleaning. Thus, the benefits of using smart glass products are way more than the investments that are incurred on them.
Today, the automotives and architecture sectors are the largest consumers of smart glass products in the global smart glass market. These products are also applied in industry verticals like that of solar power generation, and electronics.
It is also expected that the healthcare sector will start using smart glass products in order to provide services to patients that are healthy and cost effective.
Global Smart Glass Market Led by North America and Europe
In terms of manufacturing capacities, and consumption, Europe and the North America are the largest contributors in the global smart glass market. At present, the global smart glass market is led by North America. And according to market forecasts, by the year 2020, Europe will be a strong competitor for North America in the global smart glass market.
The demand for smart glass products in the European market will be higher as compared to their demand in the North American market on account of improved government building constructions standards. The demand for smart glass products in the Rest of the World and the Asia Pacific is primarily driven by rapid industrialization.
Some of the prominent players operating in the global smart glass market include SPD Control System Corporation, Asahi Glass Corporation, Saint-Gobain S.A., Corning Incorporated, Smartglass International, Hitachi Chemical Co. Ltd., Research Frontiers Incorporated, PPG Industries Inc, View Inc., and Research Frontiers Incorporated.
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