Preliminary results from a new study by market research firm Parks Associates, Dallas, revealed a light commercial marketplace that is interested in new monitoring and control solutions and could serve as a lucrative target market for emerging HVAC, security, energy management, and utility gateway applications.

“The Light Commercial Marketplace,” which includes results from a survey of quick and full-service restaurants, grocery stores, property managers, and churches during the fourth quarter of 2001, reveals high levels of interest from respondents in services such as HVAC control, security monitoring, energy management functions, and value-added offerings from energy service companies.

"Our interest in studying the light commercial market was born out of our examination of the residential market for telemetry gateways," says Kurt Scherf, Parks Associates' vice president of research. "Although a number of service providers will provide these 'e-services' in the residential area, we believe that many of these services will emerge first in the commercial and small business sectors."

Early survey results support this theory. Owners and managers showed a favorable inclination toward highly targeted applications, such as remote monitoring of refrigeration and cooking equipment in restaurants and grocery stores and remote monitoring of key environmental data, such as air quality and carbon monoxide, in offices, apartments, and condominiums.

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