Lux Research has seen various kinds of functional coatings with applications on internal walls, such as antimicrobial and photocatalytic coatings for indoor environment improvement, solar reflective and insulating coatings for building energy conservation, hydrophobic and hydrophilic coatings for easy maintenance, fire retardant coatings for safety, and many others. Many people believe that each of these coatings has its own segment and only competes with coatings with the same functions, but this is not the case. Actually, many functional coatings can compete in the same market segment. For example, many different kinds of functional coatings target educational buildings, and among these coatings are antimicrobial coatings, photocatalytic coatings, solar reflective coatings, magnetic dry-erase coatings, and even sound dampening coatings, each with differentiated value proposition. It’s important to note that these coatings are competing for limited wall surface in the same building type.
In the case of educational buildings, the competition among different coating technologies or functions is much more intense than the competition among coatings within the same technology family. We see two factors determining users’ choice among coating functions. One is users’ preference. For example, Harvard i-lab strongly emphasizes creativity and communication, so it adopted PULL to boost idea exchange. The other factor is whether there are other building materials or appliances having the same or similar function. For example, school buildings, with efficient insulating and acoustic materials and air purification systems, are more likely to rule out solar reflective coatings, sound dampening coatings, and photocatalytic coatings, while adding antimicrobial coatings with a different function from the buildings’ other components.
Those making functional coatings for building applications should not only identify target markets by considering whether the coating can serve a certain building segment, but also think about the competition from other function coatings as well as building components.
Jerrold Wang is a Research Analyst for the Sustainable Building Materials Intelligence service at Lux Research, which provides strategic advice and on-going intelligence for emerging technologies. For more information, visit the Lux Research site.