Enabling Predictive Maintenance through Smart Surfaces

LAIIER's vision is to become the 'Intel Inside' of smart buildings. Embedding our technology into the structure and infrastructure of the built environment

On October 6th, I gave a talk at the Smart Buildings Show in London about LAIIER technology enabling predictive maintenance with smart surfaces that install like stickers and tape. Beyond sharing what LAIIER is currently doing in the smart building sector,  it was an opportunity to talk about LAIIER's vision of scaling printed sensor technology in smart building construction. 

LAIIER's vision is to become the 'Intel Inside' of the smart building. Embedding our technology into the floors, walls, pipes, and infrastructure of the built environment. The key to realizing this vision is becoming essential to the digitization and market growth of our largest customers. We have worked over the last 18 months to develop the ecosystem, relationships, approach and IP to make this inevitable.

LAIIER's future success and exit potential depend on our ability to make deep and irreversible connections with the materials and chemical industries. This happens in the context of dynamic industries and two major stages of engagement as described below.

Construction, IoT, and the Materials and Chemical Industries

Construction is the largest industry on earth, with a chronic productivity problem. This $10T industry is well aware of the challenges that it faces and is investing heavily in IoT and connectivity to increase productivity and margins, making IoT in construction worth $16B by 2024. Meanwhile, the IoT industry has recognized the potential in the smart building and construction industry with smart buildings to be worth $106B by 2024 with building automation growing rapidly at 42% CAGR.

Becoming the 'Intel Inside' of the smart building slide

But there is an important gap between the ultimate demand of the construction and IoT industries. In order to serve these opportunities, two things must happen. Sensor costs must plummet, and installation must be infinitely easier or non-existent. Sensor technology must install itself as the structure is built. The chemical and materials industry is perfectly positioned to take advantage of this opportunity with the right partnerships.

Early in LAIIER's creation, we identified that the companies which produced the conductive inks and substrates we consumed, also manufactured building and construction materials. They made two disparate sets of ingredients for a profoundly impactful suite of digital products, but lacked the competence of IP to make the synergistic connections between them, which is where LAIIER creates exceptional value.

LAIIER's Severn sensor on a pipe

From retrofitted 'stickers' to Smart Building Materials

LAIIER is launching easily retrofitted products, which create quick scale, demonstrate efficacy and generate revenue. The insights from this stage help us to onboard partners in the modular stage.

Companies like SurePods, Blox, Durapods, B&T, and trade groups like the Modular Building Institute demonstrate that there is a significant market in manufactured bathrooms, offices, and hotel rooms. This modular approach has the advantage of making the installation of our technology significantly easier than within the construction of a traditional building.

The final phase in our development is the inclusion of our technology into construction materials themselves where we're onboarding these future partners in two stages, as discussed below.

Demand creation for specialty products from the materials and chemical industries

In order to be successful in our long term strategy, LAIIER must create value for chemical and materials companies in a way that aligns with their current business models and objectives, which is almost exclusively based on the consumption of materials.

In the first stage, LAIIER must create demand for specialty materials in order for our partners in the chemical and materials industry to be excited about what we are creating.

Our products consume electrically conductive ink, adhesives and substrates for a set of new use cases which expand on current markets and grow new ones. Our focus on smart building (rather than automotive or textiles) has the added advantage of consuming large amounts of material, which is highly attractive.

Companies like Henkel, PPG, DuPont and 3M are all manufacturing specialty materials that we can leverage in our solutions. The strength of our relationships with these companies demonstrates their shared vision in the first stage of our evolution. Their expectation is for us to consume large amounts of material and grow their business into new use cases.

As evidence, they are generous in their support of this effort, providing extensive technical resources, samples, industry connections and internal advocacy in their organizations. As LAIIER scales we will embed ourselves with partners by creating a revenue stream of new use cases and opportunities that our partners will be incentivized to grow and market.

Factory for electronics manufature

Deep integration into high-margin digital-enabled products

LAIIER will grow in three major phases, from 'Retrofitting', to 'Modular Installation', to finally 'Smart Building Materials' where we aim to become the Intel Inside of the smart building. The goal is to embed our IP into the very materials that we construct our buildings from. We'll work with our partners to create a smart skin, which makes a building smart as it is built. The realization of this vision will bridge the gap between Construction, IoT, and the Chemical and Building Materials industries, creating exceptional value.

LAIIER will bring this vision to life through IP and partnerships. In Stage 1, LAIIER is leveraging the speciality materials of partners like Henkel, PPG, DuPont, and 3M. In Stage 2, LAIIER will connect these speciality materials to the business units at these multinationals which already manufacture building materials. Instead of creating a retrofitted water leak sensing sticker, we will create a building membrane with integrated water leak sensing.

In creating smart building materials, LAIIER is creating demand for speciality materials, opening new use cases, and most critically, creating a digital lever to avoid commodification and dramatically increase margins. The combination of these three components will make LAIIER an indispensable component of billion-dollar business units. Our IP and connectivity is the critical, single bridge between two sets of commodity products (speciality materials and construction materials) and a set of high-margin, digitally-enabled smart construction products.

There is good evidence that these companies already recognize this trend, with internal business units dedicated to building this bridge with startup collaborations. Henkel's MRO 4.0 team, DuPont's Smart Materials Business and AkzoNobel's Surface Activation team are all great examples, formed within the last 18 months.

Large construction site with cranes

The digitization of a $4T industry

The chemical and materials industry is worth almost $4T and like construction is on a drive towards digitization. Digitization for chemicals and materials is generally seen within three buckets, material R&D, sales and marketing process, and use cases. LAIIER is exclusively focused on the development of new digitally-enabled use cases for this massive industry.


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