Response: Proptech vs. the Built Environment

May 20, 2024
The new chair of SIA's Built Environment Advisory Board further explains the reasons behind the name change

This article originally appeared in the May 2024 issue of Security Business magazine. Don’t forget to mention Security Business magazine on LinkedIn and @SecBusinessMag on Twitter if you share it.

Editor’s Note: This article is a response to Paul Rothman’s April 2024 editorial – Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing. Read it at

Security Business recently questioned why the Security Industry Association (SIA) renamed its Proptech Advisory Board to the Built Environment Advisory Board. The article was fair to question the name change, and when the new name idea first came up, I also had questions, as I was not fully familiar with the concept of the “built environment.”

The idea originated because as the Proptech Advisory Board engaged with building stakeholders, we recognized there is more than physical security and proptech technology in a building. For reference, we define proptech as the technology connecting people and information to simplify how commercial real estate is owned, sold, managed, operated, researched, rented, or bought and invested in.

An example is building automation technology which is neither physical security nor proptech, but if integrated in the right way, these three components can create a real end-to-end smart building solution.

The name change does not mean we are putting less focus on proptech, which is a fast-growing market, but it does mean that we are not limiting ourselves to the proptech part of the building when it comes to pulling in physical security.

Smart building is another term often used, but even this term is sometimes interpreted as being more focused on goals of energy management and building health. A good definition of a smart building is a building that integrates data from different systems together to create a better real estate space for owners, occupants, and the environment.

Having said all this, when “smart building” is more narrowly defined as being focused on building health and efficiency, that narrow interpretation does not fully encompass proptech and security. I also see smart building, proptech, and security as three separate markets for services and solutions, so from a market perspective, we kept looking for the right term.

We did need a more all-encompassing term and “built environment” was suggested and agreed to. The name change does not mean we are putting less focus on proptech, which is a fast-growing market, but it does mean that we are not limiting ourselves to the proptech part of the building when it comes to pulling in physical security.

Other organizations are now beginning to adopt a similar lexicon. The National Institute of Building Sciences just formed the AI for the Built Environment Interest Group, looking at how artificial intelligence can enhance the built environment. This is an example of the type of adjacent organization that would benefit from having a better understanding of the security solutions market from SIA and the untapped data our industry creates every day.

At the SIA Built Environment Advisory Board, a big component of our mission is to expand the knowledge and understanding in these areas of the built environment – particularly at that intersection of security, proptech, building automation, and smart building solutions.

We are a highly collaborative community, and we invite anyone who has an interest in or a passion for these topics to learn more about the Built Environment Advisory Board and join our group at

Dan Cremins is Senior Business Development Manager for Delta Electronics Americas. He was appointed Chair of the Security Industry Association’s Built Environment Advisory Board in March 2024. 

About the Author

Dan Cremins

Dan Cremins has more than 25 years of experience developing and marketing customer-driven technology solutions. Having started as an Application Engineer, Dan first spent his career at Tyco helping to design large-scale video systems for casinos, airports and highway traffic systems before moving on to product management roles leading the development of solutions still in the market today. He later led the product management team at March Networks focused on multisite enterprise applications in retail, banking and transportation. Dan joined March Networks, parent company of Delta Electronics in 2023 as part of a new Building Solutions team focused on smart and healthy building solutions. Dan has authored multiple industry articles and spoken at various industry educational events. He currently serves on the SIA Proptech Advisory Board Thought Leadership team.