SK Holdings, a global investment holding company, will make a full-fledged entry into the market of smart glass emerging as an energy-saving solution.
SK Holdings announced on January 30 that it invested US$100 million in California-based smart glass maker Kinestral. Through this investment, the company also secured a business right to produce and sell smart glass in China. SK Holdings has become the only Korean company that invested in a global smart glass company.
Smart glass can control its color and transparency through electrical actions. It is based on the principle where manual and automatic control darkens the color of the smart glass, blocking light and heat. Smart glass consumes 30 percent less energy in heating and cooling than ordinary glass and blocks ultraviolet rays 99%. Not only Public facilities such as airports and hospitals but also Facebook and Netflix headquarters introduced smart glass as it generates strong social value creating effects such as reducing the use of electric power through heat insulation effects and blocking ultraviolet rays.
Even if its use is limited to commercial buildings in North America and Europe, the smart glass market is estimated at eight trillion won per year. Global market research company Research and Market predicted that the smart glass market would grow to about 15 trillion won by 2026. If smart glass is applied automobiles among others in the future, its growth will further accelerate.
Established in 2010, Kinestral is one of the three major global smart glass producers. The company has differentiated technologies such as increasing the size of glass while maintaining a discoloration rate much faster than other products. The company plans to expand its production volume to five million square meters which will be able to earn company first place in the smart glass industry by 2025, through facility expansion and new plant construction in line with growing demand amid eco-friendly trends.
What SK is focusing on with respect to smart glass is not only energy efficiency but also scalability to the internet of things (IoT) industry. This is because smart glass has so much room to grow as a data platform inside buildings through connection with IP addresses. That's why advanced ICT companies like Softbank investing in Uber and WeWork are massively investing in smart glass.