The growing number of “internet of things” connected devices are transforming the way commercial and industrial industries operate. From product development, to point of sale, to customer service, the influx of data gives businesses the insight they need to be better. One crucial area that is often overlooked emerges within business structures themselves. Traditionally seen as sunk costs, energy, maintenance, and repair expenses are necessary for operation. Thanks to IoT, internal teams and contractors can gain insight into the health of their facilities and equipment to prioritize, validate, and control these large costs. This wave of technology and services acts as a bridge between businesses and facility contractors while improving communication, efficiency, and, ultimately, experience. Below are three trends that are transforming the way businesses and facility contractors are interacting during facility diagnostics and HVAC troubleshooting:
Real-time data: Instant Understanding of a Building’s Performance
HVAC contractors play a critical role in preserving customer comfort during months of extreme hot and cold temperatures. Most businesses don’t recognize an issue is occurring until there is an unwelcomed change in temperature or a unit begins making strange noises. Technicians often arrive on-site with only an employee’s testimonial on the issue and need to run multiple HVAC troubleshooting tests to determine the root cause. With Real-time, submetered data available on mobile devices, users can visualize the facility’s health – down to individual pieces of equipment – and identify where an issue is occurring, from anywhere. This eliminates guesswork by identifying the issue’s source pre-dispatch and optimizes the truck roll. The technician can also use real-time data to check the HVAC status post-repair, thus validating the repair and confirming the equipment is operating correctly.
Predictive Maintenance: Calendar to Performance-Based Maintenance
Maintenance for large facility equipment has traditionally been completed as advised on a pre-set cadence; for example, seasonal HVAC inspections or repairs are requested after an issue occurs. New predictive maintenance technology, like the HVAC Scope Tool, enables users to align maintenance or repairs with individual equipment performance. The tool gives users the ability to automate tests on any number of units across a portfolio of sites, and provides data on the core functionality of each RTU at each stage; stages 1 thru 3 HEATING/COOLING, FAN ON/OFF, Duct temperature, etc. Units are benchmarked against similar units, and the data can be used to anticipate when and what kind of maintenance will be necessary – eliminating unnecessary truck rolls associated with a seasonal schedule. Similar technology trends will continue to elevate calendar-based maintenance to a performance-based structure. By customizing and optimizing maintenance schedules for a business backed by their data, the relationship and communication between the business and contractor are significantly strengthened.
Machine Learning: Improving Operations Automatically
Automation and controls are fairly common IoT concepts that enhance HVAC performance and overall facility optimization. Greater value can be derived from automation designed to become more optimized over time. Smart algorithms use granular data to continuously improve a facility through machine learning. As more data is collected and analyzed over time, smart algorithms identify anomalies and changes in equipment behavior and can alter operations automatically for the better. The business benefits from facility optimization and contractors can be confident that any failures or performance issues will be identified.
These trends, paired with quality data, enable everyone involved to understand HVAC health and make more informed decisions. Transparency removes the guesswork which can often result in miscommunication between internal facilities managers and contractors. These tools will continue to strengthen interactions by increasing efficiency, and providing maintenance and repair quality assurance for both parties – a true win-win!