The HVAC ‘Internet of Things’ Revolution
By Paul Rauker
While the “Internet of Things” (or IoT) ecosystem is still in its infancy, early adopters in the commercial building industry are beginning to understand the benefits and are blazing a new trail with regard to the future of building automation systems, efficiency, comfort and reliability. And intelligent HVAC systems are leading the way. (Editor’s note: The Internet of Things encompasses linking components or systems with network connectivity to the Internet and enabling them to send and receive data over a network.)
The benefits of IoT impact everyone from building owners and facility managers to specifying engineers and contractors (mechanical and service). The technology allows devices to communicate without human-to-human or human-to-computer involvement, helping retail stores make more efficient and productive use of their assets and building processes.
With intelligent HVAC systems providing 24/7 real-time, remote monitoring and actionable analytics, the systems act as a “force multiplier,” allowing management teams to accomplish more in terms of building and equipment control, while effectively reducing operating costs. How does it work related to retail stores?
With the integration of IoT in HVAC equipment, such as rooftop units, stores can harness big data and put that information to work at speeds that were not previously possible to achieve. This creates intelligent systems that share actionable data for system optimization, without building owners having to go through significant integration efforts.
The technology works by seamlessly connecting rooftop units (as an example) to the cloud and securely aggregating, filtering and sharing data, unlocking efficiencies hidden in the data. Once the operational data has been extracted from the rooftop devices and sent to the cloud, the intercommunication between machines via the cloud incorporates external data, such as weather and utility rates. This shifts the rooftop unit from a reactive piece of equipment to one that is predictive and can adjust in the most energy-efficient way.
The IoT ecosystem enables endless opportunities and connections and has the ability to transform the commercial real estate and retail stores’ fundamentals — from the way business is conducted to how buildings are operated, to setting performance benchmarks and redefining how efficiency is measured.
HVAC equipment that harnesses the power of IoT eliminate issues that accompany reactive systems. These intelligent systems enable unprecedented efficiencies that were impossible to achieve until now. They take into account utility rates and other external factors and aggregate data to modify the system operation, ensuring it operates at the most opportune times and without sacrificing system quality or occupant comfort.
In addition, intelligent HVAC systems summarize and communicate alarms, make recommendations, recognize HVAC equipment maintenance issues and monitor comfort index calculations, and deliver the information via an automated analysis. With this easy-to-use, actionable data, stores will effectively be able to achieve maximum efficiencies across all building applications.
Higher Level of Benchmarking
Intelligent systems take the guesswork out of asset management. The power and performance of every unit can be measured, allowing decision-makers to benchmark their equipment and buildings against other buildings of similar size and use.
Intelligent HVAC systems provide real-time data that can be accessed on site or through remote monitoring via smartphones, laptops or tablets. This allows building managers to quickly and easily monitor multiple units and multiple buildings, in order to maintain peak operating efficiency, minimize energy consumption and reduce total life cycle costs.
Similarly, specifying engineers will consult with retail store owners from a higher level of considerations. They must now take all of a building’s IoT communication compatibilities into play, from HVAC and lighting to parking and building security.
For systems configured with wireless capabilities, the building’s IT networks can be bypassed and data can be directly transported off the rooftop units to the cloud and a service technician. This has the potential for service technicians to move from reactive to preventative service models. With 24/7 real-time information, technicians are able to speed up their onsite arrival times with the necessary parts in hand to maintain equipment before it loses efficiency.
Paul Rauker is VP systems and controls at Daikin Applied (daikinapplied.com), responsible for the Intelligent Equipment line that harnesses the IoT. Daikin Applied is harnessing the power of the Internet of Things by using Intel-based intelligent gateway solutions to deploy a complete end-to-end solution for commercial HVAC equipment.
American Beagle returns
American Eagle Oufitters has turned an April Fool’s joke into a business opportunity by launching its first-ever clothing line for “dogs and their owners,” American Beagle Outfitters, for a limited-edition Holiday 2014 release.
"We had an enormous reaction to our April Fool's Day joke, and our customers were very clear about their desire for this product to become a reality," said Michael Leedy, chief marketing officer of American Eagle Outfitters, "Following the journey of this idea has been fun for our team and we are now excited to introduce real American Beagle Outfitters products to our customer."
The original April Fool’s Day joke earlier this year helped raise money and awareness for The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and has received an overwhelming public support and demand, according to the company. The canine collection that followed is designed to perfectly match the new AEO Holiday 2014 collection (for people). It features color-coordinated "Get Down" puffer and 'pupper' jackets and vests, matching Fair Isle knits and graphic beanies with slogans such as "woof" and "selfie," creating head-to-tail outfits that complement the style and personality of every pup.
"Just in time for the holidays, you'll be able to dress just like your best friend – man's best friend that is," said American Eagle Outfitters style director Preston Konrad. "This fun collection reflects the iconic elements of the American Eagle Outfitters brand reimagined for our favorite furry friends."
The limited-edition American Beagle Outfitters collection will be available in select American Eagle Outfitters stores and online at www.ae.com and ranges in price from $12.95 to $39.95.
New York & Company makes traffic investment
New York & Company has devised an interesting sweepstakes-based approach to ensure customers are lined up when its stores open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
The operator of more than 500 stores said the first 200 shoppers to enter its stores beginning at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving will be entered to win $100,000 in the company’s first ever Win Big in New York sweepstakes. In addition to the $100,000 grand prize winner, each store will also have one $500 prize winner.
Greg Scott, CEO of New York & Company, said, "This year our shoppers can enjoy more than just our amazing fashion and gifts at great prices, they will also have a chance to win big by entering our $100,000 sweepstakes. But they need to put New York & Company on the top of their list and shop our stores early because only the first 200 shoppers in each store are eligible to win both the $100,000 grand prize as well as the $500 store prize."