April 20, 2020

Remote Monitoring: A Smart Way to Adapt in a Time of Social Distancing

In the world of HVAC, remote monitoring is far from a new idea. And yet, with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to disrupt life (and business) around the globe, remote monitoring might be one of the smartest and quickest ways an HVAC company can reinvent itself for our new normal.

Innovating for a new future

Unfortunately, it’s becoming clear our battle with the COVID-19 virus is going to be a marathon and not a sprint. The steps being taken to slow the spread, such as social distancing measures and non-essential business closures, may be with us until a vaccine is developed. That could be a few months or, more likely, a few years.

This constitutes a major risk to many businesses and HVAC companies are no exception. Those that survive in this landscape will be the ones who innovate and find new ways to help their customers.

Remote monitoring increases safety and efficiency

To customers, there are two big benefits with a remotely monitored system. The first is that it allows HVAC pros to monitor and assess an HVAC system without doing a site visit. During a time of social and physical distancing concerns, this means regularly scheduled checkup calls can be done remotely and techs only have to go on-site when a clear issue is identified.

The second benefit is that remotely monitored systems tend to last longer. With HVAC pros remotely monitoring and maintaining the system, the system is optimized, and the equipment is more efficient. This further reduces the need for on-site repairs and wholesale replacement. 

Right now, commercial business owners are looking for ways to reduce spending and the number of occupants in their buildings. Remote monitoring aligns with both of these pressing needs.

How to add remote monitoring to your HVAC toolbox

There are two main ways to provide your customers with remote monitoring services. You can provide the service yourself, or you can partner with a third-party monitoring company.

Managing it yourself offers higher gross margins over the long term but requires some upfront investment in equipment and training. As the number of systems your business is actively monitoring grows, you may also need to designate staff to the task full-time.

If you choose to partner with a third-party company that specializes in remote monitoring, you can get going relatively quickly without any significant investments in new equipment or training.

Keep an eye on the growth of HVACaaS

Savvy HVAC companies will also want to keep an eye on the emergence of another new trend: HVAC as a service (HVACaaS). This trend takes remote monitoring to a new level, with equipment manufacturers bundling remote monitoring subscriptions with their equipment directly.

With HVACaaS, manufacturers assume all of the responsibility for remotely monitoring their systems and responding to maintenance calls. The opportunity for HVAC companies lies in the fact manufacturers are likely to outsource those maintenance calls to local HVAC pros, rather than create their own network of HVAC techs. Now would be the time to reach out and explore possibilities for partnership.

The world is changing at a rapid pace because of COVID-19. Now is the time for HVAC firms to consider every opportunity to innovate. Those who survive and even thrive during this period of adversity will be the ones willing to adapt.

HVAC, Industry Trends, Technology Focus , ,