Logistics Trends Inc. is always looking at new areas and upcoming trends in information technology, supply chain and logistics. We believe that IoT (Internet of Things) is going to be a game changer. Business models are going to quickly evolve and change. Those companies that do not plan and have a strategy will be irrelevant in the future.
The HVAC industry is a prime candidate for early adoption of IoT technology. Mainframe and mid-range computers have utilized for many years the phone home approach to send back diagnostic information. We believe and it is already starting with automobiles and trucks that high value items will be early adopters of IoT technology. Sensors can easily be added to the major components of heating and air conditioning units. The information from the sensors is sent to an intelligent thermostat that is connected to the household Wi-Fi router. The data is then sent to a cloud based application and database. The information is monitored from a perspective of the homeowner, manufacturer, supplier and service provider. Apps will exist to display the information to the appropriate party. Some of the features could include remote access, trend information, energy monitoring and diagnostics. Consumers will be able to save money on their heating and air conditioning bills as the intelligent systems monitor the HVAC and optimize the operation and temperature.
The business models of HVAC manufacturers and service providers will drastically change. Logistics Trends Inc. believes that HVAC manufacturers will want to own and control the data that is collected from the sensors. This data will allow the manufacturers to monitor systems to find and fix defects. It is invaluable information to provide component suppliers and provide analytical information for warranty and product improvements. This information can also be utilized to plan for additional parts or components that will need to be added into inventory. Firmware or software upgrades will fix some of the problems.
Still to be determined is the impact to the local HVAC repair person. Will HVAC repair personnel need a subscription to access the data from manufacturers to work on a unit? What impact will potential subscription models have on the independent HVAC model? Could independent HVAC contractors become obsolete if they refuse to pay a subscription fee? In addition, we see technicians utilizing tablet based apps to find and fix problems. We envision a model similar to a home security model where the consumer pays a monthly monitoring fee. Instead of having two visits a year from your HVAC technician, the onsite inspection could become a once a year visit. This could have a significant impact on the number of technicians that are making service calls and revenue models for HVAC firms.
We believe that several models could emerge HVAC manufacturers, thermostat manufacturers and home security manufacturers could become potential players in this technology. Home security manufacturers may venture into the monitoring as part of the smart house concept. A one stop shop for household infrastructure. One thing that we are confident of is that whoever controls the data has the best chance of being successful.
Logistics Trends Inc. can help your firm if you are thinking of implementing an IoT strategy. We have over 34 years in information technology, supply chain, transportation and logistics.