This is a Technology Industry
Originally published: 02.01.20 by Pete Grasso
It’s late in the evening as I sit in my hotel room in Orlando. I’ve spent the last two days walking up and down the aisles of the Orange County Convention center, home of this year’s AHR Expo. I’m tired, sure, and also dreading my flight the next day that will deliver me from warm and sunny Florida to cold and snowy Cleveland.
That said, I can’t help but feel a tremendous sense of optimism and pride for this industry. At every booth I visited — and believe me, there were many (with still more to see tomorrow) — I witnessed a new level of tecnology and innovation being introduced.
It seems every year at the AHR Expo, a common theme in the industry emerges. I remember when all anyone could talk about was the move to 13 SEER. For a while, it was the ductless revolution that dominated conversations with many exhibitors.
Throughout the years, the equipment and controls in this industry have continued to grow more and more sophisticated — with no signs of slowing down.
If I had to pick a theme for this year’s AHR Expo, I wouldn’t hesitate to sum it up with one word: technology.
In his opening remarks at the LG Air Conditioning Technologies press conference, Kevin McNamara, senior vice president and general manager, said, “LG is a technology company.”
That statement really struck a chord with me, because as I sat there listening to him speak, I couldn’t help but make a mental list of all the technology I had already seen the day before, as well as what was in store for me the rest of the show.
“LG is reinforcing our commitment to deliver the most advanced controls, smart connectivity solutions and innovative, powerful technologies,” McNamara said.
One of LG’s key highlights at AHR was the official debut of its Coil Communication Kit, which allows for seamless connection of LG smart inverter condensing units to third-party coils.
Designed for the replacement market, the Coil Communication Kit broadens access to the benefits of LG’s energy-efficient technologies by allowing connection to third party furnaces or air handling equipment for residential and light-commercial applications.
When I visited the Daikin Applied Americas booth, I saw the Rebel Applied, a highly configurable rooftop heating and cooling system, which is up to 37 percent shorter in length and 30 percent lighter than legacy rooftop units.
“We believe that quality design needs quality construction to deliver ultimate value,” said Mike Schwartz, CEO of Daikin Applied Americas. “With advanced fabrication and automation technologies, we can tailor the build to meet specific customer needs, optimize production and deliver products that will perform at the highest levels.”
Johnson Controls also showcased a collection of its latest and most advanced products, aimed at simplifying building management, increasing efficiency and reducing operating costs.
“The HVACR industry is constantly evolving and Johnson Controls is well-positioned to meet changing consumer demand with more efficient, sustainable and smart-ready products,” said Jeff Williams, president, Global Products, Johnson Controls.
Many manufacturers are building apps around the technology in their products as well, making connectivity even easier for contractors. For example, A.O. Smith launched the new iCOMM Connectivity Platform, breaking down old barriers surrounding remote monitoring and hot water management and placing control firmly in your hands.
“This app is designed to empower commercial contractors who want to provide superior service and facility managers who value the peace of mind that comes with knowing their business is running smoothly because it has the hot water it needs,” said David Chisolm, vice president of marketing for A. O. Smith.
Of course, these are merely a few examples and only the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to the innovative technology showcased in Orlando.
Be sure to check out our Product Focus, as well as hvacrbusiness.com, for more.
If this year’s AHR Expo is any indication, you can expect a multitude of cutting-edge solutions from manufacturers for a long time. Because, to paraphrase McNamara, this is a technology industry.