How IoT technology is impacting the HVAC industry

Connecting HVAC installations to the Internet can bring a host of benefits, not least energy savings, reduced maintenance costs and fault prevention. Here we look as what’s happening in the industry, including initiatives by Intel and Honeywell that demonstrate how it’s likely to develop in the next few years.

When you read about the Internet of Things, IoT, we are bombarded with facts about how many devices will be connected over the next few years and how many of these will be battery operated, mobile or wearable devices. However, the IoT is much more diverse than that and the impact will be felt across a vast range of industries.

For heating and ventilation (HVAC) systems, IoT technology enables system manufacturers and service companies to collect data in real time from any location in the world. Daikin Applied, the world’s largest commercial HVAC company, worked with Intel, Wind River and McAfee to make its systems more energy efficient, more effective and ultimately to provide a better experience for customers. This video explains how data from the company’s ‘Rebel’ rooftop HVAC units is combined with environmental information, including weather data, collated in the cloud and analysed so that the operation of its units can be optimised remotely.

Figure 1: Daikin Applied’s Intelligent Equipment™ harnesses IoT technology to provide real-time data streams for benchmarking performance and monitoring system operation.

IoT technology also allows consumers to take control of their systems from a smartphone or computer. British Gas introduced the Hive Acting Heating system in September 2013. It consists of a thermostat, a hub that connects into your Internet router, a receiver that’s installed close to your boiler, and a smartphone app.

 

In 2014 Google, bought Nest for a staggering £3.2 billion. Nest had developed a remotely controlled thermostat that eliminates the need for conventional heating programmers. The Nest device learns the preferences of its users and remembers them, creating personalised schedules for when heating is switched on and off, and the preferred temperatures at various times of day. There’s a short video about it here.

 

 

Figure 2: A thermostat in the hand is worth £3.2 billion in the Nest

 

The Lyric WiFi programmable thermostat, which connects to the Internet over your home WiFi network, is Honeywell’s answer to Nest.

Figure 3: Honeywell’s Lyric smart controller – at first sight you may think it mimics the Nest but Honeywell created The Round® thermostat over 50 years ago

Its round shape looks very similar to the Nest but, as Honeywell is keen to point out, it is the company that invented The Round® thermostat over 50 years ago. What’s more, Honeywell claims to be the world’s leading provider of domestic thermostats, with over 70 million installations worldwide, so it has a head start on the newcomer.

All of these consumer devices aim to cut energy bills.

Look out for smart HVAC products using IoT technology coming to RS Components soon.