Tech Trends

3 Tech Trends for Contractors to Watch in 2018

As Q4 of 2017 is well under way, we begin to look at what’s head in 2018. As expected, it’s becoming hard to have a conversation about the future without the topic of discussion shifting to technology.

Throughout this year, we have seen many technological advances change the way things are traditionally done in HVAC, and they don’t seem to be going away according to multiple industry sources including ACHR News and Contractor Magazine.

For starters, ACHR News contributor Nick Kostora highlighted this year, “Drones are an emerging technology in the U.S. and are just now entering the public conscience.” In the commercial space, drones have made rooftop inspections much easier. A technician is able to fly a drone to the top of the building and use the drone’s built-in camera to inspect the rooftop HVAC units, reducing the amount of times a tech has to physically go to the top of buildings.

The technology goes beyond technical use-cases too. For example, Alabama-based Aeroseal dealer Daycool Heating & Air, Inc. uses a drone to capture video footage of jobs to enhance marketing communications. Read more about the use of drones in HVAC here.

Photo Credit: ACHR News. "Drones Take Flight Over HVAC." June 5, 2017. Photo Courtesy of Richard Unten.
Photo Credit: ACHR News. "Connected RTUs Take the Next Step." October 2, 2017. Photo Courtesy of YORK.

Another trend to watch is “smart technology.” It is being applied in a lot of different ways. One particular use-case is “connected RTUs.” Johnson Controls Commercial Product Marketing Manager Brian Wathen explains it pretty well in an ACHR News article, “Basically, a smart rooftop has the capability to monitor, adjust, detect, and diagnose itself and indoor environmental conditions to ensure proper building occupant comfort; In addition, a smart rooftop provides instant feedback to end users concerning operational conditions and potential and critical issues. These units also grant users the ability to wirelessly communicate with a rooftop unit or series of rooftop units using a smartphone, tablet, or PC.”

Potentially, this technology makes RTU maintenance easier for contractors and optimal building comfort more attainable for building occupants. It will be interesting to see what unfolds in 2018 and beyond. Read more about the use of connected RTUs here.

Similar to smart technology, another emerging trend on our list to watch is Human-Centric Building Automation (HCBA). Contractor Magazine contributor and founder of AutomatedBuildings.com Ken Sinclair forecasts a sea change of innovation in HVAC, “New and evolving human-centric technologies are driving a shift from measuring the usual empirical variables to actually sensing people and their bio and social feedback. Our core variables — temperature, humidity, draft/airspeed, light levels, etc. — still rule the control equation, but now deep personal information is accessible.”

Human-Centric Building Automation

We are beginning to quantify what was historically unquantifiable. Sinclair adds, “Through wearable, through smartphones, through social media, we are at last able to quantify such things as health, feeling, opinion, desire, and satisfaction, and factor them all into the control equation.” Read more about the game-changing opportunities of human-centric building automation.

Like drones, connected RTUs, and human-centric building automation, Aeroseal duct sealing technology started as an emerging trend too. Before it was invented, contractors only had manual methods like tape or mastic. Now the computerized Aeroseal system goes beyond hand sealing to offer a better, more effective way to seal ducts in commercial, residential, and multi-family applications.

2018 is also a special year for the Aeroseal team as it launches the new AeroBarrier envelope sealing technology. Expanding on the duct sealing system, builders and contractors will soon have a more effective option for sealing the ENTIRE building envelope. Visit AeroBarrier.net to learn more.

Are you an innovative builder, engineer, or contractor? We’d love to discuss the Aeroseal and AeroBarrier technologies with you. Call us 877-349-3828, email us, or leave a comment below.

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