What We Learned from the AHR Expo 2015: Top 7 Takeaways for HVAC Service Contractors

hvac service contractors

The AHR Expo 2015 in Chicago was bigger than ever and offered plenty of new HVAC insights to match its size. Check out our top takeaways from the show and keep your HVAC service organization on the cutting edge.

AHR Expo 2015 has come and gone. What a whirlwind from the Windy City! From the software section (where we were stationed) to the giant vehicle displays, to the hundreds of new, exciting product announcements, there was certainly no shortage of things to see and learn.

While we were there, we saw and heard dozens of stories about HVAC service woes and what businesses hope to gain with the new products they’ve seen at this year’s Expo. Walking around, we saw a lively industry with plenty of opportunity to grow and no shortage of innovative ideas.

So, whether you were there with us in Chicago and want to relive the experience, or you missed the Expo this time and want your very own recap, take a look at our top 7 takeaways from AHR Expo 2015.

7 Takeaways for HVAC Service Contractors from the AHR Expo 2015

    1. Service Process Automation is a Must

    Everything we saw at the Expo indicated a trend toward automation, and HVAC service is no exception. By automating processes like scheduling with alerts to technician mobile devices, syncing data from the field with the back office, and instant inventory updates, service businesses can tackle more work orders while winning their customers over with informed, successful service visits.

    2. Equipment Connectivity and Intelligence Rule HVAC in Commercial Buildings

    Many of the new products at the Expo were all about connectivity and continuous access to asset intelligence. How can I have constant access to all of my assets and intelligence into how they’re functioning, even when I’m remote? Or even, how can I get my equipment speak to each other and self-monitor so I don’t even need to intervene? New products on display at the Expo offered solutions to connect your entire HVAC asset pool for simple monitoring and constant connectivity.

    3. Mobile and Cloud Make it Easier to Manage Assets Remotely

    In order to make the previous point—asset connectivity and intelligence—a reality, businesses need to harness the potential of mobile and cloud, which allow you to manage assets from anywhere. We found that contractors want to be able to access their HVAC systems through a central control unit with remote access through smart devices, which can be achieved when those units are connected through the cloud and displayed on the organization’s mobile devices.

    4. Predictive Analytics Enable better HVAC Service

    What if you knew what was wrong with an HVAC unit before anything actually happened? It may sound crazy, but that’s what many of the products at the Expo were touting. The potential for service organizations who can get to a customer site to make a repair before the customer even notices anything is wrong is pretty amazing. And with customer demands getting ever higher, this sort of in-depth predictive analytics is where the industry is headed.

    5. Strong Software Integrations are Key

    At our own booth, we noticed that many HVAC service contractors are looking for key software integrations among the various systems they use to do business. Connecting ERP systems, like Quickbooks and Sage 100 ERP, or construction software, like Viewpoint, with an all-in-one service management system can streamline disparate pieces of your HVAC service contractor organization.

    6. Businesses Want the Flexibility to Customize Mobile Field Inspection Forms

    Another key point that came up over and over again at our booth was the desire for mobile service apps to include mobile inspection capabilities and the ability to customize electronic forms and send them out to techs in the field. As HVAC service businesses’ need for more complex and specific inspections grows, the demand for easily customizable e-forms connected to the mobile service app will only become greater.

    7. Improving Energy Efficiency is Paramount

    Walking around the Expo, there seemed to be booth after booth of companies focused on improving sustainability for HVAC businesses. Today’s customers are demanding more sustainable options, not to mention the increasing efficiency standards being imposed right and left. With technology available today to improve energy efficiency, HVAC contractors have no option but to meet the demands. Not only is it better for the environment, it’s better for business.

Conclusion: Back to Business

Now that the industry tornado that is AHR Expo is over for the year, what will you do with the information you gained? What were your biggest takeaways from the Expo? How do you hope to improve your HVAC contractor business in 2015?

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