Each year, the leading equipment manufacturers in the Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVACR) industry get together at the annual AHR Expo to share best practices, analyze the latest market trends and discuss the technologies and innovations disrupting the industry.
Co-sponsored by ASHRAE and AHRI, and held concurrently with ASHRAE’s Winter Conference, the AHR Expo is one of the world’s largest and most respected HVACR marketplaces. And the 2019 show – which will be held in Atlanta from January 14-16 – promises to be one of the biggest and best in history. That’s because it’s happening at a very transformational time in the HVACR industry.
Massive advancements in cloud technology, the movement towards network-enabled devices and the emergence of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) are all causing massive disruptions to the industry – adding incredible new capabilities to HVACR equipment and revolutionizing how HVACR equipment manufacturers do business.
To learn more about these trends, and what attendees at this year’s show can expect, we recently sat down with some of the managers of this year’s AHR Expo. During our discussion, we talked about the cloud-enabling of HVACR equipment, the potential rise of HVAC as a Service (HVACaaS) and the other top technologies and trends that will surely dominate discussion at this year’s event.
Here is what the AHR Expo staff had to say:
Modern Equipment Manufacturer (MEM): Can you tell our readers a little bit about the AHR Expo? What types of companies exhibit at the Expo? Who is normally in attendance?
AHR Expo Management (AHR): The AHR Expo has been active since 1930 and has grown to be the HVACR industry’s largest marketplace. The Show is unique because it serves manufacturers of all sizes and from all specialties within HVACR—all the way from start-ups to established industry brands.
Once you arrive on the Show floor, they’re all here with the same goals of sharing ideas, new products and technologies that are ultimately the future of the industry on display for the week.
Attendees include anyone and everyone that touches the industry really—OEMs, engineers, contractors, facility operators, architects, educators and anyone who has a vested interest in HVACR. It is an exciting place to be and the spirit of the Show is crucial for the growth of the industry.
MEM: What can attendees expect to gain or learn at the AHR Expo and the ASHRAE Winter Conference?
AHR: That’s a tough question to answer because the offering is different for everyone and there is so much to take away depending on your goals at the Show.
I think the exciting thing is coming back each year and seeing how the industry has grown in the previous year and seeing where the year ahead is heading. We work closely with the industry throughout the year to put together a Show and Education Program that will offer something for everyone based on the latest in the industry.
Each year the newest products and technologies are revealed for the first time during the Show, exhibitors are buzzing about what they’re working on and everyone is there to network and make new business contacts. We hear feedback ranging from making new connections all the way to closing business deals right there on the floor.
Every professional in this industry should come see for themselves what the Show has to offer specifically for their goals.
MEM: The AHR Expo and ASHRAE Winter Conference are regular, annual events that have been held for a long time. Over the course of the years, what have been some of the largest technological changes that have evolved and shaped today’s modern HVAC equipment?
AHR: If you looked at every Show on a timeline you’d see the industry’s evolution come to light. Being around since 1930, the Expo has really been there through all the major modern advancements and this still holds true today. It’s the place each year where you know you’re seeing the latest for the first time.
There is a lot of industry discussion about us being in the golden age of HVAC and I think you’ll see that play out on the Show floor as well. The IoT and AI are changing the industry landscape and we foresee many exciting things in the future for HVACR and the technologies that are changing to support it.
MEM: We’re seeing a large push into the cloud for commercial and industrial equipment. Are we seeing a similar move to cloud-enable HVAC equipment and make HVAC devices part of the Internet of Things?
AHR: Yes, smart control and user-interactive systems are playing an increasing role industry-wide. Building Automation Control (BAC) continues to be a main topic in the industry and at the Show, you’ll see it discussed in our Education Program and from our exhibitors. We also have a BAC floor section dedicated to this, in addition to the exhibitors you’ll see throughout the main Show halls.
MEM: What benefits are companies looking to derive by cloud-enabling their equipment? What benefits are the users/owners of the equipment getting?
AHR: Having a cloud connection to equipment gives the opportunity to more closely monitor and control regular service and diagnose any malfunction. If you can run a diagnostic in real-time you can be more proactive as opposed to reactive to issues as they arise.
Users have more management options and can base usage on preference more so than ever. We are seeing some very cool things in this space and I suspect more to come.
MEM: We’ve been hearing rumblings about HVAC as a service (HVACaaS). Is that a topic or trend that the folks at ASHRAE have been hearing about? Is HVACaaS going to see more adoption in the near future?
AHR: Yes, this is trend that is popping up in more industry discussions. We actually have a free industry session dedicated to this topic in our Education Program. The session is called, “Is HVACaaS (HVAC as a Service) in Your Future?” and it’s presented by BACnet International. Interested attendees can join for this session on Monday, January 14th from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM in session hall Thomas Murphy Section 1.
MEM: Aside from the cloud and HVACaaS, what other trends and technologies do you anticipate being hot topics at this year’s event?
AHR: AI is also taking root in HVAC and the idea of self-diagnosing buildings. Recruiting and securing the next generation of HVACR workforce is something on everyone’s mind.
This year we also have training demos done completely through virtual reality!
I encourage readers to come and discover for themselves because the Show is the place when companies reveal their newest technologies, which makes it difficult to predict what you might see, the possibilities are many –I can assure you it always lives up to expectation!
To register to attend this year’s AHR Expo for free, click HERE.