Envizi was excited to attend this year’s AHR Expo in Orlando. AHR expo is the world's largest HVACR conference, bringing together over 70,000 professional OEMs, engineers, contractors, facility operators, architects, educators and others to explore the latest trends.

A major theme of this year’s AHR Expo was IP-enabled controls and the creation of an independent data layer in the cloud. The manufacturers of controls hardware are either embracing the industry shift or run the risk of being left behind. Every sensor manufacturer, IoT enablement player, or controls manufacturer is telling the story of how they get their data to the cloud. In many cases, they are okay with being a data service provider instead of a full stack solution. It is clear, as we might expect, that products in the HVAC market are smaller, more powerful and less expensive than the previous year. Many manufacturers have added IP connections to their devices through Ethernet ports, WiFi or embedded cell routers. The clear objective is to make data access easier and available for consumption by end users or third parties. Everyone is asking if you are in the cloud, can my cloud talk to your cloud, or whose cloud do you use?

The system integrator market continues to grow. More and more building systems, from security to fire protection, are falling under their domain. Their expertise in IT and networking makes them the preferred choice to tie all systems together. Finding qualified service technicians is a problem everywhere in US, and the HVAC market is looking to the computer sciences for new recruits. System Integrators now find themselves responsible for troubleshooting networks as well as the mechanical equipment and building automation system.

After several years of promoting some form of analytics, many in the industry note they are still grappling with how to package analytics into their business model. Despite this challenge, industry leaders were universally pushing back on their peers. Many speakers promoted the idea that they must work harder to adopt technology, promote advanced solutions, and find ways to be more efficient with their limited technical resources.

The final observation from this year’s AHR Expo is that the private sector is starting to commit to the sustainable built environment. Major companies around the globe are not waiting for governments to legislate or lead the way, and so they themselves are stepping up with financial commitments to decrease their carbon impact. This includes public facing efforts for education and civic engagement, down to funding major initiatives and raising funding for ventures focusing on carbon reduction technologies.