ORLANDO, Fla. — LG Electronics USA Inc. made a somewhat unusual statement for a company with a large booth at the AHR Expo: it’s not an air conditioning company.
Rather, as Kevin McNamara, senior vice president and general manager of air conditioning technologies, said at its press conference Tuesday morning, LG is a technology company that is in the air conditioning business. The company still unveiled new products for its quickly growing line and boasted of its increased manufacturing presence in the United States. But McNamara wanted attendees to look beyond the array of mini splits and VRF.
“It’s really about the software and the design and the software that makes all that operate efficiently,” McNamara said.
And it’s all LG, all the way, he said. The company doesn’t sell anything with its brand that is manufactured by others or allow others to sell equipment that carries its brand. Much of the LG’s expansion is focused on allowing buyers of either its consumer or commercial products to exist almost entirely within an LG ecosystem.
Carl Barnard, director of controls sales at LG, described a house filled with LG products, from the solar panels on the roof to the appliance to the air conditioning. They would all be linked and work together to improve the comfort and efficiency of the occupants.
Donald Decker, director of owner sales at LG, described how this works on the commercial side for building owners. Decker said LG now curates a combination of product combinations to meet all their needs. These owners are concerned about energy and operational efficiencies, but they are just as concerned about serving the building’s occupants.
“IT’s about the business that goes on in their buildings,” Decker said. “It’s our job to figure out how to make their buildings work for them.”
McNamara said this growth in technology mirrors what happened in the auto industry years ago. It takes more than somebody with mechanical skills to work on a car and the same is becoming true for the HVAC industry. Future technicians will be knowledge workers and they will require education rather than just training, McNamara said. The difference comes down to solving problems.
“The problem might not always be what’s in the book,” McNamara said.