A summer snapshot of recent HVAC apps reveals advances from manufacturers in streamlining service and maintenance visits. However, other companies are in on the app act as well, and they are coming at contractor value from angles that range from training and live tech support to customer presentations and driving sales.
You on Bluon?
CASTING A WIDE NET: The Bluon app looks to create an online “home” for technicians with a menu of appealing options surrounding a large library of equipment and controls info. (Courtesy of Bluon)
Over 55,000 contractors have hopped onto the Bluon support platform for HVAC techs, according to the company.
The Bluon app aims for a noticeably wide scope of services. A major draw is a library of detailed technical information for over 40,000 unique models of HVAC equipment. The company said that once techs create an account and make a short call to verify that they are a professional, they can access the library of service instructions, troubleshooting guides, and wiring diagrams within 10 minutes.
Bluon also points to standard and optional controls for all model numbers covered. This spans 50 unique types of controls, offering info that the typical tech may not otherwise be able to readily access.
Beyond model information, the app contains sections for ProHacks, tools, and 24/7 live support.
Bluon said the app’s intent is to “allow for informed technicians to create more sales opportunities and more efficient transactions for distributors.”
The company is not done working to ease the contractor/distributor exchange. It said that “coming soon” features include a replacement part lookup function for over 100,000 units, spanning both original manufacturer and aftermarket options.
Immersed in Emerson
REMOTELY INTERESTING: The White-Rodgers Connect app uses NFC technology to let a tech go to the vehicle to work on some equipment. A prime example is the All-Spark ignition module, which also replaces 800 part numbers. (Courtesy of Emerson)
Emerson’s app efforts show up on both the Copeland and White-Rodgers sides of its business. The Copeland Mobile app brings 30 years of product information for both air conditioning and refrigeration to its database. Perhaps more importantly to a technician in the field, Copeland Mobile can also help to determine local availability of product replacements.
Live chat and jobsite commissioning functions accompany access to performance calculations, engineering materials, and other troubleshooting and diagnosis support.
Meanwhile, White-Rodgers Connect takes its name seriously, designed to allow a mobile device to connect with a White-Rodgers control to smooth configuration and diagnostics work.
The ability to make that connection without power applied to the control, the manufacturer said, means that a tech can do that phase of work back at the truck if desired.
Once users open the app, which uses Near Field Communication (NFC), they can start the process by tapping “Connect to Control” and placing the device’s NFC antenna in contact with the NFC antenna on the White-Rodgers module.
The company cited its White-Rodgers All-Spark universal ignition module as a prime example of the new focus on convenience for the tech. This unit replaces more than 800 part numbers and uses NFC to work with the app.
Steering Toward Sales
EVERYONE LIKES CHOICES: Part of the Successware app’s appeal is a feature allowing techs to make better presentations to customers in the field, including menus like this where customers can weigh system and payment options. (Courtesy of Successware)
Successware Mobile is Successware’s latest release, following an original app launched last summer.
Driving sales is the focus here. Features include integrated customer financing, customizable forms, and a presentation tool that allows technicians to offer multiple sales options to customers on-site so customers can make more informed decisions.
The larger platform, which is built to assist contractors in plumbing, electrical, and/or roofing as well as HVAC, can also work to organize dispatches, take calls, streamline tech onboarding, and analyze technician skill sets by job.
Successware upgraded its website after the 2020 launch. Now a secure user portal leads to “comprehensive educational and training videos, system documentation, FAQs, product tour videos, an informative blog, and more,” according to the company.
Johnson Controls App Revamp
UP ON THE ROOF: Contractors doing light commercial work can use Johnson Controls’ RTU Toolkit app, scan a unique QR code, and activate on-demand access for unit-specific details, technical literature, and a direct connection to technical support. (Courtesy of Johnson Controls)
Johnson Controls has completely reengineered its York Hx™ app, offering an easy setup and maintenance interface as well as remote access and monitoring for improved service to York thermostat customers.
Homeowners can also tap into the app’s abilities themselves. Elements include an intuitive schedule control and a user-friendly interface that was refreshed based on in-depth customer research. Contractors and customers alike can now use it with their Apple Watch or Amazon Alexa as well.
On the light commercial side, the new RTU Toolkit app for Android and iOS allows contractors to scan a unique QR code on each rooftop unit. This activates on-demand access for unit-specific details, technical literature, and a direct connection to technical support.
EMPEQ to Impress
AUDITING WITH EASE: The FastSiteSurvey™ app from EMPEQ aims to use AI and a cloud-based platform to cut survey and reporting time by up to 80%. (Courtesy of EMPEQ)
The folks at EMPEQ draw weighty comparisons when discussing the disruptive nature of the FastSiteSurvey™ app: the steam locomotive, the Xerox copier, the nail gun.
The company’s goal? To use AI in an all-in-one app so commercial and industrial equipment site survey professionals can cut their survey and reporting time by up to 80%.
Equipment audits are critical for not just performance but sometimes to document safety compliance and even rebate verification. However, the company says these audits have often not only required pen and pencil but return visits that absorb extra time and expense to tie up any loose ends.
In EMPEQ’s development process, the company drew on experience with over 500 equipment audits and the feedback of over 100 industry veterans, according to CEO Herbert Dwyer.
Audit professionals start by snapping a photo of the equipment with a smartphone. Then the app uses AI to quickly and accurately incorporate an array of unit specifics into a cloud-based platform that professionals can use right away, archive for later, or forward to their own software programs. FastSiteSurvey generates a report that keeps the information organized for use on or off site.
With quicker data generation and organization, the entire team then has access to the information via FastSiteSurvey’s central platform. When ready, the audit professional can download a comprehensive report and send it off to the customer to close out the project.
Augmented Rheem Reality
TECHS ON TRACK: Rheem’s latest app contains augmented reality, voice, and video capability to let techs highlight specific areas that the app will keep track of even as the tech moves the camera to troubleshoot or share other areas. (Courtesy of Rheem)
Finally, the goal of improving the efficiency of a tech’s daily routine remains the same at Rheem, but the RealSupport tool within the Rheem Contractor app contributes to the effort in the form of video troubleshooting with augmented reality capabilities.
The manufacturer explains that contractors can submit live video, voice, and on-screen drawing content from the job site using the AR technology.
Contractors and support resources can then draw on the screen to point out components to inspect or replace. Key components are virtually “anchored” and tracked in case the tech has to move the camera later to inspect other equipment.
A Quick Search function works with QR Code Scanning to pull up product and warranty information and other documents for any Rheem unit with either a QR code or a barcode.
Rheem Contractor includes its own portal to leading training programs, offering comprehensive lessons for contractors looking to expand their knowledge on top of the in-the-field support.