Case Study: Cloud-Powered HVAC Solution

Case Study

Global HVAC Manufacturer Increases Efficiency With Cloud-Powered Maintenance Solution

A large, internationally recognized HVAC manufacturer desired to offer its customers, maintenance providers, and equipment manufacturers a one-stop digital portal to monitor and remedy the performance of their commercial HVAC equipment.

We provided end-to-end software engineering services by architecting and building a secure platform that fulfilled our client’s needs and enabled the company to serve all parties more effectively.

The Client

A global HVAC manufacturer of commercial and residential heating and cooling systems

The Challenge

Today’s complex HVAC systems comprise multiple components that require ongoing maintenance updates and enhancements. In commercial installations, HVAC equipment is typically installed in limited-access areas, such as rooftops, making it a time-consuming, costly, inconvenient, and sometimes an impossible situation to access and review configuration and diagnostics data and install updates on-site. 

To provide additional value to its resellers and service partners, our client wished to offer a remote maintenance portal designed to serve both the equipment manufacturer and the maintenance provider, as well as the end consumer.

Our client’s existing platform provided remote access to equipment data through a local web UI. In order to expand the core application to enable its customers to monitor and manage their equipment from anywhere, the company needed a secure, cloud-based solution.

Additionally, our client needed to reconfigure its systems' architecture to allow for deployment of future-state features, such as predictive failure analysis, without impacting customer experience during such upgrades.

 

THE Solution

We supported our client in architecting and developing an IoT solution in the cloud that securely communicates with HVAC equipment, collects diagnostic metrics, performs remote firmware updates, and generates alerts when system performance deviates from programmed limits. 

All this information is organized and displayed on a dashboard that allows all interested parties (end-user, maintenance provider, and manufacturer) to access in real-time.

The application had unique requirements for accessing the systems on customer local area network through a variety of mechanisms. Our solution was to implement a system for managing access between HVAC owners and technicians. Owners enabled a set of technicians to access their HVAC equipment remotely and for the manufacturer to push out firmware updates to the equipment. We leveraged Google Cloud's GKE to build an application which managed the secure communications with the equipment and that could scale to support the needs of a growing set of devices with complex usage patterns.

 

Our IoT Solutions Deliver Enhanced Value Around Efficiency, Reliability, and Sustainability for the Energy Sector

Solution Features
  • Embedded Linux edge devices 
  • Communication via ModBus
  • Device Management System Status & Configuration
  • Data Collection 
  • Analytics 
  • Alerts 
IoT-Certified Google Cloud Partner

By earning the IoT Partner Specialization, we have proven our expertise and success in building customer solutions in the IoT field using Google Cloud Platform technology. 

Learn More

Business Outcomes

For over 100 years, our client has been an innovative leader in its industry; following the release of the new platform, the company continues to hold its position as a leading provider of high-quality, innovative HVAC products for the light commercial industry.

The updated application delivers substantial benefits to customers, maintenance providers, and equipment manufacturers, exactly as originally proposed.

END-USER BenefitS

The upgraded application allows customers to log in and view the status of all of their equipment at a glance. They can also monitor performance, register for alerts, and update firmware.

Maintenance Providers Benefit

Maintenance personnel have access to the entire system’s configuration, status, and alerts without having to visit each piece of equipment.

The Equipment Manufacturer Benefits

The manufacturer can use the app to collect component performance and failure data, which is fed back into the engineering process to facilitate improvements to future models.

ANOTHER WIN

A GCP server provides a secure interface for monitoring and managing the edge devices installed in each HVAC system. Additionally, the app features a continuous integration and deployment model for future enhancements and system optimizations.

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