The big and small data in the HVAC industry



Last updated Jul 11, 2019 at 9:56AM | Published on Apr 4, 2018 | Blog, HVAC, SMB

The big and small data in the HVAC industry

It is predicted by Emerson Climate Technologies that by 2019, 75 percent of thermostats will be WI-FI enabled, which will give it to the ability for not only users to control it using a mobile device, but it will also help HVAC service technicians in repair work, as Internet of Things (IoT) technology continues to monitor an HVAC unit’s condition as it operates.

IoT is a huge trend in the HVAC industry right now, as many HVAC companies are focusing in on the big data they can get from an IoT embedded sensor that can let them know when a unit isn’t working at its peak level, or when a repair is required due to a malfunction. It’s taking the industry from a preventative maintenance repair plan to one that is predictive, as customers are wanting fewer downtimes and HVAC organizations are taking the onus on themselves to monitor and repair these HVAC units in order keep them constantly working.

But while the trend is to look at the big data that IoT can give an HVAC organization, it’s useless without the small data that makes up the everyday activities of the service technician that is being fed into the HVAC field service software. It’s this small data, that includes inspection reports, repair notes, and work order information, that is vital to the success of an HVAC organization and ultimately the efficiency of an HVAC unit.

But small data is time-consuming to input into a data system, such as a spreadsheet, accounting software or Outlook, and can take up plenty of hours of work for administrators to enter that information in, let alone turn it into useful reports and assessments to better serve customers. That’s why an HVAC field service software is making it easier and more efficient to not only work with big data from IoT devices but also administer the small data that needs to be accounted for.

hvac field service management

Field service software used to manage both big and small data

Big data transferred from an IoT sensor can alert technicians that a repair on an HVAC unit is needed for many reasons, and a work order can be automatically created from these alerts to ensure the situation is addressed quickly and the repair is scheduled before the unit goes down. But there is plenty of small data that needs to work along with that repair request that is imperative to the success of the HVAC organization.

Utilizing a mobile field service software, HVAC technicians are able to see the work order on their mobile device, access repair history on the unit to get a better idea of the service that was performed before, be able to see which parts they would need to fix the unit, check in and out for accurate billing information, and complete service inspection checklists, all from a mobile app.

All this smaller data is transferred back to the field service software and automatically updates the customer’s account, the work order, any billing details through an accounting software integration, and it enters the data into the business intelligence reporting system, giving managers are real-time look at data from the field so they can make proper business decisions.

For big data to be successful, it needs to also have the small data to back it up and make it work properly. Just knowing a system is failing through an IoT sensor doesn’t do much for an organization who isn’t handling their small data with the same level of care as they do about their big data, and while it may not be as trendy as IoT is, small data management in a field service software can make or break an HVAC organization heading into the future.