As seen in ACHRNews
Wearable technology has arrived. Its popularity is evident in the growing demand for products, such as smart watches and FitBits. This technology is also impacting the HVAC industry as more and more contractors discover how smart glasses can aid their businesses, particularly in the commercial sector.
“If someone in our industry hasn’t started thinking about utilizing this technology, they’re already behind,” said Bradd Busick, chief information officer (CIO) of MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions in Seattle.
MacDonald-Miller outfitted 85 field technicians with smart glasses this summer and has big plans for how it will use this technology in the future.
On the other side of the country, Brady Services, a commercial contractor based in Greensboro, North Carolina, issued 150 pairs of smart glasses to technicians in 2016.
“We chose this technology since it fits into our vision of changing from a building services company using technology to a technology company in the building services space,” said Jim Brady, president and CEO, Brady Services.
Brady encourages his employees to be on the lookout for new and upcoming technologies, which is why Jeff Smith, vice president of service operations, attended a BrainXchange event in October 2015 to learn about wearable technology. Smith was impressed with the concepts promoted at the event, and by early 2016 he was spearheading a beta test of wearable technology at Brady Services.
According to Busick, his company also began investigating the benefits of wearable technologies last year.
“We started this dialogue in Q4 of 2015, first rolled out the technology in Q1 of 2016, and did our big-bang rollout in June and July,” Busick said.
Now, both companies require all field technicians use their smart glasses to record at least one video on every service call, which are provided to customers in real time.
“If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a video is worth 2,000,” said Gus Simonds, CEO of MacDonald-Miller.
Simonds pointed out that body cams are now being used by police departments, drones are being used in construction, and action cameras, like GoPros, are being used in sports and adventure fields.
“It’s already here, and it will be the new normal in a few more years,” he said.
According to Aaron Salow, CEO of XOEye Technologies, the use of wearable technology in HVAC is trending up as more contractors test it out and see the benefits it can provide to their businesses. XOEye develops the software that powers the Vuzix smart glasses being used by both MacDonald-Miller and Brady Services. XOEye’s software is also used by Lee Company, an HVAC contractor based in Tennessee that piloted smart glasses in 2015.
Read the entire ACHRNews cover story here.