In this blog post, we’ll define and explain the different terms of the Digitalization of HVAC and Cloud-Based HVAC realms, and we’ll briefly go through the most common HVAC types there are on the market.
Remote HVAC Monitoring Glossary
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) – A field in Computer Sciences aiming to simulate human intelligence and thought processes, by using technological methods such as Machine Learning, usually based on extensive data from past cases
- Cloud Connectivity Enabler – The device that enables a local on site system, including an HVAC system, to communicate and be connected to the internet.
- Developers API – Application Programming Interface for software developers. Allows for the development of a custom application, using the capabilities enabled by the interface. In the HVAC realm, these capabilities are related to control, monitor and management of the connected HVAC systems. A typical use case can be the integration of a preferred functionality (e.g. turn AC on/off) into an existing application (such as a hotel guests app).
- Hardware – The physical components from which the computer is built, or a device that has to perform a certain function by using a certain logic. These components or devices perform the actual work of the computer, typically directed by the software to execute any command or instruction.
- HVAC Advanced Analytical Tools – A set of HVAC diagnostic tools used for analysis of data, for the purpose of troubleshooting a specific problem, analyzing system health or detecting anomalies. In the case of anomaly detection, an automatic rule can be defined and run in the background, continuously checking multiple conditions without the need for a human to sit in front of the screen and wait for something to happen. The advanced analytical tools also include graphical visualization of a system’s data points over time, tools for correlating multiple parameters over time, aggregation and manipulation of parameter values, correlating system parameters side by side with an external sensor data, the ability to compare system data between periods, and many more.
- HVAC Data Analysis – The process of inspecting, cleansing, transforming, and modelling data, aiming to discover useful information or insights – in order to support decision making. In the realm of HVAC, Data Analysis enables making informed decisions regarding the HVAC system’s health and its operational efficiency.
- HVAC Data Collection – A feature in a software, allowing to collect data coming from the HVAC’s system components (such as sensors, condenser, compressor, coolant tubes, etc.). This data is then inspected in the process of HVAC Data Analysis.
- Internet of Things (IoT) – A collection of physical devices that are connected to the internet, embedded with sensors that allow them to be connected to a cloud-based software – and controlled remotely. The Internet of Things (IoT) is also applicable when connecting various physical devices, such as HVACs, to the Smart Home cloud based solutions, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Ecobee Thermostat.
- Machine Learning (ML) – A field in Computer Science that deals with the computer’s ability to learn from examples, in order to allow it to make decisions or predictions without programming it directly to execute these tasks.
- Multi-Brand HVAC Integration Device – A device that has the ability to simultaneously connect with multiple HVAC systems. Each device can be from a different HVAC manufacturer (brand) and models – allowing unified connectivity interface for communicating with the systems.
- Multi-Site Control – The ability that allows for total control over HVAC systems within multiple geographical sites (buildings, apartments, facilities, hotels, retail stores, etc.), through a unified user interface.
- Power Proportional Distribution – A solution that enables building managers who are running VRF systems, to receive proportional allocation of the exact power consumption of each indoor unit, based on its actual operational demand. The power consumption information is gathered directly from the VRF system’s condenser.
- Predictive Maintenance – A proactive maintenance strategy that is based on continuous HVAC system status monitoring, and on applied smart algorithms – in order to detect various deterioration signs, anomalies, and equipment health issues. The goal of predictive maintenance is to optimize the HVAC system’s performance, reduce downtime and optimize the HVAC service and maintenance plan schedules, based on the system’s health.
- Remote Monitoring – A technologically-enabled capability, powered by a software that is designed to remotely and continuously monitor the clients’ systems. In the HVAC realm, the Remote Monitoring software tools enable HVAC technicians, installers, service providers and facility managers to remotely access on-site equipment, diagnose system errors, monitor HVAC systems health, optimize the operation of the HVAC system and apply predictive maintenance models.
- Remote Service – A suite of software-based HVAC diagnostics tools that allow HVAC technicians to remotely access a client’s system, in order to provide intelligent, smart analysis and support to technical issues of any HVAC system – without the need to travel on-site.
- Software – A set of commands that instruct the computer’s hardware how to work and perform a certain task. It allows handling data more efficiently, eases extensive calculations (which were previously made manually), and provides enhanced tools in order to perform various tasks automatically or manually, through an intuitive and user friendly interface.
- Software as a Service (SaaS) – A software licensing and delivery model, in which a software is licensed on a subscription basis and is centrally hosted and maintained on the manufacturer’s “cloud”. The manufacturer maintains all the functionalities of the delivered software. Usually all the computing and data are stored and processed on the cloud servers, while the user uses a browser or a mobile application to access the software’s functionalities. The advantages of Software as a Service model are many:
- Easier and faster maintenance
- Quick scaling to support
- High computing processing needs without the need to add more local hardware or the need to update hardware specs on-site
- Moving budgets into operational costs, which in many cases eases investment and transitions to new and more advanced software tools
- And more.
- User-Permission Control – Enables building managers to control which users are allowed to access the system, and which features the users are permitted to access.
- Split HVAC – A Split HVAC is a small system, composed of only two units – outdoor and indoor. Split HVAC enables a connection between the outdoor and the indoor unit. These units communicate using a proprietary protocol.
- Multi Split HVAC – A smaller sized and lower in energy consumption HVAC, intended for small spaces such as a single house or an apartment (unlike VRF, which is usually intended for large buildings). The Multi Split HVAC has an outdoor unit, and usually up to five indoor units, each can be set individually to a different temperature. The main difference between Multi Split HVAC and VRF HVAC is in the communication and refrigerant piping topology: while VRF has a chain topology structure, the Multi Split’s piping topology is of a “star” structure.
- VRF/VRV HVAC – VRV stands for “Variable Refrigerant Volume”, and VRF stands for “Variable Refrigerant Flow”; but they’re representing the same HVAC technology – a sophisticated air conditioning system, of which sophistication lies in the inverter compressors, refrigerant-only technology, low energy consumption, bi-directional communication, and more.
- Unitary System – A one-package HVAC, a unit that combines an “indoor” and “outdoor” in one body. This HVAC’s architecture creates a limitation in terms of its functions: it simply has an On/Off switch, Cool/Heat selection, set point, and a selection of fan speed. The Unitary unit is supporting the air through ducts, and is limited in providing different climate conditions to different zones.
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