Digitize Your VRF/VRV HVAC With CoolMasterNet

CoolMasterNet is a universal gateway, allowing integrators, technical service providers, facilities managers, and more, to integrate any VRF or VRV HVAC system with Home & Building Automation systems. 

CoolMasterNet allows you to also connect your VRF/VRV HVAC to CoolAutomation's Cloud Solutions, and to control, monitor, service, and manage the systems through these designated, various apps.

In this blog post, we’ll break down the many ways in which CoolMasterNet benefits Home Automation Integrators, HVAC Technical Service Providers, and Facilities Managers. We will begin by detailing the challenges each HVAC professional encounters when approaching a VRF/VRV air conditioning system and follow by detailing how connecting it to CoolMasterNet enables a simple connection to an app that fits each of these professionals’ needs.

Home Automation Integrators 

The Challenge

Home Automation Integrators strive to achieve an easy integration between Smart Home Controllers and VRF/VRV HVACs.

But when arriving on-site and discovering that there’s a VRF/VRV HVAC installed, Home Automation Integrators tend to encounter a recurring challenge: they already know from past experience that each VRF/VRV HVAC has a different protocol and that this protocol is a closed, proprietary one. 

They know that this is going to be a complex integration that will require them to provide a mediation device from the specific manufacturer, in order to integrate the VRF/VRV into the Home Automation system. Or have the manufacturer provide the integrator with a unique protocol. However, this is not always available, ending up with the integrator investing a lot of professional energy in the integration process.


The Solution

CoolMasterNet allows Home Automation Integrators to seamlessly, universally, and natively integrate VRF/VRV HVAC into any Home Automation System. It also enables the connection to the leading Smart Home Device integration (such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa).

As a Plug & Play device CoolMasterNet is simple to install and saves Home Automation Integrators precious time.

HVAC Technical Service Providers 

The Challenge

Many HVAC Technical Service Providers are familiar with this routine: arriving on-site, only to discover they’re carrying the wrong set of tools for the HVAC malfunction they were called to fix. 

In another scenario: they receive a service call that sounds complex, and send their company’s most valuable workforce - their VRF Engineer - to perform the fix. Once the Engineer arrives on-site to fix the issue, he discovers that it’s actually quite minor - and ends up wasting his time in traffic and solving an issue a junior HVAC service provider could have solved.

 The Solution

Connecting the HVAC system to CoolMasterNet enables a connection to CoolAutomation’s Cloud Solutions - including the HVAC Remote Diagnostics solution. This solution allows you to constantly and remotely monitor the performance of all the connected HVACs on all connected sites.

Not only that, but this solution allows you to remotely diagnose and solve errors, and helps you to downsize your and your VRF engineer’s on-site visits to the required minimum.

Facilities Managers

The Challenge

Facilities Managers experience a complexity in their job: while they need to manage VRF/VRV HVAC systems on multiple floors, buildings, or sites, they need to easily view, monitor or manage these different locations - through a single interface; something that is not always available to them. They are also called to optimize the facilities’ energy consumption.

The Solution

CoolMasterNet allows Facilities Managers to control VRF/VRV HVAC systems in different locations and buildings under their management - easily and remotely, and through a single interface.

This is done through the Advanced HVAC Operations solution, allowing Facilities Managers to stay on top of things, inspect the operational trends of each of the connected HVAC systems and diagnose recurring malfunctions - and remotely.

Not only that, but CoolMasterNet allows Facilities Managers to integrate Home and Building Automation Systems with HVAC - allowing them to remotely set effective scheduling

(according to hours of the day/temperature), limit users' change of the system’s temperature, set seasonal adjustments, and set the HVAC to a pre-set, regulated temperature. These abilities allow for energy efficiency, and save on the facility’s energy bills.

For more information, contact our team of experts

BAS~HVAC Integration: Why Don’t These Components Work Together?

Building Automation Systems (BAS) and VRF/VRV HVACs - The Challenge

Building Automation Systems (BAS) are the automated, centralized control of a building's electrical, lighting, shading, Access Control, Security Systems, HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning), and other interrelated systems.

In our digital world, BASs are enabling buildings to become increasingly connected, remotely controlled, and energy efficient. IoT (Internet of Things) is revitalizing BAS, enabling it to support a range of new usage scenarios. Internet-connected BASs can capture more granular data, run sophisticated control strategies, and support smart maintenance. 

In this technological climate, facilities managers need to plan for an increasingly complex building IoT ecosystem, where the BAS is one of several systems producing building intelligence. But there is one catch. There doesn’t seem to be a simple, universal integration solution between the BAS and the most energy-consuming system within the buildings: The HVAC, and more precisely - VRF/VRV HVACs.

HVAC components from different manufacturers don’t work well together

These are the main reasons why HVAC components from different manufacturers don’t easily work together, or aren’t meant to:

  •  They're communicating in different protocols, and each HVAC manufacturer has its own protocol
  • The integrators usually use the manufacturer’s gateway, but still need to write a compatible code for this protocol and implement it in the system 
  • If encountered with a new HVAC manufacturer brand in his next project, the integrator has to go through this time-consuming process all over again 

The problem of relying on 3rd party partners for HVAC system integration 

The most common solution is offered by the HVAC manufacturers, which are actually third-party partners that enable the integration into the BAS system. This drives many challenges that most project designers encounter at every single step of the project. 

What exactly gets so complicated with a manufacturer-based solution? 

The design and planning stage takes longer as time is spent searching for the brand-compatible HVAC gateway. Once the device is allocated, the understanding of the integration and set up process of the newly-found device becomes another time consuming task. 

During the installation phase the support procedures, which are performed by a third-party manufacturer (sometimes located at a different timezone and less available) can cause a bottleneck, especially if the problem occurs while onsite installation takes place.

And finally, the commissioning process of the HVAC system integration phase takes a long time to complete.

BAS HVAC Integration is key

So why is the answer to all the issues mentioned above?

BAS is energy efficient, and allows for seamless and universal integration between all HVAC brands and BAS systems.

What’s more, end users benefit from an integrated system that enables greater comfort and convenience. They can control the HVAC from their own climate zone (alongside a designated thermostat) - this happens without any relation to integration.  


CoolAutomation offers you the universality advantage. Our HVAC gateways are cross-brand, universal devices that are delivered with a set up for your VRF/VRV HVAC system brand.

Designed and manufactured by HVAC and integration professionals, the gateways are Plug & Play devices that automatically detect the HVAC components of the HVAC system - with just one unified interface for all compatible HVAC systems to connect to a BAS. 

CoolAutomation’s universal HVAC gateways also communicate native HVAC protocols with the HVAC system, and support native BAS open protocols: BACnet MS/TP, BACnet IP(BTL certified) and Modbus RTU/Modbus TCP. 


If you’d like to find out more about CoolAutomation’s solutions, please contact us

Ask The Home Automation Expert – A Special Interview

This blog post is dedicated to an interview with a professional integrator, Sergey Staroseletski of Stardome.

Sergey told us about the challenges of integrating HVAC into a Home Automation system, talked about its challenges, and explained why it is so important to perform this integration.

We had a lovely time interviewing Sergey! Dive in:

Sergey Staroseletski, of Stardom, integrator

  • Hi Sergey! Great to have with us today. Tell us, why would you recommend integrating HVAC into a Home Automation system?

Sergey: First, I would recommend considering integrating all the appliances that the homeowner would like to control from inside the house – or from outside. And HVAC is one of them. 

Many homeowners want to integrate HVAC, as it is very comfortable to control it remotely. For example, properly integrated HVAC allows the homeowner to turn the air conditioning on before they get home, so that the house will be cooler and more pleasant when they arrive.

  • Are there any other benefits for homeowners from integration?

Sergey: Integrating HVAC into the Home Automation system allows the homeowner to set a timer for the HVAC, determine for how long the air conditioning will be working, and at what temperature. 

It’s more energy efficient, but that’s not the only benefit. .Here’s a perfect example. We have a client who said that 22°C (71.6°F) is too cold for him; but 23°C (73.4°F) is too hot.

We decided to program the HVAC’s timer through the Home Automation system to automatically set the temperature to 22°C/71.6°F for two hours, and then change to 23°C/73.4°F – and repeat. This solved the problem perfectly, and automatically. 

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  • Are there more benefits for HVAC integration that you can tell us about? 

Sergey: Once the HVAC is integrated, it can be a part of a single-click scenario – a set of actions that are activated in a single app click. 

For example, it can be part of a “leaving the house” scenario. When a homeowner wants to go out, he or she can click on a single button, and this will activate a set of actions: It’ll shut the shutters, turn off the lights and the HVAC, and activate the alarm. The homeowner can even program the system to leave a single indoor unit working, for ventilation purposes. 

One of the most popular scenarios is that of the home movie theater. Let’s say the homeowner wants to watch a movie. He or she can program a scenario of “watching a movie,” the lights will turn on for 10 minutes and then dim; the audio-video and the projector systems will turn on; the TV will turn on; and the HVAC will turn on to a setpoint of, let’s say, 25°C (77°F).

  • What HVAC integration challenges have you encountered?

Sergey: I’ve been using CoolAutomation’s solutions for years now. But I have to tell you, that before that the whole process of HVAC integration wasn’t easy. As each HVAC manufacturer has its own unique protocol, we had to understand each and every one of those protocols, and write a separate module for each HVAC brand. And each time a single component changed HVAC-wise, we had to readjust the module accordingly. 

We also used different adapters (such as BACnet), that sometimes worked well – and sometimes didn’t.

These issues made the HVAC integration cumbersome, inefficient, and very time consuming.

You need to remember that clients don’t care if you have to go through this long process – they want a working product, quickly and at a reasonable price.

  • How did you solve this challenge?

Sergey: We managed to solve it once CoolAutomation came along.  

Once we started using CoolAutomation’s solutions, everything became easier, simpler, and faster. 

Now we’re not concerned with which HVAC brand or model is installed on-site. All we need to do is connect the HVAC to CoolAutomation’s solution, and to the Home Automation controller – and the HVAC is integrated in no time.

  • What would you recommend for people who want to automate their home?

Sergey: I would suggest they take time to fully understand the concepts of a smart home, and consider the benefits of integrating each appliance or system into it: electricity, lightning, smart recordings, alarm, doors, shutters, audio-video, HVAC, etc. As part of that, they should think about what they would like to include in different scenarios. 

And of course, pick a reliable and experienced integrator to do the work. 

Thank you, Sergey, it’s been a pleasure!

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How to Choose HVAC ~ Home Automation Integration Solution

You have this new, exciting integration project. You plan the entire process, clarify the devices of the lightning, the security cameras, the doors, the toaster - it’s no sweat for you.

And then you find out that the residence you’re automating has a VRF HVAC installed.

You already know that when you integrate HVAC into a Home Automation system, you may encounter a headache: each HVAC has a different protocol, and these protocols are closed proprietary ones. 

There are several solutions when it comes to integrating HVAC into a Home Automation system. But you need to choose the right one for your specific task.

In this blog post we’ll examine most of the existing HVAC integration solutions, and describe their advantages and disadvantages:

1. Manufacturer’s BACnet Gateway

2. Third-Party Integration Device

3. IR-Based Gateway

4. Universal HVAC Gateway

Manufacturer’s BACnet Gateway

You need to integrate a VRF HVAC. If you reach out to your HVAC people, they’ll probably recommend you use a BACnet gateway – a controller which is provided by that specific HVAC manufacturer.

Each manufacturer has its own BACnet Gateway. So, before you arrive onsite you have to understand which HVAC brand is installed and to get the right equipment from your HVAC people, who need to ask for it from the HVAC manufacturer. 

Not only that, but as BACnet does not fully comply with the Home Automation market, you’ll have to know the different HVAC and BACnet parameters for the integration – and make the adjustments according to each project. 

In addition, BACnet gateway was originally intended for commercial use. Using it in small sites or with small HVAC systems may become pricey for your customers.

Universal HVAC Gateway - HVAC, BACnet, and Controller integration

As you can see, this is not the optimal solution, as it requires an extra budget and additional setup effort. It is also not a universal solution, and you’ll need to repeat the mentioned above process with each HVAC brand, which makes it very time-consuming. 

So how can you bridge between HVAC and Home Automation systems? What other solutions can help you integrate both systems easily and seamlessly?

The solutions that are available on market include a Third-Party Integration Device, IR-Based Gateway – and the Universal HVAC Gateway. Let’s take a look at them.

Third-Party Integration Device

These kinds of solutions usually comprise multiple devices, each installed on all of the indoor units, creating a virtual network between them. This virtual network can then be connected to the Home Automation system.

However, these solutions are brand-specific and not unified, creating a multitude of devices that need to be installed onsite. Moreover, the HVAC brands that are compatible with these technologies are limited. 

All in all, these solutions are complex and encumbered.

IR-Based Gateway

This solution may be proposed by the HVAC manufacturers. It connects to the HVAC’s indoor unit through an internet connection, using a domestic Wi-Fi network. 

Even though this solution is cloud-based, it is not native and is eventually activated by IR, which means that it functions as a sort of standard remote control. This is a cheaper solution, requiring a lighter use of hardware, is mostly used with simpler technologies, and totally depends on a local WI-Fi network (which is mostly managed by other parties). 

But there’s a downside to it.

When you integrate HVAC by using this technology, it can create only one-directional communication, which means that you lack the bi-directional feedback loop: once the end-user sends a command to the HVAC (be it from inside the house or from another location), he’ll have no system status information. And so, the end-user cannot know whether the command was successfully executed or not.

But there is another, single, seamless integration solution - the Universal HVAC Gateway. A single solution that fits them all.

Universal HVAC Gateway

The Universal Gateway provides you with the ability to natively integrate any existing VRF HVAC into Home Automation systems.

Unlike the solutions mentioned above, the universal gateway doesn’t connect to the indoor units - but connects directly to the VRF’s main communication line. 

As it is universal, you don’t need to install multiple devices, according to the HVAC brands on-site. All you need is one device per system. And because this device is universal, you can connect several HVAC brands to this single gateway, even in one project. 

Universal HVAC Gateway - HVAC, Universal Gateway, and Controller integration

This device allows you to simplify the setup process: once it’s connected to the HVAC system, all the HVAC components are auto-detected. It is simple to integrate and install, and as it is plug & a play, out-of-the-box solution - it has fewer points of failure than the conventional, mentioned above options.

This device also provides you with bi-directional, real-time communication, and immediate system status. This allows you and the end-user to receive real-time feedback with no delay, and make sure all the commands were successfully executed.

The Advantages of The Universal HVAC Gateway:

  1. Native Home Automation integration with most of the major Home Automation brands: Control4, Crestron, Lutron, Savant, Vantage, HDL, Fibaro, Philips Dynalite, AMX, RTI, and more
  2. Natively supports all brands of VRF HVACs: Daikin, Mitsubishi Electric, LG, Samsung, Gree, Carrier, Trane, Hitachi, Toshiba, Fujitsu, JCI, Midea, Panasonic/Sanyo, Mitsubishi Heavy, and many others
  3. Multiple Interfaces on physical layers: Ethernet (IP), RS232, RS485, KNX (with ETS support)
  4. Communicates through open protocols: ASCII, BACnet IP, BACnet MSTP, Modbus TCP RTU, and REST API protocols; and all customary Home Automation protocols
  5. Optional cloud API, for customized cloud solutions
  6. Full cloud-based native CoolAutomation Apps suite (works in parallel with Home Automation systems)
  7. Integrates with various cloud solutions: Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and more

Let us make your life easier and eliminate the guesswork!

Reach out to us for more information, and we’ll be happy to help you choose the HVAC integration solution that best fits your needs. 

Lutron myRoom Palladiom & VRF for Hospitality – The HVAC Basics

This blog tells you everything you need to know about Lutron myRoom and its Palladiom thermostat for Hospitality: what it is, why use it together with a VRF control system in hospitality, and how to integrate both systems successfully.

What is Lutron myRoom?

Lutron myRoom is a guestroom solution for integrated light, temperature, and shade control. Each system can be tailored to specific performance and budget requirements. All myRoom systems offer beautifully designed, energy-efficient, high ROI control options.

Learn more about the Lutron myRoom solution at www.lutron.com/myroom

Why use myRoom as a control system in Hospitality?

Lutron myRoom provides an integrated approach for lights, shades, and temperature control in the guestroom space. myRoom offers elegant and intuitive wall controls, guest experience enhancements like simple turndown activation, increased energy savings, and staff efficiency. myRoom also integrates with PMS, CELS, BMS, Rapid Response, and other in-room technology like bedside tablets.

Why use VRF/VRV HVAC in hospitality?

There are many reasons for using VRF/VRV HVAC in hospitality.  The large variety of indoor unit types fits any interior design. The modular, space-saving system design eliminates the need for mechanical rooms and bulky equipment on hotel roofs. Thin and flexible refrigerant piping saves the need for bigger shafts for all the necessary piping/ductwork. Precise temperature control and low air volume create comfortable conditions for every guest. The built-in control network makes it possible to integrate with all other hotel systems without the need for an additional 3rd party control system. And finally, the modular system means easier service and decreases the number of affected rooms in case of malfunction.

How to make both work efficiently together?

The Lutron Palladiom thermostat (as part of the myRoom system) is integrated with the individual VRF/VRV unit in the same room, allowing full control and monitoring of all HVAC functionality, using CoolPlug gateway.  CoolPlug is a small device that natively connects to the indoor unit on one side, and to the Lutron Palladiom thermostat on the other.

The installation process is very straightforward, thanks to the engineering collaboration and background work that has been done by both companies (Lutron and CoolAutomation), in order to bring the solution to the Plug & Play level, when it comes down to field installation.  This cooperation not only makes the installation process simple, but it also makes the solution solid and stable, due to the process verification procedures made by both sides.

Your next simple 3 steps

  1. Check HVAC compatibility and select the right CoolPlug model. Simply fill out this form with your contact information and your HVAC system brand and model.
  2. Once the right CoolPlug is selected, connect it to the VRF indoor unit (use our installation guide of the CoolPlug for different brands).
  3. Wire the CoolPlug to Lutron Palladiom thermostat.

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Wireless HVAC Control For Your Smart Home

There are many different technologies that allow you to control your Air Conditioning system remotely. In this article we will focus on the WiFi HVAC systems. We will analyze different concepts, comparing their advantages and weak points.

WiFi HVAC Systems control concepts

Let’s look deeper into existing WiFi air conditioning control, and how it works. There are two main ideas:

  • SmartAir Conditioners with WiFi connectivity that connect to a local network WiFi (LAN or WLAN)
  • Air Conditioners with WiFi connectivity (WiFi control adapter) that connect to the Internet through a “cloud” operation

Local networks WiFi

WiFi Air Conditioning control - home

Local WiFi devices can be operated by smartphones within the local WiFi network, using native apps, developed by the manufacturer of the air conditioning system. Such HVAC systems won’t be controllable once the smartphone is out of the range of the local WiFi network.

Such a concept will work for some home appliances, such as TV, and Audio-Video devices, that require control only when we are around. There is no need to access them while we are away. However, when considering air conditioning systems, it is essential to have remote access while we are not home. (e.g. left the house and forgot to turn the air conditioning off).

Another disadvantage of local WiFi networks are interruptions in the network connectivity. Once the phone is set for WiFi, it can automatically switch to another WiFI network (without any notification), and the air conditioner is not accessible anymore.

"Cloud" Operation

Cloud Air Conditioning control

When remote access is required, cloud-based technology fulfils this need. All the data can be hosted locally, at the client’s location, or on any of the modern internet cloud storage providers (e.g. Amazon Web Services ).

The main idea behind the cloud is that you can access all your information over the internet end device – in our case, the Air Conditioning system – must have a proper Internet connection, through WiFi or wired connection to the local network with internet access or 4G.

With cloud service, having an internet connection means there is a reliable remote control that works from anywhere.

Cloud services offer many more benefits, such as better security and easy software updates with zero infrastructure maintenance.

The only downside to cloud services is that they are dependent on the reliability of the Internet connection. However, with the growth of the IoT market, internet technologies are becoming more reliable – as it is now a must-have for any device in the IoT world.

WiFi HVAC Systems — Summary

In summary, it seems that the goal is to get remote access to our HVAC system when we are out of the house, while not dealing with the underlying technologies such as WiFi, IR, ZigBee, Bluetooth, or others.

Using the “cloud” concept, it really doesn’t matter how the Air Conditioning system is connected to the Internet, as long as we have the ability to turn the air conditioning on remotely – prior to getting home from work; or turn it off remotely if we forget to shut it down when we are out of the house.

At CoolAutomation, we firmly believe that at this point, wired internet connection of the HVAC unit can provide better results, being less sensitive to the stability of the local WiFi networks.

Our CoolMasterNet and CoolPlug platforms connect a wide range of HVAC brands and models to our Cloud service, the HVAC Control solution. This provides our customers with the simplest experience of controlling their HVAC equipment remotely and reliably.

Contact us to find out about our Cloud-based Air Conditioning control solutions!

11 Tips for integrating VRF HVAC systems

Integrating VRF systems can be quite a task - even for professionals, when doing it for the first time. However, learning how VRF works and asking the “right” questions can save a lot of hassle during the integration.

Following, are some tips to get you started:


VRF systems are made up of two different, but equally important, system components: indoor units, and one or more outdoor unit(s).

The outdoor unit will (among other things) dictate the operational states and modes, e.g. is the system on/off or set to heat/cool.

The indoor units will work to achieve the individual temperature setpoints for each room and manage the requested fan speeds


There are a number of functions that Home & Building Automation systems can control for each indoor unit. Many integrators could find these terms confusing.

To make sure you’re always clear as to what they mean, we’ve created a list of common controllable functions along with the functionality that they control:

  1. Operational State - Is the unit state on/off
  2. Operational Mode - Is the unit mode in Cool/Heat/Fan/Dry/Auto
  3. Temperature Setpoint - The temperature that the unit will attempt to reach
  4. Fan Speed - How fast the fan is spinning Hi/Medium/Low/Auto


Don’t waste time attempting to create controls for the outdoor unit(s), focus on the indoor units, since they’re the only ones you’ll need to integrate into your system.


When a VRF system is installed, the outdoor unit will automatically assign a unique system address for each indoor unit.

Before beginning your integration process, it’s important for you to first write down a list of all the indoor unit addresses along with the corresponding room where it is located. Having this done before starting an integration will make the process much faster and easier for you!


Unlike traditional HVAC systems, all VRF indoor unit functions are managed independently of one another. Most VRF indoor units are not affected by the state of any other unit in the system.

For example, the living room’s air conditioning operational state (on/off), temperature setpoint, and sometimes even operational modes (heat/ cool) will be managed independently of the kitchen and bedrooms.

So while you might be used to integrating functions on a systemwide level, you should be careful to make sure you integrate the functions for each unit separately.


When two or more indoor VRF units are physically linked to work as a group, only the master unit (the unit with the lowest unique system address) can be controlled.

You shouldn’t add any of the slave units into the automation system since all of the slave units will ignore any other commands received.


HVAC systems, on average, last between 10 and 15 years, while Home & Building Automation systems can in theory last forever since their value is found in the underlying Automation software, not the hardware interface device.

Understanding that HVAC systems will, more often than not, be replaced sooner than the Home & Building Automation systems, you should encourage your clients and/or HVAC installers to use universal solutions to integrate the HVAC with your Automation system.

Universal solutions will ensure that whenever the HVAC needs to be replaced, the new system can be easily re-integrated with your Home & Building Automation system.


Usually, the VRF will measure the temperature through a sensor mounted inside the indoor unit. This is often mistakenly interpreted as the actual room temperature.

Since hot air rises, a sensor in a ceiling unit could sense a dramatically different temperature from what would be felt closer to the ground. The higher the ceiling, the larger the difference could be.


Sometimes, after successfully completing an HVAC integration, the HVAC system will not respond to the commands given. Before you start tearing your hair out in frustration and restarting the entire integration process, first check and see if there is an error notification with the HVAC itself.

When an error occurs, the error code notification should appear on the HVAC’s wired remote, but many Home & Building Automation systems have the ability to display the error code on the main controller as well.

If your Home & Building Automation system doesn’t allow the errors to be forwarded, it would be a good idea to add in that functionality, as this information can be used by HVAC installers as well as your customers in order to quickly resolve any HVAC related issue


Traditional HVAC systems (or more specifically, the Thermostats that control them) often use different setpoints for cooling and heating. Most VRF systems function a little differently, where there will usually, be a single setpoint used regardless of the operational mode.

This is important for you to remember so that you don’t waste time trying to set up multiple setpoints since all you’ll need is one.


Most Home & Building Automation integrators have had a bad experience trying to integrate a VRF HVAC system into their Home or Building Automation system. As a result, they feel as though the process of VRF integration is complex and burdensome.

The truth is that these integrations should be incredibly simple (often, just a 2 wire connection). Previous bad experiences are probably a result of trying to perform integrations with the wrong tools! But by using these tips and tricks, Heating and Air Conditioning integrations will become a breeze, regardless of the system type (VRF, Mini/Multi Split, Zone Control, etc…).


If you ever have any questions about HVAC integration, automation, or configuration, you can always reach out to one of our professionals by simply filling out the form located below.

Tools for the 21st Century HVAC Professional

Today’s digital age places HVAC professionals in a unique position (and if you’re reading this, we assume that you’re one of them). While HVAC digitization may possibly create some advantages for you, these benefits are abstract, and learning how to jump into the digital world  seems like a big barrier to overcome.

We’ve written this article to help HVAC professionals to understand not just the specific advantages that the digital world can provide for you, your customers, and your business, but also to help you see just how easy the process can be.

 A Multitude of Advantages

The digital world brings many opportunities to the HVAC industry. It does require some level of adjustment for HVAC professionals and technicians but it also provides them with the most value.

As an example, digital solutions enable you to have a more efficient workday, potentially eliminating the need to drive across the city to perform onsite system diagnostics or commissioning. Instead, you can access these systems digitally so that you can perform the tests remotely. It also helps HVAC professionals like you expand your business by making your company more attractive to both existing and potential customers through faster and more efficient service.

Why Some Professionals Are Ignoring the Digital Trend?

Despite its numerous benefits, many professionals within the HVAC industry have still not embraced the digital world, while others are simply ignoring it. This might be due to the perceived challenges associated with making the jump into the digital revolution. But as we’re about to show you, it’s much easier than they think.

 How to Digitize an HVAC?

VRF, VRV, Split, Mini-Split and some of the other HVAC systems, are all designed with a closed communication system, and as such, are unable to connect to any external device, network, or smart home device. The ultimate solution to bridge this gap is through the use of an intermediary solution, that includes an Internet of Climate (IoC) device and cloud-based API access.

CoolAutomation Connects Your HVAC to the Internet of Climate (IoC)

In order to enable digital functionality and interactivity, you will need to install an intermediary device such as one of CoolAutomation’s hardware devices. Easy to install, these devices enable VRF and Split systems to communicate with the internet and web applications.  

This creates what we call: The Internet of Climate or the IoC.

IoC Enabled HVAC: Key Opportunities 

1)    Pro-active HVAC Service

One of the most significant challenges for HVAC professionals and businesses like yourself, is that you have no ability to proactively interact with your customers after an initial installation or servicing. This leaves you constantly searching for new customers instead of maximizing the customers you already have.

Remote Monitoring and Predictive Maintenance

The ability to remotely monitor HVAC systems allows you to reach out to your customers and initiate servicing to help them avoid severe technical issues in the future - through a designated app. CoolAutomation's solution is designed for the HVAC professional saves time and resources through HVAC remote monitoring, diagnostics, and predictive maintenance.

Gain Access to Data From HVAC Systems You’ve Installed

The installation of an intermediary hardware device enables you to access the HVAC System data. There’s no limit to the number of systems you can integrate into your account, and for each individual system you can:

  •     Receive alerts and notifications - when an HVAC system nears or exceeds the performance limits, so that you can reach out to your customer and proactively recommend a service call to avoid system errors or failures.
  •     Drastically reduce the time needed for each service call - through remote servicing, troubleshooting, and diagnostics, you will be providing more efficient service for your customers.
  •     Enable HVAC predictive maintenance - our advanced algorithms will send alerts related to potential problems and errors before they occur. This enables you to inform your customers and solve small problems before they become big problems.

In other words, an HVAC troubleshooting App allows you to provide your customers with peace-of-mind and a sense of trust in your professional expertise.

2)    Universal Smart Home Integration

At some time or another, your customers may have asked you about connecting an HVAC system to a smart home device. The most popular systems include WiFi thermostats, Nest,Amazon Alexa, Ecobee, or Google Assistant.

While in the past this may not have been a serious problem, the incredible popularity of smart home devices and the growing penetration of VRF and Split HVAC systems is about to significantly increase your need for a simple connectivity solution.

Connect with CoolAutomation

As mentioned, VRF and Split HVAC systems cannot directly connect to any external system, including Home Automation. By installing one of CoolAutomation’s hardware solutions you will now be able to integrate VRF, VRV, Split, Mini-Split, and Multi-Split HVACs to any Home Automation system and all of the most popular smart home devices. 

3)    Cross Brand HVAC Control

Since nowadays most people assume everything comes with an app, some of your customers have no doubt already asked you for a web or mobile application to remotely control their HVAC. While some of the HVAC manufacturers have developed an application for this purpose, using a different application for each individual manufacturer is a significant task for you and mainly, your customer. The ultimate solution would be finding a universal application that can be used for just about every VRF and Split HVAC system, and can even be used if multiple HVAC brands are being used in a single location.

By installing one of CoolAutomation’s hardware devices, together with the CoolAutomation HVAC Control, you can give your customers complete remote control over their HVAC system, regardless of the manufacturing brand.

What You Need to Make it Work

The entire CoolAutomation Application Suite is enabled through the installation of a CoolAutomation hardware device: CoolMasterNet, CoolPlug, and CooLinkBridge

So what are you waiting for?! Start improving your business by contacting us today!

How VRF HVAC integrates with Home Automation

There are so many different types of HVACs (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems. Understanding how each one connects and interacts with Home Automation systems can be a real challenge.

The goal of this article is to simplify and clarify how Home Automation interacts with VRF HVAC systems.

What is a VRF HVAC system?

A VRF, or Variable Refrigerant Flow system, is an advanced type of HVAC used for larger residential and commercial, homes and offices. The unique aspect of a VRF system’s design is that it has a single outdoor unit, connected to multiple indoor units through coolant piping and communication wiring - in place of the conventional ducting. This design enables complete flexibility and customizability regarding climate control for each individual indoor unit.

This design, in theory, should be ideal for both local and remote climate control, management, and automation; but naturally, it isn’t that simple.

How to integrate HVAC into a home automation system?

Can VRF systems be integrated into Home Automation?

The problem encountered when attempting to automate a VRF system is that when they are first purchased, they come out-of-the-box as closed systems. This means that they communicate internally, and commands can only be sent and received through the VRF manufacturer’s native control functionality. As a result, VRF systems are unable to communicate externally without the use of an additional device.

This challenge creates a significant hurdle for integrating VRF HVAC systems into a Home Automation system. Presently, the most common means of overcoming this challenge is through a BACnet interface , which makes the automation process incredibly clunky and complicated, with multiple points of potential failure.

To make matters worse, Home Automation and VRF systems use completely different languages to communicate, and therefore have no native means of understanding requests, commands, or information that need to be sent between the two systems.

The VRF and Home Automation systems, therefore, require a device that can act as an intermediary in order to translate commands and requests between the two in a simple and seamless way.

How VRF HVAC Integrates with Home Automation Systems

This is where CoolMasterNet comes in. Since CoolAutomation works directly with both Home Automation and VRF manufacturers, CoolMasterNet is able to provide nativelike integration for any VRF system with almost any Home Automation main console. Additionally, since CoolMasterNet’s function is to provide external access to the VRF system, it is also an essential tool in order to provide access for the Home Automator’s cloud-based remote HVAC control solution.

Integration of HVAC into a home automation system - with CoolMasterNet

Functionally, CoolMasterNet’s advanced technologies are able to read the specific internal address assigned by the VRF system for each indoor unit. CoolMasterNet will then automatically identify those units though the Home Automation system, and provide the integrator with quick and easy access to each individual unit through the main controller. This functionality provides simple and intuitive management for the entire system, both locally as well as remotely.

Simply put, CoolMasterNet is an all-in-one solution for VRF and Home Automation integration. It is simple to install, easy to configure, and operates flawlessly within the system, while remaining unseen in the background.

To learn more about the advanced functionality of CoolMasterNet, Click Here.

Control4 Thermostat – Connect Any VRF HVAC

Get Daikin, Mitsubishi, LG, and Others Under Control

Searching for HVAC integration solutions makes you probably wonder about the HVAC system as a whole. Not just where to connect the wires. After all, when you are trying to connect a Control4 Thermostat to VRF systems such as Daikin, Mitsubishi, LG, Samsung, Fujitsu, Gree VRF, you might feel confused.

Typical Control4 Thermostat Connectivity

Let’s look at a typical HVAC control case. You have the Control4 thermostat that you would naturally connect as follows:

Control4 Central Controller and HVAC

Five wire thermostats

A thermostat is an inherent part of the Unitary HVAC system, which needs a control=brain=logical part, to make the system reach and keep a set point temperature.

The traditional thermostat is the decision maker of the system, the brain, which engages with the Air Conditioning system using the well-known 5-wire:

  • Cool (Y)
  • Heat (W)
  • Fan (G)
  • The other 2 wires are meant to power the thermostat itself

If you wish to dive a tiny bit deeper: a thermostat dictates an on/off command to the relay it is connected to on the HVAC. Let's say you need to cool down a hot San Diego apartment to a comfortable 72°F. You turn on your AC in “Cool” mode and fix your set point to 72°.

The HVAC system keeps cooling until a thermostat senses 72°F (or a bit below). Once the room temperature reading is 72, the thermostat switches the HVAC unit’s cooling relay OFF, using the Cool (Y) wire.

A thermostat is the brain of the system, operating on a principle of: "I shut you off once you finish doing your job!". Pretty simple, right? And that's how we like it:

Control4 Central Controller and HVAC - On and Off

Two or three wire Thermostats

However, once you try to connect that Control4 thermostat to a VRF system by Daikin, Mitsubishi, or LG (and others for that matter), the problems begin. This is the point at which you start wondering what to do about the missing wires of the HVAC indoor unit.

You see, we are all used to seeing that control panel as a thermostat, the brain of the system. However, the 2 or 3-wire thermostat is in fact not a thermostat at all. It is a Wired Remote Controller (WRC) that communicates with the VRF indoor unit, using a communication protocol.

The WRC that comes along with a VRF is essentially a control panel. It delivers users’ climate requirements ("Cool to 72°F") to the VRF indoor unit. That unit then translates the request into an engineering demand, and sets the unit to operate and deliver the desired climate conditions. Think of this process much like the Control4 central controller, managing all the devices you have installed. Your Home Automation system components and devices are communicating with each other using a network.

The HVAC manufacturers apply proprietary networks and closed communication for external access, using brand specific protocols. So, if you have a Daikin VRF or an LG, those two systems run the data on entirely different networks, using completely different protocols.

How to make the VRF HVAC work with Control4 Thermostat?

So, the question remains, how to make a Control4 Thermostat to work with a highly sophisticated Daikin VRV? The answer is simple. You don’t.  

It’s like trying to make a digital I/O work with a communication bus. However, hold on before you close the browser and secretly curse the star we were born under - we have a better solution.

Connect the Control4 central controller to the VRF HVAC using CoolMasterNet

It's a good idea for two reasons:

  1. You get a bi-directional communication between the Control4 system and the VRF HVAC, with zero latency. You have achieved your initial goal of controlling the HVAC!
  2. You can still have Control4 Thermostat on the wall and keep your customers’ habits of controlling the HVAC with a wall mounted control panel

How? Just add a CoolAutomation gateway, that allows the commands to get from the controller to the HVAC (and a response back). Like this:

Control4 Central Controller and CoolMasterNer

Now connect Control4 thermostat to the system like this:

Control4 Central Controller, Thermoastat and CoolMasterNer

Connecting Control4 thermostat this way is most beneficial to your user. We are all creatures of habits, and many of your customers still expect a wall mounted control device. In this case, the device is connected to the central controller, and not directly to the HVAC. So, your thermostat is operating through two intermediate devices that allow translating and connecting two distinct systems.

In conclusion

If you are trying to control an advanced HVAC system, particularly those with high growth market penetration such as Daikin VRV or other VRF brands, using 5- wire thermostat, remember this:

  • A 5-wire thermostat will not work with a non-conventional HVAC, such as Daikin, Mitsubishi, LG, and other VRF systems
  • Instead, use a CoolMasterNet gateway that connects the Control4 central controller, directly to the HVAC system
  • Use a Control4 thermostat, connecting it to the central controller, not to the HVAC

Are you interested in more information? Contact us

How to avoid BACnet in VRF HVAC integration with Home Automation

Today’s default approach

So, you’re considering a new integration project, laying out all the workable solutions, so when the time comes you’ll be able to do it blindfolded. The central light control integration you finished last week by Savant for an owner of a brand-new villa, a projection system by Crestron or Control 4 you recently integrated in the meeting room of a fancy new high-tech office.

But this project is different… This is a HVAC VRF integration that takes you slightly out of your comfort zone. But hey! You're no coward, you relish new challenges!

Except that this time it’s not so simple…

Let’s say you get the HVAC installer to understand what you need, and he manages to find a device provided by the HVAC VRF manufacturer. His solution, by default, will involve a BACNET based controller. And now we’re entering unfamiliar territory in terms of time and investment, since BACnet is not that common in the Home Automation world.

You are going to have to look for a Home Automation solution that will connect to the HVAC side. The problem is, you have no idea how much time it will take to install, pair and connect the systems. Naturally, you tell yourself, that if you get lost or find yourself in limbo, you can always rely on support from the HVAC installer.

Well, not always..

The installer won’t be much help since his professional domain is HVAC installation, not controls. The manufacturer support team? ‘…Your call is very important to us, you are number 13 in line…”

HVAC integration using BACnet Gatewya

You are probably not even sure which details can help avoid the frustration you experienced last time. After all, the technology changes so fast that it’s impossible to keep track of it all, especially in such a foreign industry like HVAC.

So, what’s the alternative?

What if I told you that there is an HVAC universal gateway, which is native for both VRF HVAC and Home Automation systems, and also eliminates the unnecessary conversion to 3rd party platforms, such as BACNET?

HVAC integration with CoolMasterNet

CoolMasterNet allows you to integrate all VRF systems by Daikin, Mitsubishi Electric, LG, Hitachi (JCI), Trane, Fujitsu, Carrier (Toshiba), Samsung and many others. One simple smart device for pain-free integration with all VRF systems. CoolMasterNet is your secret weapon to mastering your time when integrating heavy-duty HVAC installations.

And we’re not the only ones to think so :-)

Home Automation manufacturers have voted for our solution too: Every major Home Automation manufacturer has developed dedicated drivers, published it in their driver database, allowing us to deliver on our promises.

CoolMasterNet is simply plugged in by Ethernet connection to the dedicated home automation system. The driver can be easily and manually uploaded (or in some cases automatically, such as Control4).

So, what’s in it for you?

In startling contrast to your other options, the CoolMasterNet benefits are clear:

Easy installation

  • Simplicity - auto detect on the HVAC side, with built-in driver on the Home Automation side
  • Plug & Play - easily install the device yourself, HVAC components are auto-detected, and provide all the control you need
  • Built-in drivers make trouble-free configuration of Home Automation control

High performance

  • Ongoing instant communication with instant data retrieval from the HVAC system
  • Energy management analysis, retrieved from the HVAC system’s power consumption data

Reliable service

  • Remote system diagnosis, anytime, from anywhere!
  • One point-of-contact for support and service


  • Robust and dependable solution, with a single fail point
  • Native communication protocol for both sides (HVAC and Home Automation)
  • Less protocol conversions

Lower cost

  • Significantly reduced cost of ownership (CMNET costs less than BACNET gateways (bought separately for the HVAC and Home Automation sides)
  • Considerably shortened integration time - so less costs till project completion
  • Reduced service and support costs (due to remote connection capabilities)

Wish to find out more about CoolAutomation's BACnet alternative? contact us now

HVAC integration – the past, the present, and the future

HVAC integration - The past

When the first air conditioning systems came in, they were simple mechanical “machines”, with very few electrical components, just for making it work. There were no options for external control/integration. The only way of controlling them was by “cutting” off the HVAC unit power. Therefore, the only way to integrate HVAC systems was by adding a controllable (on/off) relay on the power supply line to the HVAC unit.

Later on, small split systems that entered the markets brought in a new control capability – the IR. Similar to TVs, Home Automation controllers “learned” the codes and started controlling those small split systems by their own IR transmitters, as an alternative to the original HVAC remote. Of course, it wasn’t ideal, since it was “one-way” integration, but it was much better than nothing those days.

The communicating thermostats that became very popular provided additional integration options, but they were mainly used as a stand-alone solution.

HVAC integration - The present

Today, with the penetration of the inverter type HVAC systems to the world markets, the situation has dramatically changed: On one hand, the existing solutions (power line cut off and communicating thermostats) became irrelevant as an integration option (*the reasons will be explained in details in separate articles)

On the other hand, inverter operation requires much more complex control components, which also enable getting all control and monitoring relevant data via communication channels. This opens both a great opportunity and  huge challenge for integration.

Opportunity – since all the data is “digitized”, as the different components in the HVAC system “communicate” via  proprietary protocols, we should be able to access multiple system parameters and options such as: temperature sensor readings, operation status, operation mode, EV (electronic expansion valve) position, compressor status, etc.

Challenge – all this data is “internal”, inside the system, as those communication protocols are proprietary for each HVAC manufacturer, making them closed  for 3rd party integration . In some cases, HVAC manufacturers provide “gateways”, but they fulfill the whole variety of requirements, coming from the “automation” side. There is no industry-wide standard for communication.

To summarize, along the history of HVAC systems, there have been multiple integration solutions:

  1. Dry contact – for on/off external input (usually without feedback).
  2. IR
  3. Original gateways provided by HVAC manufacturers (Usually Lon or BACNET)
  4. 3rd Party universal gateways

All the available solutions are brand and model-dependent. Unfortunately, even today, there is no “universal” solution that will cover all brands and models.

And this is exactly where CoolAutomation’s products fit in.

Our approach was to create gateway solutions such as CoolMasterNet and CoolPlug, that can connect directly to the HVAC systems providing a very easy to implement, unified simple interface protocol on one side, that is flexible enough to accommodate the whole variety of integration demands on the other side.

HVAC integration - The Future

What does the future of HVAC integration hold? We can already see the trends today. Due to the IoT (Internet of Things) “hype”, HVAC manufacturers begin to equip their systems with Wi Fi capabilities, providing their own proprietary apps.  We can assume that there would be more wireless solutions in this field. In addition to Wifi, other technologies, such as Zigbee, Z-wave, Bluetooth, etc. might be adopted. However, the HVAC manufacturers’ development efforts are oriented for “stand alone” control solutions, while integration with other systems is still not the highest priority for HVAC manufacturers.

However, once most of the HVAC units are equipped with wireless technologies, there surely would be solutions for wireless integration as well!



Contact us for more information

The Importance of Feedback in HVAC Integration

What is “One-way" communication?


One-way communication means that we can transmit commands to the HVAC system, and those should be executed accordingly. However, after the command is sent, we do not get any notification if it went through to actual execution.

Also, if the status of the air conditioning unit was changed from another control source e.g. central controller, local wired remote, home automation, this info will not “pushed” back to us, and we won’t be aware of those changes. Same will happen in case of a malfunction or power loss when such information will not reach the user through this control type.

Briefly: one-way communication gives us control, but does not provide us with monitoring capabilities.

The most popular “one-way” communication control system is based on and utilizes IR (Infra Red) technology. The most common residential air conditioners use Infra Red wireless remotes for controlling the units as their main (and sometimes the only) control source.

What is “Two-way communication?"


As opposed to one-way communication, two-way communication means that we get both control and monitoring of the HVAC system. When using two-way communication, not only do we get an “acknowledgment” that the command we sent has been received and executed properly, but we can also receive instant air conditioning system’s status at any given moment, including the following parameters:

  • Operational state (On/Off)
  • Set point temperature
  • Operation mode (Cool/Heat/Fan/Auto)
  • Fan speed or air conditioning status notifications, such as: malfunction code, filter reset sign, room temperature, etc.

Any change in one of the air conditioning system’s parameters can be immediately reported, enabling us to be in full command of the air conditioning system.

Why feedback is so important?

HVAC-VRV-VRF-Communication-Feedback Diagram

In the modern world, especially in the coming of the IoT (Internet of Things) era, every home appliance will most probably be operated by more than one control source - and this will also be the case with HVAC systems.

For instance, an air conditioning system that will have its own control (local, central or both), will require to be integrated into home automation scenarios, controlled remotely through the internet, connected to security systems, and so on. Such a requirement can only be fulfilled if all control sources have direct two-way communication with the HVAC unit, and can monitor its exact condition at any time point.

As an example, let us  think of a situation, where there is a malfunction in the HVAC system. In this case, the malfunction code should be automatically fetched by the home automation system and passed on to the maintenance company, that can proceed for repair, requiring no involvement and report by the customer. 

To Summarize

An effective interaction of the HVAC system with the surrounding control platforms will always require full bi-directional, two-way communication, allowing to receive real-time feedback at any time point for properly arranged home operation scenarios.

Residential Air Conditioning – Evolution and Trends

Traditional Air Conditioning systems

The first individual Air Conditioning system was invented by H.H. Schultz and J.Q. Sherman in 1931. It was a window type Air Conditioner unit, where the control was an integrated part built-in inside.

Further on, especially when first split air conditioners came out, the thermostat became the most important part of an air conditioning control system. Basic electrical components, required for air conditioning parts operation (such as fans and compressors), were mounted inside the air conditioner. All the operation logic, energy efficiency algorithms, operation schedules, etc., were developed and implemented in the Thermostat, which had become the "brain" of the air conditioning systems.

The first thermostats were simple mechanical type ones, based on bimetals. They provided basic functionality, such as On/Off mode, set point temperature, operation mode, and fan speed - utilizing simple buttons, toggles, and control "wheels".  The rapid demand for more sophisticated control, scheduling functions and a "nicer look" had enhanced the development of digital thermostats of various kinds, providing wide functionality, touch screen capabilities, scheduling, and more.

The latest market demand was now "connecting residential air conditioners to home automation systems", which led to communicating thermostats that integrate with Home Automation systems by wired or wireless communication.

The bottom line: any traditional, old air conditioning system can be easily "renovated" by simply adding a smart thermostat. Those smart thermostats from different companies can be matched to different HVAC brands, while enabling the integration of those HVAC systems with Home Automation systems.

Modern Air conditioning systems

HVAC Communication Thermostat Control Wiring conceptual diagramThe increasing demand for saving energy led to the development of new technologies in the HVAC industry, such as inverter based compressor. This technology allows compressor (which is the "heart" of the air conditioning system) to work proportionally, regulating the amount of refrigerant in the HVAC system, which leads to more "accurate" climate control and eventually - to reduced power consumption.

The inverter based technology compressor requires more sophisticated control, involving frequency modulation, DC conversion, and more. In order to support that, larger electronic PCBs (Printed Circuit Boards) that had to include all the relevant electronic components are now mounted inside the HVAC units (indoor, outdoor or both).  The control flow is now totally different.

The Electronic PCB is now an active controller. It gathers all the data from the different inputs: temperature and pressure data from the built-in sensors, outdoor temperature, user input; and based on that, it defines how the HVAC system should work to fulfill those demands.

The traditional "Thermostat" as a concept is now simplified to a simple control panel that is only required to "learn" the user's climate demand, in terms of: operation state (On/Off), operation mode (cool/heat/dry), set point temperature, and the desired fan speed.

The user input can be transferred to the HVAC unit in several ways:

  1. IR
  2. Wired Remote
  3. Wireless (non-IR): Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee etc. This trend is quite new, and seems that it would be progressing in the next few years

The most important part is, that user input interface (IR receiver and transmitter or wired remote) is provided by the same HVAC manufacturers, as an integral part of the unit, or as an optional accessory. 3rd party traditional thermostats cannot be used here, as each HVAC manufacturer has its own "closed" communication interface, different one from another.Air Conditioning Control Wiring Diagram

As the initial philosophy of those HVAC manufacturers was to provide all customers' needs for control, integration of such air conditioning unit with home automation and building management systems (BMS) became a more complicated task.

The variety of HVAC manufacturers and models has created a situation in which each is requiring a specific approach and different integration process. As this task wouldn't be the main priority of the HVAC manufacturers, it is clear that there would be a need for 3rd party integration platform, to make those HVAC units communicate fully with Home Automation/Building management systems.

Summarizing all up, we can now assume what is going to happen next.

In the near future, there is an obvious space for "smart" and communicating thermostats. Those thermostats will continue to develop and their numbers will grow, as "traditional" types of residential systems are still manufactured and sold. There is also a growing retrofit market they can fit into.

However, in the long run, as HVAC manufacturers will implement the inverter technology more and more, the demand for external thermostats (as they are now) will decrease, as the manufacturers will provide their own control panels. The HVAC operation logic will be built in as part of the HVAC control system, while companies will compete on "look" and design of the user data input to those HVAC systems.