2014 AHR HVACR Expo in Review

by Ray Hicks, President, CO2Meter.com

The 2014 AHR Expo is the largest HVACR trade show in the world. Unfortunately, due to the snow storm, it was also the one that I missed. As I was in route, all the New York airports were closed.

However, I did promise a review, so being as resourceful as possible, I employed my minions in the HVACR industry to send me their reports and informed opinions from the trade show floor.

Here’s what I learned.

  • Not much was new. Instead, manufacturers were showing improvements on existing machinery and control systems.
  • The Northeast Asian players continue to move up the feeding chain, from components to sub-systems and now to complete assembles and marketing.
  • GE/Telaire were made notable by their absence, as they had recently sold their sensor business to Amphenol.
  • Another absent product was NEST, recently purchased by Google. This product was the talk of the show last year.
  • Speaking of NEST, the growling at the after-parties is that with Google involved, any or all of the HVAC proprietary systems are toast. Google will establish standards based on commercial technology deployment (Bluetooth, TCP/IP, wireless) that will be pervasive and relentless.
  • Nice reviews of the Honeywell IAQpoint2 device. Much more attractive than anything seen from them in some time. Honeywell started an infringement law suit against NEST when NEST was new and small, it will be interesting to see if it continues now that Google owns them.
  • From a business perspective, lots of big buildings projects are on and it should be a banner year compared to the past 5 for the HVAC in general. New and system upgrades are dramatically increasing particularly in the warm weather areas.

As to the show itself, the majority agreed that the first day had good traffic, the second day was stagnation from the snow storm, and the third day was primarily salespeople selling to other salespeople. The vendors complained about expense, risk and weather every time the show is in NYC or Chicago. Sounds like every other tradeshow to me.

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