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News I published 15 June 2023

Installers positive about remote working

The pressure is rising for HVAC installers and plumbers. High energy prices and a general focus on sustainability are driving a high demand for installation work. Meanwhile, there is a shortage of skilled labor as many countries are facing labor shortages that also affect the installation market. The result is a search for ways to save time by working more efficiently.

One way to achieve this is through remote work. An unintended consequence of the increasing demand for smart installation products is that more systems are being connected to the internet. This allows installers to remotely access these systems and diagnose system faults or even perform remote maintenance.

Working remotely can save installers a significant amount of travel time. But to what extent are installers actually using this possibility? When we focus our European Mechanical Installation Monitor on smart installation products, we also ask HVAC installers in six European countries whether they work remotely and what they think of it.

Only a minority of installers work remotely

When considering all countries together, approximately four out of ten installers work remotely. This means they remotely access internet-connected systems to monitor performance, diagnose issues, troubleshoot problems, and perform other maintenance tasks. However, there are significant differences between countries.

The percentage of installers working remotely with smart installation products is highest in the United Kingdom, with nearly half of the installers saying they do so. This is not surprising, as the UK also has the largest share of installers involved in smart product installation. On the other end of the spectrum of remote work, we find Poland and France, where less than a third of installers indicate working remotely.

Installers who work remotely are quite positive about it

Interestingly, among the installers who have experience working remotely, Polish installers are the most positive about it. Nine out of ten have a positive view of remote work, while the rest are neutral. However, it should be noted that in all countries, the vast majority of installers working remotely have a positive perception of it.

Many installers mention the efficiency and time-saving aspect of remote work as reasons for this positivity. In addition to saving travel time, installers also highlight the convenience of remotely monitoring or troubleshooting systems, both for themselves and their clients. Moreover, the ability for installers to respond faster to issues and resolve them more quickly through remote access is cited as a benefit of remote work.

Negative experiences reveal opportunities for manufacturers

The mentioned advantages such as efficiency, time savings, convenience, and fast service are excellent but somewhat obvious selling points for smart installation products. Manufacturers can use these to promote their smart products to both end-users and installers. However, to truly make a difference, it may be worth looking at the negative experiences, however few they may be.

Some reasons for negative experiences with remote work were related to sensor unreliability in a system, while others were related to the complexity of the systems involved. Another significant frustration is issues with internet connectivity. While manufacturers have little control over poor internet connections at job sites, they can differentiate themselves by addressing installers’ concerns and making both the installation and remote work with smart products easier.

For a more detailed overview of the experience and attitude of installers toward smart installation products, as well as their economic developments in six major European markets, we refer you to the European Mechanical Installation Monitor by USP Marketing Consultancy.

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