Wireless network technology is continuing to evolve, and members of the transportation industry who have come to rely on 3G networks for telematics in their connected vehicles have to consider how they’re going to keep up, lest they get left behind. Driven by ever-growing demands for more and faster data, major network providers are working Read more
Wireless network technology is continuing to evolve, and members of the transportation industry who have come to rely on 3G networks for telematics in their connected vehicles have to consider how they’re going to keep up, lest they get left behind.
Driven by ever-growing demands for more and faster data, major network providers are working ceaselessly on their respective rollouts of the fifth generation of mobile network capabilities, known as 5G, promising greatly reduced latency along with incredible speed and the ability to transmit large amounts of data in much reduced time. At the same time, the 3G networks are being phased out, with most networks set to go offline next year. Current 3G hardware is incompatible with the newer networks, and fleets that don’t upgrade in time will find themselves in the dark before long.
3G’s Clock is Ticking
Fortunately for fleet owners, there is still time to make the transition. Of the biggest providers, only AT&T is currently set to sunset 3G early next year – in February – with both Sprint and Verizon planning their shutdowns for December 2022.
Those dates come with a caveat, however: depending on the region, existing 3G infrastructure isn’t guaranteed to last until the sunset date, as regular maintenance may be dropped in favor of implementing hotly demanded 4G and 5G infrastructure instead.
Faced with uncertainty, fleet owners would be wise to get ahead of this technological leap. This is especially true for fleets that are using electronic logging devices (ELD). No fleets are more at risk of being negatively impacted by this change than those mandated to use ELDs. If these fleets fall offline, the systems will no longer be accurately tracking hours of service, and the drivers will be non-compliant, introducing a risk of those vehicles being pulled from service. To make this jump correctly, companies must carefully craft an internet of things (IoT) strategy that accounts for these newer, high-speed networks. Doing so will require implementation planning, cost analysis and training, giving all the more reason to act quickly.
The Benefits of Modern Hardware
Newer technology introduces greater functionality that will undoubtedly come in handy in the regular operation of a fleet. Even going from one step from 3G to 4G, the improvement will be immediately noticeable. Further futureproofing for 5G will ensure fleet owners stay at the forefront of technology for decades to come, all while enjoying the smoothest experience possible as the new networks roll out. The perks of being on a cutting-edge network are myriad, but highlights include:
- Faster speed and a wider network mean more reliable connections, particularly in areas where the wireless network is congested.
- Improved latency allows for sending a large mass of data such as alerts and events, including data-heavy content such as video.
- Communications between connected vehicles and the surrounding infrastructure is far more reliable and operate in close to real-time on high-speed connections providing instant information from the fleet and drivers.
- Massive amounts of data can be fed into AI-enabled telematics systems, turning real-time data into actionable safety, efficiency and compliance gains.
The key takeaway is that moving to new hardware isn’t a needless burden, but a net gain for a fleet’s drivers, customers and bottom line. Owners who get ahead now will avoid challenges down the line and reap the benefits above in the meantime.
The Road Ahead
Adopting 4G and 5G capable hardware is both an exciting opportunity and a growing requirement as older networks sunset, but the biggest reason for fleet owners to get started sooner is to make sure they have time to do it right. In the coming months, owners will want to take the following steps:
- Determine how many devices are still on the 3G network, and how many need to be migrated.
- Understand what kind of lifecycle to expect from new telematics equipment.
- Research modern telematics speed- and data-focused features made possible by new hardware, including AI and machine learning options, and consider how they can improve the fleet’s operation.
- Discuss the upgrade with the fleet’s telematics provider and learn about modern telematics and future facing solutions.
- Discover whether or not the telematics provider is charging their current customers for this type of upgrade, this can give you a glimpse into how they will handle related future tech refreshes.
- Ensure the new hardware is properly certified and has a pathway to helping companies with their regulatory requirements such as ELD or other regional specific programs
- Schedule the necessary vehicle downtime to make the upgrade with the minimum possible impact on downtime.
- Once everything is in place, implement a migration plan well ahead of your wireless network provider’s 3G sunset period.
These steps will take time, and fleet owners will want to feel confident in every step of the process. As such, waiting until the last minute to get started on the transition is ill-advised. Moving up from 3G isn’t as easy as flipping a switch. However, those owners who do put in the effort will avoid having to worry about their telematic systems potentially going out on them, crippling their essential dataflow for safety, compliance and business efficiency.
Now is the time to check with your telematics provider about the imminent 3G sunsetting or find a new vendor who can handle the inevitable upgrade.
Guest Blog By Andrew Rossington
Andrew Rossington joined Teletrac Navman in February 2016, working first as Vice President of Transtech (Division) before becoming Vice President, Transport Solutions in February 2018 then onto becoming Chief Product Officer in October 2020. In this role, Andrew is responsible for all transport industry solutions, including product development, go to market, team development and financial responsibilities. Since joining the business, he has overseen year-on-year growth in the transport vertical across the Australia/New Zealand region of Teletrac Navman. Prior to this, Andrew was the Chief Executive Officer for Transtech, which was acquired by Teletrac Navman. He has spent the last 20 years focused on transport industry solutions and has extensive experience managing software development teams and implementing key business systems for some of Australia’s largest transport operators and software companies, including Toll, ComTech and Dimensions Data. He is passionate about the transport industry and using technology to enable successful business outcomes.
Peterman Brothers of Greenwood, Indiana has been named the 2021 Bryant Dealer of the Year, the highest honor a Bryant dealer can receive. Each year, this award recognizes the company whose hard work, expertise and business acumen have helped them to stand out as a leader in the industry. Bryant, a leading supplier of heating Read more
Peterman Brothers of Greenwood, Indiana has been named the 2021 Bryant Dealer of the Year, the highest honor a Bryant dealer can receive. Each year, this award recognizes the company whose hard work, expertise and business acumen have helped them to stand out as a leader in the industry. Bryant, a
leading supplier of heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, is a part of Carrier Global Corporation (NYSE: CARR), the leading global provider of healthy, safe and sustainable building and cold chain solutions.
“Being named as the 2021 Bryant Dealer of the Year means that we are doing
things the right way,” said Chad Peterman, Owner and President, Peterman Brothers. “It is not what we do, but how we do it. We are committed to providing our people and customers with the best customer experience possible.”
Peterman Brothers has been solving plumbing, heating, and cooling issues of the central Indiana community since 1986 when Pete Peterman started the company in his garage. Since its humble beginnings, the company has grown to employ over 300 people today. Two of those employees include Pete’s sons, Chad and Tyler. Both grew up around the business and have taken on numerous responsibilities. Chad is the oldest and in his role as Owner and President, he is responsible for creating and executing the company’s vision and long-term strategy. Chad’s younger brother, Tyler, oversees all install operations. Peterman is now a complete family affair with all the Petermans involved in the day-to-day operations of the company. In addition, Peterman
Brothers is a two-time Bryant Medal of Excellence winner.
“Bryant dealers continue to raise the bar in our industry and are among the best in the business,” said Justin Keppy, President, NA Residential & Light Commercial, Carrier. “Our 2021 Dealer of the Year, Peterman Brothers, exemplifies the values and commitment that the Bryant brand has come to represent in its more than 115-year history. Its entire team embodies all that is necessary to run a successful business, and the company serves as an example to the industry for how an organization should treat its customers and the community in which it operates.”
Bryant selected its 2021 Dealer of the Year from 22 Medal of Excellence winners, comprised of Bryant Factory Authorized Dealers throughout North America. The candidates were judged on overall sales growth, high-efficiency and indoor air quality equipment sales, customer satisfaction and participation in dealer programs and promotions.
The 2021 Medal of Excellence Winners are:
- Advanced Comfort Control Standish, California
- Affordable Heating & Air Sylacauga, Alabama
- AGS HVAC Services Westport, Massachusetts
- Air Tech Heating, Inc. Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
- Allen Service Fort Collins, Colorado
- Comfortemp Lemont, Illinois
- D. McKeon Heating & Air Conditioning Kennesaw, Georgia
- Elite Mechanical Systems Windom, Minnesota
- Estes Heating and Air Conditioning Theodore, Alabama
- First Call Heating & Cooling, Inc. Racine, Wisconsin
- GAC Services Gaithersburg, Maryland
- IERNA’S Heating & Cooling, Inc. Lutz, Florida
- Mert’s Heating & Air Conditioning Co. Steger, Illinois
- One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning Wilmington, Delaware
- Peterman Brothers Greenwood, Indiana
- Pronto Heating & A/C, Inc. Edina, Minnesota
- Robin Aire Service Company Wixom, Michigan
- Rock Plumbing, Heating & Air Englewood, Colorado
- Rose Heating & Air Conditioning Urbana, Illinois
- Sanders & Johnson, Inc. Denver, Colorado
- Scott’s Heating & Air Conditioning Longwood, Florida
- Welsch Heating & Cooling Saint Louis, Missouri
For more information about Bryant and to find a dealer near you, visit
Residential water heaters are often taken for granted. They’re usually installed in a closet or basement or other out-of-the-way spot, and it generally costs less to replace a standard water tank system than other home systems, so many homeowners don’t see water heater maintenance as an urgent priority. But proper maintenance almost always pays off Read more
Residential water heaters are often taken for granted. They’re usually installed in a closet or basement or other out-of-the-way spot, and it generally costs less to replace a standard water tank system than other home systems, so many homeowners don’t see water heater maintenance as an urgent priority.
But proper maintenance almost always pays off in the long run, and not just for homeowners. While contractors may benefit from the additional business generated by emergency service calls, those one-time sales aren’t nearly as important as the name recognition and trust they can cultivate with maintenance agreements that help insure optimal product performance and longevity.
Unfortunately, many water heater service professionals either don’t recognize the value of maintenance plans, or don’t know how to effectively communicate the advantages to their customers.
Pay a little now or a lot later
Over the life of an appliance, the minor cost of an annual inspection or tune-up can help save homeowners in multiple ways. Inspections can catch small issues before they become major problems, which in turn helps extend the life of the water heater. In addition, regular service helps ensure efficient performance, which can reduce energy costs and provide for consistent product performance.
Preventive maintenance also helps protect homeowners from the inconvenience and high costs associated with emergency service. Unplanned repairs tend to cost more than regular maintenance and can interrupt household routines, which can be more than a nuisance. Missed work and the disruption of planned events like family vacations can add to the financial burden of emergency water heater repair.
Many successful contractors recognize that it’s in their own interest to help customers avoid emergencies, no matter how lucrative they can be. Routine service calls don’t generate a lot of income, but they build name recognition and, more importantly, lasting relationships. That can be a vital distinction when it’s time to replace an existing water heater, or in the unfortunate event of an emergency.
Maintenance vs. warranty
One misconception that contributes significantly to deferred maintenance is not having a full understanding of a manufacturer’s warranty. Many homeowners assume that the warranty will cover most repairs. Why pay for even minor service now if you expect your warranty to cover the cost of major repairs later?
But the scope of a warranty is limited and very specific, covering demonstrable defects in manufacturing. Proper installation and application and, in some cases, even documentation that the recommended maintenance has been performed, are typically required in order to maintain a valid warranty. Even then, warranties typically don’t apply to local conditions that can significantly affect water heater performance, like water quality, climate, air quality and the hardness of the water supply.
A warranty is an important tool that homeowners should be familiar with. But the best warranty will not apply to the simple wear and tear of daily use or issues arising from local adverse conditions.
Connect with homeowners
It doesn’t take salesmanship in order to maximize the long-term advantages of maintenance agreements. In many cases, a few simple tweaks to existing workflows can be extraordinarily effective tools to open new opportunities for preventive maintenance.
One simple enhancement is to follow the example of HVAC contractors and leverage seasonality. If water heater use tends to go up in your service area during colder months, try to schedule new maintenance service calls in late summer or fall. Employ multiple seasonal opportunities to connect with customers, from back to school, winter holidays, summer vacation or the switch to Daylight Savings Time, and set up regular seasonal reminders for follow-ups.
The single best time for a maintenance agreement conversation is immediately after a substantial repair or emergency service. Homeowners who have recently experienced the cost and disruption of a major equipment repair or unplanned replacement are in a position to recognize the likely payoff of an investment in ongoing service.
Ultimately, communication is the most crucial tool for connecting with customers about preventive maintenance service. Contractors who can effectively and objectively relay information to homeowners are in a position to relieve the anxiety many of them feel about water heaters and other large home appliances. By educating them and offering a convenient, affordable solution, you can establish your company as the trusted solution for any foreseeable service.
Dustin Bowerman is director of corporate training and product support for Bradford White Corporation, a full-line manufacturer of residential, commercial and industrial products for water heating, space heating, combination heating and storage applications. For more information, visit www.bradfordwhitecorporation.com.
Do you have a strategy for your social media? How does your customer base see you on social media? Are you reaching new customers? These are all great questions as a business owner you should ask yourself when doing social media. You should also be asking your social media partner these questions and how are Read more
Do you have a strategy for your social media? How does your customer base see you on social media? Are you reaching new customers? These are all great questions as a business owner you should ask yourself when doing social media. You should also be asking your social media partner these questions and how are they going to help achieve your goals.
There is a lot more that goes into social media than just putting out an organic post or wanting to run ads on Facebook or Instagram. Just like any other form of media you need to have a strategy and need to have a full funnel approach to make sure you are able to capture new and existing clients wherever they are at in their buying cycle.
We are going to talk about 5 tips when doing social media in the trades.
First Tip: Goals
What are your goals for social media? Is it lead generation, traffic to the site, brand awareness, engagement, etc.? Understanding each of these goals will determine how you go after your existing and new customer base. You should have separate budgets for each goal so that you know exactly how each campaign and goal is performing. You need to set up each campaign based on your goal and make sure that each creative matches what the goal is.
Second Tip: Creative
Creative is key for social media. Creative needs to match your brand, audience, and platform that you are going after and engaging. When looking at social platforms, understanding who the end user is going to be on the other end is crucial. You need to match your creative to the platform and the audience who is consuming that media. You also have to look at what your goal is for each campaign. If you want them to fill out a form for an estimate or get more information that creative needs to guide the end user to filling out a form either on your website or through their social platform. All creatives must have a strong call to action (CTA) for what YOU want them to do. Once you know how you want your new potential customer to interact with your company, tracking is going to be KEY!
Third Tip: Tracking
Tracking is crucial for you to not only see your ROI, but also understand how your customer base and new potential customers are interacting with your brand. Tracking in Facebook ads, Facebook events manager and Google Analytics is key.
What is a conversion for your business? Phone call, form fill, chat, or scheduling an appointment? Once you know what a conversion is, work with your social media partner to make sure that you are measuring the same data points. What is the goal of each campaign as a lead generation campaign is going to be measured differently than a website traffic campaign? Make sure that you are setting up conversions and understanding the data and how many touch points your customers and potential customers need prior to converting is important to your strategy. This is why doing the full funnel approach is critical to any successful campaign. We already know that your average consumer needs four to seven touch points prior to converting.
Fourth Tip: Platforms
What social media platforms should you advertise and post on? This also plays into goals, as we want to match the correct platform for your goals. Not all social platforms will match your goals. There are so many social media platforms that you can go after. You will look at each platform and evaluate each one to see what makes the most sense for your business and your end user. The creative will also need to be a little different for each platform for the end user. When looking at goals your social media partner should make the recommendation of which platform makes sense and what the creative should look like.
Fifth Tip: Results
Reviewing your results each month is important. Measuring the metrics monthly will allow you and your social media partner to determine if a campaign needs to be adjusted. This could be the creative, the audiences, location, or starting to use A/B creative in the campaigns. Testing will help determine if you need to make adjustments, but starting everything all over again. This will also give you insights into what works during the year and going back to best practices and creative each year. It is extremely important for you to create the ads manager yourself so that you can also keep historical data. Social media can help with additional touch points within the customer journey. How you work your social media strategy will help with your business goals, engagement with your existing customers and new customers, plus bringing brand awareness.
Social media is a platform that all trades should be part of. We all do some much for the communities and helping others in need of help and your customer base and new customers want to see that you are part of their community. When you are part of a community you want to support local business. This is what social is all about and these are some of the items that you want to incorporate into your strategy, but also post on a regular basis to show the community that you are there for them.
Organic social posting should also be discussed during your social media evaluation. Too many businesses are forgetting about organic posting. You should be posting two to four times a week, and it should be a mix of culture, reviews, education, and promotions. Getting more of your organic followers to be engaged with your organic posts will help others see them. Boosting organic posts will also help your brand to be seen. Just remember boosting is a different strategy than a paid strategy. Hopefully this article has sparked your interest to review your social strategy. Really look to see if you are getting the most out of it!
Chris Yano is CEO of RYNO Strategic Solutions.
Three considerations for right-sized tankless installations–and increased customer satisfaction Propane tankless water heaters use less energy, cost less to operate, and produce fewer emissions than other options, which is why a growing number of homeowners are requesting these systems. As contractors know, determining the right configuration for their projects isn’t always straightforward. Whether considering a Read more
Three considerations for right-sized tankless installations–and increased customer satisfaction
Propane tankless water heaters use less energy, cost less to operate, and produce fewer emissions than other options, which is why a growing number of homeowners are requesting these systems.
As contractors know, determining the right configuration for their projects isn’t always straightforward. Whether considering a single unit for the whole home or multiples that run in tandem, knowing how to predict demand is key to giving customers a setup that meets their performance and cost expectations.
Here are three factors to consider when right-sizing a tankless system for projects.
How much water will the customer need?
Knowing how many people will live in the home, who will be using hot water, and for what purposes is the first step toward installing a system that will fulfill their specific needs. Additionally, understanding a customer’s lifestyle and habits–when they shower, how often they do laundry, and whether they expect to install radiant heating–can help determine expected peak demand times.
Take stock of the number and type of appliances and systems requiring hot water and note their water delivery rates. To calculate peak demand, the Department of Energy (DOE) recommends counting the number and gallons per minute (GPM) rate of faucets, showers, and appliances that could be in use in the home at any given time. Features such as in-floor radiant heating and spas can considerably raise a home’s hot water demands. Propane tankless water heaters provide an endless supply of hot water, averaging roughly 222 gallons per hour, compared with an average first-hour delivery rating of just 62 gallons per hour for electric storage tank models.
How much will the water need to be heated?
It’s important for contractors and installers to know the difference between outdoor ground temperatures and the desired indoor hot water temperature. That will reveal how much the water will need to heat and, therefore, how quickly the unit can deliver hot water.
For example, a typical shower head delivers 2.5 GPM, so a 9.4 GPM unit would run three to four showers depending on the inlet ground water temperature. According to the DOE, the average groundwater temperature across the U.S. is 50 degrees. In most cases, water should be heated to at least 120 degrees, so the home will need a tankless unit that can heat 2.5 GPM by 70 degrees. Lower flows can be heated to a bigger temperature rise and higher flows to a smaller temperature rise. Most propane or natural gas tankless water heaters on the market can handle a rate of 5 GPM at a 70-degree temperature rise. As fixtures are added, demand on the system increases and that 5 GPM rating can quickly get overwhelmed.
While a tankless unit will provide hot water almost instantly at the unit, the water still has to travel to the faucet, so location of the units is an important part of system design. Oftentimes, two smaller units, each placed closer to the end use site, can provide the project a higher level of satisfaction than one large or two smaller units installed in a single location. This also provides some redundancy if a unit or fixture needs to be serviced.
What can the home accommodate?
Peak demand scenarios are why contractors shouldn’t assume an undersized system will cover their client’s full range of needs. Oversizing isn’t as big of a concern with tankless systems. While oversizing a traditional tank water heater would result in significant wasted energy over the life of the unit, tankless units vary their flow rates based on demand and, therefore, having excess capacity doesn’t necessarily mean a tankless system is using more energy.
New projects can more easily accommodate tankless units at the point of use than existing homes, which are often designed for a central tank system–and may be better suited for one or more units installed in the basement. For most projects, one unit is sufficient. Multiple units may be used to handle larger loads or as homeowners scale up in the future as their hot water needs change. Because of the popularity and dependability of propane tankless water heaters, new products are available on the market that would allow customers to have “multiple” heaters in a single cabinet, or on a single rack that comes to the project ready for installation making system design easier still.
To determine the optimal number of tankless units for a home, help customers understand their consumption habits and how the system can be sized to meet their expectations. Determine peak demand and gauge actual usage and lifestyle habits. Then, compare prices for systems that meet those needs relative to a client’s budget. Put in as much capacity as those factors will allow to balance cost and comfort. By simply installing a propane system, customers will see optimal cost savings. That’s because propane tankless water heaters offer reduced energy costs, a lower total cost of ownership, and a longer service life compared with other options. Notably, propane tankless systems can reduce energy costs by up to 50 percent and eliminate standby energy loss from the tank.
To learn more about propane water heating systems, visit Propane.com/Water-Heating.
Bryan Cordill the director of residential and commercial business development for the Propane Education & Research Council. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.