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As everyone in the heating, cooling and refrigeration industry knows, equipment is increasingly becoming characterized by electronic control systems with input from numerous sensors. The modern HVACR professional is becoming as much an IT specialist as a mechanical expert.

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A recent forecast by Acumen Research & Consulting in Rowland Heights in California projects that the global HVAC sensors and controllers market will grow at a market value of nearly $10.7 Billion by 2026, at approximately 7.1% CAGR.

Drivers for this market growth are the increasing sophistication of buildings, including electrification of building systems, demanding municipal requirements, growing interest in smart homes, the internet of things (IOT) and the incorporation of more technology-oriented standards such as the ASHRAE 90.1 and 189.1.  In its most recent 2018-2019 iterations (IgCC), the latter has enjoyed widespread adoption, as well as backing and development contributions from ASHRAE partners such as the International Code Council (ICC), American Institute of Architects, US Green Building Council, and others.

Sensors and control systems are helping to monitor, compile data on, or automate temperature and humidity levels, C02 and occupancy, light levels, motion, off-gassing, power usage, water levels, flow speeds of liquids, gases, and air, and more.

Progressive contractors are recognizing that ensuring high levels of training and professional development in these areas provides clear business advantages. The most obvious are that your team needs electronics expertise to serve existing customers and increasingly, to add new business.

A less obvious benefit is that attracting, recruiting and retaining younger technical talent are all easier for businesses that are more involved with new technology. Today’s apprentices grew up in the digital age,  are attracted to electronics, and often use digital sophistication as a yardstick with which to assess employers. Talent is a key to success, especially now with our severe shortages of skilled technicians.

In addition to general industry growth, digitization is finding more diverse applications every day. It requires greater commitment to education for generalists and also some opportunity for niche market development. Sometimes developing specialized expertise in difficult areas pays off by creating the ability to command a higher price for service.

For all these reasons it may be time to beef up training and professional development for all members of your team. For example, if you have not already registered for the HRAI conference in Niagara Falls next week, the time to do so is now!