What Does the Future of HVACR in Retail?

Date: 02 February 2018
The world’s first completely self-service grocery store, Amazon Go, opened its doors to the public in Seattle, USA, across the Atlantic. The company Resource Data Management (RDM) take a look at what the latest launch of Amazon Go means for the future of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) contractors and suppliers in the retail industry.

Opportunities for Retailers

Retailers should take note of the downtown location and deliberately small footprint of Amazon Go. The convenience store takes up only 549 metres (1,800 feet) however Amazon has made the very most of their small space and have even included a kitchen where an on-site chef prepares food behind a glass window looking out to passers-by on the street. Amazon’s concept makes a visit to Go enticing and as simple as possible, appealing to customers who want to grab exactly what they want and walk straight back out in a matter of minutes. As retailers redefine their strategies, there will be several opportunities for innovative building energy management solutions (BEMS). To support these opportunities and maximise on the infrastructure already in place, a flexible HVACR and lighting control system that has the ability to communicate across open protocols is required to adapt and incorporate change of use scenarios in retail.

Opportunities for Contractors

As retail outlets alter their physical space by size or allocation, sophisticated and flexible HVACR technology from contractors will be essential to monitor and reduce energy consumption. One such opportunity is the combination of potentially disparate systems such as; refrigeration, air conditioning, energy and security to give more control and develop a precise understanding of energy use across retail estates. An advanced control system front-end such as the DMTouch gives users the ability to communicate over open protocols and bring together disparate systems, without annual license or maintenance fees.

Retailers and Contractors Must Plan Ahead

At the time of writing Amazon has no plans to expand their self-service Go stores across additional locations and with a huge cost involved in the investment of the cameras and sensors required, it is unlikely that Amazon or their competitors could roll out the ‘Just Walk Out’ technology anytime soon. However, retailers, contractors and suppliers must not be complacent and should take serious note of these new developments now, by adapting their long-term business plans appropriately. Where possible retailers should plan ahead to implement a pre-emptive, rather than a reactive strategy to allow for a flexible future-proof approach to energy management using building management software. It is important for stores to continually adapt their space allocation to meet chnaging customer demands after all, the easier it is for customers to buy from a store the more likely they are to return.  

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