25 August 2014

sharing HVAC graphics

The web is a fascinating place. One of the most interesting behaviour we can see is how various activities can be possible for years, but only really become widespread once they are easy enough.

One obvious example is sharing videos. This was technically doable for many years before the Youtube explosion.

Here are some of the ways one could share a video:

  • Setup an FTP server and ask the recipient to log in with a login/password. (Complex for both the author and the user.)
  • Setup a webserver and give an http link to the user. (Very complex for the author);
  • Send the files by email. (Surprisingly complex; email servers tend to refuse not-so-large files and many file extensions);
  • Burn a disc and send it by mail (Complex and slow);

    Those are only a few of the possible routes one could take to share videos. The reason so few were doing it was because it was complicated.

    One had to possess the technical knowledge, but also have the time to execute the task. Even if the author had both of those, the user was also required to do some work. (As a user, I hate doing work.)

    We could summarize this factor by using the word friction. As in physics, if the friction is too great, the motion won’t occur.

This pattern occurs again and again, with every kind of web services:

  • Sharing videos? Youtube
  • Sharing images? Imgur
  • Sharing files? Dropbox
  • Sharing repositories? Github
  • Sharing technical analysis? TradingView

All of those did not offer something that was impossible before; they simply made it easy, and the web is a better place for it.

Friction in the HVAC industry

The same friction behaviour is true for our industry.

It has now been technically feasible to share HVAC historical data for quite some time.

Pretty much all new HVAC systems have powerful controls devices. There’s nothing preventing them from recording weeks, months and years of priceless data.

This should be used in every single engineering and controls firms.

The funny thing is that everyone knows it. All the big names in the industry are selling overpriced logging software, letting the user dream of all the wonderful things he’ll be able to accomplish with this data. But once the sell is made, nobody’s using it. Why? There’s still too much friction.

You want an engineering firm to check a system? They ‘only’ have to connect through 3 levels of login/password and learn to use a proprietary system. Yeah… Not gonna happen…

What about the boiler manufacturer? You think he will jump through all these hoops?

To make our industry more efficient (and, frankly, more fun), we must make it simpler and easier.

Making Things Easier

Hopefully, the easy enough shift will happen soon. For Vigilia, we are abstracting away as much as possible to reduce the friction.

No login

You can securely send a link of a read-only recording of your system to anyone. No login, no password. Copy and paste the URL, that’s all.

sharing via email

No installation

We’ve made sure that no installation was required. Everything is available through the browser. You can be on Windows, Mac, Linux… or even a phone!

Ever needed to check a system behaviour while on the field?

HVAC logs anywhere

Instant Graphical Feedback

No special software knowledge should be necessary to analyze an HVAC system. We let the users explore and discover their system with intuitive tools.

Shaping the industry

Did we achieve the necessary ‘ease of use’ to trigger the shift in the industry? Is sharing logs between engineers, manufacturers and technicians going to become the norm, rather than the exception? It’s still too early to tell if we’ve reduced friction enough, but we sure hope so.

Of course, there’s always room for amelioration. If you find anything lacking in our services, or if you have a suggestion on how to make things even simpler, don’t hesitate to tell us! We are eager to try new ideas and make fun new projects!

Christian Fortin Founder

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