An electrician runs a small business. He also depends on small businesses. It might be, for example, a small supermarket or restaurant. It could be a retailer, a storefront, or a factory. These and other similarly sized concerns are most of the commercial buildings out there.
So, what could these businesses that make up an electrician’s clients benefit from? Well, the list includes:
- Monitoring an electrical installation, even when remote
- Alarms that warn of tripped breakers
- Scheduled shutdown and startup of lights and more.
Electricians would benefit, too. For one thing, clients would be happier. For another, there’s the possibility of building a new business relationship with those clients. Finally, there’s the potential for new revenues from, for example, enabling such services.
However, there’s a problem. That sort of monitoring has traditionally meant using a Building Management System, a BMS. That’s too complicated and too costly for a small business.
So, what’s the ideal solution?
Well, it should be simple. If for no other reason, electricians don’t need a solution that’s complicated to install and operate. Neither do small business owners.
It should also be comprehensive. It should monitor every piece of electrical gear – compressors, fans, heaters, lighting, and so on. What electrician wouldn’t want to be contacted by a client when an alarm occurs, indicating a malfunction in the electrical installation? With that data, the electrician would have more of the information needed to figure out the problem.
Finally, it should be affordable. Any system can’t cost too much to purchase, install, or use. After all, we’re talking about systems for small buildings here, with owners that typically need cost-effective solutions.
An optimum solution would go in the electrical panel. It’s a central location that ties all the electrical assets in a building together. As those assets change, a switchboard-centered solution would make it easy to keep up.
There’s a hidden benefit in any solution that touches the electrical switchboard. Typically, switchboards go in and are unchanged for years. However, standards, like IEC 61439-1 and -2 that govern low voltage switchboards, continue to evolve. New installations get the benefit of such advances. A connectivity and monitoring solution that touches the switchboard offers a chance for older buildings to also reap the rewards of greater safety and reliability that the latest standards enable.
And with the Internet and a secure cloud server, such a solution would make it possible to collect data yet access it anywhere using a smartphone app. Connectivity means that alarms and notifications could reach business owners easily, who could then update electricians that provide support. Electricians would also be able to configure the system using their own version of the app on their smartphone. This would make configuration simple and fast, saving time and reducing the workload.
Thanks to these capabilities, electricians also could offer in the future other services. This could include maintenance subscription contracts, for example. Some of this could involve selling peace-of-mind. Say a shop owner is at the beach, taking a well-deserved vacation. A circuit breaker trips, an oven goes off, and he’s notified instantly. He can then contact an electrician to fix it.
Consequently, electricians could increase revenues by offering the products needed to connect to the customer’s switchboard. With that done, it would then be possible to build a new business relationship based on this connectivity. One outcome is that electricians can then bring valuable innovation and expert advice to customers.
For an example of one such solution, look at our solution for Small Businesses: EcoStruxure Facility Expert for Small Business. It reads status and energy values of critical electrical parameters, communicating this data to the cloud via Schneider’s secure server. There it can be accessed on a smartphone using the customer specific app Facility Expert SB.
Electricians use the electrician specific app, mySchneider Electric eSetup. The app makes it simple and fast for electricians to configure the installation.
It’s a solution tailored to small businesses. And it comes with support services that aid a connected electrician in day-to-day activities. Be the first to offer it to your customer! For more information, please visit the EcoStruxure Facility Expert – Small Business web page.