Innovative Retail Technologies

MAR 2013

Innovative Retail Technologies (formerly Integrated Solutions For Retailers) is the premier source for innovative yet pragmatic technology solutions in the retail industry.

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Executive Insight In-Store Systems Mobility For Sustainable Retailing: Taking Your Energy Management System With You Having a reliable EMS system can save companies millions, and with modern technologies, you can monitor the system on the go. By Steve Dushane R etailers know that taking control of their energy usage via an energy management system (EMS) is one of the most efficient ways to achieve their sustainable retailing goals — while saving on energy costs. With an EMS, users can remotely access, control, and manage their locations' energy use — including heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, and lighting — at tens to thousands of stores, from a desktop computer or mobile device. For retailers with thousands of stores, energy cost savings through the use of an EMS can exceed tens of millions of dollars a year. EMS Goes Mobile By using a compatible mobile app with the EMS, energy managers can now monitor and control their companies' portfolios from their iPhones, iPads or other mobile devices. At the touch of a button, they can access, view, program, and change the system, globally or by individual store. Mobile energy management does not mean that the users have to constantly be looking at the energy use of thousands of stores to make sure the equipment is functioning properly. As with a desktop EMS system, mobile energy management systems can be programmed to alert the user to locations that fall outside of preset thresholds or any other desired variance. Full System Control In Real Time Sensors on the HVAC and lighting equipment constantly send data back to the EMS, so the energy manager is quickly alerted when a system is down, malfunctioning, or even showing wear. Because alerts are sent in real time, the energy manager can immediately take action to call for service and/or shut down the parts of the system that are malfunctioning, instead of paying for the energy to run systems that are not energy-efficient. In climates where the HVAC systems are crucial, such as northern states in the winter or southern states in the summer, being able to react quickly to protect perishables and keep customers in the stores is crucial. Custom, standard, and exception reporting, along with live views, give retailers increased business intelligence regarding their stores' energy systems. The energy managers can perform extensive data mining, diagnostics, and analysis reports, which empower them to manage their stores by a variety of criteria, including weather 30 RetailSolutionsOnline.com ● March 2013 conditions, time of day, and amount of traffic. Energy managers are also able to perform remote testing of equipment, which is particularly useful for regions with extreme temperatures and for stores with aging HVAC equipment. Through remote testing, retail professionals can determine which units may be nearing the end of a life cycle or may need routine maintenance before a change in seasons. They can also try programming different parameters to see what is most effective in saving energy and reducing costs, while maintaining a comfortable environment. Since the energy management system can also control lighting, an EMS also gives the energy manager peace of mind knowing that the lighting is being used only during scheduled times. Exceptions to scheduled times for both HVAC and lighting are easy for the energy manager to change, so if there's an unplanned early or late delivery, change in inventory dates, or even midnight madness sales, the retailer can be assured that the store will remain comfortable and welllit for its patrons and employees. Saving millions of dollars per year is always a smart goal, but doing so while being a sustainable retailer is even more admirable. With an EMS, large retail chains can reduce CO 2 emissions equivalent to taking tens of thousands of cars off the road — while realizing a quick ■ return on investment. Steve Dushane is founder, president, and CEO of Venstar Inc., a thermostat and EMS supplier.

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