The Internet has evolved into a lot more than just an information resource. It has become a medium for controlling buildings, technologies, and energy. According to Adam Sterne, vice president of engineering, air conditioning and ventilation, Bosch Thermotechnology, there are new players in the energy management business, and those players include Google and Microsoft.

He explained that everyone is vying for a piece of the energy management and control business, and Internet technology makes it easier to develop everything from web-based monitoring applications to Smart Phone apps that help facilities managers and contractors control the mechanical, security, and fire safety systems within those buildings.

Bosch Thermotechnologies is no different. With the investments made in energy-saving technologies like geothermal and solar, Bosch has begun creating tools to help better leverage those savings, to measure them, and to troubleshoot issues with them as well. The company has introduced an iPhone app for monitoring and controlling large commercial boiler systems and that is just the beginning.

The Internet had a major role in education and training, as well as in sales and marketing. Bosch Thermotechnologies Corp. President and CEO Ervin Cash says, “I think the internet is one of the most exciting parts of the overall picture for both the HVAC and plumbing industries from two perspectives:

First, "The Magic," as I call it, is getting contractors and end users together. That’s where everything happens. The Internet provides us a much easier means to drive sales leads to trained professional contractors. That makes it easier for the contractor by streamlining his daily process.

“In other words, we save contractors time and make them more productive and effective. We’ve created a website called, www.boschwaytogrow.com that provides contractors a place where they can go for information, lead generation, as well as a way to register products, plus get access to tools that simplify marketing (including organizing customer events, creating ads and other customizable promotional material). We try to put all these resources, via electronic technology, right at the contractor’s fingertips.

“Second, we’re now making all this information available to contractors via the use of portable tools like Smart Phones. Now the contractors don’t have to be at their desks to convey information or receive information. So we’ve taken everything to the mobile level and making it available on site so contractors can be productive while in the field as well.”

Cash adds that the Internet has a role to play from a consumer standpoint as well. He says it is Bosch’s mission to make it as easy as possible for consumers to find the right, professional, trained contractor for their projects. So all the above-mentioned technology helps expedite the process. We want to connect them with our trained professionals who can install and service those products for them,” he says.

From his perspective, Cash says the Internet is collapsing the timeline for projects from concept to completion and making it easier to find out who the best contractors are for those projects.

“And we haven’t even thought of all the areas of our industry where the Internet will have an impact,” he concludes.