A recent study shows that smart HVAC controls are really the future of the HVAC industry. The study, published in March 2014 on the Research and Markets website, says that the smart HVAC controls market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.22% in the next six years (2014-2020). Much of this is due to regulations calling for the industry to up the ante with regard to energy efficiency and smart HVAC controls accomplish efficiencies either by having sensors that can communicate to the thermostat or with the ability to access a home HVAC system over the cloud using a smart-phone application or a web browser.

Because the number of internet users has increased so drastically in the last decade (and almost doubled in the last eight years), products like wireless thermostats, remote access controls, individual zoning are getting narrowed down to concepts like smart vent and learning thermostat. These products not only make the smart HVAC controls segment attractive in terms of ease and usability but also give the users a customized and personalized comfort.

The Bad News

This is great news from a business opportunity standpoint. It's also great news to those who like to use such devices to gain access to data, to steal it, to use access to damage or destroy businesses, and so on.

The most recent cybercrime statistics I found date from 2005. Today these numbers most likely have increased exponentially. Still, in 2005, among more than 7,800 businesses, 67% detected at least one cybercrime against them and of those companies so  victimized, 86% detected more than one attack, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. They also found that nearly 68% of the victims of cyber theft sustained monetary losses of $10,000 or more. By comparison, 34% of the businesses detecting cyber attacks and 31% of businesses detecting other computer security incidents lost more than $10,000.

The BJS also found that system downtime from cyber attacks o computer security incidents lasted between 1 and 24 hours for half of the businesses and more than 24 hours for a third of the businesses.

Ok, sowhy all this focus on bad news? Because it's impotant for HVAC contractors doing building controls work to make sure that THEIR internal systems are protected from cyber attacks. You don't want to become an unwitting accomplice to criminals who compromise your systems and then ride piggy-back to you customers where they can do more damage.

It’s incumbent upon everyone in the HVACR industry to make sure that their own Internet networks and systems are as secure as possible, so we can prevent a Target-like attack in the future.