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Carrier celebrates 100th anniversary of Founder’s invention of centrifugal chiller

DUBAI, UAE, 30 June 2022: On the evening of May 22, 1922, Willis Haviland Carrier invited 300 people to a sheet metal shop in Newark, New Jersey, for a free meal and a boxing match, followed by the unveiling of the first centrifugal chiller technology, Carrier said through a June 30 Press release, adding that it celebrated the 100th anniversary of the invention of the centrifugal chilling machine that in many ways made the modern world possible. Carrier is a part of Carrier Global Corporation.

 [Willis] Carrier’s breakthrough invention opened the door to large-scale comfort air conditioning while improving the effectiveness of process cooling,” said Gaurang Pandya, President, Commercial HVAC, Carrier. “Each day we build on that legacy, innovating with purpose to create what’s next, get ahead of changing requirements, unleash the power of digital technology, run smarter with IoT and help customers deploy commercial HVAC solutions aligned tightly with their business objectives.”

Willis Carrier’s conception to combine a centrifugal refrigeration compressor with a shell, a new type of condenser and a chiller on one frame enhanced process cooling in factories around the world, Carrier said. Following the first installation of three centrifugal chillers at a Philadelphia chocolate factory in 1923, Willis Carrier’s innovation soon provided process cooling to rayon manufacturers in India and cracker factories in Mexico, the company said.

In 1924, Willis Carrier realized his dream of comfort cooling when the owners of a Detroit department store added centrifugal chillers, the company said. The centrifugal technology reliably and affordably delivered comfort air to the public in theaters, stores, restaurants, sports venues, ships, hospitals and office buildings, the company claimed.

A decade later, centrifugal refrigeration had driven process air into more than 200 industries, the company said. Food and beverage production became safer, hospitals were more comfortable and sanitary and new lifesaving drugs, such as penicillin, became possible, the company added.

By providing precise temperature and humidity, centrifugal chiller technology has supported the infrastructure of the modern digital age, including electronics of every type, semi-conductor chips, data centers and robotics, the company said. These new inventions and new technologies couldn’t have existed without it, it added.

Sathya Moorthi, Managing Director, Carrier Middle East, said: “Carrier has evolved over the years from being a manufacturer of cutting-edge equipment to providing solutions that harness the power of variable frequency drives and IoT, ensuring that business-critical activities run at peak effectiveness, and provide operational efficiencies and insights. This demonstrates our commitment to continuously improving energy efficiency while enhancing the comfort levels of the occupants in the harsh Middle East climate conditions.”

Carrier said that while the fundamental physics of centrifugal technology have not changed in a century, its engineers have never stopped driving new advancements in centrifugal chiller technology. Today, the Carrier AquaEdge 19DV water-cooled chiller provides world-class energy efficiency with its unique free cooling and heat recovery options that boost the total energy savings of the system while using ultra-low global warming potential refrigerant, the company added. The AquaEdge 19MV water-cooled chiller offers a wide operating range in a greatly reduced machine size to replace older chillers, the company said, adding that both machines feature its unique EquiDrive two-stage back-to-back compressor technology to dramatically reduce energy consumption.

Johnson Controls launches OpenBlue Pioneers Award

CORK, Ireland, 30 June 2022: Johnson Controls (JCI) announced the first winners of a new buildings’ innovation award, called OpenBlue Pioneers. Making the announcement through a Press release, JCI said each OpenBlue Pioneer has proven instrumental in driving the future of smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, and innovating with Johnson Controls’ AI-enabled OpenBlue technology to transform their spaces, businesses and communities. In recognition, the winners have each been awarded a Blueprint of the Future Industry Award, which recognises outstanding examples of visionary thinking and digital transformation, JCI said.

According to JCI, each OpenBlue Pioneer has proven instrumental in driving the future of smart, healthy and sustainable buildings.

The first recipients of the OpenBlue Pioneers award, JCI said, are:

BEEAH Headquarters, pioneering the path for offices of the future towards one of the world’s smartest workplaces

The BEEAH Headquarters, based in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, is a remarkable example of what can be achieved with visionary thinking. Featuring intelligent edge systems and software designed to optimise energy efficiency, the building is the first fully AI-integrated building in the Middle East. It is equipped to be net zero and operates to LEED platinum standards. Employees and visitors experience seamless interaction with the building at all times through OpenBlue Companion. Features include advanced facial recognition for seamless movement between spaces, frictionless access to promote the health and safety of employees, comfort control and intelligent concierge services to support day-to-day tasks. The building and its technologies manifest sustainability and digitalisation, BEEAH Group’s twin pillared strategy to pioneer a sustainable quality of life for all.

Chase Center, which enhances fans’ health, comfort and safety through one intelligent platform

The Chase Center, based in San Francisco, California, in the United States, is a state-of-the-art, future-focused LEED Gold-certified sports and entertainment centre. Partnering with Johnson Controls, the Chase Center optimises the digital capabilities of its equipment, systems and connected technologies through Metasys building automation system, communicating data in real time and powering smart building decisions as well as reducing energy and the arena’s carbon footprint. The connected suite of solutions included in the OpenBlue Healthy Buildings offerings enhance fan health, comfort and safety.

The village of Patchogue, which is setting the gold standard for community revitalisation

The visionary village of Patchogue, located on Long Island, New York, in the United States, is preserving a green tomorrow for future generations with smart environmental solutions. Showcasing a future-focused mindset and a passion to preserve natural resources, improve quality of life, and protect the ecosystem, the village of Patchogue will save USD 8.2 million in the next 25 years through Johnson Controls’ energy-efficient upgrades to HVAC, lighting and temperature control systems.

The Powerhouse Alliance: The world’s northernmost net energy-positive building

Powerhouse Brattørkaia in Trondheim, Norway, is a true model for transformational design and development worldwide. As the most net energy-positive building in the northern hemisphere, it sets a new standard for buildings by focusing on environmental considerations and reducing its carbon footprint. Powerhouse, a Norwegian collaboration set up to drive innovation in energy, collaborated with Johnson Controls to build a net energy-positive smart building – that is, a building that produces more energy than it consumes.

Colorado State University, Pueblo, becomes first campus in Colorado to reach “net zero electricity” with solar power

Through its visionary thinking, Colorado State University, Pueblo, has become greener, more independent and more resilient. This pioneering campus is leading the industry in sustainability and energy consumption and has far exceeded three of the four greening government goals. Powered by a 23-acre solar farm with battery storage that supplies 12M kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, they are the first campus in Colorado to reach net-zero electricity for all the academic facilities. Collaborating with Johnson Controls, they have created the net-zero campus of the future: A sustainable, energy-efficient and healthy environment that minimises energy costs for the next two decades and passes these savings on to their students and the community.

“The recognition of our first OpenBlue Pioneers casts a spotlight on some incredible businesses and organizations demonstrating outstanding leadership in transforming buildings globally,” said Rodney Clark, Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Johnson Controls. “What they prove is that a concerted focus on decarbonization, electrification, efficiency and digitization can deliver net-zero buildings, alongside communities that are smarter, safer, more sustainable and affordable. This first group of OpenBlue Pioneers will be followed by many more as the momentum for the digital transformation of the built environment accelerates. It also proves that doing the right thing can be exactly the same as doing the sensible thing from a business perspective.”

Midea conference highlights its V8 VRF system

DUBAI, UAE, 1 June 2022: Midea launched the VRF V8 series as a major global initiative, citing Dubai as the best place to demonstrate the toughness and reliability of the system in facing up to sandy and dusty conditions and to high relative humidity and high temperatures. It said the V8 can work in temperatures ranging from 55 degrees C to minus 30 degrees C, making it ideal for operations in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, characterised by high temperatures, including higher ground temperatures.

Henry Cheng, General Manager, Midea Building Technologies, said the V8, which will go into production this month, is about reliability. “We want the product to be more reliable, so there is no need to repair it or spend that much time on maintenance,” he said. He spoke of the V8 having innovative features, including its shield box, which protects the incorporated printer circuit board (PCB) from getting affected by the outside environment, including sand, dust and moisture. “Water will damage the PCB, if it touches,” he said. “The PCB is in an isolated space, and no water will touch it. So, it can work safely for a longer time.”

Speaking on the other features, Cheng highlighted the V8’s hyperlink approach to connecting the wires. Elaborating on how in the past, installers had to connect the wires in series, he highlighted the inherent disadvantage of that approach, where if one unit stopped working, the entire system would stop working. The V8, he said, allows for the wires to be connected with greater flexibility, which improves reliability, eases the installation process and helps installers save time. A third feature of the V8, he said, is the high degree of comfort it allows through its constant airflow. “No matter where you are in the building, the airflow is constant,” he said.


Cheng also spoke of the V8 having 19 sensors and a visual sensor technology. If the real sensors stop working, the machine will duplicate to give virtual sensors – digital twin – which will continue the sensing process and simultaneously send a message to the maintenance personnel informing them of a problem with the real sensors for them to rectify. “This way, the system is able to work 24×7, so there is no shut down problem,” he said. He also spoke of the V8 featuring the ‘Midea Doctor 2.0, which would allow for using cloud for self-diagnosis. “So, with the V8, we have many leading technologies in the industry,” he said. “With the V8, we are the leader in the product.”


Addressing the issue of aftersales service, Cheng said Midea works closely with its partners, including Taqeef, which he added has a strong aftersales capability, including training and service centres.

“We also support our partners in increasing their aftersales service,” he said. “We have our technical engineers to support Taqeef, and we provide funds to partners to improve their service capability. As Midea we also have the TSP feature, and so partners can place orders for spare parts through the TSP and also through the cloud. So, we are enhancing our capabilities on aftersales. But, if we have a highly reliable product, you don’t need as much aftersales. We use high-end components, so we have fewer problems, and we would need less aftersales service.”


Cheng said Midea would continue to invest in the GCC region. But when asked if the company has plans to open a factory in the Middle East, he said it does not have any at the moment. “We have to look at the right partners and at the policies from the government,” he said. “We have had a discussion on this with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office.


Tariq Al Ghussein, CEO, Taqeef, speaking on Midea’s global growth, said that the very fact that the company has changed its name from Midea CAC to Midea Building Technologies reflects its ambition to provide comprehensive solutions to the building construction industry, including HVAC and elevators, to name two. “They want to supply all the components and software,” he said. “They continue to surprise us with how fast they are moving.”


The V8 features the refrigerant, R-410a, whereas it has R-32 for mini VRF systems. To a question about the possible use of refrigerants other than the two, considering that R-410a has a GWP of 2,088 and is facing calls from certain quarters for its phaseout and that R32 is classified as an A2L refrigerant, owing to its mildly flammable nature, requiring safety in handling, Cheng said Midea is one of the biggest manufacturers in the world and that the company is looking at all possibilities and will need to see the trend. “Different manufacturers are promoting different gases, and there are debates on regulation,” he said. “We will be ready once there is clarity.”


To a question about the global semiconductor crisis, and Midea’s response to dealing with the problem, Cheng said the shortage of chips is a global problem and one that affects all sectors and not just the HVACR sector. “From our perspective, we have learnt that we have to develop strategic partners on key components and to also strengthen our own capability,” he said. “And in China, we have set up our own chip factories in a small scale, and now we are accelerating to a big scale. We will enhance our capability in this area. There are many newcomers, who are planning to manufacture chips, and I think the problem will be solved very soon.”

Johnson Controls appoints new VP and Chief Commercial Officer

CORK, Ireland, 26 May 2022: Johnson Controls (JCI) has named Rodney Clark as Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, effective June 1, 2022. Making the announcement through a Press release, JCI said that in this role, Clark will lead global sales excellence efforts across the company, replacing Chief Commercial Officer, Brian Young, who retired at the end of last year. Clark also will take on a portion of the role being transitioned from Michael Ellis, Executive Vice President, Chief Customer and Digital Officer, who will retire at the end of the year.


“I am excited to welcome a proven, strategic leader such as Rodney to Johnson Controls,” said George Oliver, Chairman and CEO, Johnson Controls. “As we deliver on growth platforms, such as decarbonization in smart, healthy buildings, Rodney will build on our progress, collaborating with customers on outcome-based solutions and service offerings through OpenBlue, while expanding our market, building scale, capacity and capability.”


According to JCI, Clark most recently held the role of Corporate Vice President of Global Partner Sales and Channel Chief at Microsoft. In this role, Clark led a team responsible for customer and partner relationships, accelerating growth through the Microsoft partner ecosystem, as well as cross-partner strategy and outcomes through the Microsoft partner network, JCI said. Prior to this, he served as the Corporate Vice President of the Internet of Things (IoT) and mixed reality sales, responsible for building intelligent systems and mixed reality capability, through sales and go-to-market execution, JCI said.


Earlier in his career, Clark held other notable roles at Microsoft, including General Manager, Samsung Alliance; General Manager, Global Operations; and General Manager, Small and Medium Business, JCI said. Additionally, he spent eight years at IBM and has held roles throughout his career in strategy, sales, marketing, mergers and acquisitions, and digital transformation. Clark holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from California State University, Fresno.


“I’m delighted to be joining Johnson Controls, they have an incredible team that is driving innovative technology that transforms ordinary buildings into dynamic, healthier, safer spaces for all of us to enjoy,” Clark said.” Adding intelligent cloud and intelligent edge solutions to their traditional offerings creates an enormous opportunity and will help customers address their most critical challenges – including the achievement of sustainability targets with agile, flexible and scalable solutions.”

Danfoss: ‘A year above expectations’

NORDBORG, Denmark, 3 March 2022: Danfoss reported an increase in sales by 29% to EUR 7.5 billion in 2021. Making the announcement through a Press release, Danfoss described the performance as a record sales level.

The company said organic growth reached 18% year-over-year. The five-month period of ownership of Eaton’s hydraulics business added EUR 786 million to the top-line, the company said, adding that it delivered extensive growth in all regions. Investments in innovation (R&D) increased 23% to EUR 328 million, the company said. At the same time, it said, operating profits reached the highest level ever, with EBITA of EUR 969 million and EBITA margin of 12.8%. Net profit reached EUR 631 million, up 45%, it added.

Kim Fausing

“We have never seen better opportunities for Danfoss,” said Kim Fausing, President & CEO, Danfoss. “It is our ambition to be the leading technology partner for our customers in the green transition – decarbonising through energy efficiency, low emissions, and electrification. After all, the greenest energy is the energy that we don’t use.

Our momentum is clearly reflected in our 2021 annual results. Danfoss has delivered the best results in our history, and we are in a strong financial position.

“What makes me most proud is how our teams continue to deal with the pandemic and the significant challenges with the supply chain while delivering a transformational, record year. Unfortunately, these considerable challenges affected our customer service.

In addition, all three segments were affected by inflationary pressure. We will continue to do everything we can to serve our customers, and we will continue our high investments in capacity expansion, innovation and digitalisation of Danfoss.”

Danfoss said it assumes a positive outlook in the market in 2022, with a continued ambition to expand or maintain market share. The outlook includes a full year ownership of Eaton’s hydraulics business, it said. Sales are expected to be in the range of EUR 8.8-9.8bn for the full year, it said. The EBITA margin is expected to be in the range of 11.4-12.9%, following continued investments in the development of new products and solutions, it said.

The expected growth and profitability performance is dependent on the development of the pandemic, the global supply chain disruptions as well as the continuation of the current strong growth rates in the world economy, it added.

Regarding the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the company said its first priority is to keep its people safe. We are monitoring the situation carefully and will act accordingly.

Smart Farnek launches HITEK solution 4.0

DUBAI, UAE, 11 July 2021: UAE-based smart and green facilities management (FM) company, Farnek, today unveiled its new 24/7 command and control room, located in Farnek Village, the company’s new staff accommodation centre in Jebel Ali.

L-R: Markus Oberlin; Khaldun Aburok, Director of Business Development, Farnek; Javeria Aijaz; and H.E. Frank Eggmann

Making the announcement through a Press release, Farnek said that through its 5G and Wi-Fi 6-enabled, operational ‘nerve centre’, it will be able to take advantage of increased bandwidth, ultra-low latency and enhanced security, to connect assets from multiple sites, so that they can be centrally monitored and managed.

This, Farnek said, will allow it to rollout connected and transformative applications of technology that not only uplift the face of FM digitalisation but also offer enhanced efficiency. This is achieved through the concept of a digitally connected workforce and customers, to its in-house stream of technically advanced and cost-effective solutions, utilising the Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud, Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) based technologies, amongst others, the company said.

Following a tour of Farnek Village and the inauguration of its command and control room, H.E. Frank Eggmann, Consul General of Switzerland to Dubai said: “I was particularly impressed with the innovative approach Farnek has taken by developing its own in-house ‘Swiss made’ technology. Equally impressive is the way this is being utilised, which will not only improve cost-efficiency but also has staff welfare and sustainability at its core. This is an excellent example of Swiss state-of-the-art technology at its very best.”

According to Farnek, beyond operational efficiencies and sustainability, its HITEK solution 4.0 will save its customers significant amounts of money. The company said it has estimated that it can save up to 17% in manpower costs after traditional FM operational management has been transferred to HITEK’s smart management.

In addition, through IoT sensors, there is also the massive benefit of predictive and proactive maintenance, which can reduce downtime and improve the lifecycle of assets, facilitating remote monitoring with a fully connected and mobile workforce, Farnek said.

Markus Oberlin, CEO, Farnek, said: “In the case of manhours, a centralised system can manage multiple sites, whereas operating a traditional Building Management System (BMS) could well require a series of operators in each building. In addition, they may not be experts in every aspect of facilities management and probably will not have the advantage of benchmarking property performance.”

So far, Farnek said, its in-house technology team has developed initiatives, such as a smart washroom, wearable technology, eProcurement, telematic solutions, facial recognition as well as benchmarking and forecasting software to make buildings more sustainable.

Oberlin said: “As the technical specifications of 5G continue to evolve and expand that will capture and encourage even more advanced IoT and AI applications, which could start to become a reality, next year. So, we want to be ready to capitalise on these market opportunities, just as soon as the technology and connectivity is available.

“It is certainly going to take remote FM work to a whole new elevated level, enabling technicians to carry out tasks in either virtual reality or augmented reality environments, which are absolutely ideal for training purposes as well.”

According to Farnek, standalone 5G deployment consists of user equipment – the RAN and NR interface – and the 5G core network, which relies on a service-based architecture framework with virtualised network functions. Network functions that usually operate on hardware, become virtualised and actually run as software, the company said.

Javeria Aijaz, Senior Director – Technology & Innovations, Farnek, said: “We have managed to develop our own 5G network infrastructure-based intelligent and connected platforms, which has its own cloud-native network core, which connects 5G New Radio (NR) technology, and non-standalone (NSA) infrastructures, which still partially rely on existing 4G LTE infrastructure.

“Until Etisalat and Du are able to build out the independent infrastructure needed for 5G, our approach uses a combination of 5G Radio Access Network (RAN), 5G NR interface, and existing LTE infrastructure and core network to provide a 5G-like experience.”

KRN gets new Global Commercial Director

DUBAI, UAE, 28 June 2021: India-headquartered KRN Heat Exchanger & Refrigeration Pvt. Ltd., which manufactures heat exchangers, said it has appointed Raja Subramanyam as its Global Commercial Director.

Based in Dubai, Subramanyam will be responsible for KRN’s international growth, starting with Middle East and Europe, the company said in a Press release. Prior to this, Subramanyam worked as an independent cold chain consultant, drawing from a wealth of experience through his tenures at Carrier, Emerson and Ingersoll-Rand, the company said.

Raja Subramanyam

Speaking on his new role, Subramanyam said: “KRN has a state-of-the-art factory spread over 80,000 square feet in Rajasthan, India, from where it produces nearly a million world-class units per year. After creating a name for itself in India and having increased its production capacity, last year, it’s only natural for the company to foray into international markets. Despite the pandemic, the company’s growth plans are robust, and I look forward to establishing the company’s presence globally.”

Santosh Kumar Yadav, Chairman & MD, KRN, said: “In Raja, we see an ideal leader, who, with his international, versatile experience of 25 years across diverse verticals, can strategize our entry into different markets and take KRN to the next level of success. We are committed to support him to become a valued and reliable partner to HVACR principals, worldwide.”

Subramanyam holds a BE degree in Mechanical Engineering from Kumaraguru College of Technology, in Coimbatore, India. He is passionate about digitalisation and has initiated the need for digital transformation of cold chain technical assets through serving as Chair of the 10th edition of Food Chain, on May 31 in Dubai.

IRENA report charts pathways to further accelerate energy transformation

Berlin, Germany, 14 April 2019 – As the urgency to take bold climate action grows, new analysis by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) finds that scaling up renewable energy, combined with electrification, could deliver more than three quarters of the energy-related emission reductions needed to meet global climate goals. According to the latest edition of IRENA’s Global Energy Transformation: A Roadmap to 2050, launched earlier in the month at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue, pathways to meet 86% of global power demand with renewable energy exist. Electricity would cover half of the global final energy mix. Global power supply would more than double over this period, with the bulk of it generated from renewable energy, mostly solar PV and wind.

“The race to secure a climate safe future has entered a decisive phase,” said IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera. “Renewable energy is the most effective and readily available solution for reversing the trend of rising CO2 emissions. A combination of renewable energy with a deeper electrification can achieve 75% of the energy-related emission reduction needed.”

According to the report, an accelerated energy transition in line with the Roadmap 2050 would also save the global economy up to USD 160 trillion, cumulatively over the next 30 years in avoided health costs, energy subsidies and climate damages. Every dollar spent on energy transition would pay off up to seven times, the report said. The global economy would grow by 2.5 per cent in 2050. However, climate damages can lead to significant socioeconomic losses, the report added.

“The shift towards renewables makes economic sense,” La Camera said. “By mid-century, the global economy would be larger, and jobs created in the energy sector would boost global employment by 0.2 per cent. Policies to promote a just, fair and inclusive transition could maximise the benefits for different countries, regions and communities. This would also accelerate the achievement of affordable and universal energy access. The global energy transformation goes beyond a transformation of the energy sector. It is a transformation of our economies and societies.”

But action is lagging, the report said. While energy-related CO2 emissions continued to grow by over one per cent annually on average in the last five years, emissions would need to decline by 70% below their current level by 2050 to meet global climate goals. This calls for a significant increase in national ambition and more aggressive renewable energy and climate targets.

IRENA’s roadmap recommends that national policy should focus on zero-carbon, long-term strategies. It also highlights the need to boost and harness systemic innovation. This includes fostering smarter energy systems through digitalisation as well as the coupling of end-use sectors, particularly heating and cooling and transport, via greater electrification, promoting decentralisation and designing flexible power grids.

“The energy transformation is gaining momentum, but it must accelerate even faster,” La Camera said. “The UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the review of national climate pledges under the Paris Agreement are milestones for raising the level of ambition. Urgent action on the ground at all levels is vital, in particular unlocking the investments needed to further strengthen the momentum of this energy transformation. Speed and forward-looking leadership will be critical – the world in 2050 depends on the energy decisions we take today.”

Sustainable solutions, digitalisation are the way ahead

As the new BASF Vice President for operations in the Middle East, could you take us through the roadmap of the company?

BASF is an active partner in the industry in the UAE. We have been present in the region for over a century, and our office in the UAE dates back to the 1970s. You can, therefore, say that we are deeply rooted in the region. In addition to our regional headquarters in Dubai, we have offices in Abu Dhabi, Al Khobar and Cairo. In the UAE, we operate a state-of-the-art polyurethane system house in Dubai Industrial City and a production facility for construction chemicals in Dubai Investment Park. Our construction chemicals business also has sites in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt. In Bahrain, we operate a production facility for customised plastic additives. We have always aligned our business with the strategic vision and economic agenda of the governments in the region. What the visions have in common is not only a strong drive towards growth and economic diversification but also the realisation that having a commitment to sustainability is key to achieving long-term growth. We see unprecedented opportunities in various sectors to support these national priorities, and hence, we share our knowledge and expertise. After all, our commitment to sustainable solutions is anchored in the corporate purpose of BASF, which is to create a sustainable future.

Dr Udo Huenger, Vice President, Middle East, BASF

To what extent is BASF reinforcing its commitment to sustainability, innovation and digitalisation, while also expanding its footprint across the region? 

Our new strategy, which we presented in November 2018, aims at profit and a CO2-neutral growth. This means that we will decouple our greenhouse gas emissions from organic growth. To achieve this, we will improve the management, efficiency and integration of our manufacturing sites, and wherever possible, we plan on purchasing a greater share of electricity from renewable energy sources. We have already reduced emissions by 50% in absolute terms, compared to 1990 levels, while doubling our production in this period. In addition, we are working closely with a number of relevant stakeholders to drive sustainable water action and have been awarded a top ‘A’ rating by the international organisation, CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project. We also want to grow our share of so-called ‘accelerator’ products, including in the Middle East. Across all customer industries, we have identified 13,000 accelerator solutions. These are products that have made a substantial contribution to making the value chain more sustainable. An example of an accelerator product that is performing very well in this region is Neopor, an insulation material that offers improved insulation performance and contributes to climate protection and energy efficiency. Another example is Elastocool, a system made for the insulation of fridges and freezers. The material has a low-thermal conductivity by approximately 0.5 mW/mK, which enables the achievement of energy classes A++ and A+++. The fast cycling time leads to higher output in production, while high compressive strength values lead to lower material consumption per unit. In addition, digital solutions are helping us achieve our sustainability-related goals. Digitalisation presents opportunities, and by using digital technologies and data, we are able to create additional value for our customers and increase efficiency along with the effectiveness of our process. Digitalisation makes our business smoother and eventually makes it cheaper.

You mentioned that there is a strong drive towards localised, advanced manufacturing. What are the challenges you foresee, and how do you plan on tackling them? 

When we look at Egypt, a key market in our region, we are increasingly serving local customers, whereas, in the past, a large part of our customer base was multinationals with a presence in Egypt. Other countries in the region, including countries in the Gulf, are also moving in a similar direction. Therefore, I see opportunities for BASF, rather than challenges. One driving factor will be localisation. We are already producing locally and will expand this in the future with the mixing, blending and packaging of materials. Local storage is also becoming increasingly important.

Facilio-led conference highlights challenges related to digitalisation in FM

The challenge faced by FM companies after having adopted digitalisation, in an attempt to establish measurable value and return on investments (ROI) was one of the key points of a panel discussion during Future Proof, a conference Dubai-based Facilio hosted on March 14 at the Palace Down Town in Dubai.

FM professionals in the region attended the conference. The panelists in the discussion included Fahad Mohamed, Technical Head FM, Deyaar Properties; Andrea Deutschbein, Director FM, EMAAR Malls Group; Stephen Hayes, Head of Facilities and Engineering (MENA), Marriott International and Sangeetha B, Deputy CEO, Al Fajer Facilities Management.

L to R: Prabhu Ramachandran, Founder and CEO, Facilio; Sangeetha B, Deputy CEO, Al Fajer Facilities Management; Stephen Hayes, Head of Facilities and Engineering (MENA); Andrea Deutschbein, Director FM, EMAAR Malls Group, Fahad Mohamed, Technical Head FM, Deyaar Properties

While moderating the discussion, Prabhu Ramachandran, Founder and CEO, Facilio, said: “Today, there is disparity, where few companies are highly digitised, while others are still on paper.” The ultimate digitalisation for real-estate, he said, is when you are able to monitor what’s happening in your building while being placed anywhere in the world.

Sharing her experience on how Al Fajer FM has embraced digitalisation, Sangeetha, said, “Technology has a large part to play in every organisation, and it also a part of our strategy.” Embracing technology, she added, enables FM companies to offer a comprehensive range of solutions. However, one challenge faced is that technology is not being readily accepted by clients as they don’t always see the value and are just looking at the cost factor, she added. “What needs to be understood,” she added, “is the ROI will come after six months to a year, post the adoption of technology.”

Prabhu Ramachandran, Founder and CEO, Facilio

Sharing his experience, Hayes said: “We started adopting technology around 16 to 17 years ago and over the years.” We had all the activities in a single tool and would do quarterly reports with real-time reporting, he said. Highlighting the present situation on how the companies use dashboards to give cue into each of the properties throughout the world, he added, “Today, I can click into the property and drill down into the technician working on each property.” For the last three years, he said, we have got into measuring and using QR codes, Wi-Fi and real-time data, which enables us to monitor 250 properties across the Middle East region.

While the overall sentiment on the adoption of technology was positive, Mohamed highlighted that the main challenge was getting the buy-in from stakeholders. “There is a lot of technology available in the market; however, the challenge is in proving to the customer that it will be an added value,” he said. Elaborating, Sangeetha also pointed to a missing link in the adoption of technology in FM and said: “FM is a strategic player; however, what’s missing is that the client has to understand that adopting technology will be a value-add.” Echoing the thought was Deutschbein. She said: “FM is a big player, from both the client’s side and the service provider’s side.” The cost, she said, is always going to be a factor; however, we cannot cost cut for the sake of it, and standards cannot be compromised on.”

Pointing to personal experience, Mohamed added that in the year 2013, the company started off by connecting buildings to a system, which was remarkable. Utilising it, he said, helped remove BMS operators. The site, he added, is remotely monitored. As a result, he said, it also led to data collection. As if echoing Mohamed, Sangeetha said: “The adoption of technology has shifted focus to data collection, and I cannot stress enough on the importance of collecting data.” Elaborating on how it helps with any kind of analysis, she said, “Data helps in improving our services and will help study the ROI.”  Elaborating on how Marriott International has been outsourcing the technology within the scope of FM to different teams, Hayes said, “Even our sub-contractors make use of technology, and we train them on how to use the tool.”

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