Jenny Smith, Product Marketing Manager at Vent-Axia, explains how ventilation is now App connected.
Our love affair with mobile phones and tablets has brought with it the beneﬁt of access to a raft of useful mobile Apps to help with both our home and work lives. With over 3 million mobile Apps available there are plenty to choose from. And now App controlled unitary fans are available bringing new connectivity to the HEVAC sector, with Vent-Axia’s Bluetooth enabled Svara.
The launch of Svara marks the next generation of unitary fans. For electricians, installation is made simple through the Svara’s Bluetooth-enabled App allowing you to choose whether to opt for intermittent or continuous ventilation; whether you would like the humidistat to trigger operation or not; and whether the fan should be controlled via a switch rather than a pull cord. No more ﬁddly switches and jumpers!
Indoor air quality
For consumers the Svara offers improved comfort in their homes since it has been developed to allow households to take control of their indoor air quality via the App, which they can access through a mobile phone or tablet. This is important since indoor air quality is an issue that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of, with recent research illustrating the links between poor indoor air quality and health issues.
The Svara is fully automatic with three speed modes including boost. The default speed settings are for low trickle continuous ﬂow at 10l/s, the high trickle speed runs at 16l/s and is triggered by a light sensor and the boost speed 30l/s is activated by the humidistat. Once the fan is set up at installation, all these sensors can be altered via the App to change the level of sensitivity that triggers them to meet with a household’s lifestyle/demands, such as selecting ‘silent mode’ when a baby is sleeping. The user can also change the speed of the fan itself, however a safeguard on the controls ensures that it is only possible to alter the speed for each function within certain parameters. This way it ensures households cannot alter the fan’s operation to the detriment of indoor air quality.
“The concept behind IoT is that products will be able to talk to each other and react based on a set of inputs. As an example, if your fire alarm is triggered, it could send a message to your fan to shut down – and therefore reduce the airflow that could feed a fire.”
The Svara’s light sensor is triggered by its ability to recognise room occupancy through light movement and shadows. Not only that, but to avoid waking the household in the middle of the night it is possible to set a delay-on so the fan is not triggered by the light during quick night time bathroom visits. The light sensor is so intelligent it can also distinguish between headlight ﬂashes from cars and room occupancy, so it is not triggered by passing cars, which stops nuisance running.
An additional beneﬁt here is that the fan only requires a live and neutral, but can provide an overrun timer. In houses where there is perhaps only a basic fan installed, the home owner can upgrade to a timer fan without having to rewire. The light sensor will work in the same way as a switch live in an internal room.
Humidity levels are a key factor in indoor air quality since high levels of humidity can lead to condensation and mould. The Svara therefore features an effective humidistat which reacts to sharp changes in humidity, for instance when someone is taking a shower. When set to continuous running, once the humidity sensor is activated the fan runs at 30l/s until humidity returns to normal levels then the fan powers down to the trickle speed.
Meanwhile, the Smart Calendar allows you to activate the Svara on particular days via the App, for instance it can be turned off during a holiday period. Alternatively during a vacation you can set the Svara via the calendar to an airing mode which operates a purge function every 12 hours for either 30, 60 or 90 minutes depending on selection. However, the Svara’s sophisticated controls will not purge if the light sensor detects someone enter the room.
For electricians the Svara comes with lots of practical features that make it easy and ﬂexible to install. For instance the Svara is ideal for retroﬁtting since it is 100mm but comes with a convertor up to 160mm. Easy to install and maintain the Svara has just one model that can be either mains or SELV and can be installed on the ceiling or wall.
The future of Connectivity
While App connected products are now offering more flexible installation and control, there is still more to come. App control heralds the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the HEVAC sector as the App market matures. The concept behind IoT is that products will be able to talk to each other and react based on a set of inputs. As an example, if your fire alarm is triggered, it could send a message to your fan to shut down – and therefore reduce the airflow that could feed a fire. The Svara has been future proofed to be able to take advantage of these types of features as products develop over time.
So now is the time for electricians to switch on to App connectivity and the Internet of Things. Some electricians may still be concerned that such devices are tricky to install and time consuming. But as long as a product meets the appropriate interface standards, they are simple to install and with many domestic devices being ‘plug and play’, IoT products become little different from installing other wireless devices. And so the launch of the Svara is paving the way for other App controlled HEVAC products and looking to the future to join the Internet of Things.