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Connect Motel HVAC Systems via Cellular

Heating and cooling costs are a big expense for motel chains, since room temperatures are primarily regulated by guests. To combat this expense, a motel chain worked with a major HVAC company to create a control system that interfaces with their hotel management software to control the temperature of individual rooms. This new system is based on occupancy, thereby preventing rooms from being heated or cooled when no one is in the room, and also enabling the motel to start cooling or heating the room prior to the guest’s arrival.

To accomplish this initiative, the HVAC company worked jointly with an energy management controller company and Digi. Each HVAC unit is connected to a controller that adjusts room temperatures. The predefined temperatures are based on occupancy information received from the motel’s management software. The primary energy management server and the motel’s management servers are located in a central site, and they must be able to connect to the remote HVAC controllers.

Instead of using traditional leased lines or dial-up phone lines to collect information from the remote sites, the energy management company opted to utilize cellular technology. The Digi Connect® WAN VPN is a wireless Virtual Private Network (VPN) router that connects to the HVAC controller using standard 10/100Base-T Ethernet; it then creates a wireless WAN connection over high-speed GSM (GPRS/EDGE) or CDMA (1xRTT) cellular data networks. The Digi Connect WAN VPN solution offers several benefits:

  • It integrates with existing IP infrastructure, making deployment quick and easy
  • Cost-effective cellular rate plans enable the motel to pay only for the airtime they use
  • Digi SureLink™ technology maintains “always-on” connections over unpredictable networks

Utilizing the cellular data network enabled the motel chain to control the temperature of individual rooms, drastically reducing heating and cooling costs. The motel also improved customer service by having each room at an optimal temperature when guests arrive.

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Controlling motel room temperatures based on occupancy information

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Utilize cellular data networks to connect HVAC systems to remote energy management controller systems

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