Hot Tub Happiness
Iceland is known for its abundance of renewable energy sources, with geothermal sources alone accounting for 66% of the country’s primary energy use. But the country is also known for its high level of surplus energy. In fact, Iceland produces so much of it that Icelandic researchers are now thinking about how to export the energy to mainland Europe.
One of the side effects of this abundance of energy is that electricity is relatively cheap to produce. This makes Iceland an interesting case in terms of building management systems (BMSs) because, compared to other countries around the world, there hasn’t been as much value placed on innovating products that have a regulating function, such as hot tubs.
Standing out in a small market
In Iceland, Fidelix found the perfect partner in ventilation expert Hitatækni. For Hitatækni, there were too many similar players in the hot tub controller market. It needed to differentiate.
The current offering in Iceland in terms of hot tub controllers is relatively expensive. This provided an opportunity for us to compete not only on price but also on features. We could provide Hitatækni with a full colour touch display and the ability to access controllers remotely, all for a price lower than competing controllers without remote control.
Most of our competitors will have a separate line of controllers that are not BMS-related, says Reinout Ederveen, Product Manager at Fidelix. “We, however, had local control. So, a few steps further down the line, we already had total connectivity to the BMS. That way, we could come up with a completely custom solution but still retain full connectivity to the BMS.”
Atli Örn Friðmarsson of Hitatækni’s R&D department adds: “In the process of designing our hot tub controller, after seeing the capabilities and potential in Fidelix’s products, we went from a simple idea to a sophisticated controller. The combination of multiDISPLAY with customized graphics, multi-24 controller and an easyLINK for internet connectivity was a tailor-made solution for this project.”
Hitatækni was an easy choice as a partner for Fidelix because not only is it an expert in its field and in its market, but it wanted a true partnership in which both parties share expertise. And this is how we do business – knowing when to step back and let the party with most expertise make the decisions.
– “Iceland is interesting because it’s such a small country that it’s almost like a large city,” says Ederveen. “It would be easy to accidentally become a competitor of our own partner there, and obviously we don’t want that. So, when other Icelandic companies contact us, we can offer them technical support, but for anything sales related, we refer them to Hitatækni because they’re the ones with more expertise in that particular market.
Working with Hitatækni also gave us the opportunity to organise training events for several of its own partners.
The need for data management and analysis will certainly not decrease. With intelligent automation, the challenges of energy consumption can be turned into opportunities.
– “We have the expertise on the control side, but Hitatækni has the expertise of the systems side and how it should run,” says Ederveen. “In return, they can help to represent us to the manufacturer because of their close links. Partnering like this makes us greater than the sum of our parts.”
A versatile product range
A key benefit of partnering with Fidelix is receiving the service quality of a larger company but with the cost and business relationship of a smaller company – the best of both worlds. Our customers benefit from communicating with one person who takes care of their account, which is how we did business with Hitatækni.
– “Of course, behind that one person is a dedicated team with an entrepreneurial spirit, which is one of our core values,” says Ederveen. “It means that there is a very different attitude at Fidelix than you might find in a larger company, where you might find people who claim that certain tasks are outside of their job descriptions. But we don’t think in terms of job descriptions – we think in terms of challenges.”
Our core business revolves around heating and ventilation, and so partnering with Hitatækni really put our versatility on full display. We wanted to show what we can do when we rise to the occasion and go beyond our normal operational scope. And part of that versatility comes from our small but practical product portfolio.
– “Working with Fidelix has been great,” says Friðmarsson. “With their cooperation we’ve always managed to find the best solution for our projects using reliable and good products. Their tech support is fantastic, with lightning-fast response time and great problem-solving skills.”
“The controller we’re currently using – the Multi 24 – has a lot of inputs and outputs. Some might argue that it’s overkill, but we believe it offers a lot of programmable freedom and flexibility. And that’s what Fidelix is ultimately about. We base things on needs, not just on ideas. Our ability to adjust a product, even our own product, to the realities of the market shows how versatile we are as a company. Once we know what the needs of the customer are, we find a solution faster than anyone else.”