Better Energy Management (BEM) is a leading manufacturer of efficient lighting solutions for commercial enterprises. With over 20 years’ experience in product development focused on lighting and control technology they have provided energy efficient solutions to hundreds of businesses throughout Ireland and the UK offering payback periods of less than 1.5 years. The main focus for BEM is bespoke manufactured solutions for commercial enterprises with lighting usage of more than 15 hours per day.
The first step taken by BEM to deliver a solution to its customers was to perform a site audit. This involved a site visit to the client premises where details were recorded using pen and paper on the number of floors, the rooms and hallways on each floor, the numbers and types of light fittings present, and the hours of operation including days of the week and months of the year. Plus it was vital to capture the clients concerns about existing lighting and maintenance and to be able to develop a solution relevant to their needs both today and in the future.
Brendan Murphy from BEM explained that the data collection process was only the starting point as the results then had to be fed into a complex Excel spreadsheet where substitute light fittings were selected and a variety of energy efficient calculations were performed in order to produce a report that could be provided for the client to review. The process while essential for every project was time consuming and limited the number of surveys that could be performed by the BEM surveyors. A decision was made to investigate how the data collection process could be streamlined to make the data entry process easier and to reduce the time needed to provide the final energy saving report. Another key concern for BEM was that sales were based on direct interaction with customers through the audit which limited sales capacity so they needed a system that could be used by strategic partners for mutual growth.
BEM approached the ERS App development team to discuss their data collection challenges and investigate what could be done to improve the process. At the heart of the BEM process was the Excel spreadsheet and the first step required was to perform a full analysis of all the data entry fields and calculations needed to generate the final report. The Excel sheet contained more than one hundred different calculations and it was essential that the ERS team obtained a detailed understanding of every element required to complete the process and generate an accurate report.
The final solution was broken down into two projects – a mobile application and a Web Portal. The mobile application was designed to enable BEM surveyors to create a survey on the fly and dynamically create sites, floor, rooms and hallways and enter in the relevant numbers and types of fittings as they moved through a site. Once the surveyor had completed the onsite audit the data was then synchronised to the web portal where the data was run through the energy efficiency calculations. The surveyor could then review the results and produce the final report with the click of a button.
According to Brendan Murphy, Managing Director of BEM, “What emerged from our interaction with ERS was the need to develop a user friendly App which would allow both technical and non-technical people carry out an audit of any commercial premises. This reduced the time required by eliminating hand written notes and also enforced a systematic approach and a more efficient audit. As the auditing information now gets sent back to BEM with one click, it has completely streamlined our data collection process. The mobile solution has also opened up more opportunities for us here at BEM and we are looking to engage with ERS on other App projects in the near future.”