LG Electronic’s captures a 20% market share in the air purification sector in the UAEOctober 20, 2020
An interview with Suraj Kumar, Technical Manager – Air Solutions, LG Electronics Gulf, speaks about the company’s Air Purification solutions, market reach, and more
What are the latest trends you’re seeing in the HVAC industry? How are your new solutions tailored to meet this demand?
In order to provide an optimal air conditioning solution, it is necessary to factor the temperature, humidity, airflow, and hygiene standards suitable for the characteristics of space from the design stage. LG has recently strengthened its ties with the likes of ASHRAE (American Air Conditioning Association) and REHVA (European Air Conditioning Association), reflecting new standards within its air conditioning design.
LG has solutions such as its DOAS (Dedicated Outdoor Air System), which can maintain comfortable indoor air conditioning conditions while introducing fresh air. The company also has solutions for cleaning air conditioning environments, such as four-stage air purification kits.
Even after the point of product delivery, LG is delivering real-time monitoring and predictive failure diagnosis services through cloud-based, non-face-to-face solutions (Total Management System) for service and maintenance.
The pandemic has inevitably shed light on greater requirements for hygienic practice. While businesses are more focused than ever on this aspect of the operation, they’re also more price-conscious. How is LG balancing bringing new products to market, with pricing and maintenance that is affordable for all?
LG recognizes that businesses are faced with shared challenges – seeking to assure their employees and customers are entering safe environments and have peace-of-mind, while also needing to consider the bottom line. For this reason, LG is focused on bringing new technologies to market which offer the right value proposition to a diverse range of customers. This occurs not only in terms of delivering new and unique products, but also in ensuring that they offer a cost-effective element – developed by LG’s R&D center and various production bases.
The transmission of viruses may also occur through aerosols that can stay suspended in the air for longer periods of time, particularly in enclosed spaces. Is LG working on any special cleaning/ventilation solutions for ACs in hotels, residential properties, etc?
LG has several unique technologies related to air ventilation and air purification, such as air-purifying kits which can be applied to Cassette-type ACs. For the air purifier market, LG has introduced commercial and residential air purification systems.
In addition to comfort-focused solutions (temperature, humidity, ventilation), LG has also introduced health and hygiene elements, such as sterilization functions and filter enhancements. LG is preparing to apply an outdoor ventilation system and cloud-based AI smart care solution to small and medium-sized commercial buildings. For larger buildings, the company will provide solutions that integrate maintenance of air quality, equipment, and energy, to oversee operations of an entire site with greater ease.
In order to reinforce safe, non-face-to-face communication with customers, LG is developing a web-based customized quotation system and strengthening the online technical response to consultants. LG is also strengthening the provision of non-face-to-face service and maintenance, using the company’s remote monitoring and service system (TMS).
Tell us more about the technology inside your PuriCare mask, what research went into designing it and how does it work?
LG’s business strategy continues to develop in line with market demands – from facilitating air quality needs in residential and commercial spaces to advancing air purification on-the-go. In late 2019, LG introduced the PuriCare Mini – the world’s first portable filter-type air purifier. With clear demand to innovate mobile air purification solutions further, at IFA 2020, the company unveiled the LG PuriCare wearable face mask.
The company began designing the wearable air purifier in 2017, undergoing 3 years of extensive R&D and product testing. Research indicated that with the general use of face masks, common issues such as regulating airflow, glasses fogging, and environmental impact were all areas where innovation in technology could alleviate some if not all of these issues.
The wearable air purifier harnesses a HEPA filter to provide advanced hygiene measures, promote a comfortable breathing experience and peace-of-mind. Comfortable breathing is further enabled by interlocking breathing sensors, which regulate airflow.
While LG believes this product is suitable for both B2B and B2C markets, the company has already started to see particular interest within the enterprise – supplying the PuriCare mask to customers in hospitals, government offices, and more. LG will continue to expand its outreach across government, business, and consumer sectors.
What is LG’s estimate for the value and size of the air purification and cooling equipment market in the UAE?
LG Electronics (LG) continues to work alongside its network of partners to not only alleviate such concerns but also push the boundaries of innovation to create a positive business impact. A testament to this, with the UAE’s air purification market valued at approximately $5 million, LG has captured 20% market share this year. Within the cooling equipment market (excluding chillers), valued at $200 million in the UAE, LG estimates capturing 23% of the local market over the same time period.
In recent months, what is LG’s growth rate across its air solutions portfolio?
In the UAE, LG is leading the market with highly energy-efficient solutions, such as Multi V VRF (variable refrigerant flow) systems – capturing 30% market share and experiencing double-digit growth. As a whole, the local VRF market has also seen double-digit growth (BSRIA estimates it to be worth $100 million), owing to the efficient and user-friendly capabilities of systems available on the marketplace.
Owing to increasing awareness of the need to maintain healthy indoor air quality, LG’s air purifier business has also seen significant success in recent years. The LG PuriCare lineup has made a significant impact within the local market, with the launch of an extended line-up in late 2019, LG has since emerged as the preferred choice among customers. LG’s residential air purifiers have secured a top market share position within less than a year. With PuriCare air purifiers proving popular among residential and corporate users alike, LG continues to advance its portfolio of solutions offered in this domain – recently introducing the commercial PuriCare model for large spaces such as offices and schools.
What are you doing to better interact with customers in the UAE, in the absence of face-to-face interactions?
In light of the pandemic, LG quickly transitioned to robust forms of online communication. Working with a number of high profile clients, confidentiality is key. LG’s IT systems have been integrated with secure collaboration platforms such as Webex to ensure a reliable channel of communication with our clients. The company has been using the same platform to deliver technical seminars, presentations, and meetings with customers.
Advancements in digital communications are also enabling LG to host product unveiling via live streaming and social channels, in order to engage with a diverse audience – including current customers, as well as prospects.
What is LG’s experience in the healthcare sector? And how are your products being designed to integrate better health and hygiene-focused elements?
Every aspect of a hospital or healthcare facility requires a different focus of attention. When considering temperature alone, operating theatres, patient rooms, and intensive care units all have different requirements. LG has a longstanding history of supporting healthcare facilities with their air solutions needs – managing not only temperature requirements but also humidity and air pressure needs.
Maintaining such factors round-the-clock can be complex, costly, and somewhat overwhelming for facilities – which is where LG seeks to help. LG’s Multi V system offers optimum efficiency during peak and partial load hours across the entire facility. The LG control solution also makes operation, including scheduling and precise temperature control, much more efficient. Facility administrators can ensure each of the site’s complex operating conditions are met while reducing overall operating costs. LG also provides regular performance checks to ensure the reliability of its systems and minimize maintenance costs.
Healthcare facilities also demand what is known as cleanroom application – areas in which extremely low levels of particulates, such as dust, airborne organisms, or vaporized particles are present. To enable this, LG provides Air Handling Units (AHU) – enabling more optimized control of VRF and chiller water systems.
Across the UAE, LG is seeing increasing demand for air solutions. In Dubai alone, the local municipality has implemented green building regulations, which make it mandatory for treated fresh air solutions across all buildings in the Emirates. Among these buildings are healthcare and education facilities – some of which are harnessing LG’s technology to create more comfortable and efficient environments. Technologies in use include LG’s air purification kits, which can be applied to VRF air conditioning systems for advanced filtration – currently in use across large office spaces, education facilities, and residential sites.
Tell us more about LG’s air solutions business, specifically in Oman. How long have you had a presence in the country, what are your success stories and who are the local players you are working with?
LG’s air solution business has a long history of more than 25 years in Oman. LG is currently the market leader in air solutions in the country, made possible by advancements in Inverter technology-based air conditioners, which are available for both residential and commercial application.
The company is providing its services to government facilities, in addition to private sector customers across the Sultanate. Local collaborations include installing air solutions systems for OMRAN (Oman Tourism Development Company), RCA (Royal Court of Affairs), Caledonian College, Oman Medical College, Jindal Steel Plant, and more.
What are the demands you’re seeing specifically from businesses in Oman and how are you catering towards these?
Oman is an emerging market in terms of air solutions. LG is leading the local market with its energy-efficient products, such as the Multi V VRF system.
Recently, LG secured a major local project with a large retail outlet in Oman, to install its Round Cassette VRF systems onsite. The solution was chosen due to its ability for ease-of-installation in a number of environments, as well as for its aesthetic design benefits.
In Oman, LG has also introduced its Dual Vane Cassette AC with air purification kit to promote dynamic air flow, as well as improving indoor air quality.
Which industries in Oman and across the wider Gulf region are your key focus when selling B2B air solutions?
In Oman, LG has a large presence in the hospitality, residential property, and education sectors. The company’s VRF (variable refrigerant flow) systems are targeted towards and installed in a number of residential spaces, as well as offices, hotels, and schools locally.
Recently, LG also launched its Round Cassette VRF system in the country – combining efficiency with aesthetics for customers wishing to have their systems blend seamlessly into the surroundings. The Round Cassette features one-way piping that bundles the condensate drainage piping and refrigerant supply piping together. This configuration allows installers easier access to key components and reduces installation time. This technology is currently installed in large retail spaces, with Carrefour being among LG’s local clients in the Sultanate.