Lennox has been in the heating and air-conditioning business for well over one hundred years. In that time, they've established themselves as a leader not only in comfortable, clean air, but also as a company dedicated to innovation and the advancement of comfort technology. Quan Nguyen, Vice President of Marketing for Lennox Industries, Inc., gives some insight into where the company is directing its focus for 2015.
Q: Why does Lennox place such an emphasis on product innovation?
Innovation has been a part of our culture since day one. Dave Lennox started this whole business with innovation, building a furnace that was riveted instead of welded. New technology back then, but it made homes safer. See, welded furnaces could crack under extreme heat, releasing harmful combustion gases into the home. No cracks meant safer comfort.
Creating a better comfort experience is what Lennox is all about. Better can mean safer, like with the first riveted furnace, but better means a lot of other important things, too. It can also mean greater energy efficiency. Greater convenience. Products that are simpler and more intuitive to use. Better means introducing features that are ahead of the curve, to help people enjoy easier, more comfortable lives .
Q: How does Lennox define "innovation?"
In past years, innovation meant better comfort or greater energy efficiency. But as new technology emerges, and as mobile connectivity becomes commonplace for everyone, the definition of innovation is changing. Now it means smarter products. The internet of things means people want to interact more with the technology they own and use, and we will continue to deliver on that.
Q: How does Lennox determine what their customers want?
We do a lot of research to make sure we're always offering products that people like, and products that exceed every expectation. We find a lot of inspiration by looking at other industries, seeing what works, and finding an analogy for our own industry.
If we see some new shift in the automotive industry, appliances, phones or TVs, for example, we try to find a way to adapt that technology to let our products offer more. We visit a lot of trade shows and tech expositions, like the Consumer Electronics Show, to stay ahead of the curve.
We also make it a point to move fast to interpret and anticipate the needs of the market, and the needs of Lennox customers.
Q: What about direct customer research?
Of course. We do extensive focus groups and interviews with homeowners across the country, so we can listen firsthand to their wants, needs and concerns. But we take it a step further. We also remain in constant contact with our dealers.
Dealers are the ones that are in people's basements, attics and living rooms. They hear from the source what people are talking about, and they pass that information along to use to help us build better products. Two-way communication is crucial to product innovation, and it's one of the things we value most.
Q: What is your focus for 2015?
We have several focuses for the coming year. One of the most exciting areas is that of simplification. We are bringing more sophisticated and advanced capabilities to homeowners every day, but we don't want to complicate their lives.
We are putting a lot of effort into simplification. We deliver amazing features in our products, but we keep them intuitive and easy to use. You want to save energy? Just press a button or two. Setting up a complex heating and cooling schedule is as simple as asking a few questions on your thermostat's touchscreen, or sliding a bar or an arrow.
We offer smart, highly sophisticated technology that remains simple, approachable and capable.
Another focus for 2015 is that of monitoring. Our equipment is designed to solve problems before they become serious. Sophisticated sensors watch every aspect of equipment performance. Our research has shown us how and why problems start, and how to head them off when they're still minor.
Monitoring means customers won't have to spend a week without AC, because the problem was detected while it was a minor fix. So their air conditioner never failed. Monitoring means comfort never ends. And that's what we're all about.