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Case Studies

New Frequency

Case Study – Automated Demand Response

New Frequency was tasked to come up with a solution to remotely initiate the efforts of both load shedding via a BMS (Building Management System) as well as remote starting the facility’s emergency generator via a secure connection. This was a large campus installation with multiple forms of power (street, photovoltaic, and generator), as well as a heavy usage pattern for the type of business.

New Frequency initially surveyed the customer site to gather information on the project to assess the size of the generator, available monitoring points (main feed, secondary, etc.) and the appropriate monitoring equipment to be used. In addition we assessed what types of existing internal controls were available that we could interact with remotely. Our Wattnode solution was selected, along with custom sized 6×4 CTs, to attach to the feeds in the Transfer Switch in order to monitor the power coming from the generator. We isolated the transfer switch contacts that are used to manually start/stop the generator as well as initiate a transfer of load. Separately, the existing BMS was programmed with sets of contacts for us to remotely initiate load shedding, staged ramp-up of services, or return to normal operation. Through remote connectivity on a private wireless network only accessible to New Frequency, we could then initiate load shedding, simultaneously start & warm up the generator, then transfer load when appropriate, afterwards ramping up staged services like chillers to run from the generator. Reverse procedures and series of contact closures allow a normal transfer of load back to street power, as well as power down cycle of the generator, without stressing the local power feed from the utility.

The solution as provided, accomplishes all goals:

  • Security – The system utilizes a private wireless network only accessible by New Frequency with no path to the public cloud. Since no customer Telephone/LAN/WAN or internet services are involved, all controls are secure from outside hacking or tampering.

  • Reliability – With no customer provided connectivity, multiple points of failure are removed, increasing overall system reliability. Direct feedback from equipment allows New Frequency to monitor response and adjust accordingly.

  • Low to No Customer Interaction When Complete – Initial concerns had been that staff would need to manually shed chillers and other equipment before transfer could take place. The installed system handles these concerns ensuring a smooth transition that is also timely.

  • Ease of installation – Although a licensed electrician is necessary for this type of installation, a disruption of power and services was avoided.

Off the shelf products without custom programming, would have fallen short on most of these goals, especially the secure communications portion and staged interactions with equipment. Our solution however exceeded goals and expectations providing an automated demand response package that needs no location-based staff to interact or respond when an emergency or alarm condition arises. Performance has been flawless since installation, and the customer has received high praising remarks from their utility for their facility’s actions when called upon.


The Trap‑Alert® System Pilot Program Case Studies

I. Summary

New Frequency, Inc. introduced beta test units to a select group of NWCOA leaders in Charlotte, NC in January of 2010 and created an online questionnaire to solicit feedback on the product and its practical applications within the trapping industry. New Frequency received over 10 applications to participate in the pilot program. Of that, 3 companies were selected and the Trap-Alert® unit, the Trap-Alert® system web site, sensors and mounting brackets were modified based on feedback from the questionnaire. The pilot test units were made available in the early Fall of 2010 and the pilot companies began testing our units.

One of our pilot companies in the Mid-Atlantic region used the device as a maintenance plan for their residential customers after animal exclusion was performed. The pilot company would attempt to locate the animal and point of entry into the home and patch the area. They would then tell the home owner they could visually inspect, daily, over the next 2 weeks to verify removal and to make sure that no additional animals had remained in the home or had come back in through a different location. They gave the homeowner 2 options: (a) to have the tech come by every morning to inspect the trap(s); or (b) the homeowner could pay a $100.00 convenience fee to leave the trap(s) remotely monitored for up to 2 weeks to verify a positive result. In all cases, the trap(s) checked-in daily, and when an animal was caught, the techs received a notification and promptly communicated with the customer and scheduled a time to remove the animal. In addition, the pilot customer also gave their customer/homeowner the option of receiving the e-mail or text notification when an animal was trapped. Some homeowners used this feature while others let the tech manage the process.

II. Pilot Summary Statistics

New Frequency’s pilot was based on 3 test companies in 3 different states for 90 days.

·         The Trap‑Alert® units were used both indoors and outdoors.

·         Types of traps device was attached to: rat, small squirrel, large squirrel, chipmunk, raccoon, bird and hog.

·         Animals actually caught: raccoons, hogs, chipmunks, flying squirrel, gray squirrel, and rats.

·         Pilot company’s customers’ response to using a monitored system was always positive.

·         Pilot company’s customers indicated they would use the service again because the trap was monitored and it reported daily.

·         Pilot company indicated that use of monitored units would allow them to sell more jobs and expand their geographic service territory.

·         Customers were more than willing to pay an additional convenience fee to avoid daily visual inspections.

·         Average convenience fee: $100.00 per job.

·         Average length of job: 11 days.

·         Average number of avoided daily inspections: 9 days.

·         Average number of avoided miles per job: 297 miles (33 miles per day).

·         Average number of man hours avoided per job: 9.5 man hours per job.

 

III. Bottom Line Value

Of the 3 pilot companies, there were 2 different strategies implemented as described below, resulting in the following cost/benefit illustrations:

Scenario 1

We analyzed a short round trip to a customer’s site with the average job being 10 days; one with an additional convenience fee and one without.

The short round trip was based on a 30 mile trip to and from the customer site and a total job length of 10 days and 8 avoided trips. In this case, on a 12 month basis only using the device 10 days a month, the customer would have recovered their cost of both the unit and the web subscription over a 12 month period averaging an additional savings of $71.00 per job/per month.

Table 1- Return on Investment ROI (Without Convenience Fee)

Investment

$925.00

Payback

$1,776.00

Return on Investment (ROI)

92%

For one pilot customer, they were also able to charge an additional $100.00 per job for a convenience fee resulting in additional $170.92 per job/ per month. In the cases where they were able to use the device on 2 jobs per month, the monthly savings rose to $219 per 2 jobs/ per month or an average of $110.00 per job.

Table 2- Return on Investment ROI (With Convenience Fee)

Investment

$925.00

Payback

$2,976.00

Return on Investment (ROI)

222%

Scenario 2

We also analyzed an average round trip to a customer’s site with the average job being 10 days; one with a convenience fee and one without.

The average round trip was based on a 50 mile trip to and from customer site and a total job length of 10 days and 8 avoided trips. In this case on a 12 month basis only using the device 10 days a month, the customer would have recovered their cost of both the unit and the web subscription over a 12 month period and averaging an additional savings of $136.00 per job/per month.

Table 3- Return on Investment ROI (Without Convenience Fee)

Investment

$925.00

Payback

$3,552.00

Return on Investment (ROI)

284%

For one pilot company, they were also able to charge an additional $100.00 per job for a convenience fee resulting in additional $236.00 per job/per month. In the cases where they were able to use the device on 2 jobs per month, the monthly savings rose to $349.00 per 2 jobs/ per month or an average of $175.00 per job.

Table 4- Return on Investment ROI (With Convenience Fee)

Investment

$925.00

Payback

$4,752.00

Return on Investment (ROI)

414%

 

IV. Conclusion

Using the Trap-Alert® system only 1/3rd of the month (10 days) on average can save your business approximately $104.00 per unit/ per month if used 12 months a year based on the above scenarios. When used more often, the savings should double and in some cases may even triple! Our other pilot companies who did not charge a convenience fee felt that based on their customers’ feedback they could have charged such a fee, and after demonstrating the Trap-Alert® system capabilities they could in the future move in this direction. The pilot customers believed that the use of the Trap-Alert® system provided a major advantage in closing the sale and ensuring future customer retention.

 

What a Trap-Alert® Customer Discovered After Buying 6 Units.

 

Michael Tucker of Wildlife Removal Services conducted a case study to highlight why and how using the Trap-Alert® solution can change your business.  He originally thought he would save driving time and fuel after he purchased 6 units but he what found out was so much more:

He discovered that Trap-Alert® is invaluable for the following type of jobs:  Non-visible trap set locations, difficult to access trap locations, 2nd homes where customers cannot inspect traps, sensitive locations, sensitive customers and long distance jobs. What Michael didn’t realize is how many ladders he avoided climbing, how many attics and crawl spaces he avoided going into unnecessarily.  For the most part Michael had no idea how often he did so many daily tasks that put him at unnecessary risk, but what he found out next was truly a game changer for his business: He was able to easily win jobs where trapping was done in sensitive locations, where rapid response animal removal was paramount.  Jobs close to schools, parks, and high traffic locations all were now low hanging fruit using Trap-Alert®.

Jobs with major animal infestations were completed much quicker because multiple animals were removed within hours from cages because he was aware of each closure versus waiting the typical 24 hours. 

Wildlife professionals consistently encounter the nosy neighbor and customers that are overly concerned about animal welfare in traps. These discussions which typically slowed Michael down ended rapidly when he showed them the Trap-Alert® system, as they were now glad to see that his response would be immediate using this technology.

Michael then decided he had a group of customers that were very concerned with animal welfare and this presented him with an opportunity; Michael now could offer a 4 hour animal removal service for an extra $150 per job since he would now be aware the minute an animal was caught.  His closure rate when this was offered was nearly 100%.  He created an additional revenue stream that paid for almost 4 months of the unit’s subscription on one job alone.

He also now had upsell opportunity on all jobs where Trap-Alert® units were available, which created another revenue stream. Michael could now charge $100 more per job to use the technology.

The biggest advantages came in two areas that increased his bottom line; customer satisfaction increased, and repeat work due to this satisfaction led to referrals as a result of using the Trap-Alert® technology. 

His commercial bid closure rates doubled because of the technology advantage over the competition.

Adding 6 units led to Michael having his most profitable year with a 30% increase in his bottom line, all while his costs went down even when including the costs of the units.