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Honeywell highlights role of digital solutions in combating illicit trade of refrigerants

Company representative discusses growing use of the recently launched Genetron App and the mindset driving the adoption of HFOs in Middle East and Africa

| | Dec 20, 2020 | 5:00 am
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DUBAI, UAE, 20 December 2020: The key problem we aim to address is the distribution of counterfeit refrigerants, which is a menace to society, said Amir Naqvi, Business Leader, Turkey, Middle East and Africa, Honeywell. Digital solutions play an important role in this space, said Naqvi, who highlighted the value of the company’s Genetron App, which was recently launched in phases across the Middle East. The App, he said, serves as a platform that connects the industry to technicians buying the refrigerant in an effort to mitigate the illicit trade of counterfeits, which lead to issues affecting the life and efficiency of installed equipment and, most importantly, the safety of the people using and operating cooling systems.

Naqvi pointed out that Honeywell’s engagement with technicians through the App is vital in view of the evolving regulatory landscape across the MENA region, which is seeing the gradual phase out of HCFCs and growing use of new technologies. “Different regions have different regulations in the Middle East, all of which are impacted by the HFC phase out,  following Kigali amendment,” he said. Naqvi added that the company aims to facilitate a technology transfer among Europe, the United States and other parts of the world and provide technicians with the opportunity to stay informed and up to date with the latest information on new technologies.

Naqvi said the move towards digital platforms and solutions benefited the company following the pandemic, as it helped Honeywell maintain its relations with customers despite lockdown measures. Connectivity, he said, was key, and the App, along  with proactive campaigns through webinars, helped provide a channel to communicate with customers, including contractors, resellers and trade partners. “The key focus is end users,” he said, “the people who deal with refrigerants, remotely servicing air conditioners, supermarkets and a lot of the industry experts. The overall idea is to increase the registrations to get people on the App,  because the more people you have the more people scan, it gives us an idea to reduce the counterfeits.” 

Naqvi said the company has received good feedback from customers since the launch of the App. “We had old packaging that was phased down and the new packaging has the App feature,” he explained. “We have requests coming in from different parts in the Middle East region to switch to this new packaging that saves a lot. The trade partners that are resellers, they see a lot of value in it. He added that adoption is also growing involuntarily even in areas, such as Africa, where the company has not actively marketed the App.

Naqvi said this is an indication that there is a positive momentum towards the right type of refrigerants. “As you know, the HFC phase out deadline in the Middle East is pretty far compared to regions like Europe, where they have been pretty aggressive. But what I see is that irrespective of regulation, what is driving the market is the need for technology and knowledge transfer.” Naqvi pointed out that supermarkets in Europe have moved away from the use of refrigerants with high GWP, such as R404a. However, he said, in the Middle East, although refrigerants such as R404a are still allowed, many supermarkets are opting for environmentally friendly options. “People see the value of leaping from HFCs to HFOs, because it doesn’t only help with environmental goals, but also with energy efficiency. The refrigerants industry is automatically more connected than ever, and the App just adds to that.”

Naqvi said that for App users in the UAE, the company is offering a loyalty programme, that allows customers to scan and earn points to reach different categories that would allow them to encash these points against rewards including free refrigerants. “We are excited the whole idea is to get more people to register and more end users to scan products, which will drive and reward customers for using the product.”

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