MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF. — Frost & Sullivan presented A. O. Smith Corp. with the 2009 North American Frost & Sullivan Product Innovation of the Year award for its commitment to deliver innovation in the water heater market.
Frost & Sullivan's Best Practices awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis and secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.
A. O. Smith’s Cyclone(R) and Vertex(TM) water heaters exceed alternative products in energy and cost competitiveness, and incorporate original design features.
The Cyclone has become a standard in high efficiency water heating by combining the benefits of large-capacity standard tank systems with high efficiency performance. A. O. Smith's patented heat exchangers and unique manufacturing process have allowed the company to deliver high efficiency at competitive costs. In keeping with the market trend, the Cyclone has incorporated advanced features, including electronic control systems providing performance and service diagnostics attributes, interactive capabilities and usage history.
Designed for the residential market, A. O. Smith's Vertex water heater was inspired by the need to provide higher-efficiency gas water heaters and constant hot water capabilities. The Vertex offers customers 100,000 Btus and 96% efficiency. The Vertex also has proprietary electronic controls similar to the commercial Cyclone water heater and intelligent controls to enhance performance.
"Our end-user survey on water heaters revealed A. O. Smith to be the only company to rank above average across different criteria," said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Jorge Moreno. "The company scored highest on services, availability of spare parts, product range and features, and energy efficiency, which were classified as the most critical success factors for contractors and end-users alike. Also, the A. O. Smith brand is highly recognized, which tends to play an important part in the purchasing decisions of end-users and therefore the installers and contractors as well."
Furthermore, energy efficiency and the enhancement of operational performance have fuelled green ratings and certification processes along with the number of projects being certified by rating systems such as Energy Star. A. O. Smith co-sponsored an Energy Star program to bring higher efficiency products to the water heater industry and make the technology cost-effective for residential customers.
"In spite of the current challenges such as high capital costs, low awareness and receding economic conditions with a sluggish construction market, A. O. Smith is anticipated to grow steadily by continuing to provide high-efficiency water heaters," noted Moreno. "Additionally, the alliance behind the Energy Star program will help educate and influence consumers, retailers, architects, and contractors that the implementation of certified high-efficiency products will significantly reduce life-time operating costs, energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, in addition to improve comfort."