Smart Buildings

Johnson Controls’ Focus on Building Automation Continues with Cisco Partnership

Johnson Controls recently announced that it has joined the Cisco Digital Ceiling community as a founding building automation partner. The Digital Ceiling framework provides a platform that delivers better user experiences through the convergence of the IT network and building technologies, including lighting, heating, cooling, security, motion detection, and other sensors and actuators. "Building owners and operators are looking to us to identify how technology can support their business outcomes, reduce costs and minimize risks", said Jim Nannini, vice president, North America Building Wide Systems Integration, Johnson Controls. "As more data becomes available, Johnson Controls' system integration capabilities allow building owners and operators to make more insightful decisions for smarter, connected and secure buildings". The announcement suggests that Johnson Controls shares Cisco's belief in Digital Ceiling framework offering building owners and operators a way to apply the benefits of the Internet of Things throughout facilities, and create new experiences for building users that will improve […]

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Johnson Controls recently announced that it has joined the Cisco Digital Ceiling community as a founding building automation partner. The Digital Ceiling framework provides a platform that delivers better user experiences through the convergence of the IT network and building technologies, including lighting, heating, cooling, security, motion detection, and other sensors and actuators.

"Building owners and operators are looking to us to identify how technology can support their business outcomes, reduce costs and minimize risks", said Jim Nannini, vice president, North America Building Wide Systems Integration, Johnson Controls. "As more data becomes available, Johnson Controls' system integration capabilities allow building owners and operators to make more insightful decisions for smarter, connected and secure buildings".

Digital Ceiling

The announcement suggests that Johnson Controls shares Cisco's belief in Digital Ceiling framework offering building owners and operators a way to apply the benefits of the Internet of Things throughout facilities, and create new experiences for building users that will improve the productivity, safety and comfort.

Johnson Controls and Cisco have a long-standing history of collaboration having worked together in a global alliance since 2008. Cisco, meanwhile, have been steadily developing their Digital Ceiling community. Last month, Cree Inc., joined the community, when they introduced their SmartCast Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology - an open platform that enables the Internet of Things (IoT) for buildings through improved lighting control.

Furthermore, in January of this year, Johnson Controls and Tyco announced plans to merge and create a global powerhouse in building products and technology, integrated solutions and energy storage. Johnson Controls also announced that it is spinning off of its automotive business in October.

When completed, it will only have two operating segments - building efficiency and power supply. The merger and spin-off further demonstrates Johnson Controls’ commitment to building automation.

The Tyco deal unites two IoT-savvy companies that lead in separate niches; Johnson Controls in HVAC and Tyco in fire and security. Once Tyco's proficiencies are integrated, Johnson Controls will enjoy another competitive advantage; offering the market a more comprehensive “smarter and safer” solution. The combined business presents a formidable force in BAS, Tyco will contribute 17 fire and security brands, as well as its own BAS ‘Tyco On’, to Johnson Controls' extensive portfolio.

Subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals, the merger is expected to close later this year, at which time Tyco’s brand new headquarters ‘One Albert Quay’, in Cork Ireland, would become the legal and global headquarters for the combined company, Johnson Controls plc.

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However, the deal is going ahead amid a storm of controversy in the US, where leading political figures have dubbed it a blatant tax-avoiding corporate inversion plan. Leading the charge against Johnson Controls has been democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. The Clinton campaign first took aim at Johnson Controls in January, saying that its corporate inversion plan would “leave American taxpayers holding the bag”, calling the move “outrageous”. Johnson Controls was quickly named as “Clinton’s corporate villain” after her campaign released an official ad directly targeting the company.

It seems, however, that Hillary’s husband and former president Bill Clinton missed the memo on that, when he described Johnson Controls as “one of my favourite companies” and praised the work it had done in the clean energy sector during an event in North Carolina on Monday, this week. The attacks, and confusion, in the Clinton camp are unlikely to faze Johnson Controls as tax savings of over $150 million are expected as a result of the deal, due to the Irish corporate tax rate of 12.5%, as opposed to the 35% in the U.S.

Back at the One Albert Quay, Tyco has linked together several technologies to create a fittingly smart building for the new partnership. Within the new headquarters, Tyco has integrated the control and optimisation of more than 10 building functions, ranging from Tyco's core fire protection, security and asset tracking systems to features that enhance building efficiency and the comfort and convenience of employees and visitors, such as energy-saving elevators and lighting management, HVAC maintenance and smart parking.

Johnson Controls is uniquely positioned in that it has proficiency in both building efficiency solutions and battery technology. Granted, there is substantial competition as companies like GE and Honeywell look to grow their BAS businesses and companies like Tesla Motors look to grow in the energy storage market. However, as it provides more solutions that combine these two areas of expertise, the company should prove that it has the ability to succeed in this rapidly growing market.

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