Honeywell has been selected by Frost & Sullivan, Palo Alto, Calif., as the recipient of the 2004 Frost & Sullivan Technology Leadership Award for its efforts to integrate building management technologies and security systems.

"Integration is a wonderful concept, but it's hard to deploy in a way that customers see the value of it instead of as an added expense," declared Greg Turner, director of global offer management, Honeywell Building Solutions, Minneapolis. "We've been doing this since the 1970s and have gone through a couple of generations and iterations, and we provide it to simplify rather than complicate.

"It obviously helps that we are a manufacturer that has major products all over the HVAC, fire, video, intrusion and access arenas," he pointed out. "The fact that we have specialization in each of those areas gives us a good knowledge base to put the best of all those things together without overly complicating it for the customer with subsystem vendors."

Research analyst and program leader Sapan Agarwal explained the selection process. "We have all these parameters that we list, and we short-list companies and talk about their competencies and prepare a write-up," he related. "We compare key criteria versus what they are actually doing and it goes to committee and they give a green signal or shoot it down.

"When I was working on the study, I would talk with major companies and try to short-list the companies for their capabilities under different categories," Agarwal continued. "They all claim they are offering integrated solutions. Everybody seems to be a contender. We need to see who is actually offering a platform better than the rest.

"Honeywell has a very good infrastructure in place, but we need to see what degree of integration can be achieved using various systems," he commented. "Honeywell started integrating systems back in the 1970s. We stressed this historical development since they have a rich experience in that area. The platform that has evolved out of it is more robust and flexible.

"The first selection criteria is the technology in the industry - how many competitors have similar technology?" Agarwal asked. "Does the technology refinement process meet changing needs?"

Also considered is:

  • the value-added technical and service to customers,
  • the adoption rate - how well it was received in the market,
  • any new product innovation, and
  • time to market.

Integration of all building systems is important in many situations, such as process control plants, Turner said.

"The big new emerging trend for us has been this desire to integrate security and process control together," Turner reported. "When an emergency occurs in a facility, they want instant visibility at the master station so the operator can make split-second decisions about the safety of the plant and process.

"We found that it's very important for a process operator to understand the security situation of the plant," he explained. "Customers with high-risk facilities are very interested in an orderly shutdown.

"If a guy drove through the front gate, we can shut down the process in an orderly manner and reduce the threat if that guy is going to slam into a reactor section of the chemical plant or in some way try to disrupt the process," Turner emphasized. "Whether he is carrying a bomb, he can do enough damage with a vehicle or hand to cause a high loss of life."