Emotions were running high on the last day of Connect 2018, held Nov. 15-17 at a resort in Marco Island, Fla. At the awards banquet, speeches were made, videos watched and the always anticipated reveal of where next year’s event would be held was unveiled. But this year was different. This year, there were two dates — and locations — announced: one for Honeywell (Miami) and another for the recently spun-off independently run Resideo (Phoenix). Friends and former colleagues sought each other out for one last hug, unsure when they might see each other at another event like this. Despite some tears, however, there was a strong feeling of optimism in the room, both that day and in the previous days, filled with lots of informative sessions, general sessions, motivational speakers — and even a camel.

Previously called Honeywell Connect, this year’s Connect 2018 was an opportunity for attendees to learn what the spinoff would mean going forward and for both the Resideo and Honeywell staff to get dealers excited for the coming year. Attendees learned the thought processes behind the spinoff and why and how it would benefit them. Most of all they got reassurance that the things they like about being a Honeywell dealer — including the name — will not be going away; while the challenges will be addressed in a more micro-focused way than was previously possible.

“We went from being a very industrial group of products and portfolios to a residential space that is more aligned with the consumer electronics space,” Quentin Gunther, leader, authorized dealer program, Resideo, told attendees at the “Focused on the Future: The New Residential Dealer Program” session. “One of the big reasons for the spin is so that we can be more nimble and get you product quicker.”

Gunther went over the new dealer program, which will include more help with e-commerce models, marketing campaigns and other perks. “We couldn’t be more excited to finally be spun,” he concluded. “The residential space feels like it is changing and we have to figure this out together. I have been part of this group for 28 years now. I don’t think anybody is ready to give up the resi space to Apple and Nest.”

This enthusiasm and drive was echoed again and again, both in public sessions as well as private conversations.

Alice DeBiasio, vice president, general manager, pro security products, Resideo, told SDM the main goal for Resideo is to help dealers build the right portfolio to compete in the ever-changing residential space. “We have to modernize them and make sure they have the tools, the training and the right product to allow them to compete.”

This will be made easier by the Resideo spinoff, DeBiasio explained. “Honeywell is a large, industrial company. Their focus is on those markets across their businesses. Resideo is on more of a consumer electronics industry pace, which requires very different levels of investment and pace of launching products into the market. The spinoff is beneficial for both of us — Honeywell to make investments on the commercial side, and Resideo to be more successful in the markets we serve…. We were competing with commercial products for who gets the funding. We were up against aerospace. Residential lifecycles are so much faster and now we can look at a business case for a product with a lifecycle that is one to two years instead of a new aircraft engine.”

DeBiasio also reassured dealers that the Honeywell name would remain in the public arena. “We have worked out a long-term agreement with Honeywell to make use of the Honeywell Home brand, which should really address the name recognition issue. Resideo is a new company and we have to build its story and awareness to our customers and end users; but Resideo is in the background. The brand consumers will know will be Honeywell Home.”

In addition to the residential security piece, Resideo also incorporates ADI, as well as the elements behind the wall, DeBiasio explained: “All the componentry that goes inside the furnace, cabling, gas hot water heater control units, whole house air purification — It’s not only on the wall but in the wall and in the cloud.”

While much of Connect 2018 was dedicated to the Resideo story, as the last joint Connect there were also sessions and product demos dedicated to the commercial side of the Honeywell business, particularly the integration side, Marcus Logan, global product management leader for Honeywell Security and Fire, told SDM. “Over the past 24 months we have had more focus on integrated solutions, and really been focused on bringing value to those customers and spaces and integrating more with biometrics and high security.”

Logan echoed the Resideo folks when it comes to not having to share resources anymore: “We are focused on big commercial to enterprise. For us this allows us to focus on delivering more value to our customers and to really meet their needs.”

In the spirit of inspiring attendees to move beyond their comfort zone, the general session held Friday Nov. 16 was led by therapist and comedian Connie Podesta. For an hour and a half she had the audience laughing, participating and finding out whether they were circles, squares, triangles or squiggles — and what the personality traits assigned to those shapes meant for dealing with others in both personal and business relationships.

There was also plenty of opportunity for fun and networking. In addition to cocktail receptions and games on the beach, on the second night, “Moroccan Night” welcomed guests to a beachside dinner featuring lobster, a live band, and a camel photo opportunity.

At the closing session, Scott Harkins, vice president, general manager, connected home for Resideo, compared today’s launching point to past pivotal moments. “In the ’90s people said phone lines are going away and we introduced cellular and Wi-Fi communicators. The late 2000s and early 2010s started by talking about services and apps and smartphones and we said, ‘Yes, you have to adopt.’ I’m happy to say almost everything we sell is now connected, so you adapted and adopted. Here we are heading into 2020 and we should all be asking ourselves what’s next and who is the partner that will help you to this fourth Industrial Revolution of IoT? Resideo is a brand new company that will take us forward. The new energy and passion about what we are trying to build in the space is a super exciting time in our industry.”

Harkins noted that at the previous Connect they had just announced they would be spun out of Honeywell. Now at this event he introduced the new CEO of Resideo, Mike Nefkens, who shared a little more about his vision and gave attendees a taste of what to expect in the next year.

First he explained the name. “What does Resideo mean? We have taken a name that means two things and brought it together,” he said. Those two names are residence, and presidio, which means fortress.

Nefkens also touched on some of the products Resideo is planning for 2019. “We are coming out with a super connected thermostat that actually moves the vents in the home; adaptive combustion control in the hot water heater; remote appliance monitoring; and a global intrusion platform,” he said.

With all of the work of the spinoff behind them, Nefkens concluded that he sees nothing but positive motion from here. “We have momentum right now. This is a growing business. Why do we think we can win? We have size and scale and a very loyal customer base. We have a very strong capitalized balance sheet — all the things you need to be able to invest and modernize a sector. We have a great team of both ex-Honeywell and new people.”

That night after all the awards were given (See online slideshow at www.sdmmag.com/media/photos/28-connect-2018-awards-recap), as old colleagues said goodbye, they also looked forward to the next chapter and an exciting new venture.