UTC Execs Share Insights on Interlogix and LenelS2 Brands, Center for Intelligent Buildings
Take an inside look at UTC’s Center for Intelligent Buildings. Also, executives weigh in on the Center’s impact, as well as busy happenings in the LenelS2 and Interlogix branches.
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Smart homes, smart buildings, smart security integration business practices … these days United Technologies Corp. (UTC) is aiming to raise the security industry’s IQ as many ways as possible.
SSI’s annual Technology Issue presented the perfect opportunity, too, to check in on this wide-reaching company, whose Climate, Controls & Security group in particular is capping off a year in which it has undergone significant changes.
Foremost was the opening in April of the Center for Intelligent Buildings, which not only combines state-of-the-art technologies showcasing the interoperability between the company’s many brands but also serves as UTC Climate, Controls & Security global headquarters (plus members of UTC’s Otis Americas group) in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
So along with highlighting the fire and security, building automation, heating and cooling and other interconnected capacities as an experience center for visitors, the building represents an ultra-modern workplace where UTC Climate, Controls & Security’s own access control, mobile application and many more technologies create daily comforts and customized conditions for employees.
Among the myriad brands serving up the smarts at the Center for Intelligent Buildings — which makes room for a residential technology showcase in addition to the commercial building intelligence — are Lenel and Interlogix, which have been busy in 2018 as well with 2019 expected to continue that momentum.
Lenel is now known as LenelS2 following UTC Climate, Controls & Security’s acquisition of Framingham, Mass.-based enterprise solutions provider S2 Security, finalized in October.
Meanwhile, Interlogix has extended its footing in the smart home by rolling out products like the UltraSync video doorbell camera this year and plans to further efforts in the SMB and commercial spaces next year.
SSI visited the UTC Center for Intelligent Buildings this fall, fresh off the S2 news, and along with a tour of the facility (see slideshow) took the opportunity to discuss the building and more with Alex Housten, vice president & general manager, Fire & Security Products, UTC Climate, Controls & Security.
Additionally, conversations with LenelS2 President Jeff Stanek and Interlogix General Manager Mike Chiavacci lend insights into those leading brands.
What were the objectives driving the Center for Intelligent Buildings project?
ALEX HOUSTEN: There’s really three. First, we wanted to have the customer experience, put ourselves in the end user project-oriented seat and see how it is to use our products all together. It’s our belief that there’s a convergence and unification of all the products that we design, manufacture and sell, but a big piece of that is how we go to market. We wanted to experience that as a baseline and then have the building as kind of a constant laboratory as the integration gets better.
The second one is really to operate a building with all of our products together, so you have not only the end-user experience from a project perspective, you have life with UTC products — the product issues we might see, what it’s like to use our stuff day in and day out. I’d say the rate of ideas on how to make our systems support the building better has spiked since we’ve been a user ourselves. And the third is really the employee experience. It doesn’t need a whole lot of explanation. It’s a huge upgrade from places we’ve been — we run a healthy environment, it’s a more productive environment.
Who was involved in the planning of the facility?
HOUSTEN: Our president, Bob McDonough, had a vision of this as the ultimate customer experience. The idea is that the doors are open. Our customers should bring their customers, their prospective customers and members of the community. Everybody should be able to experience an intelligent building. He assigned every business within UTC Climate, Controls & Security, and Otis, to own their systems in the building.
It was a wonderful exercise in being your own customer from the project definition and sales quotation process all the way through the installation, commissioning and now maintenance and owning of the building. The leaders of each business were responsible for delivering their systems to the completed project. We’ve called 2018 the year of customer centricity. That means we’ve put our priorities and our perspectives for making decisions in line with customers and where we think their issues are day-to-day.
Mike Chiavacci: What’s been great about the Center initiative is working hand-in-hand with our residential solutions businesses on integrations that add value to our customers’ experience. That’s the power of our story. I think at last count we’ve had over 10,000 visitors tour the Center for Intelligent Buildings. That’s 10,000 impressions of Interlogix, Lenel, Kidde and our other brands working in conjunction to solve real-world problems for our customers.
What are some ways the Center for Intelligent Buildings is helping the company, and its dealers, understand more about its product integrations?
HOUSTEN: There are so many systems here that are smart and intuitive that we’ve learned you have to have really well-developed business policies to support them. If you’re going to have visitors receiving invitations to attend meetings and conferences, you have to be prepared with processes for them to arrive and enter autonomously. There has to be a new way of receiving a badge and ensuring certain floors are access controlled.
It’s just different — typically you arrive at a place and there’s a clipboard with a pencil. You fill in your name and time and contact information and that’s that. We’re able to handle very large groups efficiently with a preregistration and a barcode process, so we already know a lot about the person who’s coming in the door. You have to be able to deal with them very quickly. The bus arrives and all of a sudden they’re in the room, boom, five minutes. All of the procedures get tested a little bit.
Jeff Stanek: Integrators are going to need segments and focus, and I think our products can fit those needs. With Blue-Diamond [the LenelS2 ecosystem that drives mobile credentialing at the Center for Intelligent Buildings], our products with the open platform can really optimize the use of the building, whether it be integration with the elevator controls, the lighting or the HVAC system.
BlueDiamond becomes the catalyst for allowing that connectivity. We’re really pushing functionality to cardholders. If you’re a company and you want to use your own app we can plug BlueDiamond into that app so that the customer has one experience for their employees to go to. Our best pitch to integrators and end users would be bringing them down to the Center and showing it in action.
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