Honeywell Product Leaders Discuss Access, Video, Intrusion Platform Advances
SSI spoke with a pair of Honeywell Commercial Security product marketing managers during the company’s annual dealer conference.
MIAMI, Fla. — Honeywell Building 2019, the manufacturer’s Commercial Security event, themed Building for the Future, brought some 500 security professionals representing more than 30 countries together at the famous Fountainebleu Resort Nov. 14-16 for three days of presentations, education, awards, team-building, networking, and product and technology updates.
Security Sales & Integration was there and sat down with Tim Baker, global director of marketing & product management – Commercial Security Products at Honeywell, and Marcus Logan, product leader / operations management, to get the lowdown on Honeywell’s technology strategies in the commercial and industrial markets.
What’s the latest and coolest stuff that you’re really excited about at this event?
Tim Baker: At this event, we’re debuting a product that’s part of the Pro-Watch family called Intelligent Command, which is our single pane of glass that we’re using within the enterprise space that really helps drive integrated security. It’s a thin client that’s combining all the elements of security and other sources as well to create a more aware security system that’s a little bit easier to operate, but also faster response time. It’s going to be rolled out the first half of next year.
We’re also launching new intrusion and access control platforms called MAXPRO Intrusion and MAXPRO Access, respectively. Those are part of our MAXPRO Cloud connected solutions. Between those two new hardware platforms in our Performance Series Video, you have the ability to connect all these different systems through the Cloud and have a single interface through MAXPRO Cloud. This is our first foray after the Resideo split into a commercial intrusion hardware platform, so it’s our first commercial-grade intrusion panel. It’s something we’re really excited about having adding to the portfolio.
What is the plan to help train dealers and integrators on those new offerings?
Baker: One of the things that we try to do, with some trusted partners, is run the product through beta-testing and then what we call field trialing or field testing before the product is commercially available in the market. There we’re both validating the product, but we’re also using that validation period to understand the integrators’ stumbling points, what’s challenging for them, what’s not quite as intuitive as we thought it might be. That informs where we spend our time in training.
The field trial is actually saleable products that we launch in the market, but we’re doing that on a limit basis to again really understand whether or not there’s potential training stumbling blocks, etc. Then we use that to inform and drive the focus for training. We do everything from training within branches and distribution for those types of products that are largely sold through distribution to — when you look at more of our products that we’re selling in the HIS [Honeywell Industrial Safety] community, things like Pro-Watch — actually traveling to customers occasionally, holding classes, holding webinars. So there’s a variety of different training options available.
Marcus Logan: From a training standpoint, we also do things like YouTube videos. We have our support teams put together training videos and they’ll walk through a certain scenario. Some of those are hosted on a password-protected site as warranted, while others for more commonly used products are posted on YouTube. If you go to YouTube and look up a Honeywell intrusion panel, “How do I add a zone?” There’s instructions on how to do that.
Baker: That video library continues to get built out after the product is launched, so we take a look at where we’re getting the most calls in terms of customer services and technical support. We use that to inform or we spend our time developing additional videos to play out to the integrators.
For what types of end customers are those new solutions tailor made?
Logan: For our Intelligent Command offering, we really focus on enterprise customers that have needs around compliance. It’s a big part of what they do to continue to operate, function and run their businesses. Banking is a good example of such a vertical market with high compliance needs our solutions can help meet. Another example is utilities involved in power generation and transmission. There are NERC and FERC requirements that they have to meet. With our intelligent command, it’s a way for us to pull together different security systems.
It starts with Honeywell’s security systems by pulling in video, access and intrusion devices into the interface with what I call “guardrails” around descriptive response about the information that comes in. Maybe an alarm comes in and the standard operating procedure for the business is in five steps in a particular sequence. If they do the five steps in that sequence, they’re able to mitigate potential escalation.
Typically, there is a binder of SOPs sitting off to the side to ensure operators follow the process that’s been defined and laid out. Part of our solution is now to bring in this information into a single user interface, provide contacts and not only let you know what’s going on, but also ensure the operator responding to those alarms follows the process as laid out by the organization’s procedures.
Once that’s done, you also can run reports against that incident. So we can ensure compliance, but for the different governing bodies end users have to actually show not only having the procedures in place but adherence when certain events happen. You can run reporting against those incidents to validate the proper steps being followed. You present that as an artifact for showing compliance. Those are things we’re working on. We have some of those bits and pieces today.
Baker: With our MAXPRO family of products, they’re really designed to be much more turnkey, whereas Pro-Watch is designed to be highly customizable. When you think about Cloud connectivity and the ability to manage sites on the go, the value proposition really makes the most sense for folks that have a multisite presence. Multisite retail is one key area, but in general SMBs have a multisite presence is our target.
That can scale from somebody who has six to eight franchised locations to a large global or multinational retailer with thousands of locations. In both cases, you’ve got this need to understand what’s going on in all of your sites. The mobile app that comes with MAXPRO Cloud is very useful and very powerful because they’re able to essentially manage their sites on the go and not have to be present. They do not have to have dedicated security staff at each site to know what’s going on in their buildings.
Are those platforms compatible with other manufacturers or only within the Honeywell ecosystem?
Logan: From the Pro-Watch enterprise security suite that includes Pro-Watch Intelligent Command, the answer is, yes. We do support third-party systems. We’re looking to leverage the Intelligent Command in this interface and really use it as our vehicle to provide this overarching view of a facility and really focus on that as our go-forward integration methodology. Today, all of the integrations come directly into the Pro-Watch interface using the Web. Primarily a Web services API, we have a few methods to bring in third-party systems, whether they are a physical device or a software interface into Pro-Watch.
Baker: In the MAXPRO world, the way the architecture is built, the controllers are essentially the conduit to the Cloud. You might hear the term edge to Cloud where you’ve got edge devices like cameras and readers connecting directly to Cloud. That is not the architecture behind MAXPRO Cloud. MAXPRO Cloud has the ability from a hardware standpoint to allow a number of different manufacturers’ edge devices, whether those be readers, android cameras, etc., to connect to our controllers, controllers being perhaps an ENVR, an access control board or an intrusion panel.
Then those devices become the pipe to the Cloud. In that sense, you can leverage these three different types of controller platforms to leverage an existing infrastructure within a building if you’ve got existing intrusion sensors, android-compliant cameras, meters, etc. Those can connect back to these controller devices and then connect to Cloud. In that sense, we’re compatible with the third-party edge devices.
When it comes to those controllers connecting the Cloud largely for cybersecurity reasons and being able to manage what devices have permission to communicate to our Cloud infrastructure, it’s our own proprietary controllers that are doing that. Then when it comes to third-party integrations for things like analytics as an example, certainly partnering with a variety of different companies, more on the software technology side there, but again all kind of integrating into those three controller platforms.
Speaking of cybersecurity, do you find there’s still a lot of trepidation among the integrator or dealer population about using and deploying Cloud solutions?
Baker: No, I would say we’re seeing that less. I’m seeing a growing acceptance of Cloud within the SMB space. The biggest challenge for us with Cloud, like anything else, is building the level of functionality into the platform. We started with Cloud in the interest of getting something to market. We have a really solid offering that can meet the needs of most SMBs. In terms of functionality, it’s not quite at the level yet of WIN-PAK, which is another product that sits between Pro-Watch and MAXPRO. The limiting factor is building in the functionality to be able to replace other non-Cloud-based systems.
Logan: Looking at cybersecurity and Cloud, I see those connected but different. When I’m talking to the Fortune 100, Fortune 500 companies of the world, they’re becoming more receptive to moving their security, their keys, their kingdom into the Cloud. There still is a bit of skepticism of how secure it is. The federal government is actually moving, managing, supporting and storing sensitive information in the Cloud. We do banking via mobiles and connect it to the Cloud, so there’s more acceptance.
There’s more questions being asked by end users about how they can leverage Cloud to lower their infrastructure costs, make it easier to update and migrate to newer version of the software, and all of that. We’re starting to see that trend that’s happening in people’s personal lives starting to show up in these large enterprise customers. You see the trend that it’s going there from a Cloud perspective. When we talk about cyber, no one wants to be on the front page of The Wall Street Journal for compromising their company or their customers.
There is a lot of skepticism about putting network devices in their environments. More Fortune 100 and 500 companies are looking for documents, certification, some level of comfort that your device will not open a hole into their organization and allow a bad actor to get into their network. As Honeywell, not just Honeywell Security, we’ve taken cybersecurity very seriously to the point we’ve set up a separate organization within security in Honeywell that focuses on cyber and reports to our CEO.
Throughout our organization deployed into our development teams are cyber experts and they help us ensure that our products are cyber secure. We’re taking it very seriously and have committed our organization to support cyber efforts. Talking about cybersecurity, it fuses well with our integrated dealers. We see that as a potential competitive advantage that Honeywell is going above and beyond to not only develop and make sure our products are secure but also help educate them.
We have some whitepapers and things of that nature that we share with our integrated dealers on how to create a posture for better cybersecurity. At the end of the day, no solution is 100% cyber secured. There’s always going to be some issue as technology evolves so it’s not only about trying to make the product cyber secure today, but having a process in place so when issues come up they can be quickly resolved and you pivot to move forward.
Is there any other messaging you’d like to get out to the dealer/integrator audience?
Baker: In general, we’re continuing on this journey of driving our solutions to be more open, open across not only our own internal platforms but other partners’ platforms. For us, we’re all about delivering solutions to our integrators and to end customers around security. At Honeywell we know there are certain areas where within those offerings we might not have the best solution or we’ve chosen not to invest in a specific type of a product that ultimately drives to the best overall solution for our customers. We’re partnering with those companies and continuing to drive that. That’s a theme that will continue through 2020.
Another thing is a continuing drive toward a vision we have internally of proactive versus reactive security. Really pushing to where security systems don’t just react to an event, where we can predict events or determine threat levels and make sure security staffs are focused where there to be able to potentially save lives and property. That’s ultimately what we’re trying to achieve.
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