Honeywell V.P. Talks Large-Scale Tech, Solutions, Value

Recently appointed Honeywell Commercial Security GM Vikas Chadha spoke with SSI during the company’s annual dealer conference.

MIAMI, Fla. ― Honeywell’s security business has experienced a lot of changes since spinning out its residential interests in 2018 as Resideo and establishing Honeywell Commercial Security as its own enterprise. Along with that, some new faces are being seen in new roles. Among those is Vice President – Commercial Security Vikas Chadha, who assumed that position in July.

Security Sales & Integration Editor-in-Chief Scott Goldfine caught up with Chadha, whose 10+ years with Honeywell includes executive posts in the European and Indian businesses, at the recent Honeywell Building 2019 conference at Miami Beach’s Fontainebleu Resort. Among other things, the discussion touched on the manufacturer’s latest technology and the overall market outlook.

What are some of the principal differences in Honeywell Commercial Security today as compared to prior to 2018’s spinoff of the residential business into Resideo?

Honeywell, almost a couple of years back, decided to look a very hard look at its portfolio of the various verticals we served. Then, at that particular moment, we realized that perhaps it’s better to have the residential vertical outside of Honeywell, so that they could do their own thing, they could get their own investments. I think that was a good thing for both Honeywell as well as for Resideo.

What is left now is a business unit completely focused on commercial security. It gels very well with our overall Honeywell Building Technologies portfolio, which is a $5.5 billion business whose entire focus is on commercial buildings. We’ve got a multitude of elements in commercial buildings, as we do fire, we do building management and we do commercial security. All of these things bring an end-to-end solution for our customers.

We’re working on this whole big initiative of Honeywell Connected Enterprise. Our aim is actually to provide a very seamless, single solution for our customers where they could actually integrate everything that is there in the building to get meaningful outcomes. This just gives us far more focus. Another thing we’re trying with our different systems integrator programs like HAD and HIS is combining them together and making it much more global. Those are some major differences post spin-off.

Does this expanded global outlook offer perhaps the opportunity for U.S.-based integrators to pursue international business?

System integrators in the U.S. and maybe in some of the developed parts of Europe are very mature. They have seen this industry from long years back. Their deliveries, their solution capability is still very advanced when I compare it with some. Having run this business in India I can very well make the comparison, and the systems integrator capability here is far more advanced and evolved in terms of execution and design planning. So I would say definitely it’s a great opportunity, if they interact with some of the partners there and see the gaps that exist. Maybe some of the integrators here actually can set up offices in some of the high-growth regions.

When you talk about the global connected building, where are we now and where do you see that being in one year, three years?

It’s in an early stage. First of all, building owners have lot of data. We know that our disparate systems have a lot of data. End users want to harness this data more and more, but there isn’t absolute clarity in terms of how that’s going to happen. It’s going to be a co-creation journey where end users are going to take a few steps here, we’re going to take a few steps, and something will definitely come out of it. Right now, we’re at the early adopter stage. We’re working with them, understanding what their needs are, what more could be accomplished.

The idea is to take it forward, understand it more, because it’s not yet well defined. Is it plug-and-play? Can we just pick a solution from one building and take it to another? We’ve yet to reach that stage. In the first one year, we’re going to have some of these early adopters enjoy the benefits of harnessing that data to come out with meaningful analytics and solutions that are going to help them. Potentially three years down the line, we would have much more scale in it. We would have solutions much more plug-and-play. It’s going to be a three- to five-year journey on this.

For integrators that want to be at the forefront of that journey, what skillsets do they need?

Because it’s a very integrated solution, they should have ability to handle many systems. Integrators only dedicated to security are going to find it a little difficult. Those that understand other elements of the building, like fire and building management, would be in a much better position. Another skillset required is dealing with software and analytics, understanding how you bring it all together. At this stage it may be a little too early for systems integrators to jump into this, but they can do small pilots and start exciting their customers. They have pick customers that are ready to experiment a little and have an appetite to participate in this co-creation.

Could you speak to some of the most prominent solutions Honeywell Commercial Security is bringing to market now or in the near future?

First of all, innovation is at the forefront. We are spending a lot of money on innovation. This industry is seeing a lot of good things happening, a lot of interesting things. The first thing I’m most excited about, as far as our portfolio is concerned, is the Cloud-based applications we’re doing. Initially, we were only doing Cloud for video. We’re going to have MAXPRO Cloud solutions for access control and intrusion, that’s going to all merge together. Imagine an integrator using a mobile device to program a site, not having to run there to do necessary changes, getting alerts remotely, etc. using the Cloud. That set of solutions designed for SMB enterprises is very exciting.

I’m also super excited about the enterprise solutions we’re doing with Pro-Watch. The next generation of product we’re developing is going to have a seamless integration of both the existing Pro-Watch and MAXPRO software platforms. Everything is going to get merged into one. For example, let’s say a security breach happens at a particular access controlled particular door. The camera next to it will immediately pop it up without the operator having to do anything. He will see the breach and then he’ll see the camera view. I am super excited about this whole integrated security console we are developing for our large-scale, enterprise customers.

I’m also excited about the smart edge devices we are developing for the U.S. and already launched in Europe. We’ve come up with an absolutely frictionless reader. Today we all use cards to open doors. The next step is using a mobile handset to open the door. The level we’ve gone to is you just need to keep your mobile in your pocket. You just touch the reader and it will automatically open the door. It senses like the keyless entry today we have in cars. We’re trying to make the edge far smarter, not only on the access but also the video side.

Looking at 2020, what do you see for not only Honeywell, but the industry overall?

This industry is growing at a nice 5% pace and I don’t see that tapering at this particular moment. A lot of megatrends are happening, suggesting the industry is going to go better and better. There’s the Cloud and IoT, and a lot of urbanization happening in the world with megacities and smart cities getting created. The backbone of modern infrastructure includes a lot of security equipment. Surveillance is integral part of all of this as is cybersecurity. More enterprise and access control solutions will be required. So I think this industry will see good times.

Where do you see IoT taking us in the commercial security realm?

As I was talking about, the edge is getting smarter. The edge is going to collect a lot of information. It’s going to process a lot of information at the edge itself so that it doesn’t need to go to-and-fro. It can provide a meaningful output then and there itself. Software is a big part of IoT. At the end of the day, everything we sell, whether it’s access control or video, everything is linked to a back-end software. That’s an important part of it. Then with so much data generated by the software, analytics become critical. How do you harness that data? How do you become predictive? Can you predict a particular chiller has an issue making it more likely to fail, that a smoke alarm is not giving the right output or there is dust on a camera lens? That opens up a world of predictive maintenance.

How can integrators use the power of analytics and AI, or security in general, to sell end users on modern systems’ ROI value proposition?

There are many compelling use cases out there. One end user said, “We are maintaining 30 sites. At every site, we’ve got two or three operators. Can you just centralize all of that in a single central command and control center?” We’ve done that type of thing for end customers. The cost of labor is going up and up and there is more automation that can be done. We are at the heart of providing operational efficiency, and so it’s not only about security. It’s also about providing more value to end users and helping them save costs.

One of the challenges integrators face is managing end users’ expectations about what the latest whiz-bang technology can and cannot do. Is Honeywell dialed into that?

Absolutely, and that’s why we have set up a new initiative to create an end-user team. End users can get confused. We want to understand their needs, we want to understand what is important to them, and actually help them design the necessary solution. If our integrators feel end users want to have more dialogue, we’re right there. We want to consult them and tell them the right thing. Our approach is not to just sell them; we want to deliver installations where they get the maximum benefit. They can come to us, we can have a discussion, we can consult with them to figure out what is best.

Are you looking to add more integrators to the Honeywell Commercial network?

Yes, whenever there is a vacuum. It’s not about just hiring another integrator. I don’t want to kill one integrator’s business and just hire another one. There are either geographical vacuums or vertical vacuums. There are some verticals where we’re not strong. We will look at areas and pockets where we are currently under-penetrated and look at appointing integrators there. I want to build business with our existing integrators. I think there’s a lot of potential there itself.

Is there any other messaging you’d like to get out to our audience?

We’re very serious about this industry. We have a legacy in this, we are very proud of what we have done. We have very strong brands. There’s going to be a lot of commitment from our side.

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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