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JCI acquires Tempered Networks

Move will create secure communications enabling, micro-segmentation of building networks and granular access control and authentication that fortifies critical data and services


CORK, Ireland, 23 June 2022: Johnson Control (JCI) acquired zero trust cybersecurity provider – Tempered Networks, based in Seattle, Washington. According to JCI, Tempered Networks has created ‘Airwall’ technology, an advanced self-defence system for buildings that enables secure network access across diverse groups of endpoint devices, edge gateways, cloud platforms and service technicians. It represents a step-change in operational technology built on secure transmission pipelines to ensure buildings data exchanges and service actions can only take place between people and devices that are continuously authenticated, JCI said.

JCI said the acquisition gives it the capability to provide zero trust security within the fabric of its OpenBlue secure communications stack, advancing its vision of enabling fully autonomous buildings that are inherently resilient to cyberattack.  

Tempered Networks Airwall technology uses the Host Identity Protocol and a cloud-based policy orchestration platform to create new overlay networks built on encrypted and authenticated communication, JCI said. The policy manager – also known as the conductor – enforces configured digital policies that control connections within the cloaked overlay system, JCI said. The default position for the policy manager is ‘zero trust’ – that is, only allowing connections between continuously authenticated and authorized entities, JCI said. Once a communicating device authenticates itself correctly, an encrypted tunnel is created through which data flows. According to JCI, the advantages of this cybersecurity technique are as follows:

  • The creation of an always-on and software-defined security perimeter protecting device-to-device, device-to-cloud and device-to-user interactions. Airwall achieves this by using Host Identity Protocol to create a cloaked and micro-segmented network, which overlays a building’s existing network infrastructure, making the solution also highly cost-effective.
  • A new level of authentication for connected building systems, allowing for greater system automation of functions, such as heating and cooling, lighting, security and airflows.

“When it comes to buildings, we must create easily implementable cybersecurity defenses, as we’re often dealing with critical infrastructure, including assets such as data centers and hospitals,” said Vijay Sankaran, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Johnson Controls. “Tempered Networks Airwall approach is purpose-built for our sector as it’s designed around principles of zero trust, securing device communications as data moves between devices and the cloud – so enabling remote building optimization in the most trusted way possible.”  

JCI said it is integrating Tempered Networks Airwall technology into its OpenBlue platform, which is increasingly recognized as a leading smart building software platform with advanced AI-enabled building management capabilities. According to JCI, OpenBlue provides a flexible computing approach for converging building technologies and making those technologies more insightful, powerful, and optimized through edge AI and through full Machine Learning in the cloud. The ultimate goal, JCI said, is to make all buildings smarter, healthier and more sustainable.

“Digital transformation is the primary way we’ll make the world’s buildings more autonomous and resilient,” said Bryan Skene, Chief Technology Officer, Tempered Networks. “Being acquired by Johnson Controls allows us to fully integrate our Airwall technology into their software stack, providing an advanced security platform for a range of edge to cloud applications. Our ambition, now that we’re part of Johnson Controls, is that building systems everywhere can be managed from anywhere and remain secure from cyber threats.”

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