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Johnson Controls launches OpenBlue Pioneers Award

CORK, Ireland, 30 June 2022: Johnson Controls (JCI) announced the first winners of a new buildings’ innovation award, called OpenBlue Pioneers. Making the announcement through a Press release, JCI said each OpenBlue Pioneer has proven instrumental in driving the future of smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, and innovating with Johnson Controls’ AI-enabled OpenBlue technology to transform their spaces, businesses and communities. In recognition, the winners have each been awarded a Blueprint of the Future Industry Award, which recognises outstanding examples of visionary thinking and digital transformation, JCI said.

According to JCI, each OpenBlue Pioneer has proven instrumental in driving the future of smart, healthy and sustainable buildings.

The first recipients of the OpenBlue Pioneers award, JCI said, are:

BEEAH Headquarters, pioneering the path for offices of the future towards one of the world’s smartest workplaces

The BEEAH Headquarters, based in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, is a remarkable example of what can be achieved with visionary thinking. Featuring intelligent edge systems and software designed to optimise energy efficiency, the building is the first fully AI-integrated building in the Middle East. It is equipped to be net zero and operates to LEED platinum standards. Employees and visitors experience seamless interaction with the building at all times through OpenBlue Companion. Features include advanced facial recognition for seamless movement between spaces, frictionless access to promote the health and safety of employees, comfort control and intelligent concierge services to support day-to-day tasks. The building and its technologies manifest sustainability and digitalisation, BEEAH Group’s twin pillared strategy to pioneer a sustainable quality of life for all.

Chase Center, which enhances fans’ health, comfort and safety through one intelligent platform

The Chase Center, based in San Francisco, California, in the United States, is a state-of-the-art, future-focused LEED Gold-certified sports and entertainment centre. Partnering with Johnson Controls, the Chase Center optimises the digital capabilities of its equipment, systems and connected technologies through Metasys building automation system, communicating data in real time and powering smart building decisions as well as reducing energy and the arena’s carbon footprint. The connected suite of solutions included in the OpenBlue Healthy Buildings offerings enhance fan health, comfort and safety.

The village of Patchogue, which is setting the gold standard for community revitalisation

The visionary village of Patchogue, located on Long Island, New York, in the United States, is preserving a green tomorrow for future generations with smart environmental solutions. Showcasing a future-focused mindset and a passion to preserve natural resources, improve quality of life, and protect the ecosystem, the village of Patchogue will save USD 8.2 million in the next 25 years through Johnson Controls’ energy-efficient upgrades to HVAC, lighting and temperature control systems.

The Powerhouse Alliance: The world’s northernmost net energy-positive building

Powerhouse Brattørkaia in Trondheim, Norway, is a true model for transformational design and development worldwide. As the most net energy-positive building in the northern hemisphere, it sets a new standard for buildings by focusing on environmental considerations and reducing its carbon footprint. Powerhouse, a Norwegian collaboration set up to drive innovation in energy, collaborated with Johnson Controls to build a net energy-positive smart building – that is, a building that produces more energy than it consumes.

Colorado State University, Pueblo, becomes first campus in Colorado to reach “net zero electricity” with solar power

Through its visionary thinking, Colorado State University, Pueblo, has become greener, more independent and more resilient. This pioneering campus is leading the industry in sustainability and energy consumption and has far exceeded three of the four greening government goals. Powered by a 23-acre solar farm with battery storage that supplies 12M kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, they are the first campus in Colorado to reach net-zero electricity for all the academic facilities. Collaborating with Johnson Controls, they have created the net-zero campus of the future: A sustainable, energy-efficient and healthy environment that minimises energy costs for the next two decades and passes these savings on to their students and the community.

“The recognition of our first OpenBlue Pioneers casts a spotlight on some incredible businesses and organizations demonstrating outstanding leadership in transforming buildings globally,” said Rodney Clark, Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Johnson Controls. “What they prove is that a concerted focus on decarbonization, electrification, efficiency and digitization can deliver net-zero buildings, alongside communities that are smarter, safer, more sustainable and affordable. This first group of OpenBlue Pioneers will be followed by many more as the momentum for the digital transformation of the built environment accelerates. It also proves that doing the right thing can be exactly the same as doing the sensible thing from a business perspective.”

JCI acquires Tempered Networks

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.”

Johnson Controls appoints new VP and Chief Commercial Officer

CORK, Ireland, 26 May 2022: Johnson Controls (JCI) has named Rodney Clark as Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, effective June 1, 2022. Making the announcement through a Press release, JCI said that in this role, Clark will lead global sales excellence efforts across the company, replacing Chief Commercial Officer, Brian Young, who retired at the end of last year. Clark also will take on a portion of the role being transitioned from Michael Ellis, Executive Vice President, Chief Customer and Digital Officer, who will retire at the end of the year.


“I am excited to welcome a proven, strategic leader such as Rodney to Johnson Controls,” said George Oliver, Chairman and CEO, Johnson Controls. “As we deliver on growth platforms, such as decarbonization in smart, healthy buildings, Rodney will build on our progress, collaborating with customers on outcome-based solutions and service offerings through OpenBlue, while expanding our market, building scale, capacity and capability.”


According to JCI, Clark most recently held the role of Corporate Vice President of Global Partner Sales and Channel Chief at Microsoft. In this role, Clark led a team responsible for customer and partner relationships, accelerating growth through the Microsoft partner ecosystem, as well as cross-partner strategy and outcomes through the Microsoft partner network, JCI said. Prior to this, he served as the Corporate Vice President of the Internet of Things (IoT) and mixed reality sales, responsible for building intelligent systems and mixed reality capability, through sales and go-to-market execution, JCI said.


Earlier in his career, Clark held other notable roles at Microsoft, including General Manager, Samsung Alliance; General Manager, Global Operations; and General Manager, Small and Medium Business, JCI said. Additionally, he spent eight years at IBM and has held roles throughout his career in strategy, sales, marketing, mergers and acquisitions, and digital transformation. Clark holds a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from California State University, Fresno.


“I’m delighted to be joining Johnson Controls, they have an incredible team that is driving innovative technology that transforms ordinary buildings into dynamic, healthier, safer spaces for all of us to enjoy,” Clark said.” Adding intelligent cloud and intelligent edge solutions to their traditional offerings creates an enormous opportunity and will help customers address their most critical challenges – including the achievement of sustainability targets with agile, flexible and scalable solutions.”

Facilio raises USD 35m for real estate AI initiative

DUBAI, UAE; NEW YORK CITY, USA, 22 February 2022: Property operations software platform company, Facilio said it has raised USD 35 million in Series B financing led by Dragoneer Investment Group, with participation from Brookfield Growth and existing investors, Accel India and Tiger Global Management.

L-R: Yogendra Babu, Co-founder and CTO, Facilio; Prabhu Ramachandram, Co-founder and CEO, Facilio; Krishnamoorthi Rangasamy, Co-Founder, Revenue & Business Operations, Facilio; and Rajavel Subramanian, Co-Founder, Head of Product, Facilio

“Our customers understand that success in a post-pandemic world will be achieved by driving efficiency gains and delivering smooth customer experiences,” said Prabhu Ramachandran, Founder & CEO, Facilio. “We are uniquely positioned to accelerate digital transformation in the built world and lead the industry’s transition towards IoT-led connected buildings. This investment will allow us to extend our market leadership, expand sales and marketing, and enable more companies to reach success through a predictive, connected model of real estate operations.” Facilio claimed it has emerged as a next-generation leader in the USD 50 billion commercial real estate-focused operations software market.

It said it has established a broad, global customer base and is rapidly gaining share with faster-than-market-sales growth across multiple geographies.

The company said its growing list of portfolio-scale deployments include commercial office buildings, retail chains, hospital systems and higher-education campuses.

Eric Jones, Partner, Dragoneer Investment Group, said: “Facilio has unlocked a world of potential with its AI-based predictive approach to increase operational effectiveness. We were blown away by the customer-love that Facilio receives from their diverse roster of global clients. The company is on its way to revolutionizing operations for real estate portfolios, and we are proud to support this customer-obsessed team.”

Facilio said it excels in guiding real estate portfolios through their digital transformation journey with its advanced IoT-native and mobile-first product offerings. As a result, it said, many leading organisations dealing with outdated solutions from incumbent vendors are turning to it for digital support.

Josh Raffaelli, Managing Partner, Brookfield, said: “We have been customers of Facilio, and now it’s incredible to be a partner in their journey. What Prabhu and the team are building isn’t merely a great product portfolio but a movement towards data-led property operations. The company is writing the blueprint for how modern real estate portfolios will operate in the next decade and beyond.”

Smart Farnek launches HITEK solution 4.0

DUBAI, UAE, 11 July 2021: UAE-based smart and green facilities management (FM) company, Farnek, today unveiled its new 24/7 command and control room, located in Farnek Village, the company’s new staff accommodation centre in Jebel Ali.

L-R: Markus Oberlin; Khaldun Aburok, Director of Business Development, Farnek; Javeria Aijaz; and H.E. Frank Eggmann

Making the announcement through a Press release, Farnek said that through its 5G and Wi-Fi 6-enabled, operational ‘nerve centre’, it will be able to take advantage of increased bandwidth, ultra-low latency and enhanced security, to connect assets from multiple sites, so that they can be centrally monitored and managed.

This, Farnek said, will allow it to rollout connected and transformative applications of technology that not only uplift the face of FM digitalisation but also offer enhanced efficiency. This is achieved through the concept of a digitally connected workforce and customers, to its in-house stream of technically advanced and cost-effective solutions, utilising the Internet of Things (IoT), Cloud, Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) based technologies, amongst others, the company said.

Following a tour of Farnek Village and the inauguration of its command and control room, H.E. Frank Eggmann, Consul General of Switzerland to Dubai said: “I was particularly impressed with the innovative approach Farnek has taken by developing its own in-house ‘Swiss made’ technology. Equally impressive is the way this is being utilised, which will not only improve cost-efficiency but also has staff welfare and sustainability at its core. This is an excellent example of Swiss state-of-the-art technology at its very best.”

According to Farnek, beyond operational efficiencies and sustainability, its HITEK solution 4.0 will save its customers significant amounts of money. The company said it has estimated that it can save up to 17% in manpower costs after traditional FM operational management has been transferred to HITEK’s smart management.

In addition, through IoT sensors, there is also the massive benefit of predictive and proactive maintenance, which can reduce downtime and improve the lifecycle of assets, facilitating remote monitoring with a fully connected and mobile workforce, Farnek said.

Markus Oberlin, CEO, Farnek, said: “In the case of manhours, a centralised system can manage multiple sites, whereas operating a traditional Building Management System (BMS) could well require a series of operators in each building. In addition, they may not be experts in every aspect of facilities management and probably will not have the advantage of benchmarking property performance.”

So far, Farnek said, its in-house technology team has developed initiatives, such as a smart washroom, wearable technology, eProcurement, telematic solutions, facial recognition as well as benchmarking and forecasting software to make buildings more sustainable.

Oberlin said: “As the technical specifications of 5G continue to evolve and expand that will capture and encourage even more advanced IoT and AI applications, which could start to become a reality, next year. So, we want to be ready to capitalise on these market opportunities, just as soon as the technology and connectivity is available.

“It is certainly going to take remote FM work to a whole new elevated level, enabling technicians to carry out tasks in either virtual reality or augmented reality environments, which are absolutely ideal for training purposes as well.”

According to Farnek, standalone 5G deployment consists of user equipment – the RAN and NR interface – and the 5G core network, which relies on a service-based architecture framework with virtualised network functions. Network functions that usually operate on hardware, become virtualised and actually run as software, the company said.

Javeria Aijaz, Senior Director – Technology & Innovations, Farnek, said: “We have managed to develop our own 5G network infrastructure-based intelligent and connected platforms, which has its own cloud-native network core, which connects 5G New Radio (NR) technology, and non-standalone (NSA) infrastructures, which still partially rely on existing 4G LTE infrastructure.

“Until Etisalat and Du are able to build out the independent infrastructure needed for 5G, our approach uses a combination of 5G Radio Access Network (RAN), 5G NR interface, and existing LTE infrastructure and core network to provide a 5G-like experience.”

BACnet International welcomes Netix Global as newest member

DUBAI, UAE; Atlanta, United States, 9 May 2021: BACnet International said Netix Global has become the latest company to join the BACnet community as a Gold member. Headquartered in Hoofdorp, in the Netherlands, Netix is a IoT- and AI-based advanced building automation systems provider, whose products and solutions include BAS/BMS, metering and energy savings, enterprise security and smart city integration.

“Netix is a fast-growing company that would continue to be associated with bespoke and globally accepted testing bodies like BACnet International,” said Sanjeevv Bhatia, CEO, Netix. “It gives customers and stakeholders the necessary confidence for ready acceptance, especially in newer markets.”

Netix said it joins more than 150 leading building automation suppliers as BACnet International members, supporting the promotion of BACnet as a global communications protocol. Andy McMillan, President and Managing Director, BACnet International, said: “Netix is a wonderful fit for the BACnet International community. They are taking advantage of new technologies to further enhance building automation capabilities in data analytics and energy management, which are critical to effectively and efficiently managing facilities in smart city solutions.”

Empower reveals AED 901 million net profit in 2020

According to Empower, performance in a nutshell

  • Total cooling capacity crossed 1,640,000 RT, maintaining the position of the largest district cooling provider in the world
  • Over 140,000 customers
  • Total energy saving AED 3.4 billion in 2020
  • A total of 350.474 kilometres of district cooling networks

DUBAI, UAE, 20 January 2020: Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corporation (Empower) reported a net profit of AED 901 million, with a total revenue of AED 2.26 billion in 2020. Making the announcement through a Press release, Empower said its revenues grew by three per cent, with a net profit increase of 3.4% year-over-year (YoY). Empower added that the performance has been commendable, given the difficult economic conditions resulting from the global pandemic.

Commenting on Empower’s financial results at the annual press conference, Ahmad Bin Shafar, CEO, Empower, said: “2020 has been another successful year for Empower, with growth in its financial as well as operational performance, which is clearly evident from increase in revenues and net profit, additions in the number of district cooling plants, expansion of district cooling pipeline network, increase in customer base and the number of buildings connected with our district cooling services.”

According to Empower, the number of buildings it provides with its district cooling services exceeded 1,252, and the customer base has reached more than 140,000. The total cooling capacity has reached 1,640,000 Refrigeration Tons (RT) during 2020 that covered various projects, such as Deira Waterfront, Blue Waters, Jumeirah Group, Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai International Financial Centre, Business Bay, Dubai Healthcare City, Jumeirah Lake Towers, Palm Jumeirah, Discovery Gardens, Ibn Battuta Mall, Dubai Design District and International Media Production Zone, amongst others, the utility said.

“Empower has also saved a total of 1,312 MW of electricity worth AED 3.4 billion, as of the end of 2020,” Bin Shafar said.

On the sidelines of the press conference, Bin Shafar also said: “We are proud of our achievements in terms of increased number of district cooling plants that has reached 84 plants across Dubai, including the world’s first unmanned district cooling plant in Jumeirah Village Circle project, along with having the largest district cooling network.

“Empower is committed towards efficient utilization of energy resources and supporting its customers and real estate developers, by providing high-quality and eco-friendly district cooling services.”

Bin Shafar also stated that Empower had reduced its fuel surcharge rates by approximately 25%, effective December 1, 2020, in line with the initiative of the Dubai’s Supreme Council of Energy. 

He added: “We will continue our endeavors in 2021 to increase the number of district cooling plants and expand our district cooling network across Dubai.”

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