Tuesday, 16 August 2022 09:19

On the shoulders of the Honeywell giant

By Michael Parker

Necessity is the mother of invention, and a popular invention generally sees many claiming parenthood. Indeed, many companies claim that invention or innovation is part of their DNA.

And yes, it is true that an organisation’s culture, even a nation’s culture, can have a strong influence on how innovative its people are. However, while it is romantic to think a company can be a powerhouse of invention, the reality is that in many cases inventions are acquired, not all cooked up at home.

We credit Apple with the invention of swipe and pinch gestures, just as we credit Honeywell with autopilot. They are both impressive companies and invention is in their DNA. Yet some of their greatest achievements are a result of the inventions they bought rather than breed.

My favourite example is the arrival of gesture technology in the iPhone. Most people think this is another example of sheer Apple brilliance. The true story is that in 2005 Apple acquired a tiny company that had been spun out of the University of Delaware called FingerWorks.

FingerWorks had developed a new type of keyboard, one designed for people afflicted by repetitive strain injury (RSI), including one of the founders. FingerWorks products were designed to require zero force and had pads that allowed for gestures to be used.

One day an Apple employee who had RSI took her FingerWorks keypad to work. Two years after the acquisition of FingerWorks the iPhone was launched. The rest is history, but it is worth noting that the FingerWorks’ patents are some of the most valuable ones Apple holds.

The flip side of this story is that FingerWorks sees its technology come into the mainstream by effectively being elevated to the shoulders of a giant, Apple.

The FingerWorks story has been on my mind lately as I’ve been working with an Australian university that has an excellent capability in disability and rehabilitation, and assistive technology is running very hot around the world.

So, when I visited a Honeywell User Group demonstration this week, some of the things that caught my eye were technologies that Honeywell had acquired or was being developed in collaboration with other companies. Who was Honeywell elevating to its shoulders?

The US giant is in a collaborative development arrangement with the ASX-listed Strategic Element’s AI and robotics company Stealth Technologies. The project is an autonomous security vehicle (ASV) that is currently patrolling the perimeter of a regional prison in Western Australia.

The ASV has the smarts you might expect, like autonomous driving, computer vision, robotic abilities, and various elements of AI, such as face recognition. Perhaps most importantly, the ASV seamlessly integrates with Honeywell’s facilities management technologies, which in a prison or other high-security environment, are state-of-the-art. And that’s how the shoulders of giants scenario works. Would Stealth Technologies have easily gained access to a prison system under its own steam? Possibly, but not as easily as it has with Honeywell vouching for them. And that’s just the beginning, as Honeywell is deeply embedded in facilities management around the world.

Moreover, facilities management provides the perfect segue to Honeywell’s acquisition of Sine, an Adelaide-born SaaS firm that specialises in mobile-first visitor sign-in software. It makes perfect sense and works to extend and add value to Honeywell’s business across the facilities management value chain.

Sine provides capabilities to improve safety, security, and compliance across facilities for visitors, building occupants, and workers. And, very responsively, Sine built features that enable organisations to manage their COVID return-to-workplace protocols, including pre-screening, thermal camera integrations, capacity management and contact tracing.

Honeywell was introduced to Sine by a client, which was lucky, given the paucity of software scouts in South Australia.

So, to go full circle on this, Honeywell claims that it invented autopilot, and the claim is fair enough in the sense that it acquired Sperry Autospace Group in 1986, and has presided over massive advances in autopilot technology ever since.

To my mind, as much as Honeywell invests big time in its own R&D, the acquisition and collaboration stories are fascinating. They are about chance meetings and networking. They are about the willingness of a massive multinational to look out for innovators and having the know-how to scale innovations through its own distribution systems.

Luck has a lot to do with networks. Had that Apple employee not taken her FingerWorks keyboard to work that day BlackBerry might still be the phone of choice for business executives.

Michael Parker attended the User Group as a guest of Honeywell

Read 1767 times

Please join our community here and become a VIP.

Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here
JOIN our iTWireTV our YouTube Community here
BACK TO LATEST NEWS here




ENABLE HYBRID CLOUD & REDUCE NETWORK LATENCY WHITEPAPER

Hybrid cloud promises to bring together the best of both worlds enabling businesses to combine the scalability and cost-effectiveness of the cloud with the performance and control that you can get from your on-premise infrastructure.

Reducing WAN latency is one of the biggest issues with hybrid cloud performance. Taking advantage of compression and data deduplication can reduce your network latency.

Research firm, Markets and Markets, predicted that the hybrid cloud market size is expected to grow from US$38.27 billion in 2017 to US$97.64 billion by 2023.

Colocation facilities provide many of the benefits of having your servers in the cloud while still maintaining physical control of your systems.

Cloud adjacency provided by colocation facilities can enable you to leverage their low latency high bandwidth connections to the cloud as well as providing a solid connection back to your on-premises corporate network.


Download this white paper to find out what you need to know about enabling the hybrid cloud in your organisation.

DOWNLOAD NOW!

PROMOTE YOUR WEBINAR ON ITWIRE

It's all about Webinars.

Marketing budgets are now focused on Webinars combined with Lead Generation.

If you wish to promote a Webinar we recommend at least a 3 to 4 week campaign prior to your event.

The iTWire campaign will include extensive adverts on our News Site itwire.com and prominent Newsletter promotion https://itwire.com/itwire-update.html and Promotional News & Editorial. Plus a video interview of the key speaker on iTWire TV https://www.youtube.com/c/iTWireTV/videos which will be used in Promotional Posts on the iTWire Home Page.

Now we are coming out of Lockdown iTWire will be focussed to assisting with your webinars and campaigns and assistance via part payments and extended terms, a Webinar Business Booster Pack and other supportive programs. We can also create your adverts and written content plus coordinate your video interview.

We look forward to discussing your campaign goals with you. Please click the button below.

MORE INFO HERE!

BACK TO HOME PAGE
Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous

WEBINARS ONLINE & ON-DEMAND

GUEST ARTICLES

VENDOR NEWS

Guest Opinion

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News

Comments