Electronic Design
Image courtesy of Thinkstock

(Image courtesy of Thinkstock).

Honeywell Process Solutions Cordons Off Software Business

Honeywell Process Solutions, the industrial control division of Honeywell, recently established a new business unit around software and data analysis. The business is aiming to rapidly develop new software that evaluates data from wireless sensors and industrial equipment, with an eye toward helping factories run more smoothly.

Honeywell Process Solutions makes automated systems for industries ranging from oil refining and power generation to mining and chemical processing.  Part of the company's legacy has been scaling with the increasing amounts of data generated by equipment in these industries, said Vimal Kapur, HPS president, in a statement.

The restructuring, Kapur said, was the next step in dealing with the vast troves of data that factories and industrial companies have to analyze and manage. “As manufacturers are looking to take the next step to manage and exploit data across multiple sites in locations across the globe, our business unit will be a focused resource to provide that expertise,” he said.

The new business, called the Digital Transformation unit, will concentrate on the industrial Internet of Things, or the billions of connected devices expected to be installed over the next few years for manufacturing. Honeywell has already developed IIoT systems and even built its own communications protocol allowing machines to share data with each other wirelessly.

Because manufacturing already leans heavily on automation, analysts expect that it will be one of the first industries to harness data gathered by wireless sensors and other equipment. Software from companies like Honeywell and General Electric makes sense of that data to provide diagnostics and predict when maintenance needs to be done on equipment.

Andrew Hird, vice president and general manager of Digital Transformation, will oversee software products under the new business. These include DynAMo, a program that evaluates how a factory’s alarm systems are working, and Honeywell Pulse, a smartphone app that lets plant managers monitor factories remotely. The business will also sell its Industrial Cyber Security Risk Manager, which helps identify cyber threats so that factories can protect against hackers.

Honeywell’s restructuring mirrors a similar move from General Electric, which last year consolidated its cloud software and analytics business under GE Digital. Jeffry Immelt, GE’s chief executive, has said that the goal is to become “a top 10 software company by 2020.” The changes also place Honeywell in competition with analytics companies like IBM, which has applied its software to tasks ranging from factory diagnostics to cyber security.

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