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Innovation at Johnson Controls isn’t confined to a single department or center. It’s an enterprise-wide strategy that informs our investments and inspires our people. We build on a clear understanding of our strengths and opportunities to create future-focused solutions that deliver real value for our customers. 

Partnership with Microsoft advances smart equipment

The Internet of Things (IoT) offers continually evolving opportunities to reduce building energy use, which makes up nearly half of global energy consumption. Johnson Controls is using the Microsoft Azure IoT suite to connect data streams from sensors on critical equipment to the cloud. That yields unprecedented access and insight into equipment such as our Smart Connected Chillers, revolutionizing servicing to improve equipment efficiency, reliability and lifespan. 

smart buildings
Unique cooling system saves millions of gallons of water

Water-cooled systems are more efficient for industrial heat rejection than traditional air-cooled systems. But what happens when water is in short supply? And what about wastewater discharge? The Johnson Controls BlueStream™ hybrid cooling system offers a better solution, combining water and air cooling technologies to reduce water consumption up to 80 percent while optimizing energy efficiency. 

This year we partnered with two national laboratories—the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, and Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico—to test our solution at NREL’s high-performance computing data center. The center expects to save a million gallons of water per year…a number that will keep on growing as the Blue Stream hybrid cooling system is more widely used.

Pioneering use of RFID keeps better track of containers

Hundreds of thousands of reusable containers and racks for distributing Automotive Seating components can now be accounted for within minutes, thanks to cloud-based RFID tracking. Previously, tracking required visual inspections and multiple phone calls among Johnson Controls facilities and customers, with frequent orders to replace containers that seemed to be missing.

Installation of the RFID system across all locations took less than six months, and the investment was recouped in a year—with more containers reused and fewer re-ordered. Experts say this success will lead to wider adaptation of RFID tracking across the automotive industry.

RFID tracking
pet safety
Pet safety drives new directions in vehicle design

Automotive Seating engineers teamed with the Center for Pet Safety to consider how vehicle design can protect pets as passengers. The engineers studied how dogs of various breeds and sizes got in and out of vehicles and what they did while riding.

Over the next year, the team will work to set standards for seats and devices that keep both humans and their four-legged family members safe in vehicles that are moving or are involved in collisions. Work in this largely unstudied area is expected to change vehicle design over the next decade.

University partnership expands to advance next-generation battery efficiency

Two new multi-year projects bring together Johnson Controls expertise and graduate student researchers at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Funded by Johnson Controls, including a $500,000 Fellows gift, the projects focus on furthering the fuel efficiency of start-stop and next-generation battery electric vehicles.

The first project seeks to identify the aging mechanisms of Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) batteries in start-stop and vehicle optimization applications. The second will explore ways to leverage other energy storage devices for peak power acceptance and cycling. These projects expand our partnership with the University of Wisconsin and, along with our programs at other universities, promote energy storage technology breakthroughs. 

UW partnership
thermal mask
New in-mask thermal intelligence system revolutionizes firefighter safety

Tyco’s Scott Safety launched Scott Sight, the first system that offers firefighters real-time thermal imaging directly in their masks. For years firefighters have used hand-held thermal imaging cameras to see through a fire’s thick smoke. Scott Sight’s revolutionary design integrates a lightweight camera and display in the firefighter’s mask, for constant access in plain sight.

The innovation grew out of discussions and collaboration with firefighters, who said they need increased visibility in dark environments. Scott Sight enables each firefighter to quickly move through rooms, locate potential victims and identify doors and windows for escape. Their hands remain free for other critical operations—making Scott Sight the start of a significant shift in fire safety operations and equipment.