‘All our solutions are vendor agnostic’

Mr Ritwij Kulkarni, Business Head, Life Cycle Services, Honeywell Automation India Limited, in conversation with Industrial Automation.

Honeywell has very big portfolio of cyber security
  • Client

    Honeywell Automation India Limited

  • Services

    Connected Plant services with Industrial Internet of Things

  • Technologies


  • Dates



What exactly is IIoT that we all hear about and how does this help in transforming the industry?

The Industrial Internet of Things or IIoT, from the Honeywell perspective, is the collaboration of different processes in a plant. In a typical manufacturing plant, there are different processes that begin with the planning followed by the product design, then actual manufacturing, testing, etc. All these processes when unified together generate a huge amount of data, and more importantly, it is real time data. Now if you are able to mingle this data and manage it well, then you can take very accurate decisions that lead to improvement in productivity, reliability and efficiency of the plant. That in short is what IIoT is all about.

As for why IIoT is very important, the manufacturing sector in India is predicted to rise to USD one trillion by 2025. Now we have to really look at industrial automation in a different way, to have a meaningful discussion on Make in India, which envisages raising manufacturing output to 25% of the GDP and create 90 million new jobs. What IIoT would do is help us make the overall manufacturing sector more efficient and reliable.

But is there the risk of too much data to sift through for useful information? What are the solutions Honeywell offers?

There is this huge amount of data now which was not the case earlier. So we need solutions to analyse this data to arrive at the correct decisions based on relevant data, solutions we have at Honeywell. We talk about collaborations of different functions, how you can have secured collaborations within different processes in the plant, how you manage the surge of data, and direct it to the right department for decision making. How the data is managed and reconciliation done is extremely important, something IIoT facilitates – how you connect the plant, how you connect the assets, and the processes. Honeywell solutions are based on factors such as collaboration, data management, data control, data analytics – these are advanced analytics and not just regular analytics which we had earlier too – and how to benchmark the data, which is very important and that’s where cloud computing comes in. Because you have an internet hub somewhere outside your plant, where the benchmark practices have already been put up and the data goes there, is compared and then you start to improve the reliability and efficiency of the process or supply chain or assets like the compressor, etc.

What about the security aspect which is related to productivity as well as improves overall collaboration?

Honeywell has very big portfolio of cyber security, which has to be in tandem and completely aligned with the IIoT solutions. So whatever the infrastructure, we have multiple solutions around it. These solutions are in the form of services or products, or we create a customised solution, which is a combination of products and services. The first thing to do when you undertake any digital transformation or IIoT solution for the factory or plant is to have a very clearly defined policy, and if it is not there, Honeywell can help formulate such policy. We have today over 1000 cyber experts – a global team based at different locations – and they can offer consultancy in making a cyber security policy best suited for a given plant or environment. Secondly, if there is such a cyber policy in place in accordance with, say ISA99, then we can audit it and check whether it is being followed or not, and suggest remedial measures or corrective actions. Third thing is how you protect your systems against malware or viruses or any external threat, and we have solutions for that. Unlike earlier when floppies or CDs were used to check and neutralise threats with anti-virus solutions, today there is very discreet or well defined cyber security that needs to have a separate conduit for automatic patching of anti-virus software on the systems. From that perspective we have made huge investments in cyber labs – one in Atlanta, another in Amsterdam and the third which will start very soon at Singapore and will be a Centre of Excellence for cyber security. Any customer who needs this kind of security gets it in the form of system updates or upgrades, anti-viruses, etc., downloaded from our labs, which is very secured way of doing it, as anything done manually is prone to infiltration of other threats.

What about the inadvertent internal risks from within the plant? 

For that we also have the concept of layered network for large control systems where the threat or malware takes time to reach the core of the system, and offer consultancy for this, and offer network monitoring services, redesigning of the existing network to prevent such attacks. While these are services, there are also products like secure media exchange (SMX) that deals with threats from USB drives, laptops, PCs and workstations; and there is a unique product called Cyber Security Industrial Risk Manager, a one of its kind, best in class solution that can measure, monitor and manage any threat in real time, 24/7. All our solutions are vendor agnostic so these can be used with any other hardware, other systems from other companies. Our recent acquisition of Nextnine, a very noted company in the field of cyber security, is another step in the direction of inter-agnostics and remote services, which also complements the IIoT portfolio we have.

So what is HCP – the Honeywell Connected Plant?

HCP is a cloud-based service to monitor, predict, and improve plant performance. One of the Honeywell group companies – UOP – has huge domain knowledge in the petroleum and refineries segment with thousands of patents. There are 36 major patents in the oil & gas sector today of which 31 are owned by Honeywell UOP. Secondly, we also have a business unit called Advanced Solutions, which looks into Level2, Level3 and IIoT kind of solutions. The third thing is our ability to invest in these kinds of technologies. Clubbing these three things together, we come up with solutions like UniSim – a process and design software solution – which is a simulator that trains operators even before the plant is commissioned, which in practice has saved the time in commissioning of plants. Together, the Connected Plant Services have lot of benchmarked data from best in class companies which is used to compare and test the project at hand to evolve the best in class solutions by optimising the process. Plus there are modules for collaboration between different groups like design, manufacturing, services, etc., and it is very clear that the solution must contribute to productivity, efficiency or reliability, apart from being secure.

How is the industrial automation scenario emerging in India?

It is very positive and there are reasons for that, like the government initiatives of Make in India, Digital and India and skill enhancement. As mentioned in the very beginning, if the Indian industry wants to become the best in class manufacturer, globally competitive, every manufacturer knows that it is not going to happen the traditional way. They have to invest in technology, services and solutions. By 2025, the market for IIoT in India is expected to grow to USD 15 billion, and this is a huge potential. Honeywell has the solutions. When we talk about IIoT it is a combination of the latest digital transformation and the past experience, which is where Honeywell scores heavily. We have IIoT solutions for secure collaboration, data management, advanced analytics as well as cyber security – and all these are vendor agnostics. So are at the high table of the game.


Pix1: Honeywell has a global team of cyber experts based at different locations.