Honeywell broadens focus on industrial fire market

Company's new customer experience and training center in Houston, targeted at industrial clients, is one example
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

HOUSTON—Honeywell is expanding its focus on the industrial fire protection market and its new Life Safety Training and Customer Experience Center, which will have its grand opening here Sept. 18, is one indication of its renewed interest in the space, according to the company.

"Honeywell has had a smaller presence in the industrial fire segment and this center really signifies an expansion of Honeywell into the industrial fire space," Gene Pecora, director of service operations for Honeywell Fire Systems, told Security Systems News.

He added, "Dealers for Honeywell are going to be able to take advantage of the products and services and a lot of the new things like this center that are going to be coming out as Honeywell continues to expand into the industrial fire space."

While Honeywell has a number of customer experience centers (CECs) around the world for a variety of its product lines, the new 40,000-square-foot center "is the first one that's been built for Honeywell Life Safety," Pecora said.

The center "is really unique in the marketplace because it's really a place that allows interested parties to get in very close proximity to the product. It's not just watching a video or reading a data sheet," Pecora said.

"How many times have people had that urge to pull the pull station and see what happens, right? Well, guess what, in the Houston CEC, you can actually do that, pull the pull station and see the alarm go off and see the messages go out. It's very interactive."

The new CEC's theme is "Equip them for safety." It's designed for customers that range from architectural and engineering firms to major industrial companies, including those in the oil, gas and energy sectors. It's located in Houston because "it's the epicenter for the industrial space," Pecora said.

The experience at the center will be much more in-depth than at a trade show, where there's limited space and products typically are demonstrated in a silo fashion, separate from one another, he said.

At the CEC, each product is "fully integrated with a number of other products in Honeywell Life Safety. Typically when we go to a trade show, we're showing fire gear or gas gear or we're showing fall protection gear, but here it's all integrated together in an industrial setting." He said, "Our goal for the center is to really allow people to come in and say, 'Here is a way I can account for safety at a number of levels in my industrial facility.'"

Pecora said that to make the CEC realistic, "we brought in elements of systems," such as pieces of wind turbine, industrial piping, and even a welding operation. "We put the visitor in real settings so they can see how these systems work together. ... It's a full immersion experience," he said.

In another section of the building housing the CEC will be "a full training facility that is also for life safety," where dealers can send their staff, Pecora said.

The training facility is a boon to companies in the Houston area and also in the West in general, because Honeywell's other training centers are in other parts of the country, in Chicago and Hartford, Conn., he said.

"Now they will have a local location where they can go for classes so they can improve their knowledge of Honeywell fire systems," he said.