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Johnson Controls buys Tempered Networks, to provide Zero Trust security for smart buildings

Johnson Controls buys Tempered Networks, to provide Zero Trust security for smart buildings

Johnson Controls started using Tempered Networks’ Zero Trust security technology as a core component of its OpenBlue platform and services in September 2021. The relationship quickly got serious; now Johnson Controls intends to buy Seattle-based Tempered Networks to secure building data from the edge to the cloud. The acquisition will provide Johnson Controls with the capability to integrate Zero Trust security within its OpenBlue communication stack to enable autonomous buildings that are resilient to cyberattacks.

Johnson Controls’ OpenBlue platform aims to make all buildings smarter and sustainable through optimized edge AI and machine learning models. The integration of Tempered Networks’ Airwall technology with OpenBlue platform will make buildings more secure from cyberattacks and provide AI-enabled building management capabilities.

“When it comes to buildings, we must create easily implementable cybersecurity defenses as we’re often dealing with critical infrastructure, including assets such as data centers and hospitals,” said Vijay Sankaran, vice president and chief technology officer, Johnson Controls. “Tempered Networks Airwall approach is purpose-built for our sector as it’s designed around principles of Zero Trust, securing device communications as data moves between devices and the cloud — so enabling remote building optimization in the most trusted way possible.”

Tempered Networks’ Airwall is an advanced security system for buildings that enable secure network access across edge devices and cloud platforms. This technology represents an operational technology with a secure transmission pipeline and ensures that edge sensor data exchanges between people and devices are authenticated at every step, the company says.

Tempered Networks uses Host Identity Protocol and a cloud-based policy orchestration platform to provide encrypted and authenticated communication within the network. The system provides access only to authenticated and authorized personnel — a key tenet of Zero Trust security. There are several claimed advantages of the Tempered Network Airwall technology, including the always-on and software-defined security parameters, an extra level of authentication for connected building systems, and greater automation functions.

“Digital transformation is the primary way we’ll make the world’s buildings more autonomous and resilient,” said Bryan Skene, CTo of Tempered Networks. “Being acquired by Johnson Controls allows us to fully integrate our Airwall technology into their software stack, providing an advanced security platform for a range of edge-to-cloud applications. Our ambition, now that we’re part of Johnson Controls, is that building systems everywhere can be managed from anywhere and remain secure from cyber threats.”

Earlier in 2022, Johnson Controls announced the acquisition of FogHorn, an edge intelligence software platform, to integrate the edge AI platform in OpenBlue. The integration of FogHorn’s edge AI platform with the OpenBlue suite of connected solutions will enable Johnson Controls to improve smart autonomous buildings.

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