JCI Smart Buildings

JCI Outlines Technology Enablers for ‘Advanced’ Smart Buildings

A company survey conducted with Forrester Consulting indicates that sustainability is a business priority, and operators believe smart buildings accelerate sustainability initiatives.

Ireland-based Johnson Controls International (JCI) has released a new paper, “The Smart Building of the Future,” that outlines major technology enablers, including artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, and cloud and cyber security for “advanced” smart buildings.

“Smart buildings offer a harmonized environment that prioritizes well-being and sustainability, using technology to adapt and unlock potential, support productivity and drive peak performance of building occupants,” JCI said in a press release.

JCI’s portfolio of natural refrigerant products includes ammonia (R717)-based heat pumps, chillers and compressors for commercial and industrial use from various sub-brands, including Frick, Hybrid Energy and Sabroe.

With buildings accounting for 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions, “optimizing energy usage presents a win-win opportunity by enhancing sustainability and boosting financial performance, without sacrificing productivity or creativity,” the report said.

“Never has it been more important for organizations to consider advanced and efficient ways to reduce their carbon footprint – especially in the building industry, which is the single largest source of our planet’s greenhouse gas emissions,” said Vijay Sankaran, Chief Technology Officer at JCI.

JCI indicates that the report offers information on:

  • cloud-based services that break down barriers between siloed and integrated devices to enable real-time flow of information for analysis and continuous improvement;
  • AI-enabled autonomous smart buildings that drive efficiency, enhance user experience and enable sustainability; and
  • digital twins that enable continuous feedback between the physical and virtual, facilitating the integration of AI, IoT and cloud technologies to generate recommendations for improved building performance and user experience.

At the heart of JCI’s smart building strategy is its OpenBlue Controls, which “combine data from across the building’s systems and use advanced digital tools like AI to provide insights that save more energy and emissions than possible with isolated systems,” JCI said. 

Sustainability survey

The report builds on a company survey ‒ conducted with Forrester Consulting ‒ showing “widespread acceptance of sustainability as a business priority.” Additional insights garnered include:

  • building operators believe smart buildings accelerate sustainability initiatives;
  • optimizing energy use by adding or upgrading building automation/digital technologies, with the “most impact” on sustainability investments; and
  • leaders seek partners with digital platforms that link sites and uses.

JCI encourages organizations to take action to improve their future building operations. “Develop a strategy that includes user experience, partner with IT and cybersecurity teams, establish partnerships with external consultants, invest in education and training and run pilot projects,” the company said. 

“The smart building of the future offers new and more effective ways to help companies meet critical climate goals, reduce costs, enhance daily operations to achieve business growth and improve personalized experiences,” said Sankaran. “When a building ‘comes alive’ with smart technology, all stakeholders benefit from the integrated approach that ultimately creates a healthier, safer and more productive environment.”


Microsoft recognized JCI as its software vendor partner of the year for its OpenBlue controls. The independent industry analyst Verdantixa named the company a leader in energy management software.

“When a building ‘comes alive’ with smart technology, all stakeholders benefit from the integrated approach that ultimately creates a healthier, safer and more productive environment.”

Vijay Sankaran, Chief Technology Officer at JCI

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