How Johnson Controls Uses AI to Make Buildings Run Better

I had a chance to catch up with JJ Plotz at the AHR show in Atlanta. JJ, who leads the Johnson Controls Building Automation and Execution strategy, shares with me how Johnson Controls is using AI to help make buildings smarter.

If you want to know all the products and ways Johnson Controls can make your Buildings smarter, this video is for you!


Eric Stromquist 00:00 All right. You got a spike in the volume spiking over there. Okay, cool. All right, here we go. Here we go. All right. Eric Stromquist. Here at hr 2023. In Atlanta, Georgia. I have tracked this guy down. James plotz, otherwise known as JJ. JJ, you make sure the controls work for Johnson Controls, right? Yes, sir. We do. Okay, cool. Well, great booth man as crowded as can be, you obviously survived the parties last night, you look a little bleary eyed, but not too bad.

JJ Plotz Johnson Controls 00:42
You know what I’m happy to be happy this morning. It’s one of those days that you wake up

and you are happy to be happy. 

Eric Stromquist 00:48

Awesome. Awesome. Well, listen, I’m really happy about all the changes in the going on and controls and, you know, is head of controls for Johnson Controls. What changes are you seeing? What are your customers asking for from you, and what’s different this year, they’re saying last year,

JJ Plotz Johnson Controls 01:02

I will tell you that we are entering the age of information. And you can see that and a lot of the different show pieces that are out here, from a lot of the different partners that are presenting is you have a lot of information that’s being presented. But here at Johnson Controls, it’s about collecting that data and doing something with it. It’s about the analytics that sit on top to help our customers make better decisions through fault diagnostics, energy monitoring, right? It’s taking that data to the next level, being more proactive. We’re in an industry where most of the time we’re reactive to events. Our technology this year is really showcasing the proactive nature of how technology can help building automation.

Eric Stromquist 01:43
So you find in the marketplace, the owners are asking for that and are starting to utilize it


JJ Plotz Johnson Controls 01:48

Absolutely. You’ve seen more and more of a pivot towards questions around carbon neutrality. How can I adjust the impact that I’m making to the environment? Something as simple as hey, with energy savings hooked up? Something is something as simple as

Eric Stromquist 02:04 obviously a Honeywell customer.

JJ Plotz Johnson Controls 02:07
You’re straight strip, too, that would have been apparently that wasn’t part of the middle.

Eric Stromquist 02:15
Anyway, Meanwhile, back at the information.

JJ Plotz Johnson Controls 02:18

No, it’s the technology that we’re seeing on a regular basis. We’re also seeing things move up to the net. And what what does that mean? It means that we’re seeing more and more devices that exist on an IP level, or an IT level. So that we’re just plugging them in with internet cables so that we can share more and more information, and then taking that information and applying the analytics to do something with it. That’s powerful stuff.

Eric Stromquist 02:41

Oh, it’s very powerful stuff. And you know, all this stuff we’ve been hearing about, like, chat, GP three and GPT, and all that stuff. Is it true? And I don’t want to put you on the spot here. The Johnson Controls has an artificial intelligence called JJ AI. It is it is that and they just turn it on at random, just to make sure that we can, you know, meet our customers needs once we turn that on, because apparently that’s the routine we need to consistently meet our customers needs. JJ AI and that’s a copyright by the way,

JJ Plotz Johnson Controls 03:11

definitely copyright. Well, you know, we’ve represented Johnson Controls for years and years, you guys are always cutting edge. One of things I love about your products is you might not always be first. But you’re always right. When you bring something out it you know what’s going to work comes out of the box, speak a little about your guys philosophy regarding quality. Yeah, and you actually nailed it. So a lot of the technology we see here at the showcase is new. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But there is something about the repetitive nature of quality and making sure our customers expectations are met with what we deliver. Right. So there’s a lot of new features, but we want to make sure they go through a quality testing process, be it our equipment, or the technology to make sure they’re meeting our customers needs because there’s zero desire, we have to circle back from a warranty perspective and deal with it later. Because we’ll never leave our customers behind. Just makes it easier if you do it right the first time.

Eric Stromquist 04:03

Oh, really does. And of course, the great thing about you guys is you own equipment company, York, it seems like you guys are able to integrate not only the controls, but the equipment, talk about some of the your product offerings and how you guys integrate things together.

JJ Plotz Johnson Controls 04:14

You know, when I was selling years ago, I was meeting with the superintendent and I was talking about the value proposition of integrating dissimilar systems together, she looked at me and goes, isn’t that what you do already? Isn’t that how buildings come together? And this was 10 years ago? And the answer really is no. But there is a value proposition when you look at dissimilar systems could be lighting controls, could be fire alarm systems, could be your time management systems. The point being is as we get into this age of information with building automation, there’s going to be more and more dissimilar systems that you can tie to through passive and active API’s to pull that data in and do something productive with it, right. It’s not just about the data. It’s about doing something with that data to maximize the value to our customers.

Eric Stromquist 05:00

Very, very cool. And you guys have been dedicated to to step distribution. No, you have a direct channel as well. But talk about your distributors like you’re probably your favorite Stromquist and company out of Atlanta, but talk a bit about your distribution network and the value that they bring.

JJ Plotz Johnson Controls 05:14
Absolutely right. And as you look into the organization, we have a variety of different methodologies for going to market. We have our branch business, which is very scaled to our methodologies for going to market. We have our branch business, which is very scaled to our high end customers have been very successful in meeting those needs. But as you mentioned, there are a variety of markets and a variety of platforms that we’ve invested with. And the technology is laser focused to other markets, other trends we’re seeing within the industry such as like commercial. And so when we look at the technologies like our FX brand, like our ECI o brands, right, we’re going to continue to invest in those and grow those channels. Those channels in the markets

Eric Stromquist 05:46

will rise true and whether it’s a thermostat on the wall, you guys have the glass thermostat, arguably voted the sexiest thermostat in the world beat nest hands down to the barista system for like commercial all the way up to you could control a campus if you wanted to. Right,

JJ Plotz Johnson Controls 05:59

we can actually there’s some of my favorite folks here from campuses that we’ve worked with and baths. And it’s again, in many cases, we’re tying dissimilar systems that they’ve had, I actually just chatted with one of our facility managers from big 10 University. They’ve gotten technology from the 1970s that we are integrating back through to bring to a single pane of glass for them to see everything that’s going on on their campus.

Eric Stromquist 06:20
So very cool. Very cool. JJ, listen, people want to find out more about your product, what’s the

best website for him to go to?

JJ Plotz Johnson Controls 06:26

I would start with www dot Johnson Right now, there is so much information out there. And Johnson Controls is a big company, you can go there and figure out specifically what you’re trying to target. And those links will get you the right people.

Eric Stromquist 06:40
You guys are all over the globe. So then you can reach down to your local distributor or branch

office and they’ll walk you through it right

JJ Plotz Johnson Controls 06:46 and then that’s what they’re there for.

Eric Stromquist 06:48

Eric Stromquist 06:48

JJ appreciate JJ a I remember it’s copyrighted.


Copyright JJ AI.

Eric Stromquist 06:53
Thanks, buddy. Appreciate it. You know, I figured


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