Santiago Echeveste
Vice President and General Manager, Contracting, Systems and Refrigeration
Johnson Controls BTS Mexico
View from the Top

Increasing Penetration of Smart Cities

Tue, 11/06/2018 - 09:55

Q: What is your assessment of the development of Smart Cities in Mexico?
A: Smart Cities is a new concept in Mexico and requires teamwork with the government and an alignment of policies. The user, government and private sector need to collaborate and work together to achieve this desired new way of life. Smartphones are crucial as people need to receive and share information to create a community around the Smart City. For example, the Waze app is an initiative that helps people build a community around traffic. This applies to other elements such as water and energy consumption that benefit from the integration between users and devices, which should be connected in real time.
But Smart Cities represent challenges for building the infrastructure for a strong wireless network. I think the government is moving slowly in this direction. While it is adopting some technologies, from the process standpoint this is only the beginning. Mobile devices, internet coverage and connectivity need to have higher penetration. Mexico City has made some advancement in being smart as it has traffic sensors, cameras and smart lighting in some areas.
Q: How are Johnson Controls’ solutions fostering the development of Smart Cities and where do you add value?
A: Johnson Controls contributes with several applications for Smart Cities. For example, in the US we run parking payments through smartphones and also have solutions for smart lighting systems. In Mexico we are working toward the first phase along this path, which we call Smart Equipment; that is, having devices connected to the IoT. We also provide Smart Chillers. The idea is to gather data from equipment to enable predictive maintenance and prevent failure.
We are more focused on the energy and health sectors. Universal policies establish the human right to health services but at the same time, the number of public hospitals remains almost even. This is a huge opportunity area in the country. IMSS is our main client and we are collaborating with construction companies such as Marhnos, PRODEMEX and ICA. The Energy Reform also opened up interesting opportunities in the energy sector and we are working closely with PEMEX.
Q: How is your merger with TYCO going to affect your business offering in Mexico y?
A: The first year of the merger was spent in aligning both organizations and establishing our service offering. Now we are focused on developing solutions for all our verticals such as hospitals, energy, industrial and commercial buildings. We have such a broad portfolio that we can offer a solution for every type of failure. Our goal is to develop tailor-made solutions for all our verticals. This merger enabled us to become the biggest company for building solutions. I think that the market is receiving it very well as it is convenient for the customer to have one single point of contact to their solutions.
Our project pipeline in the country is looking strong. We closed our fiscal year 2018 at the end of September,and year-on-year we grew around 20 percent, which is impressive given the country’s 2.6 percent growth rate. I think that the key to this success is to continue improving our market penetration by hiring more salespeople and technicians to better serve those markets that are overlooked.
Q: How are you innovating in HVAC systems and to what extent did your merger with Tyco disrupt this innovation?
A: Since day one we have never stopped innovating. I believe innovation is moving toward IoT and hardware. Accordingly, we launched YZ, a new chiller with magnetic bearings designed to work with low-pressure refrigerants. It is oil-free and its unique condenser design yields a low refrigerant charge, also adding points to sustainable-building certifications such as LEED. We also have new control systems such as Verasys. This is a commercial platform designed for HVAC contractors.


Johnson Controls is a multinational leader in HVAC and air system products that focuses on innovation and boosting the efficiency of buildings. It has vast experience working in the commercial and health sectors.