September 2012
Interview

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EMAIL INTERVIEW John Sublett and Ken Sinclair

John Sublett, Chief Technology Officer, Tridium

John Sublett is a co-founder of Tridium, joining the team in 1996.  He was one of the lead architects for the Niagara Framework and holds multiple patents related to the core concepts of NiagaraAX. He is the Chief Technology Officer at Tridium and a Honeywell Engineering Fellow.



What’s going on at Tridium?

The security patch we recently issued addresses some vulnerabilities in the Niagara Framework software. 


NiagaraAX 3.7 is about to be released and includes some major new features.  John Sublett, Tridium’s Chief Technology Officer, spoke with me recently about the Niagara Framework and Tridium.

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Sinclair:  Tridium is about to release an update to the Niagara Framework.  What can you tell me about that?

Sublett:  NiagaraAX 3.7 will be launching around the time you publish this interview.  We’ve made some great enhancements.  The addition of BajaScript is a major improvement and provides a full featured JavaScript API for interacting with Niagara.  BajaScript is also a key part of our new software stack for developing mobile applications.  3.7 includes built-in mobile support for some of the more commonly used features like property sheets, scheduling, alarm management and charting.

We have also expanded our support for crypto in 3.7 to include full support for PKI (public key infrastructure) with tools in workbench to manage it all.  The certificate management tools are similar to what is available in a standard web browser or web server.  In 3.7, the new crypto features are applied to HTTP connections, fox connections, and Niagara platform connections; basically any of the core connection types used in all Niagara installations. 

These are some of the high points, but like any Niagara release, 3.7 includes lots of enhancements across many areas of the framework.

Sinclair:  What else about security?  I’ve seen items floating on the web regarding security issues with Niagara and I see that Tridium has issued a security patch.

Sublett:  Security is a top concern for our customers, as it should be. The security patch we recently issued addresses some vulnerabilities in the Niagara Framework software.  All customers with internet facing systems should be sure to install this new patch.

I’ve already mentioned the new PKI support in 3.7.  We just hosted two TridiumTALKs on the enhancements in 3.7 and spent a lot of time focused on the new security features.  In addition to the PKI features, we’ve also added a set of password security enhancements to support common practices like expiring passwords, password history, and forcing a password change on first logon.  I would recommend that your readers review the TridiumTALK presentation that is available at www.tridium.com

Sinclair:  You’ve had some executive changes in recent weeks?  What’s going on at Tridium?

Sublett:  Two long-time members of our leadership team have left the company, Steve Fey and Marc Petock. I appreciate having had the opportunity to work with both of them during an exciting time of growth and success for Tridium. At the same time, we maintain a strong bench of leaders in the company. With myself, Laura Bacon and the other Tridium leadership, the business is in good hands until a new general manager is named. We also continue to have great support from Honeywell.

Reliable ControlsSinclair:  Does this mean that Tridium is going to be absorbed fully into Honeywell?

Sublett:  No, quite the contrary. Honeywell is committed to Tridium’s vision of Niagara as an open software framework for device-to-enterprise applications. We understand that the value of the framework lies in its broad adoption. With that in mind we have no intention of bringing Niagara inside or creating versions that would advantage Honeywell in any way. Keeping Niagara open and available to all is a key part of our strategy.

In order to do that, the business structure that was established at the time of the acquisition needs to remain as is. So, in short, Tridium remains an independent company wholly owned by Honeywell.

Sinclair:  So, I’ll ask again.  What’s going on at Tridium?

Sublett:  Lots.  We’re really excited about the launch of Niagara 3.7.  The engineering team is at work on 3.8 and diving headlong into Niagara 4 in parallel.  We’re still expecting some level of early access for Niagara 4 before the end of the year.  The product team will have several new JACEs coming out in the next few months.  Our team in China is participating in the Shanghai Intelligent Building Tradeshow this month and our European office is deep into planning their Niagara Forum in April 2013 in London.  We’re extremely busy, but that’s a great problem to have. We’re really excited about the coming year.


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