Johnson Controls has appointed Vijay Sankaran as vice president and chief technology officer, a new role aimed at accelerating product software engineering development and expanding customer solutions. This will expand upon the company’s OpenBlue digital platform, which allows the company to connect all building systems and to optimize interior environments by learning from the data the systems share. Johnson Controles is a global leader for smart, healthy and sustainable buildings. Sankaran was most recently chief information officer and head of innovation at TD Ameritrade, with responsibility for digital strategy, customer platforms, software engineering, technology operations, cybersecurity, data management and analytics, and enterprise innovation.
“Vijay brings a wealth of strategic software experience to Johnson Controls and is ideally positioned to strengthen our solutions and market competitiveness through world class software engineering,” said Johnson Controls chairman and chief executive officer George Oliver to whom Sankaran reports. “In this new, enterprise-wide chief technology officer role, Vijay and the software engineering team will accelerate our innovation, solve for unique customer outcomes and deliver for our customers on the key secular trends of sustainability, energy efficiency, and healthy, safe and connected smart buildings.”
Sankaran’s is a newly created organization, with software engineering team members from across Johnson Controls global portfolio reporting into it. His team will accelerate and unify the product software engineering development efforts creating common software architecture to further drive the enterprise software technology strategy.
“Vijay’s role as CTO will be pivotal in driving continued growth and expansion for our OpenBlue digital platform as all of the elements of a building’s operational technology become connected,” said Johnson Controls Chief Customer and Digital Officer Mike Ellis. “Through OpenBlue, that connectivity enables us to leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence, as well as edge computing technologies, to predict patterns and trends, and provide positive customer outcomes for sustainability, energy efficiency, security and healthy building environments.”
“I couldn’t be more excited to have this opportunity to lead customer facing engineering as no other company has the breadth of capabilities to provide healthy, smart, sustainable building environments,” said Sankaran upon reflecting on this new opportunity. “The Johnson Controls team already successfully developed and rolled out an outstanding platform, OpenBlue.”
Sankaran’s role is to integrate software engineering across the company in a holistic way so that we can further expand the capabilities of OpenBlue and leverage the breadth of the company’s building systems portfolio. When asked about the technologies that will be most important to this journey, he noted, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics and connectivity, each of which he referred to as “game changers” to help customers meet their goals on sustainability, energy efficiency and healthy, smart buildings.
Prior to working at TD Ameritrade, Sankaran held executive roles at Ford Motor Company from 2001 to 2013, including IT Chief Technology Officer, Director of Application Development, as well as leadership roles in architecture, emerging technologies, data and analytics, and enterprise transformation programs.
Sankaan has a B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. at Duke University Fuqua School of Business.
Peter High is President of Metis Strategy, a business and IT advisory firm. He has written two bestselling books, and his third, Getting to Nimble, was recently released. He also moderates the Technovation podcast series and speaks at conferences around the world. Follow him on Twitter @PeterAHigh.