Honeywell deepens its patent holdings in airport tech and voice recognition

By Steve Brachmann
August 14, 2015

honeywellHoneywell International Inc. (NYSE:HON) of Morristown, NJ, is a conglomerate corporation which sells a wide array of consumer and commercial products as well as services for engineering and aerospace sectors. A recent earnings report released for Honeywell’s second quarter of 2015 showed the major industrial corporation outperformed estimates, beating financial analyst predictions on earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter by two cents per share. Although sales dropped by 5 percent to about $9.8 million, the company’s performance enabled it to raise the low-end of its EPS guidance by five cents to $6.05 for the year; the company’s $6.05 to $6.15 EPS target range represents a year-over-year increase in EPS of about 10 percent.

Although sales dipped for Honeywell compared to last year’s second quarter, the company did improve its organic sales in some key core areas. The company’s aerospace sales dropped by 5 percent overall but core organic sales increased by 3 percent on the strength of greater original equipment and aftermarket sales. Automation and control solutions were another area where sales dropped overall but core organic improved by 4 percent, thanks largely to momentum in India and China. New products being developed by Honeywell include industrial refrigerants with a lower global warming potential than the chemicals they are designed to replace in commercial refrigeration compressors sold across the world. Honeywell also looks to make more of a stir in the gas, water and electric meter equipment sector after a recent $5.1 billion acquisition of the Elster division previously owned by London-based Melrose Industries plc (LON:MRO).

Honeywell 2nd quarterHoneywell isn’t the most active innovator that we feature, but the company did crack the top 50 global organizations receiving patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office with 749 U.S. patents that year, placing it 49th overall. During 2015’s second quarter, the company and its subsidiaries were issued a total of 289 U.S. patents. The Innography text cluster posted here shows us that much of Honeywell’s research and development has focused on hydrocarbon streams, which is interesting given the fact that the company’s second quarter earnings gave a poor outlook for its second half oil & gas sector.

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Honeywell’s Patent Applications: More Airport Tech and Blood Glucose Monitoring

obstacle proximityHoneywell has its sights set squarely on airport innovation. For example, U.S. Patent Application No. 20150194060, titled Enhanced Awareness of Obstacle Proximity, would protect a method of determining the location of an obstacle relative to an aircraft and generating a graphical user interface based on the obstacle’s location which indicates the area associated with the obstacle. Much like the taxiway traffic alerting technology included in the patents above, this innovation is intended to improve upon current surveillance systems for ensuring that collisions don’t happen between aircraft and other objects on the ground. A security technology which is designed to improve the passenger experience of being processed after a flight lands is detailed within U.S. Patent Application No. 20150193898, filed under the title System and Method for Providing Airport Security. The patent application discloses a method for providing passage of a passenger through immigration, customs and security at a destination airport by completing immigration and customs forms through a hand-held device prior to landing. This innovation is intended to improve both airport security while making the process more convenient for airplane passengers.

We were also interested to explore a couple of patent applications filed to protect new technologies related to speaking. We’ve been closely following the Internet of Things over the course of more than a year and we found a Honeywell innovation closely related to this field in U.S. Patent Application No. 20150163609, titled Internet Protocol Addressable Public Address Devices and Systems. This patent application would protect an Internet protocol (IP) addressable public assistance (PA) system including a speaker component, a microphone component to detect sound, an IP component to receive a message and a computing component that determines a source of the sound. This Internet-connected PA system better supports targeted distribution of important messages to building occupants. far-field speechMore effective speech recognition systems for voice command inputs are at the center of U.S. Patent Application No. 20150194152, which is titled Far-Field Speech Recognition Systems and Methods. This patent application discloses a method for far-field speech recognition which involves determining a location for a plurality of communicatively coupled sound recognition devices, adjusting a sound reception for the devices to receive a voice command from a particular direction and sending instructions to a device based on the voice command. This system, which utilizes a number of sound recognition devices, is capable of improved sound quality for voice commands, making the system better responsive to user commands.

Part of Honeywell’s home technology offerings include thermostats and we noted an innovation in this area reflected within U.S. Patent Application No. 20150124850, titled Detecting Temperature Sensor Anomalies in Connected Thermostats. This patent application claims an apparatus with one or more computer processors that receive a series of readings from a temperature sensor, determining if the temperature sensor is exhibiting behavior consistent with experiencing oscillations and recording data indicating that the temperature sensor is exhibiting such consistent behavior. This system enables the better detection of anomalies in thermostat equipment installed outdoors so that issues in thermostat operation can be more quickly identified for repair.

blood glucoseA medical innovation designed to help diabetic patients better monitor their current condition is the focus of U.S. Patent Application No. 20150141763, titled Non-Invasive Blood Glucose Concentration Sensing Using Light Modulation. The method for determining glucose concentration in the blood claimed here involves emitting light of two different colors onto a user’s eye, sensing neurophysiological brain activity and electrical responses of the user’s eye and using a processor to correlate those findings to the glucose concentration in the user’s blood. This technology is designed to provide accurate blood glucose readings to diabetic patients through a less invasive procedure than pricking a finger for blood.

Finally, we’ll wrap up our discussion of Honeywell inventions with an intriguing technology which may help improve compliance reporting in healthcare, science labs and other settings with specific environment requirements. U.S. Patent Application No. 20150168949, entitled Gadgets for Critical Environments, would protect a visualization mechanism for a building control system involving critical environments which is comprised of a framework within which is situated a number of gadgets which are customizable for the visualization of data in a critical environment market segment of a job site. This technology is intended to visualize critical data in wet chemistry laboratories, life science labs or healthcare facilities with a system which is customizable for each.

The Author

Steve Brachmann

Steve Brachmann is a freelance journalist located in Buffalo, New York. He has worked professionally as a freelancer for more than a decade. He writes about technology and innovation. His work has been published by The Buffalo News, The Hamburg Sun, USAToday.com, Chron.com, Motley Fool and OpenLettersMonthly.com. Steve also provides website copy and documents for various business clients and is available for research projects and freelance work.

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There are currently 1 Comment comments.

  1. Moshe August 14, 2015 8:55 am

    How is any voice-recognition technology patentable under Alice? What happens in the processor is ‘just math’ and is hence ‘abstract’ (and all operations that occur on a processor can be performed using pencil-and-paper). The camera, ECG and microphone are all in the prior art (well-known, conventional, routine) and there for ‘mere data gathering.’ These ‘mere data gathering’ steps should not be sufficient to transfer unpatentable subject-matter into patentable subject-matter — otherwise, this would exalt form over substance. From what I see, nothing qualifies as ‘significantly more’ — and the best part — NO EVIDENCE is required for any of this — all a matter of ‘law’ rather than fact.