January 2008

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Todd Cowles

EMAIL INTERVIEW  Todd Cowles and Ken Sinclair

Todd Cowles, Americas Sales Manager
Trend Control Systems

Todd is the Americas Sales Manager for Trend Control Systems. He has more than 16 years experience in the building automation industry, with Siemens and Alerton before taking his position at Trend.

A North American Trend?

Trend grew up in the UK. They’re the dominant player in the controls industry in that country by far, and have been for many years. They are well established in Europe and the Middle East, and the Americas are a huge growth target at the moment.

New Products
Past Issues

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Sinclair:  Why is Trend Coming to North America?

Cowles:  We’ve actually been here for many years, but under the name of Novar for the first few years. Many people know the name Novar from all the work that channel does in the multi-site retail market, but not everyone knows that there was a parent conglomerate out of the UK with the same name – Novar plc. At one point, Novar plc was pushing the Novar name down on many of their channels and brand names, including Trend. When Honeywell bought the whole works almost three years ago, they put the brakes on the re-naming of Trend. So, here we are as a stand-alone business channel in the Honeywell family today.

Sinclair:  What is the story behind Trend?

Cowles:  Trend grew up in the UK. They’re the dominant player in the controls industry in that country by far, and have been for many years. They are well established in Europe and the Middle East, and the Americas are a huge growth target at the moment.

Sinclair:  What is the difference between an NTC and a TTC?

Cowles:  Our Trend Technology Centers (TTCs) have grown out of the Novar Technology Centers (NTCs). Many of our original NTCs still service and add on to Novar systems, as there are thousands of installations in operation all over North America. Most of their new work is with the Trend system, and all of our new dealers for the last three years are almost exclusively focused on Trend. We try to be clear in telling people that we’re still the group to go to for servicing existing Novar systems, but Trend is the future for the group.

Sinclair:  What makes Trend stand out from the rest?

Cowles:  We spend the most time talking about our web capabilities. We’re unique among many with having web-servers on board our top-level and mid-level controllers. For any state-of-the-art DDC system these days, end-users access that system remotely via the web. It’s becoming increasingly uncommon to be required to have a remote computer / laptop with some software package particular to the system. Conveniently, Internet Explorer (as one example) has all of a sudden become the ultimate integration tool for customers with multiple brand names. If a DDC controls provider doesn’t have web-servers right there in the controllers, they can provide a web appliance to the system. At that point, anyone with internet access (and the appropriate sign-in credentials of course) can access their multiple brand names.

Other than that, we really stand out with scalability. People always talk about that, but often times, it’s drastically different components they use for big and small jobs. Our IQ3 controllers that we would use in a one-controller installation are the same ones we use by the hundreds or thousands in projects like London Heathrow’s new Terminal 5.

Sinclair:  What innovations has Trend spearheaded?

Cowles:  As already mentioned, we’ve lead the way with very capable web-enabled controllers. We’ve been using this technology for quite a few years now, and it’s rock-solid, to say the least.

Many of the other innovations that I’ve seen with Trend aren’t necessarily seen by those that don’t work with the product every day. The engineering and programming tools go beyond those that I’ve had experience with a couple of other brand names. Our dealers (and our more sophisticated end-users that really maximize the capabilities of their system) really see that benefit directly. Basically, if you can think it, we can do it. The Trend system has the good combination of being very capable and customizable, but also very simple to use once it’s engineered and installed.

[an error occurred while processing this directive] Sinclair:  What is coming down the pike for Trend?

Cowles:  More capabilities with BACnet. We’re showing our new front-end and IQ3 controllers at the AHR show in New York in January, and they’re fully BACnet capable. One of the huge benefits of being part of the bigger company of Honeywell is that we were able to grab a “BACnet engine” from within the family, and shove it into our existing platform. This eliminated the need for us to create a BACnet product from the ground up, which is what we were facing when were a bit behind with that technology 3 or 4 years ago.

Also, we’re jumping all over the wireless technology. That will be an exciting change in the next few years as it’s becoming much easier to engineer, commission and actually use without too much stress.

Sinclair:  Where can you find Trend installations in North America?

Cowles:  Coast to coast, actually. We’re in just about any vertical market you can think of, from healthcare and higher education to schools and office buildings, down to plenty of those single-controller installations. You’ll see Trend in new IKEA stores, the office buildings for American Express, Bloomberg Financial and Verizon. Obviously some school bonds have been passing, since we’re very active in a number of K-12 school districts at the moment.

Sinclair:  How do I find my local Trend Technology Center?

Cowles:  We’re in most markets in the country right now, and we’re continuing to add TTCs in a few open spots on the map. We’ve been fortunate to bring on so many great companies in the last three years, growing from the original eighteen NTCs to more than sixty-five TTC offices today. They’re all listed under “Find my TTC” on our http://ttc.trendcontrols.com website.


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