Honeywell’s purchase of Trackwise quality management software from Sparta Systems will enable it to merge data collection with AI.

Honeywell to Integrate AI with Data, Quality Management System for Automated Decision Making

A story on appears to be simple announcement of Honewell buying up another company’s major enterprise software system, but actually signifies a major leap forward for integrating AI and human decision making. It also a major advance in the use of AI for data collection.

Honeywell announced yesterday it will acquire Sparta Systems for $1.3 billion for its quality management software (QMS), which the company plans to augment with machine learning algorithms and other AI capabilities.

Within the life sciences sector, Honeywell is also pledging to integrate the TrackWise Digital QMS software from Sparta with the internet of things (IoT) platforms as part of a larger effort to assist human decision-making using AI technologies. Those algorithms should make it possible to analyze data in real-time and execute processes in milliseconds or even microseconds.

So is Honeywell planning on using AI to advance human decision making or is it making humans unnecessary?

“While much of the IT focus in the last decade has been on the rise of the cloud, edge computing platforms that execute application logic infused with machine learning algorithms represent the next major frontier in IT. Rather than processing data using legacy batch mode processes that require data collected at the edge to be transferred to the cloud or a local data center, edge computing platforms will analyze and process data in real-time at the point where it is being both collected and consumed.”

Results from those applications will be shared with other applications across the enterprise to update an enterprise resource planning (ERP) application that is the system of record for the organization. The challenge organizations face is that the data ops processes needed to manage industrial IoT processes at that level of scale don’t exist, according to Mitchell Ashley, CEO and managing analyst for Accelerated Strategies Group, market research and IT consulting firm.

“It’s a pretty massive problem,” Ashley said. “You can’t solve it using traditional data silos.”

Honeywell previously launched Honeywell Forge to combine operational technology (OT) platforms with backed systems managed by IT teams. At the same time, Honeywell Ventures is leading a $2 million round of seed funding for DarwinAI, a company that promises to make it simpler to build complex AI models using both machine and deep learning algorithms.

“It will clearly be a while before most organizations gain the level of dataops maturity required to build, deploy, and manage these applications. Honeywell is betting organizations in the life sciences sector such as pharmaceutical companies will be at the forefront of that transition.”