Q+A: Dayan Anandappa, United Technologies Corporation, Digital Accelerator
Have you ridden an elevator lately (who are we kidding? If you live in New York, chances are you probably have!). Perhaps you took a plane ride to see your family or friends over the holiday period or maybe you use your heating system daily to keep you nice and warm throughout the winter season. If yes, chances are the United Technologies Digital Accelerator team helped design the software and mechanics behind the products and services you use in your everyday life.
What is the United Technologies Digital Accelerator you ask? The Digital Accelerator focuses on supporting the United Technologies aerospace and building product and service portfolio by developing digital solutions. We sat down with Corporate Vice President and General Manager Dayan Anandappa, to talk about what the United Technologies Digital Accelerator is all about, the type of projects they work on and the areas the company is excited to explore in the next decade.
Tell us about United Technologies Corporation! What do you do? What role does the Digital Accelerator play as part of the company?
United Technologies Corporation is a Connecticut-based company. Currently, we have four lines of business. One is Pratt & Whitney which services and manufactures jet engines. We also have Collins Aerospace, which makes various systems for the aerospace industry–pretty much anything that flies will have our equipment in it, from electrical to passenger experience systems, and also crew member and operator experience systems. We then have Carrier, which is the largest HVAC company in the world and lastly, we have Otis Elevators. Shortly, we will be spinning off Otis Elevators and Carrier so we can focus on only being an aerospace company.
Here at the Digital Accelerator, our team is part of the United Technologies Digital organization. We are responsible for helping United Technologies build out digital capabilities – especially on the software side – while also building out hardware platforms.
We are responsible for helping United Technologies build out digital capabilities – especially on the software side – while also building out hardware platforms.
United Technologies works across various areas. What kind of projects is the Digital Accelerator involved in?
We work across different areas. These include fleet performance management, improving the customer and passenger experience, as well as our digital factory efforts. With all the projects that come through our Digital Accelerator, there is a strong collaboration with each business. What we try to do is look at the challenges that a business has, and from a user perspective, we try to figure out how we can use our digital technology solutions to solve them.
Your corporate offices are primarily based in Connecticut. What brought you to Dumbo?
The talent. As part of our overall technology strategy for United Technologies Digital, the kind of people we hire here at our Digital Accelerator mainly consist of software engineers, data scientists, data architects, product designers, and project managers. Our talent is highly skilled and technical individuals and also very creative, which is why Dumbo is a natural fit.
Besides the talent, Dumbo is also a very nice centralized location that is optimal for us. Plus, the investments the city is making are helpful as well.
Our talent is highly skilled and technical individuals and also very creative, which is why Dumbo is a natural fit
From what we can see your office feels like an open and collaborative space. Do you feel the design of your office space impacts how your team works?
Yes! We wanted the space to be open and collaborative as we felt having that capability lends itself to us being a creative, engineering-focused organization. We are a very creative team and we wanted to make sure any space that we work in helps with the creative process. From the type of wallpaper we have, how we provide technology, or the simplicity of the office workspaces, we wanted the concept and design of the space to be readily available for the creative process.
Overall, we are here to support our customers and help solve the large challenges they bring to us. The problems that are brought to us require very creative solutions, so we wanted to have an environment that allowed us to develop big, outside-the-box ideas.
We are a very creative team and we wanted to make sure any space that we work in helps with the creative process
The theme of this year’s Annual meeting is Futurists! What are you excited about in this space in the next decade?
There is a lot of focus on data and analytics, especially with predictive maintenance. Additionally, trying to figure out how we can continuously improve customer and passenger experience and how to give better value back to our customers. Whether that is through how we produce things, communicate with customers, how to provide more visibility with our processes and how to simplify them. These are all areas we are excited to explore in the coming years.
Lastly, and we ask everyone this, what is your favorite spot in the neighborhood?
It has to be by the water. Being by the water is very relaxing and there is just an amazing vibe down there. Not to mention, the views you have are the best in the world. For us, Dumbo is a very unique place and we are extremely fortunate to be here.