Talk about a group hug. The 2012 Honeywell Users Group (HUG) Symposium for Buildings drew a record 325 attendees—including 166 new attendees—to Phoenix June 10-14. Not a bad 10th anniversary for an event that drew 11 attendees in its inaugural year of 2003.

Greg Taylor, director of marketing, Honeywell Building Solutions Americas, said HUG brings together Honeywell and its customers in a way that offers benefits for both: customers get to see the latest technology and network, while Honeywell benefits by receiving input and feedback, better understanding the industry and its application needs, and collaborating with customers to develop solutions.

Taylor tipped his hat to the HUG customer steering committee, a dedicated group of customers which this year helped create a program that featured 40 customers sharing unique stories and dozens of industry breakout sessions in areas such as government/commercial, healthcare, education, and industrial/manufacturing.

During the symposium, Honeywell unveiled Smart Grid Solutions, a global enterprise designed to centralize the company’s existing smart-grid resources and expertise to respond to the growing needs of both energy providers and users. The goal of Smart Grid Solutions, which will be part of Honeywell’s Building Solutions business unit, is to bring innovative offerings to market faster and deliver end-to-end programs that connect utilities and their customers to solve energy challenges.

In addition, the company introduced the ComfortPoint Open Building Management System, the next generation of the company’s technology to control and optimize buildings’ HVAC equipment. ComfortPoint Open is designed to improve ease-of-use through Web and mobile accessibility, reduce energy costs with built-in utility meter management tools and advanced energy reporting, and provide flexibility to grow and expand with end-to-end BACnet integration.