Market Insight

Siemens expands its smart buildings presence through its acquisition of Building Robotics

June 27, 2018

Bryan Montany Bryan Montany Research Analyst II
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On June 26th, 2018, Siemens Building Technologies Division announced its intention to acquire Building Robotics Inc., a vendor responsible for the smart workplace application, Comfy. This is the third smart buildings acquisition Siemens has announced this year, having also acquired Enlighted and J2 Innovations in the past two months. All three of these California-based smart building software suppliers will retain their brands and preexisting partnerships with other market participants as independent subsidiaries.

The acquisition of these three companies represents a concerted strategy by Siemens, to enhance the IT infrastructure and capabilities of its building management system (BMS) platform, Desigo. However, it is also emblematic of a broader industry-wide trend toward embracing more partnerships and acquisitions in the increasingly collaborative market environment for smart building technologies.

The acquisition of Building Robotics is particularly noteworthy, because the Comfy application offers employees and other end-users in office buildings the ability to control the temperature and lighting in their workspaces, through a program that is connected to the buildings’ BMS platforms. In addition, Comfy also incorporates advanced space utilization algorithms, using data collected from occupancy sensors to track which rooms in a building are occupied or available to employees.

Joining forces with Siemens presents Building Robotics with a broader potential audience for Comfy, through Siemens’ superior global distribution network, and coordination between Comfy and Desigo developers could facilitate easier integration — accelerating the adoption of new software features across both products. As of 2018, the Comfy application was being used to manage more than 50 million square feet of office space.

Enlighted and J2 Innovations have also been acquired to bolster Siemens’ diverse smart buildings portfolio. Enlighted’s product line includes multifunction sensors, gateways, managerial lighting controllers and software applications designed to reduce energy consumption and manage building lighting equipment. Enlighted’s sensors are installed in luminaires, and they are capable of analyzing room and floor occupancy, as well as tracking designated assets throughout a company’s properties. While the Enlighted platform can precisely mange a building’s lighting domain, Siemens has indicated that integrating the platform with Desigo would enable similar optimization across all energy domains. Meanwhile, J2 Innovation’s fluid integration (FIN) architectural toolset supports the monitoring of connected equipment, offering system integrators and end-users more opportunities to collaborate on maintenance projects, through data modeling and predictive maintenance.

Collectively, these three acquisitions represent an expansion of Siemens’ strategic vision of providing commercial customers a broader variety of analytics engines to make their buildings smarter. Siemens wants to further establish itself as a market leader in the implementation of machine learning (ML) and data-driven command-and-control analytics in the next generation of smart building products for the world’s most prestigious commercial buildings.

However, Siemens is far from alone in this approach. Over the past several years, many market leaders have sought to expand their market presence with collaborative partnerships. Since smart buildings encompass a wide variety of both operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) products across numerous energy and security domains, market competitors have realized that fostering relationships is a more effective strategy to offer a comprehensive portfolio of smart building technologies than attempting to build a single all-encompassing product on their own. For example, Microsoft has cultivated numerous partners that leverage its cloud-based Azure Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure to support many unique BMS platforms. Several Honeywell applications, such as its Vector Occupant App, rely on Microsoft Azure’s big data processing capabilities to enhance the analytics in their solutions.

Smart Buildings Report - 2018

This report examines the global market for the equipment and building management system (BMS) platforms installed in building projects. It analyzes the significant trends, threats and opportunities for growth affecting this market through 2022. The report includes extensive qualitative analysis of differing approaches taken by building owners in six end-user industries, as well as quantitative Excel data, forecasting growth across 4 product types, 14 equipment types and 5 geographic regions.

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