While lighting makes up 95% of Acuity Brands revenue (they are now the largest lighting manufacturer in North America with over $4.01 billion in revenues), it is their Intelligent Spaces Group (ISG) business that focuses on smart buildings technology. In this Research Note, we examine the development of the ISG business and its recent financial results. Our analysis is based on their Q4 presentation, analyst call, 10K Report, y/e 31st August 2022 and activities throughout the fiscal year.
Acuity’s Intelligent Spaces Group comprises the Distech Controls and Atrius brands, offering building management systems and software for improving energy efficiency, optimizing occupant experiences and monitoring physical assets. ISG generated net sales of $216.1 million for FY 2022, an increase of $26.1 million, or 13.7%, as compared to the prior year. ISG operating profit was $22.7 million for the same period, an increase of $12.8 million compared to the prior year.
Distech Controls currently accounts for the majority of ISG segment sales. The company sells predominantly to system integrators. Their building management systems include products for controlling HVAC, lighting, shades, and access control to deliver end-to-end optimization of building systems. Distech Controls had strong sales in the fourth quarter, notably in their ECLYPSE controller, which uses open protocol technology to control and monitor systems and buildings, including heating, ventilation, lighting and other functions.
Distech Controls’ Digital Partner Program (DPP) connects System Integrators with select partners to provide a portfolio of solutions for their clients' smart building projects. Seven months following the program’s inception, Distech Controls reached a milestone of over 25 partnerships across building technologies, property management, and occupant services.
In May 2022, Zuul Inc., an Industrial IoT (IIoT) cyber security provider for critical infrastructure and smart cities, announced their inclusion in the partner program. The new relationship between these two organizations will advance Zuul’s overall position in securing cyber physical systems while providing enabling technology to Distech Controls’ SI base.
In April 2022, Distech Controls selected Encycle as a DPP partner based on its IoT technology, complementarity with other program partners, technological openness (Swarm Logic is available on Tridium's Niagara Framework), and collaborative practices. Participation in the program will help link Encycle's Swarm Logic energy management software with system integrators.
In March 2022, Distech Controls, announced that KODE Labs a US startup company that provides software as a service to optimize energy usage in buildings and overall operations, had joined the company’s Digital Partner Program (DPP).
The Atrius business is considered to be at the active piloting stage, as they improve the product and functionality of their software, according to comments on the Q4 analyst call.
The Atrius portfolio includes:
- Atrius Building Insights, a cloud-based energy management software, now includes energy reporting and visibility for ESG monitoring. The product was launched in Europe in January 2022.
- Atrius Building Manager, a cloud lighting management solution aimed at reducing operational costs, optimizing energy and improving occupant experiences. Currently, more than 3,500 sites use Atrius Building Manager, with many more actively under deployment across North America.
- Atrius Locator, a cloud-based solution for monitoring physical assets with the built environment.
- Atrius Vision, an AI-powered computer vision solution to evaluate live video streams.
Acuity Brands’ M&A activity over the past decade demonstrates the firm’s strong intentions to become a major player in the broader building technology space. This strategy was again the topic of the Q4 conference call, as the company indicated that M&A will become a more important component of their capital allocation over the next couple of years, saying;
We see very interesting adjacencies currently in the pipeline around our Spaces Group, which are both on the Distech side and on the Atrius side.
This article was written by Daphne Tomlinson, Senior Research Associate at Memoori.