Johnson Controls has announced several bolt-on acquisitions in the last seven months to augment the group’s technology offerings in building management, fire detection and suppression, and physical security solutions.
With six acquisitions to date since the start of their new financial year in October 2021, Johnson Controls is accelerating its M&A activity. Transactions in edge AI software, water mist technologies, mobile-based access control products, and technology-enabled remote monitoring and perimeter protection services have been completed. While their strategy to expand their regional presence in the UK and Ireland has also been advanced.
In April 2022, Johnson Controls acquired Security Enhancement Systems LLC (SES), a Northbrook, Illinois-based provider of mobile-based, keyless access control solutions used in critical infrastructure, including telecommunication towers for major providers. SES integration of mobile, cloud and on-premise technology provides a solution for multi-site security. SES, founded in 2011, has pioneered highly optimized and versatile locking solutions for remote sites that include diverse security needs for perimeter control, equipment, shelters and other valuable assets for telecommunication, utilities, transportation and data centers.
Also in April 2022, Johnson Controls announced the acquisition of Xcell Misting Ltd, a fire protection company that designs and installs fire suppression and detection systems. Xcell Misting Ltd, headquartered in Norfolk, UK and founded in 2010, specializes in water mist technologies for diverse sectors including food, technology and data centres, high-hazard and gas turbines, car plants, residential and waste management. The company has around 30 employees, according to their latest UK filing. The acquisition enables Johnson Controls to maximize on water mist opportunities and expand their current suppression offering to their customers.
In March 2022, Johnson Controls completed the acquisition of Powertec Pumps to strengthen its fire suppression offering in the UK. Headquartered in Reading, Powertec Pumps Ltd provides servicing and maintenance for commercial pumps across the south of England. Johnson Controls intends to integrate Powertec Pumps Ltd into its fire suppression and wider pumps operation.
Again in March 2022, Armagh, Northern Ireland-based Envision Intelligent Solutions was acquired by Johnson Controls. Envision’s team of security engineers, installers and managers design and deploy security technologies across the UK, backed up by an in-house accredited alarm and remote video response centre. Established in 2010 by Philip Murdock, the business specializes in technology-enabled remote monitoring and perimeter protection services. Its technology has been deployed for infrastructure and construction projects, including supplying drone technology for the HS2 rail project in England. The firm, which employs around 60 people, has steadily increased its presence in the United States over the past five years, establishing an operational base in Boston in 2017.
In November 2021, Johnson Controls announced the acquisition of Provincial Sprinkler Company Ltd, a specialist fire suppression business founded in 1980 and based in Cork, Ireland. The deal enhances Johnson Controls’ ability to provide fire suppression products and services in the Republic of Ireland, including access to customer relationships established in the local pharmaceutical, healthcare, industrial and commercial sectors.
In January 2022, Johnson Controls completed the acquisition of FogHorn, a developer of Edge AI software for the industrial and commercial Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. Their Edge intelligence, combined with cloud-based model building enables secure real-time machine learning to take place at the device level, which means easier access to actionable insights and increased flexibility for customers.
Foghorn Systems, founded in 2014, had received around $72.5 million in venture funding from investors including Robert Bosch Venture Capital and Honeywell Ventures, prior to the acquisition. FogHorn’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, California will function as an "AI Hub" for Johnson Controls.
FogHorn software will be integrated throughout the entire OpenBlue platform embedded within their OpenBlue Bridge data exchange which will allow for better applications of intelligence at the edge device level, be more secure, and lower costs relative to cloud-based applications.
George Oliver, CEO of Johnson Controls made the following statement on the FogHorn acquisition at the Q1 earnings call on 2nd February 2022;
“We view Edge intelligence as a critical technology for the future of smart autonomous buildings and for Johnson Controls. FogHorn gives us and our OpenBlue platform, an immediate competitive advantage in Edge AI with a software platform that is widely recognized as best-in-class. It avoids the time and cost to build out these capabilities organically.”
This article was written by Daphne Tomlinson, Senior Research Associate at Memoori.