Siemens Building Technologies Division has completed another significant deal in the Internet of Things (IoT) space, this time with the acquisition of Comfy (previously known as Building Robotics). The Oakland, CA, based start-up is known for their building controls mobile app. The deal is the third smart building startup acquired during the German engineering conglomerate’s six week California shopping spree, symbolizing their strong intentions in the sector.
In late May, Siemens announced the acquisition of Los Angeles based J2 Innovations, a leading software framework provider for building automation and IoT. J2 has been active and successful in the IoT software business for about 10 years, it has built a strong reputation in the US and internationally for its FIN (Fluid INtegration) Framework technology.
Soon after the J2 deal, Siemens announced a deal for Silicon Valley based firm Enlighted an IoT solutions start-up known for its multi-function sensing platform. The critical element of Enlighted’s platform are its smart sensors, which securely stream data from around the building to the cloud. Data collected by these sensors can enable reduction in energy use, improved space utilization, better environmental management and greater asset utilization.
“Enlighted has a strong footprint in revolutionizing building intelligence by developing a multi-sensor-based IoT platform, using the power of data,” said Matthias Rebellius, CEO of Siemens Building Technologies at the time of the announcement. “With this move we are demonstrating our commitment to drive digitalization in the smart building industry.”
Then, towards the end of June, Siemens Building Technologies Division announced its latest deal, for Comfy, a market leader in the fast growing digital workplace experience app domain. Over the past six years, the start-up has achieved a leading position in the sector by developing a user friendly app, that enables people, individually and collectively, to take control of their environment.
“This move further strengthens our leadership position in smart buildings,” echoed Rebellius, after the announcement of the Comfy deal. “With the Comfy app we will bring a consumer-like experience to commercial buildings that simplifies the interaction with buildings to increase employee productivity and engagement.”
Through the app, Comfy connects people, places and systems to enhance workplace experiences by giving individual occupants control of the building. Comfy directly integrates with existing building automation, IT networks and IoT systems to provide on-demand control and smart automation, all via a single app. At a time when smart technology is becoming a must have in the office, Comfy allows employees to make immediate changes in temperature and lighting, book rooms and desks, and provide feedback on their space.
“Comfy has successfully redefined the way people interact with their workplaces,” said Andrew Krioukov, CEO and co-founder of Building Robotics Inc. “By joining Siemens, the global leader in total building solutions, we open up greater opportunities to accelerate the development of new functionalities, grow the open protocol ecosystem, and reach more people around the world.”
Like J2 and Enlighted, Building Robotics will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Siemens Industry Inc. and continue to operate as a vendor-agnostic platform provider. The two co-founders Krioukov and CTO Stephen Dawson-Haggerty will remain in their current position in the management team at the firm. As with the J2 and Enlighted deals, each party has agreed not to disclose any figures and official closing is expected in the third quarter of 2018.
All of a sudden, Siemens Building Technologies finds itself with a solid IoT software framework, a market leading sensor platform, and a highly regarded building - occupant interface. These three new additions will need to be integrated together and into the Siemens family but their complimentary offerings mean that is simply a matter of time rather than any obvious challenge.
Just 5 years ago the 171-year-old German stalwart, Siemens, embodied the 20th century era of the light bulb epitomized by its lighting division Osram. The spin-off of Osram in 2013 signaled the beginning of a new order, one of IT and controls rather then OT and bulbs. Its recent binge of building focused IoT firms on the US West Coast seems to have brought that transformation to the fore and highlighted the redefinition of Siemens as a digital building technologies company.