Johnson Controls acquires Foghorn edge AI firm

  • January 24, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Johnson Controls has acquired California-based Foghorn to expand its offering in smart and autonomous buildings.

The acquisition should accelerate Johnson Controls’ innovation and vision for smart autonomous buildings by integrating Foghorn’s edge AI platform into OpenBlue.

Foghorn has developed edge AI software for the industrial and commercial IoT markets.

“Value is increasingly being created by applying intelligence at the edge-device level to create real-time, secure, actionable insights,” said Johnson Controls CTO Vijay Sankaran. “By pervasively integrating Foghorn’s world class edge AI throughout our OpenBlue portfolio, we are accelerating the pace towards our vision of smart, autonomous buildings that continuously learn, adapt and automatically respond to the needs of the environment and people.”

As the number of sensors and amount of data in buildings continue to grow exponentially, the value of processing data and applying intelligence at the edge, without having to send data to the cloud, becomes increasingly pronounced.

Sastry Malladi, who served as chief technology officer at Foghorn, will join Johnson Controls, as vice president for OpenBlue artificial intelligence.

“We are thrilled to bring the Foghorn team and edge AI capabilities to Johnson Controls and OpenBlue,” said Malladi. “By combining our respective strengths, Johnson Controls can make an even bigger impact on continuing to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges of decarbonisation, sustainability and energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and smart, secure buildings.”

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Foghorn’s technical team will be integrated into the OpenBlue organisation. Foghorn’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, California will function as an AI hub for Johnson Controls.

With a history of more than 135 years, Johnson Controls covers industries such as healthcare, schools, data centres, airports, stadiums, manufacturing and beyond through its OpenBlue digital offering. It has a global team of 100,000 people in more than 150 countries.

Foghorn develops edge AI software for industrial and commercial IoT applications. Its software platform brings the power of analytics and machine learning to the on-premises edge environment enabling applications for monitoring and diagnostics, machine performance optimisation, proactive maintenance, and operational intelligence. The technology is suitable for OEMs, systems integrators and end users in manufacturing, power and water, oil and gas, renewable energy, mining, transportation, healthcare, retail, smart grid, smart city, smart building, and connected vehicle applications.

Johnson Controls has added indoor air quality as a service to OpenBlue for buildings, delivering energy-efficient, turnkey clean air outcomes with what is said to be an innovative financing model.

“Johnson Controls believes the best healthy buildings strategy is a holistic one,” said Ganesh Ramaswamy, vice president at Johnson Controls. “This suite of offerings delivers the market’s most comprehensive portfolio, plus expert guidance, to help customers cut building costs, raise productivity and exploit new revenue opportunities, all while delivering on their sustainability goals, resulting in healthy people, healthy places and a healthy planet.”