Siemens buys Brightly and launches AI buildings suite

  • July 13, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

Siemens has acquired Brightly Software, a provider of maintenance management software, and launched Building X, an open AI-enabled suite for net-zero buildings, and Xcelerator, a portfolio of IoT-enabled hardware, software and digital services.

North Carolina-based Brightly Software is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider of asset and maintenance management. The acquisition improves Siemens’ position in the software market for buildings and built infrastructure.

The purchase price is $1.575bn, plus an earn-out. The acquisition will add Brightly’s cloud-based capabilities across education, public infrastructure, healthcare and manufacturing to Siemens’ digital and software know-how in buildings. It also accelerates the build-up of Siemens’ SaaS business.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals, with closing expected this year.

Xcelerator was designed to accelerate digital transformation and value creation for users of all sizes in industry, buildings, grids and mobility. The business platform can make digital transformation easier, faster and scalable. It includes a curated portfolio of IoT enabled hardware, software and digital services from across Siemens and certified third parties; a growing ecosystem of partners; and an evolving marketplace to facilitate interactions and transactions between customers, partners and developers.

“Xcelerator will make it easier than ever before for companies to navigate digital transformation, faster and at scale,” said Roland Busch, CEO of Siemens. “By combining the real and the digital worlds across operational and information technology, we empower customers and partners to boost productivity, competitiveness and scale up innovations. Our leading portfolio is transformed towards more open applications, with more cloud-based and as-a-service offerings and IoT-enabled hardware that can be constantly upgraded. At the same time, collaboration will reach a new level with a growing ecosystem of partners.”

The first major partnership agreement under the Xcelerator umbrella is with Nvidia. The two companies have announced an expansion of their partnership to enable the industrial metaverse and increase use of AI-driven digital-twin technology that aims to bring industrial automation to a new level.

As a first step in this collaboration, the companies plan to connect Xcelerator and Nvidia Omniverse, a platform for 3D design and collaboration. This will enable an industrial metaverse with physics-based digital models from Siemens and AI-enabled, physically accurate, real-time simulation from Nvidia where companies make decisions faster and with increased confidence.

“Today’s launch of Siemens Xcelerator, this week’s acquisition of Brightly Software and our expanded partnership with Nvidia are major milestones in implementing our strategy to accelerate high-value growth,” Busch said.

The first SaaS offering as part of Xcelerator is Building X, a smart building suite to create a single source of truth that takes complexity out of digitalisation and helps users achieve their net zero goals. It is an end-to-end data and analytics suite breaking down data silos across domains such as energy management, security and building maintenance. Building X is a modular, fully cloud-based open software suite, with AI enabled applications, connectivity and built-in cyber security.

The smart building suite is open, interoperable and fully cloud-based. Building X addresses the challenges of various stakeholders, including building users, property investors, real-estate companies and facility managers. It can eliminate complexity and supports net zero targets.

Stakeholders can now digitise and use their building data from various sources, disciplines and systems on one platform. This enables a seamless user experience and the integration of existing software and ecosystem, including third party applications, through vendor agnostic connectivity and open APIs.

The suite provides modular, AI-enabled applications and built-in cyber security. It also facilitates co-creation with customers and partners to address their problems faster, thanks to the openness and cloud technology, which means digital transformation can be achieved easier, faster and at scale.

“Building X is the antidote to data silos,” said Matthias Rebellius, managing board member of Siemens. “We can now connect all data that smart building systems generate in one single data lake, scaling up smart buildings faster and moving closer to our vision of autonomous, net zero buildings. Building X creates data-based outcomes for greater efficiency, performance and experience, changing for the better the way we work and live in buildings. We look forward to co-creating use cases with our customers and partners on Building X to accelerate innovation and sustainability in the industry.”

The Building X suite features a set of applications and digital services tailored to different stakeholder groups, all connected on the AI-enabled platform. It opens possibilities to digitalise, manage and optimise building operations, bringing value to both existing buildings and new ones.

Its applications cover key domains of building management, including energy, security and building operations, backed by analytics capabilities. The applications offer a consistent user experience, where relevant data are intelligently combined to drive outcomes for users.

Building X combines the real and digital worlds of buildings by consolidating data from multiple sources into a digital building operations twin. With a virtual representation of a building, building operators can resolve issues faster. Users can benefit from the transparency it provides in their efforts to make their buildings more sustainable, achieve better building performance and optimise the user experience.