April 2016
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GE’s Current Buys Networked Lighting Firm Daintree Networks for $77M

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General Electric’s Current has just made its first acquisition, purchasing networked building startup Daintree Networks for a reported $77 million (AUD$100 million). GE is not disclosing the purchase price and would not comment on figures reported in the press.

Current, which calls itself a startup, is really a $1 billion company backed by global giant GE that is trying to position itself as the energy services company of the future.

Those deep pockets will help Current with acquisitions such as this one, as it builds out an ecosystem to meet customers' evolving needs. Many of its initial projects revolve around LED lighting retrofits, as it is doing with JPMorgan. Daintree began as a networked lighting company, but it now focuses on other assets in the building as well.

Current combines GE’s commercial and industrial LED lighting, solar, energy storage and electric-vehicle businesses with the predictive analytics of its industrial internet platform, Predix.

Daintree’s open-standard wireless network will be integrated with Predix to offer a layer of smart building services that are currently unavailable to most small- and medium-sized buildings that cannot justify the cost of a traditional building management system. Current describes it as a "strategic race to intelligent environments," a race that puts it in competition not only with other lighting companies but also with building control giants such as Johnson Controls and Honeywell.

Current was drawn to Daintree’s open-standard ZigBee technology, ControlScope, because it does not rely on the type of proprietary technology used by many other lighting network companies.

Although GE’s Current will own the technology, many other lighting vendors are already working with Daintree. As recently as this month, Daintree announced it is partnering with Osram Sylvania for wirelessly controlled LED fixtures.

In the past few years, Daintree has also announced partnerships with Philips and LG. Daintree has said nothing will change with those partnerships, as its commitment to open standards and an open ecosystem is core to the company’s mission. Daintree had raised $12 million from Lend Lease and Jolimont Capital.

Daintree’s network will help pull in data not only from lighting, but also from HVAC and other sensors, which can then be crunched by Current’s Predix. The goal is to help customers better evaluate energy-efficiency upgrades and execute more tailored operational efficiency. Daintree says its customers save an average of 60 percent in lighting and HVAC costs.


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