ABB buys smart home device maker, Eve Systems

ABB this week announced that it has acquired Eve Systems, a German firm best known for a broad range of smart home accessories, including smart lights, plugs, air monitors and security cameras. I’ll admit the deal initially struck me as strange, given that Zurich-based ABB is well known – in my world, at least – as one of the leaders in industrial robotic arms.

More broadly, however, it’s an industrial automation firm with electrical equipment manufacturing roots that stretch back to the late-19th century. Among its many verticals is a Smart Building division. Per the company’s site,

We are working together to create workplaces where anything is possible. Through intelligent and automatic lighting, air-conditioning, heating and movement detection, we make greater energy efficiency and increased security easier than ever. With digital solutions everything can even be controlled remotely, giving you complete control wherever you are, whenever you need it most.

Eve, meanwhile, dates back to the final year of the 20th century. Several years ago, the home automation firm shifted its focus exclusively to HomeKit. The sageness of putting all of its eggs in that specific basket was largely rendered moot by an industry wide move Matter and Thread. At CES, the company smartly went into full shift with a portfolio of products that support those standards, which work across smart home ecosystems.

“Our focus is on being the best and most comprehensive provider of smart technology and innovation for our global customers,” Mike Mustapha, ABB’s Smart Buildings Division President, said in a release. “Matter and Thread, in which Eve is a leader, is a game changing development for the uptake of smart home technology. It allows different devices and services to integrate flawlessly, intuitively, and securely, making it possible for people to manage their energy, and their surroundings conveniently and safely.”

The move is clear from ABB’s side. The conglomerate wants to deal in first party hardware when it comes to its Smart Buildings initiative. While the division currently focuses on office buildings, the move could signal a broader push into the home builders/real estate developers.

Eve CEO Jerome Gackel says, “Building on our heritage, pace of innovation and brand, we will now be combining our passion, agility and experience with ABB’s international caliber, reputation, and expertise to keep growing Eve as a global leader.”

ABB has not disclosed financial information, nor specifics around integrating Eve’s technology’s an 50-person headcount into its corporate structure. Today’s press conference will likely shed further light on the deal.

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