In one of the biggest private sales of Australian technology, a local building automation startup has been sold to a big American multinational for more than A$100 million.
GE's purchase of Daintree Networks will acquire the company's highly regarded wireless system for controlling lighting and air-conditioning, which is used in 1000 commercial buildings in the US.
Daintree's team of 30 engineers in Melbourne and about 30 staff in California and Massachusetts will join an internal GE startup called Current, which deploys Predix, GE's industrial internet software platform.
The acquisition will enable Current to expand its building automation platform and its energy-as-a-service offering to small- and medium-size facilities across the globe. This will be achieved through the deployment of Daintree's open, standards-based wireless control systems.
The integration into Predix will make it easier for building managers to analyse data collected from Daintree sensors. It will also enable reductions in energy costs at a higher rate than the 60 per cent the company already claims on behalf of US clients such as Universal Music Group and National Bank Of Arizona.
Now part of Current, Daintree's Australian engineers will remain in Melbourne to maintain the group's entrepreneurial culture but the merger will give it a global platform. The local team are regarded as "thought leaders" in the world of wireless mesh networking.
US technology companies are looking increasingly to Australian tech talent who are regarded as gifted and loyal. They will also form an integral part of the approach to the emerging boom in industrial internet.
The industrial internet is where the consumer internet was in 1999. GE has projected that there will be 50 billion connected machines by 2020, including 100 million connected lightbulbs, which will be powerful drivers of information.