Viessmann driving digital innovations by founding in-house companies and investing in startups
- Technologies in the deep, prop and energy tech areas are extending the digital business
- Venture capital companies and company builders enable broader view
- Additional value added for customers and companies
Berlin, April 19, 2018 ⎯ Digital transformation in the core, extension and diversification ⎯ this is the triad Viessmann is using to drive digitalization in the company. With integrated system solutions, as well as digital products and services, Viessmann is creating a feel-good climate in the company, both inside and outside its own four walls. Fully in line with the new purpose “Create living spaces. For generations to come.”
Transformation and extension: easier operation and more convenience
Within the company, along with its core business, the digital transformation promotes a future-oriented corporate culture that leaves room for creativity and innovation, as well as the digitalization of products and processes. One example is Vitoconnect 100 (https://www.viessmann.de/de/viessmann-apps/vitoconnect.html), a tool that helps heat generators connect to the internet so that they can be controlled by the homeowner using an app or serviced online by the specialist contractor.
Viessmann is extending its core business with new digital products and thus enhancing value added for customers. As part of the Viessmann Group, VC/O (https://www.v-co.io/) in Berlin is developing new business models in the area of digitalization and smart living. The first company founded by Viessmann is Cary (https://takecary.com/). At first available only in Berlin and Munich, Cary takes care of the household, for instance with food deliveries, cleaning services or parcel deliveries. The key element is the smart-lock system by Nuki and Nello. Controlled by Cary employees, these electronic locking systems allow service providers to enter the home. So the household practically takes care of itself when its occupants are out.
The WATTx company builder (https://wattx.io/) is part of the Viessmann Group and works to open up deep tech opportunities. The first WATTx spinoff was Snuk (https://www.snuk.io/) in June of 2017. This platform for IoT communication within a building complex is intended to be used at airports, hospitals and hotels, among other places. Various systems can be linked smoothly together by means of an individualized infrastructure. Thus facility management is optimized and transparency is enhanced for the owner. Even at Viessmann itself, Snuk was able to help improve a few production processes.
The most recent WATTx spinoff started operations on April 5: Statice (https://wattx.io/portfolio/statice.html) is a tool for automatic anonymization of sensitive customer data. Taking account of general data protection regulations (DSGVO), Statice enables the use of data for purposes of research and analysis without any traceability to individual persons. The long-term goal is to promote collaboration between researchers, companies and data scientists.
Diversification: keeping up with customer needs thanks to promotion of innovative projects
Viessmann entered the startup ecosystem through various paths. Its interest is to get a better insight into the needs of people at first hand and decisive structure shifts even outside its own industry. Another goal is to support promising founders in order to help shape this change. The startups develop both technology-driven innovations as well as new business models.
By way of the Munich venture capital fund Vito Ventures (http://vito.vc/), Viessmann is making targeted investments in B2B deep tech startups and technologies that are of relevance across various industries. The substantive focus is on artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, autonomous systems and cyber security, among others. Apart from financial participation, Viessmann profits by gaining comprehensive insight into the most recent technological developments. The Vito Ventures portfolio also includes Artisense (http://www.artisense.ai), a computer vision solution for robotics and self-driving vehicles based on artificial intelligence. The algorithms developed by Artisense make it possible to create dynamic 3D maps in real time from conventional video recordings. These maps serve as a behavioral basis for vehicles and robots. The Artisense technology is characterized by a high degree of precision, flexibility and robustness.
Vito ONE is another of the venture capital funds. In contrast to Vito Ventures, it focuses on startups in the prop tech, construction tech and energy tech sector which aim to improve the entire value added chain of a property sustainably and digitally. These topics are much closer to Viessmann’s core business. gridX (https://gridx.de/) is such a company. As a “digital electricity provider,” it offers not only a completely digital change of provider and 100 percent green electricity, but also intelligent energy management for the home: the gridBox combines many systems and applications in the home and thereby helps optimize and maximize self-generated electricity, such as that from fuel cell or photovoltaic systems.