The Vaillant Group is a global market and technology leader in the fields of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning technology. For over 140 years, they have been following a strategy designed to achieve sustainable and profitable growth. Today, the company has 10 sites in 6 European countries and China. Its plants manufacture high-efficiency products.
In its bid to protect the environment, the Vaillant group are working towards challenging targets. These are: reducing CO₂ emissions by 25 per cent, water consumption by 50 per cent and waste volume by 20 per cent.
Vaillant offers its customers worldwide eco-friendly, energy-saving heating, and ventilation systems. These are increasingly using renewable energy. These products are energy efficient and environmentally-friendly throughout their entire life cycle. From development to purchasing, production and use, all the way through to service and recycling.
The process of digitization did no skip over the heating technology industry. Today, the Vaillant group’s day-to-day operations include software development, IT services and data-driven business models. This presents both an opportunity and a challenge. The transformation of a traditional industrial company into an industrial and technology company does not just happen. Active measures are needed to ensure its success. Digitization has made the ability to create innovative products in a short time more important than ever.
Speed was also the name of the game when it came to building the cloud-native infrastructure that was to support this initiative. There were six months alloted to this. The initial plan was to go with kuberntes on Azure. Evaluation of proprietary kuberntes solutions from Azure revealed that ACS was end of life and AKS still did not have all of the required functionality. The solution was vanilla kuberntes running on Azure. Giant Swarm was chosen as a compliment to the Microsoft offering as they offered their fully managed solution on Azure. In this way the required business velocity was fully supported.
Despite a technology swap mid-project, the API developer program was ready for launch on time. Giant Swarm was introduced 2 months after the project start date, with no move on the end date, 4 months later. Without Giant Swarm the project would have gone beyond the allotted 6 months.
The IoT field is a new area of growth for the Vaillant group. The software is the product here. The goal is to make intelligent use of the data gathered from Vaillant's heating appliances to offer customers added value. Safe and reliable API services that are easy to use. As a result the Vaillant group not only offers its customers heating appliances and connectivity products on a one-off basis, but also provides an ongoing data-based service.
Speed is still the name of the game and in the 18 months following the initial launch of the cloud-native stack, Vaillant's IoT team rolled out 3 applications.