Articles by Anita Bunk
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I started my career in the area of satellite communications. After just two months with the company, I spent a transatlantic flight (plenty of time to talk…) with the CTO of the company, who was also one of its founders. As a complete newbie to the high-tech world, I asked him what made him a) found the company and b) still be there 30 years later. “I feel like a 20th century pioneer,” he told me. His lifetime achievement was to lay the groundwork for commercializing technology that enables communication between the earth and satellites that are 36,000 kilometers up in the sky.
Now, I work for Bosch Software Innovations. And guess what: once again, I meet pioneers. 21st century pioneers making the Internet of Things (IoT) come true. However, what I’ve learned for the IoT is that it is not just technology that counts. Finding successful business models is equally important – and no less demanding.
Meet my colleague Markus Weinberger, in my view also one of those pioneers, who is systematically working at the Bosch IoT Lab (University of St. Gallen, HSG) to assess existing business model patterns and blend them with the world of the internet and the world of things. His motivation is to help all those who want to press forward in this new IoT world by understanding new business models and supporting their work with good tools and methods.
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What is a 21th century accolade? Would an article in Harvard Business Review count? For me, it does My colleague Stefan Ferber got his accolade this week, guest authoring in the HBR Blog Network. He writes about the power of IoT changing everything and challenging traditional product business. With lots of examples, he shows how Bosch and other industrial players are preparing for IoT – and changes to their business models. He makes the case that in the Internet of Things two galaxies collide: New and “old” economy companies. He ends almost philosophically: “Will your company become a new sun, a planet, a minor moon — or be reduced to stardust?”. Judge for yourself – and join the discussion on our blog or the HBR Blog Network.
By the way, another interesting parallel to this topic: Stefanie Peitzker read Stefan’s article and immediately recalled a representative energy study from last year among 500 German energy customers (sorry to all international readers, it’s available in German only). There seems to be a shift in the German energy market: More than half of the survey’s respondents trust industrial companies such as Bosch and Siemens more to safely and better sell energy than traditional EVUs. Established business models, watch out!
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Bosch Software Innovations is at CeBIT, the world’s leading high-tech trade show. For all of you who cannot make it to Hannover, Germany, we broadcast bits and pieces from our booth and the highlights around. Before the show opened, my colleagues Stefan Ferber, Martin Schäffler and Patrick Lobert took the time to explain our core theme at CeBIT: the Internet of Things and Services.
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Today, we are proud to present you our new infographics on the Internet of Things (IoT). The piece is a joint effort of around 15 colleagues here at Bosch Software Innovations coming from the areas of business development, sales, product management, controlling & finance, product development, marketing & communications. As we were such a diverse group, we tried to add different flavors to the Internet of Things – a human perspective, a thing and technical perspective, a commercial perspective and a company perspective – to show the facets that the Internet of Things brings. Let me walk you through a few of our thoughts:
It’s happening now!
In the near future, more and more devices and systems will be capable of sending and receiving data automatically via the internet. We’re
already poised on the verge of new developments that offer enormous market potential. The Internet of Things isn’t just a distant
vision of the future, it’s already very real and is having an impact on more than just technological developments.
People talking IoT
Our infographics start with buzz around the Internet of Things (and believe us, there is loads!) We selected some tweets from multipliers in the international IoT community such as Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, Rob van Kranenburg, Charalampos Doukas, Adrian McEwen and Stefan Ferber, who reflect the diversity of topics. The IoT community around the world is fully networked through social media. The Twitter short messaging service is the fastest and maybe most popular way to spread projects, new technology, and ideas. The relevant hashtag for the Internet of Things is #IoT – just in case you want to join the discussion.
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The Internet of Things has the power to connect market participants and sectors that previously had no business dealings with one another. This generates new products and services which in turn also leads to the creation of new business models. In this context, companies should get used to the idea of cooperating at the »virtual table«. These new forms of cooperation companies enter into break away from conventional ideas, about business being divided up into sectors.
Internet-based platforms will create the basis for partners to extend or supplement what they offer in completely new ways. Bosch Software Innovations has taken a seat at the “virtual table” with its engagement in communities, pilot projects or with partners. One example is the partnership with Vodafone, which Heinz Derenbach, President of Bosch Software Innovations, presents in the following short video: “It takes two strong partners working together to provide new business models and services in the Internet of Things.”
Enjoy watching! And let us know how your virtual tables look like.
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You might wonder if this headline is politically correct – yes, it is! And it is a frequently used statement (with a twinkle in his eye ) of Prof. Dr. Elgar Fleisch, Professor for Information and Technology Management at the University of St. Gallen (HSG) & ETH Zurich. Elgar is the academic leader of the Internet of Things & Services lab, which Bosch and HSG recently founded in St. Gallen, Switzerland. His team currently comprises of five PhD students, who are developing business models for the Internet of Things & Services.
And it is usually how the answer begins when you ask him Which PhD candidates are you looking for? Watch our new video interview to learn more about the »genetic defect«. He also goes more into detail on how the lab works and why he thinks Bosch and the University of St. Gallen are complementary partners for such a venture.
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You all know my colleague Stefan Ferber, who is our ambassador for the Internet of Things & Services. We met for a short video Q&A – in a library and cycling on the road . He told me: “If you think the Internet was a revolution – well – the Internet of Things & Services is more than that.” Hmm.
This is his rationale – and then you really can see the power of IoT: Bosch produces millions of products every day, e.g. video cameras, coffee machines, solar cells, spark plugs, navigation systems etc. So with the help of Bosch Software Innovations’ IoT technology, we do not only want to connect these devices with the internet, but also offer new apps and services on top of it. This will not only impact you and me as consumers, but also industry – imagine the power of fully connected plants or logistics fleets. So in order to make this work, we need to explore new and sustainable business models for Bosch. One of the channels we leverage is the new lab established by Bosch at the University of St. Gallen to develop new business models.
Stop – wait a minute. Business models developed by a university? Feasible? Stefan’s clear answer: “Yes.” He gives us insight into the lab. On an eBike. Enjoy watching!
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Today, I am writing this blog post humbly and honored. Some of you might know that in September, Bosch Software Innovations opened a lab for the Internet of Things & Services (IoT) at the University of St. Gallen. My personal highlight of the event was to meet with Dr. Siegfried Dais, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Management of Robert Bosch GmbH. In his keynote, he emphasized that the Internet of Things & Services is of major importance for Bosch’s future growth and that the new lab plays an important role in discovering promising business models. Working for the Bosch Group since January this year, two aspects of his keynote were particularly impressive for me: I was not only listening to a colleague, who joined Bosch in 1979, but also to a leader, who helped shaping the global technological evolution of the last three decades. You can imagine, I was pretty excited and nervous, when I got the chance to meet him for a short video Q&A.
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OK, I know, the headline is a little bit of a tease. However, USA Today titled an early June story »How women are changing the tech world« – so I am safe, right? When I recently did some research on some of the key people in the internet of things and services (IoT), I discovered that only a few of them are women, but they are influential figures. Neelie Kroes, Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, Christine Outram – just to mention a few. And I added two to my list: Sirkka Freigang, one of the authors of an IoT skill study (read our recent interview with Sirkka here) and Barbara Ruhmann, working for the isw Institute for Structural Policy and Economic Development, and managing the »Female Smart House Professionals« project. We invited Barbara to introduce this IoT venture here in our blog.
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My colleague Stefan Ferber recently argued that software is currently the greenest raw material available – and has the power to move us to a greener economy. In particular for sectors that are hardware and infrastructure intensive such as electric utilities, latest software developments can bring significant savings potential. One of our U.S. customers, Green Charge Networks (GCN), a thought leader for U.S. energy software and storage solutions, argues that “utilities can save between three and ten times the cost using software versus infrastructure upgrades”. A strong statement.