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Lights off – spot on!

20131211_Infographics_IoT_Lab_Security_Light_150dpiIt’s funny how we’re conditioned to our light switches at home. Press a button and the lights turn on. Press the same button again, off they are.

But have you ever noticed what happened if the bulb is broken? It happened to me lately and I still believed that the magic would work. It didn’t.

On the other hand: How much more magic could our lights provide, if they were connected to the internet?

Wouldn’t it be great to …

know when to change the bulb, before it breaks?

have lights that turn on automatically when needed? Or off, once not needed any longer (especially in a kid’s room)?

have lights that support your moods throughout the day?

have lights that scare the thief away before getting interested in your home?

Have a look at the infographic from researchers of the Bosch IoT Lab at the University of St. Gallen and stay tuned for more insights on connected light bulbs.

Download infographic

Three years with my smart home – a self-test

Changes in life open up new opportunities. When I started working for Bosch in Automotive Electronics, relocating into my new, rented apartment in Reutlingen, Germany, gave me a chance to install my private smart home from scratch – leveraging all my prior existing household appliances and devices. Open source software and cheap hardware provided a low entry level for me, and after having worked for 15 years in consumer electronics, it was a fun, distracting project. Since then my smart home and I have been living together for three years, so I can come to a few longer-term conclusions. Let me first say it’s important to understand that the results are individual (rental apartment, daily life) and cannot be generalized. Now let me briefly introduce you to my set-up and what I’ve learned.

First things first: moving into a new environment allowed me to install two separate power circuits per room, one for the devices that need to be powered all the time such as refrigerator, router or landline phone, and one for those that can be switched off.

Yearly electrical power consumption

Yearly electrical power consumption

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“The only enemy of art is … “ your room climate

Once I saw the works of Paul Rigger who’s researching at the Bosch IoT Lab (University of St. Gallen, HSG), I knew that Thomas Hoving was wrong when he said: “The only enemy of art is taste.”

As outlined earlier, we still need to improve our awareness, when it comes to room climate. Latest trends of “quantified self” helps us to work on a variety of data from a person’s daily life, like calorie intake, steps taken, quality of sleep and many others. So called “wearable computing” will support an easy way of tracking all theses parameters automatically. Still most important to us is the quality of the air that we breathe.

How to engage with an abstract like indoor air quality?

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On butterflies – and high-end home automation

Bernhard Dörstel from Busch-Jaeger Elektro, an ABB company and market leader in the area of electrical installation technology, used the image of a caterpillar and its metamorphosis to a butterfly as synonym for the development of home automation into a mass market. In his opinion, the following trends will influence this particular market segment:

  1. Networking – connected people, smart things (Internet of Things)
  2. Silver revolution – staying young while getting old
  3. Female shift – women define the future (and are the decision-makers for anything that comes “into the house”)

At the Bosch ConnectedWorld Conference, Mr. Dörstel outlined that ‘best agers’ are best targeted by high-end home automation as they combine both above average income and budget to spend as well as above average interest in technology (audio/video devices, smartphones, tablets). Therefore, the most successful sales channels are electricians and installers – more than 60,000 alone in Germany.

Watch here the highlights of Bernhard Dörstel’s presentation.

Do you care about good air?

Let’s be honest: Each year starts with plenty good “new year’s resolutions” and one of the most common is: Live a healthier lifestyle! I admit: For years I followed this principle. Christmas and New Year’s Eve passed with tons of good food and evenings with friends and family and some drinks here and there. So why not start with cutting down and changing to a healthy diet. Water rather than sparkling wine…

On the other hand: How much do we fuss about right food and drinks, while “good air” is most important for us?

How much do we know about good air? How much do we care about good air?

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Greetings from CES 2014

CES, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and the Walhalla for gadget freaks and technology chasers has closed its doors on a very successful edition this January 2014. The number of visitors exceeded 150,000, which is more than the population of a medium-size city and 3,200 companies had their booth and staff camping on the premises for four buzzing days.

By the way, the first CES edition took place in 1967 and was held in New York. 100 companies were exhibiting and the number of visitors amounted to 17,500.

Next to the traditional flood of new TVs (curved), smart phones (also curved), tablets and gadgets (“wearables”), the main topic and prevailing trend on the industry’s agenda was the Internet of Things, and more specific: “the Smart Home”.

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May we introduce you to smart sensors?

CES 2014 was bursting with the latest Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Bosch showcased smart sensors that connect everyday home systems to a smart phone. Ever forgot to turn down the heating before leaving your home? Smart sensors make it possible to regulate not only temperature, but also other atmospheric conditions. Meet my colleague Thorsten Müller from Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions.


Do you turn off the lights when you leave home?


…. Why not your radiator, too?

When it comes to our rooms, majority has two thoughts: In summer “too warm”, in winter “too cold”.

While warm and cold are relative terms, also in winter a too warm room can have negative side effects.

There is more to room climate than heating:  While we notice “too warm” with our subjective sensors, “too warm” in objective measures lowers room humidity. And we have no real biological sensors for the right level of humidity in our rooms.

Have you ever wondered why you got a dry or scratchy throat after some time in a comfy warm room?

While most of us know the exact consumption of our cars, how much do you know about your radiators and thermostats?

What are your thoughts on the impact of room climate?

Have a look at the infographic from the Bosch IoT Lab at the University of St. Gallen and stay tuned for more insights on room climate….

Download now


How is your refrigerator feeling today? Opportunities in IoT for smart homes

With 1.8 billion households worldwide in 2012, there are many growth opportunities in the smart home sector.

With 1.8 billion households worldwide in 2012, there are many growth opportunities in the smart home sector.

Do you want your appliances connected to a WiFi or other network in your home? Do you want a video-based security and surveillance solution that can identify the people who live in your home or are possible intruders? Do you want a system that monitors for broken water pipes when you’re away on vacation?

There are myriad solutions that enable the smart home and there is no end in the creativity shown by product and service vendors in offering these types of solutions. With 1.8 billion households worldwide in 2012, there are many growth opportunities in this sector. But the trick is finding target segments for these solutions, creating easy-to-use solutions and offering solutions at prices that are reasonable enough to attract the target segments. Read more…

Cooperating internationally on an open B2B Service Platform for the Smart Homes of the future

From left to right: Mr. Ganser (Cisco), Mr. Min (LG), Mr. Hartung (Bosch), Mr. Schumacher (ABB).

From left to right: Mr. Ganser (Cisco), Mr. Min (LG), Mr. Hartung (Bosch), Mr. Schumacher (ABB).

First things first: ABB, Bosch, Cisco and LG have signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a consortium to provide a service platform for smart homes.

While this is “just” a first step, I’d consider it a big and significant one, as the parties intend to develop an open architecture for data exchange.

Can you imagine a platform, which would allow diverse devices and services to interoperate and to exchange information with each other? A platform that would enable software distribution and that would allow appliances and devices made by different manufacturers to be part of home automation, security, healthcare, and entertainment services? A business ecosystem that leverages on existing standards to provide an open B2B Service Platform for a huge variety of users and partners? Read more…