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One of Bosch’s key competencies: Orchestrating things
The Internet of Things and Services (IoTS) was a recurring topic in Bosch’s annual press conference, held on April 26. There were a few key take-aways for me: Bosch’s top management is passionately committed to the IoTS – Franz Fehrenbach, Volkmar Denner and Siegfried Dais all showed with many examples why Bosch is a significant player in the Web 3.0. Secondly, Bosch’s vision and strategy for IoTS reside on four pillars.
Pillar #1: A non-traditional way on developing business
Volkmar Denner explained that IoTS business models of the future are not yet fully predictable. In demand is a dynamic and explorative mindset. This organizational concept is lived at Bosch Software Innovations, where Bosch has set up “innovation clusters” for connected mobility, connected energy, and the connected building. Why? These clusters play the role of an incubator – like a start-up – , taking advantage of the domain competencies in the divisions but removed from the pressures of everyday business, an innovation cluster is a test ground for new business ideas in the IoTS.
Pillar #2: It’s about people & research
In 2011, the global headcount of the Bosch Group increased by 19,000 to 302,500. By the end of 2012, it is expected that 43,000 researchers and developers will work at Bosch. For certain business areas, we also cooperate closely with academia. Well, you might ask, how many Bosch associates work in software engineering. Today, it is one in four. For Bosch Software Innovations this means that our staff is foreseen to grow from 450 today to roughly 1,000 by 2015.
Bosch knows its roots. Siegfried Dais summed them up in three words: messen, steuern, regeln – typical characteristics of hardware such as power tools, vehicles or appliances. Volkmar Denner, who will succeed Franz Fehrenbach as chairman on July 1, 2012, said: “Up to now, software has generally been embedded in our hardware. On the internet of things and services, however, technical devices of all kinds will themselves communicate with their environment, via IP interfaces. Technically, this requires that our products be web-enabled.” The Web 3.0 has already arrived in Bosch products: the first heating system with a web interface is available in summer 2012, every second Security Systems video camera is already web-enabled, and BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte are working on smart grid-ready appliances.
Pillar #4: Don’t rest on your laurels – technology AND services
At the annual press conference, a journalist asked why Bosch sees itself well positioned for business in the IoTS. Volkmar Denner’s answer was multi-faceted. The essence, however, is that the combination of technology and services matters.
As in IoTS technical devices communicate with each other, their software intelligence can be transferred to systems and service platforms – like the one of Bosch Software Innovations. The important thing for Bosch is that we are able to very quickly connect different hardware domains on our web-based platform and at the same time offer the fully fledged tool set to build cloud-based services on top. My colleague Dirk Slama demonstrates how this could work.
Franz Fehrenbach said on Thursday that Bosch has always strived to link the present with the future. Bosch’s engagement in the IoTS shows to me that this statement is not just a flowery phrase by an executive. It’s real. You have it in writing, here in this blog. So stay tuned and subscribe our RSS feed!