The real Industry 4.0 revolution is in business models

“At Bosch, we’re not just making connected industry a reality, it already is – and its future is bright around the world,” says Werner Struth, member of the board of management, Robert Bosch GmbH

“At Bosch, we’re not just making connected industry a reality, it already is – and its future is bright around the world.” These were the words of Bosch board of management member Werner Struth at this year’s CeBIT in Hannover, Germany. As a manufacturer of consumer and capital goods, Bosch is not only a supplier, but also a user of technologies for the connected industry. So if you think about it, Bosch is in a pretty good position to put all the know-how you need for connected industry projects to its best. Here are some facts:

How to leverage vehicle data

Internet of Things: There are lots of things, but they’re not talking to each other, headlined Heise recently. As a data lover with project experience in the automotive sector, I have extensively dealt with concepts to connect vehicles. However in this blog article, I want to go one step back and think first about the connectedness within a vehicle, the originating data, and if / how automakers and their suppliers already use the web to collect comprehensive data from cars for profiling.

Did you know that a new car features 70 or more ECUs (electronic control units)?

Did you know that a new car features 70 or more ECUs (electronic control units)?

As it happens, the issue is much more complicated than you might think. These days it’s not uncommon for a new car to feature 70 or more ECUs (electronic control units), each of them constantly collecting data. And it’s this huge variety of control units that complicates matters: on the one hand they are made by various manufacturers and operate autonomously, but on the other hand they share various in-vehicle bus systems ranging from tried-and-trusted CAN buses to FlexRay, MOST, and modern Ethernet-based systems for transmitting camera data. These bus systems in turn connect via gateways controlled by the automaker. Read more…

Looking backward and forward in the Internet of Things

Looking back and moving forward in IoT: What were the most exciting happenings over the past several months and what can we expect in 2014?

The end of one year and the beginning of the next is a good time to reflect. 2013 has seen some amazing changes in the Internet of Things world and this year promises even more. To see the vision of a connected world materialize is an exciting thing. The realization of a truly scaled Internet of Things (IoT) is a bit like living in a world of science fiction. It’s not surprising that IoT is met with euphoria, scepticism and hesitancy – often all in the same breath.

Over the past several months, I’ve written on various topics including energy management, smart homes, security solutions, connected cars, analytics and more. I’ve written about the transition from an M2M to an IoT world and illustrated some of the differences. And I’ve written about the security concerns that can thwart the inevitable development of an Internet of Things. Read more…

“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?

Read more…

Urbanville – a showcase for a smart city platform

At Bosch ConnectedWorld 2014, two of my colleagues explained ‘Urbanville’, an app demonstrator showcasing potential functionalities used in smart city environments. Urbanville is based on a software platform that connects software and backend systems with for example public services, such as bus networks, parking lot management, waste collection, and information on road works. It provides up-to-date information to users and helps various city departments to operate more efficiently. As best communication works both ways, Urbanville also has a crowd sourcing function that illustrates how people can actively participate in and improve city life. So in addition to the existing fault recognition system, users will be able to log relevant visual and status information about the condition of public services.

Watch the video here:

Business models relevant for IoT

There have been some articles focusing on women in the tech world and in IoT.

Today, I’d like to add a very fundamental dimension for the Internet of Things besides technology – business models, and like to introduce you to Karolin Frankenberger, the head of the Competence Center Business Model Innovation at the University of St. Gallen. Karolin and her team developed what I often call the ‘Swiss army knife for business model innovation’:  The St. Gallen Business Model Innovation Navigator, a tool supporting companies to strategically innovate. Her prediction for business models in the Internet of Things: Competition will no longer take place between products, but between business models. And, hybrid business models will emerge, the most important ones at the moment being (1) digitally reloaded products, (2) sensor as a service, and (3) digital add-ons.

Watch here some highlights of Karolin Frankenberger’s presentation from the Bosch ConnectedWorld conference. 


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.

Connecting ‘everything’ creates economic value and makes lives easier

“We both share the same vision on the Internet of Things”, said Michael Ganser from Cisco about the collaboration with Bosch at the ConnectedWorld 2014 conference in Berlin. In our video he explains the benefits of the connected world of the future:

The future of manufacturing: Industry 4.0 and factory automation are no longer buzzwords

Thomas Löffler from McKinsey opened the manufacturing track at the Bosch ConnectedWorld 2014 conference. Being one of the “early birds in IoT”, he argues that the Internet of Things has already become reality in manufacturing and that companies will need a ‘digital blueprint’ to be ready for its challenges. Bosch’s Andreas Müller – also known as ‘RFID Müller’ :-) in the industry and German Wirtschaftswoche calls him the ‘master of things’ – gave an outlook on how RFID technology can be complemented in the future by smart sensors for better supporting the supply chain. Uwe Lindemann from Bosch Rexroth is responsible for factory automation and knows that the Internet of Things has already left infancy in the manufacturing industry.

Watch this short video with highlights of their presentations to get some more information about the future of manufacturing.

What are Bosch’s success factors for the Internet of Things?

Watch here a short video with the Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner on three aspects that he thinks make Bosch successful in the Internet of Things:

1) Intelligent devices
2) Software
3) Innovative business models