Emerging business model pattern: Physical product digitally reloaded

Our Bosch IoT Lab’s project ‘SecurityLight – comfy’ recently won the BearingPoint Be.Project 2014 startup competition. Nine student teams from Germany, Austria and Switzerland presented their projects to a jury at the finals in Zurich.

This video introduces the core team of our winning project:

The project integrates presence detection and internet connectivity into an LED light bulb to create an easy-to-install automated lighting solution. More specifically, the concept addresses many of the challenges – for example, power supply – that we encountered with earlier concepts. Light fixtures are usually well-placed to offer good coverage of the room, and they have a power supply. Replacing a standard light bulb with a smart device of this kind takes only a matter of seconds, thus dramatically reducing the entry threshold to installing a smart home solution.

But this is just the beginning, as such a device opens up a host of additional opportunities. A survey revealed that many people are much more interested in security than automated lighting when it comes to smart home applications. SecurityLight provides several security features including the ability to simulate presence by turning lights on and off while nobody is at home. It can inform the home owner of unexpected activity at the residence and can deter intruders by causing lights to flash. All of this is achieved as non-intrusively as possible, without the need for cameras monitoring the living room.

New IoT business model pattern

Our group at the Bosch IoT Lab, chaired by Prof. Fleisch, analyzes the relation between the IoT and business models. From this perspective SecurityLight is a good example of a ‘physical product digitally reloaded‘ – something we believe represents a potential new business model pattern. A well-known physical product, in this case the light bulb, is extended via the addition of primarily digital features – presence detection, connectivity, analytics, an app – to become a whole new product: a security system. This shift inevitably affects its value proposition, but also opens up new opportunities for revenue models and partnering, and can even facilitate access to new customer segments.

I’d be delighted to hear from anyone who’d like to share any similar examples of this business model pattern with me.

You are invited to sign up here if you´d like to be informed as soon as ‘SecurityLight – comfy’ enters the market.


About the author

Markus Weinberger

Markus Weinberger

I am Professor for “Internet of Things” at Aalen University. Before I have been Director of the Bosch Internet of Things & Services Lab at the University of St. Gallen. During the almost 15 years at Bosch I gained experience in such different fields as driver assistance systems, internal auditing and engineering services. I had the opportunity to work in areas like ergonomics, calibration of electronic control units, project management, process management and Enterprise 2.0. I hold a Ph.D. in Engineering from the Technische Universität München. I studied mechanical engineering in Munich and Trondheim, Norway.