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Bosch IoT cloud as an IoT-service. Source: Bosch

Volkmar Denner

Volkmar Denner has been chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH and a limited partner of Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG since July 1, 2012.

Perhaps one of the most exciting developments happening in the Bosch Group at the moment is its transition to an IoT company. The IoT offers a wealth of opportunities in all our business areas: in connected vehicles, connected power tools, connected industry, and smart home solutions, to name just a few. Our strategic target for all of our electronic product categories is to be IoT-enabled by 2020. In order to achieve this ambitious target, we need to put an IoT infrastructure in place that provides our operating units, customers, and business partners with a reliable, efficient, and scalable onramp to the IoT.

Any such IoT infrastructure has multiple facets, and we should perhaps remind ourselves that Rome wasn’t built in a day. One of the first critical IoT infrastructure elements we built was the Bosch IoT Suite. Its components today already connect and manage more than 5 million devices. Another important piece of the IoT puzzle is of course sensor technology. Since 1995, Bosch has delivered some 7 billion MEMS sensors. Every day, more than 4 million MEMS sensors leave Bosch’s state-of-the-art wafer plant in Reutlingen, Germany. Another important milestone was the launch of our XDK sensor kit. Developers inside and outside our company can now create new functions with our sensors.

Underpinning our IoT strategy – the Bosch IoT Cloud

We unveiled the Bosch IoT Cloud at Bosch ConnectedWorld on March 9. This was a very significant step in our ongoing work to build up an IoT infrastructure. Bosch’s own cloud underpins our company’s overarching connectivity strategy – a strategy that aims to design and launch new business models and services in the fields of connected mobility, smart homes, connected energy, connected buildings, smart cities, and connected industry. In the future, Bosch will provide its customers with all the components that make up the connected world – sensors for collecting data, software for developing IoT solutions, and the cloud itself – and it will do so reliably, in the accustomed Bosch quality, and from a single source.

Naturally, one question we had to ask ourselves was: what role should the cloud play in an IoT infrastructure? In order to answer this question, it’s essential to know precisely what capabilities a cloud designed specifically for the IoT has to have.

Five patterns an IoT cloud must support

From research, we know that an IoT cloud must support some very specific application patterns, which in turn will set it apart from other types of cloud. Most IoT solutions are based on a common model: intelligent assets (vehicles, machines, etc.) are connected to business services. Naturally, an IoT cloud has to support this model.

Infographic showing fice pattern an IoT cloud must support.
Five patterns an IoT cloud has to support.

Pattern 1: Cloud-based applications

This first pattern supports applications that reside solely in the cloud – in other words, applications that are not connected to any assets or devices. In many respects, this pattern is supported by any normal cloud: these days, we simply expect a cloud to provide basic support for the things such as developing responsive web applications. But there are some aspects to this pattern that are specific to the IoT. Before connecting to the asset, most IoT solutions require basic functions, such as master data management for users and assets. IoT application developers demand basic functions from a cloud, including the ability to manage the relationship between users and assets also with different access rights.

Pattern 2: Asset-based applications

The second pattern addresses the other side of the equation: an IoT cloud has to support application logic and data, which enables autonomous asset behavior. This is important for many mission-critical solutions that simply cannot rely on the assumption that the asset is always connected. Take, for example, an automated car driving through a tunnel. It is crucial that the automated car still performs all essential functions, despite the temporary lack of connectivity caused by the tunnel.

However, even if asset functions have to perform autonomously in this pattern, there is one dependency on the cloud. Since most IoT solutions are constantly evolving, the IoT cloud’s job is to ensure that software is distributed to the asset whenever a sufficient level of connectivity is available. This is a huge challenge, especially when it comes to managing large numbers of distributed assets with different versions of many different application services.

Pattern 3: Distributed IoT applications

While basic autonomous functions will be integral to most IoT solutions, many will also want to leverage the ability to combine and integrate an application’s logic and data, both on the asset and in the cloud. Distributed IoT applications can be extremely powerful, with the means to harness the IoT’s full potential. A fitting example is Bosch’s Connected Horizon: augmented map data is managed in the cloud, which adds information about things like speed limits, construction sites, and bends. This data can be downloaded to the vehicle and used to support advanced driver assistance functions. For example, if the car is aware of a speed limit ahead, it can automatically switch into coasting mode and decelerate to the required speed by the time the new speed limit applies.

Pattern 4: Digital twin

The basic idea here is that IoT provides us with the ability to create a digital twin of the physical asset based on readouts from machine components as well as additional sensors. This digital twin in the cloud will open up many new functions and solutions, including predictive analytics.

If combined with an IoT cloud app store, the digital twin pattern also promises to help establish new applications. The key benefit for application developers in this scenario is that they don’t have to worry about connecting to the asset and extracting the data. Instead, these applications are simply deployed in a secure sandbox in the cloud, which controls data access for each application. Because the applications are not deployed on the asset, but only in the cloud, the sandbox approach reduces the security risks. Ultimately, development costs are dramatically reduced, which means IoT applications can be developed at cloud speed. Take a usage-based insurance application: instead of having to deploy a costly telematics unit on each new customer’s car, the application can now simply be deployed in the cloud, using the digital twin to calculate the driver’s individual driving score in real time.

Pattern 5: Social IoT

The idea here is that data from multiple assets can be aggregated and used by multiple applications. These applications can use this “social” IoT data to benefit either the community or an individual asset user. A good example of this pattern is community-based parking. More and more cars are being equipped with advanced sensors that allow for real-time measurements of the car’s surroundings. The data gathered can then be used to identify available parking spots as the car drives by. If each car is constantly sharing its position and data on available parking spaces in the area, a social IoT solution can aggregate this data and make it available to those drivers who are currently looking for a parking spot. In order to support the social IoT pattern, an IoT cloud would have to be capable of supporting data ingestion and processing on a massive scale. What’s more, the IoT cloud needs an enforceable data management and security policy to ensure that only designated data is shared.

Source: 1
Smart Home: Thanks to intelligent technology, smart homes can now adjust many things in the background without the residents having to lift a finger, making life more convenient, secure, and sustainable.
Source: 1
Connected Manufacturing – Industry 4.0: Process data from multiple plants is monitored and documented in real time. With this, production becomes more transparent and efficient.
Source: 1
Powertools: TrackMyTools gives inventory managers access to all the required data on the company's inventory whenever they need it. It also lets tradespeople know where their tools are at all times, and tells them whether they have all the necessary equipment with them when they are about to attend a call-out or go on site.
Source: 1
RaceCloud: Racecar data can be monitored from anywhere in near real time. A radio transmitter installed in the car uses 4G mobile technology to transmit engine, position, and speed data directly to the receivers in the pit lane.
Source: 1
Connected Parking: More and more cars are being equipped with advanced sensors that allow for real-time measurements of the car’s surroundings. The data gathered can then be used to identify available parking spots as the car drives by.

Now after listing the needs let me close by saying the Bosch IoT Cloud is one of the most important milestones of our transformation into a product company with advanced IT capabilities. Why? The answer is clear:

  • We believe the Bosch IoT Cloud strategically completes the Bosch IoT portfolio triad of sensors, software and services.
  • We believe the Bosch IoT Cloud is the foundation for a large number of successful IoT service solutions, delivered by Bosch and our partners
  • We believe the Bosch IoT Cloud is the answer for those concerned about privacy and security.

Bosch – Invented for life.

More by Volkmar Denner

In the digital world, major corporations have to become more agile. How does Bosch tackle this topic?

The IoT affects all areas of our lives and offers major business opportunities. Why the connected world is not some distant dream.

The connected world offers many different opportunities. Volkmar Denner shares his views.


  • 28. March 2017 at 13:36

    The Bosch IoT Cloud is literally the final piece of the puzzle which is especially noteworthy in context of the fact that Bosch is the only company in the world that is active on all three IoT Levels namely Sensors, Software & Service. In layman’s words if Bosch embeds sensors in each of its manufactured products and enables connectivity and collects the data then the subsequent step of gathering the relevant data and marketing it would monetise the entire IoT endeavour in a most effective and profitable manner while also contributing to uplifting the standard of life for every user.

  • 31. December 2016 at 23:46

    Great, we are getting closer to making the Internet of things happen.

  • 30. December 2016 at 10:22

    Great step to establish a own BOSCH IoT cloud! I am really excited about the BOSCH IoT future in this world full of new possibilities!

  • 21. April 2016 at 13:36

    It is great to see the “conservative” Bosch finally taking risks and entering new business fields. I believe that this is a right step towards future success.
    Connecting the world (if used in the right sense) can collaboratively benefit in finding the solutions to the problems which we face today and would make our daily life even more simpler.
    I am confident that Bosch would also extend this business even more further and would concentrate also in solving the global problems which our globe is facing.

    Avinash De Souza

  • 24. March 2016 at 4:41

    I hope they integrate Bitcoin microtransactions

  • 14. March 2016 at 13:28

    Interesting development….
    Future lies with data integration….
    It’s necessary and important that Bosch has a robust, flexible, user-friendly & secure data infrastructure.
    We need to built good seed coat (wrapper) to protect our cotyledon (data).
    The deep research has to go in for data structuring so that we store the data in a way that it’s reachable for algorithms in very few steps.

  • 13. March 2016 at 15:33

    I think DARPA’s observations voiced in its BRASS initiative – the economic viability and longevity of software systems – is directly relevant to the success of IoT. DARPA argue that for longevity and cost effectiveness – software systems need to dynamically adapt to the changing environments within which they find themselves. This together together with the issue of ‘Data Gravity’ will mandate that successful IoT solutions will NOT be based on centralised Clouds – but federated Cloud solutions whose structures mirror the underlying Internet itself (i.e. a self-similar connectivity graph that broadly follows a power-law w.r.t. scale).

    Adaption, Data Gravity and Federation are inter-connect concerns/concepts and all require modularity as a foundation. For this reason I argue in that the OSGi module system is not only an essential enabler of the IoT Edge – but also at all layers of an adaptive IoT hierarchy of Services. It is interesting to note that the Open Connectivity Foundation are also starting to present a similar vision: only in a much more limited / restricted sense or Microservices.

    I’ll be present on some of these ideas at CeBIT and for those interested will post a link to the slide deck once these are on-line.


    Paremus CEO & OSGi Alliance Board

  • 13. March 2016 at 6:45

    Good progress @Bosch IT and must read for the IoT enthusiasts on the applications and architecture using IOT cloud.

  • 11. March 2016 at 15:36

    Its great news for IOT enthusiasts and developers to develop IOT apps more securely.

  • 11. March 2016 at 9:35

    Although I am not convinced that connecting literally everything to the internet will turn out to be a really “smart” idea in the long run, I appreciate that we decided to establish our own Bosch-Cloud. We should do this to prove our customers, that we are different to Google and others, whose business model is offering free-of charge services to the customer just as a bait and then making profit by using or even abusing their personal data. Whatever we will do with this cloud, it should never become a business-model where we make profit from the collected data instead of the products and services which or customers are using intentionally and which they should be willing to pay for. If the Cloud exclusively stays a technical feature for providing services and improvement of our products functionality and new business-models, then it might be acceptable.
    Besides this we still should consider the problems we will be facing by the exploding data-traffic and the required infrastructure of mobile networks in the cities. Just raise your head and have a look on our house-roofs, walls and steeples.
    No one can guarantee yet, that this will not lead to an exposition of radiation, that might turn out to harm our health. Therefore I think that we always should consider to reduce data traffic to a minimum if we intend to handle this in a responsible manner and if we want to minimize the risk, that one way we will face some “disruptive” scientific findings.
    Mr. Denner, you will remember that we talked about this a few years ago.

  • 11. March 2016 at 7:15

    Mostly this will not only increase Bosch own software development for Mobility solutions ,hardware support into BSS team worldwide but also will give new arena of solid customer confidence to invest in our own Cloud means greater market reach. What also is appreciable is that BOSCH IOT can be later used as Shared services for other rest companies directly or indirectly associated with Bosch worldwide.
    This sounds really exciting.

  • 11. March 2016 at 4:29

    Great things are happening in Bosch and Bosch IoT is the major step toward customer delight.
    All the best !!

  • 10. March 2016 at 11:32

    Great step to create new business models for a new Bosch!