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:
- Bosch is currently running some 50 connected industry pilot projects
- We have introduced aspects of connected industry at our own plants, including standardized data exchange between companies
- More than 260 plants worldwide combine manufacturing know-how, stretching from the manufacturing of millions of automotive components to the customized manufacturing of packaging machinery
- Bosch offers software and hardware solutions for connected industry applications
Business models for connected industry as differentiator
So we are seeing some good progress in the manufacturing space when it comes to connected industry applications, but what are going to be the next steps? Struth pointed out that the current phase is centered on two key tasks. One of them is to develop further enablers for connected industry, for instance data recording and transmission using RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags or web-enabled sensors, along with data mining. The other task is to develop beneficial use cases and new business models.
Exploratory approach and broad-based footing
Now, as you have quite a number of facts and to dos, you’ll probably wonder how Bosch is approaching Industry 4.0. The answer is: centralized and decentralized. It gives the various projects attached to different Bosch units a great deal of freedom in how the functional specifics of each use case are defined. Meanwhile, it sets up a central organizational unit to act as global coordinator for the various initiatives, in particular as regards a unified software and hardware architecture.
He went on to say that from the user’s point of view it is important to define technical standards that allow easy configuration of systems. Moreover it is essential to give due weight to security considerations.