Inside Look: How Bosch is Bringing the IoT to You
Bosch, a 130-year-old German innovator, is entering a new chapter: moving from creating products to connecting them. Here’s how it is changing the way industries operate — and all of us live.
The future of mobility made big news in April when German industrial giants Bosch and Daimler announced joint plans to develop fully automated, driverless vehicles — potentially as early as 2020. It was just the latest in a string of Internet of Things (IoT) announcements the last two years from FedEx customer Bosch. What began with connecting the company’s own power tools and manufacturing facilities has now expanded to partnerships with dozens of other companies in an effort to connect industries, cars, homes and cities.
A Smart Next Step
The number of accidents expected to be prevented by IoT-connected safety systems in cars (calculated for the year 2025) in the U.S., China and Germany
The developments make sense, considering the company’s product portfolio and expertise. Bosch is the world’s largest supplier of automotive components and one of the world’s largest producers of power tools. It’s also an expert in sensor technology: Every day, its wafer plant in Reutlingen, Germany, produces 4 million microelectromechanical systems
(MEMS) sensors for use in monitoring manufacturing facilities and supply chains — a number that’s reached some 7 billion of these sensors since Bosch entered the category 22 years ago. And its manufacturing facilities and supply chains span dozens of countries around the world.
How exactly do these connections work? They start with what the company is calling the Bosch IoT Suite — essentially a software platform — and corresponding Bosch IoT Cloud. Along with IoT-enabled products and services (Bosch itself has targeted all of its electronic categories to be enabled by 2020), the system lets companies connect their products and build a solid IoT infrastructure.
Smart Cities and Cars
Connected cities and cars offer some of the most tangible examples of how an IoT infrastructure plays into everyday life. Through sensors and software, cities can integrate all of the functions needed for connecting devices, users and services, from power grids (conserving output during downtimes) to traffic signals (optimizing green lights) and streetlights (brightening dim lights only as people or cars appear).
Connected cars work in conjunction with the connected city. Imagine your car — not you — quickly locating empty parking spaces. Or safety sensors that can report sections of icy roads. The benefits are impressive: A study Bosch conducted with consulting firm Prognos in 2016 revealed that IoT-connected safety systems in cars would prevent 260,000 accidents and save nearly 400,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually (calculated for the year 2025) in the U.S., China and Germany.