Bosch takes connected devices, open platforms, and interoperability for IoT solutions to drive your business, built from their own deployed experiences. They are focusing on knowledgeable development & deployment to provide a single integrated set of ‘connecting’ solutions.
Bosch is highly focused on the design, development, and operating software and system solutions for the areas of mobility, city, energy, manufacturing, agriculture, health, home, and building, which is the core of their manufacturing offerings. They are consistently connecting all of their 270 manufacturing plants into this “connecting design” in a progressive fashion.
Bosch has a clear goal “to have each and every electronic component connectable to the internet“. To do this you have to think scale, offer platforms, clear application solutions based in the cloud and understand intimately the hardware and software within the solutions. Bosch is well positioned to deliver on this. Bosch has taken a highly unified view on their approach to this, actually, the more I dug into it the more I was impressed.
In my last post Bosch: A Leading Platform Exemplar of Digitally Connecting I outline some of the necessary details and put much into context, to understand why Bosch is becoming well positioned to connect ‘everything with everything’. This post is digging much deeper.
Firstly the big picture of moving machine-to-machine onto the IoT and generating scale and understanding
Bosch, are for me highly relevant in understanding all the complexity that goes into forming a platform, especially in the manufacturing world today and how they are setting about getting all the parties attracted, linking and setting the conditions for the growing participation in establishing of the ecosystem between parties that are wanted to connect.
Bosch decided to fully commit to becoming a digital manufacturing company in a very significant way.
The Chief Executive of the Bosch Group, Volkmar Denner, has the direct responsibility and oversight in driving Bosch through its subsidiary Bosch Software Innovations for digital solutions. Solutions have been based on the group’s core business areas, offering solutions and services with this growing technology provider to connect the manufacturing world by its own rolling out as the example and providing its experiences and know how in opening this up to all.
The platform and ecosystem concept is central to their progress
Their emphasis on building a broad ecosystem that is drawing in to establish highly strategic partnerships & alliances with numerous parties such as GE-Predix, IBM, PTC Thingworx and numerous others. For example, recently announced (16th Feb 2017) Bosch will extend its powerful Bosch IoT Suite services on IBM Bluemix and Watson IoT Platform for custom application development and runtime purposes. IoT solution developers will also benefit from the seamless integration with IBM’s Watson IoT capabilities.
GE Digital and BoschSI will also work together, announced in September 2016, to make machines and devices understand each other through building a common language as well as find ways that will combine GE’s cloud-based Prefix with Bosch’s cloud IoT suite to establish an interoperable ecosystem.
Open standards and open systems are critical to allow for this vision of all electronic components to become connected over the internet. It needs this consistent move to technology interoperability and platform integration.
For example, Bosch is a leading supplier of cutting-edge technology into the Automotive Industry.
They partnered with Intel to develop the CAN bus, which has now become the de facto standard for electronic communications in cars. This has driven out separate protocols build by each car manufacturer to allow for common ground, leading to accelerating solutions we have been clearly seeing and valuing in recent years. It is setting the right values and common ground, building the right product and software solutions, placing these onto platforms does engage and attract the ecosystem to make it a vibrant one of active partners to further push the solutions into valuable solutions. Bosch is regarded as a key manufacturing supplier is setting about this in building the solution expertise allowing for this interoperability to take hold.
Bosch is presently basing its solutions for the internet of things on its key group focus areas
Driving Bosch is through their dedicated group Bosch Software Innovations (@BoschSI)
Bosch Software Innovations is the incubator and driver of the software solutions. BoschSI is the software and systems house for the Group’s connected vehicles, connected power tools, connected industry and smart home solutions with a key part of BoschSI is to devise and test service-orientated business models for the Group through technology and software exploration and exploitation.
BoschSI has two primary tasks, 1) to enable and support the technological transformation at the Bosch Group, 2) Facilitate the transfer of IoT know-how across the Bosch Group as the primary catalyst. It is a stand-alone division in its evolution of its own agile business culture around business process evolution, methodology adoption, in its speed of innovation and decision-making. Arguably BoschSi operates like a modern software firm inside Bosch Group.
BoschSI continues to make partnerships with other vendors in open ecosystems. It firstly validates the value of the solution in all Bosch international manufacturing plants. Its modular approach allows over time clients as well as their own plants to come entirely online. Without doubt, BoschSI is a key driver of Bosch’s business model transformation, constantly exploring new business models as part of its solution set. Tapping into the vast array of industrial domain expertise BSI draws on the expertise and then ‘circulates’ this back into the divisions of Bosch. It equally seeks out key strategic partners to grow its platform capabilities and ecosystem of value-creating networks.
Firstly we need to understand the critical building blocks of an IoT platform
Approaching a software solution BoschSI looks to connect all the relevant people, products, machinery and systems – both horizontally and vertically to integrate it fully.
For example, this requires detailed implementations and close collaborations as this involve the machinery and equipment of different suppliers to capture the ‘projected’ future value. It brings together order allocation, backtracking, quality management and feeds this into the established ERP system. The solutions connect manufacturing with logistics, to gather, visualize, analyze and monitor machine, the process, and the sensor data.
Connected machines also can allow for a constant overview, in real (or near) time, the conditions of the tools and machines at all times, Bosch has built in solutions to routine different tasks, as an example, the replacement of worn parts on power tools. Critical actions like the torque used to tighten hundreds of thousands of bolts the software can provide vital clues as to possible causes of torque or operator faults to improve the quality and standards. They aid in error avoidance, a wrong tool for the task and a host of other connected solutions.
BoschSI has been building its own competencies at a rapid pace. The aim is to offer an increasing service solution that works towards solutions of being engaged in providing solutions that connect everything. offer a Bosch IoT Cloud, launched officially in March 2106 and went through some initial assessments on the value of this.
It rightly questioned its own positioning of having its own Bosch Cloud
Bosch offers a view on their five patterns an IoT cloud needed to support their competitive edge
An IoT cloud must support some very specific application patterns, which in turn will set it apart from other types of cloud but in Bosch’s position as a trusted supplier, owns strong brands others rely upon in their manufacturing solutions they do possess a clear, perhaps unmatched domain know-how in the ability to connect the manufacturing plant, through devices and their software solutions.
The Bosch IoT Cloud is a key element in enabling Bosch IoT solutions
They offer a Bosch IoT Cloud, launched officially in March 2106. This is to underpin their overarching connectivity strategy of providing its own manufacturing plants as well as existing and new customers with all the components that make up this connected world; the sensors for collecting the data, the software solutions and engineering experience for developing increasingly IoT solutions and the cloud domain itself from a single source connected into a vast ecosystem of strategic partners. Bosch’s portfolio triad of sensors, software, and services.
It consists of a highly scalable cloud infrastructure based on Cloud Foundry, which makes it faster and easier for IoT developers to build, test, deploy, and scale their applications. This infrastructure serves as the foundation for our Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering, which helps IoT developers create and deliver IoT solutions. The Bosch IoT Cloud is hosted in a dedicated data center near Stuttgart, Germany.
Addressing the specific needs of IoT developers, the Bosch IoT Cloud comprises a large portfolio of ready to-use cloud services. The cloud design includes to: accelerate IoT projects, improve time-to-market for new IoT solutions, profit from integrated security mechanisms, and lower complexity and costs in your IoT projects to cover different needs.
Then Bosch are building their own IoT Suite for addressing the needs of IoT developers
With the Bosch IoT Suite, they provide you with a comprehensive toolbox in the cloud as a Platform as a Service (PaaS). The individual, highly available software services make it easier for IoT application developers to perform their daily tasks, and facilitate rapid development of applications in the Internet of Things. These services offer all the necessary functions to connect devices, users, and companies. Providing customized functions the Bosch IoT Suite services allow developers to quickly build, implement, and operate cloud-based and highly scalable IoT applications. Bosch is planning to gradually expand the initial set of services and frameworks out through different partnership and constantly adding to their own platform.
The key for Bosch is that their Bosch IoT Suite provides the foundation for service enablement, both in terms of connecting things to the Internet – reliably, securely, cost effectively and at scale – and in terms of delivering the backing application logic for value-added services. It is made up of a set of software services that provide all of the key middleware capabilities needed to build a sophisticated IoT application from top to bottom. Customers can use any combination of these IoT services as needed to rapidly implement the desired solution.
The Bosch IoT Suite supports innovative business models based on revenue sharing to minimize the business risk of our customers. It opens up cross domain business models by a consistent and systematic access to Bosch and 3rd party devices on a subscription for the selected Bosch IoT Suite services.
A recent exciting extension is the Bosch IoT Rollouts Solution
The ability to constantly update software and its components when much of the devices are constrained edge services, or part of the essential needs to update the controllers and gateways requires a robust rollout solution. Devices can be connected to the service either directly through an optimized interface or indirectly through federated device management servers
This critical rollout service is being integrated with IBM for example, on their Bluemix and IBM Watson IoT platform to back this with scale, security, flexibility, and privacy, to allow the connected devices already deployed to gain critical updates in continued innovation and improved software functionality at deployment aimed to be increasingly large scale, in multiple sites in timely ways, with minimum interruption or (human) intervention.
The Bosch Rollouts is integrated into the Bosch IoT Suite
As stated earlier as Bosch continues to push open systems, platforms and the need for this interoperability, it continues to deliver and build this collaborating ecosystem of partners and clients. It showcases a company deeply committed to being fully engaged in the Internet of Things.
Bosch does offer a full-service provider service for connectivity and solutions and is presently the only company that builds from their own leading position in manufacturing to offer technology solutions of sensors, software, and services to connect devices. It is building scalability in sensible ways, through its own investments but also with strategic partners (GE, IBM, PTC for example) and has put in place the relevant infrastructure to further build this out. in technical infrastructure, platform and software offerings based on its own practical experiences within its own 270 -odd manufacturing plants.
BoschSI does provide an excellent example of a digital platform provider who certainly “walks the talk” of the manufacturing world and is continually working on “simply” structuring solutions that will give confidence to those wanting to make the same connecting step for new value-creation opportunities or increased efficiency gains.
As one of the world’s established leading technology suppliers Bosch offers the ability to connect the parts or as they say “solutions for a connected life”. It works increasingly in not just providing its own products but in its customers, the connected cross-domain solutions, offering ways to bring these into a single focal point for enabling this connectivity of all devices. This is a huge task as this is an emerging industry, fraught with legacy problems and emerging, ever-changing technology solutions but does see the prospect of connecting all devices as a common set of standards, protocols, and languages become established through different initiatives Bosch is well represented in the bodies and institutions driving these.
With a tantalizing prospect of connecting a predicted 20 billion connected things estimated to be in use by 2020, Bosch is determined to be a leader in this. Will it be a de facto leader or one of a few highly sought after solution providers left standing in a highly competitive market chasing the Internet of Things?
For me, Bosch does seem to be going about it in a very “connected” way to be positioned as this or at least a gateway/ platform provider through to specific industries and devices that make up much of the manufacturing world. Presently they have connected 5 million devices so to be a leader in this by 2020, where 20 billion connected things will be in place, Bosch has a long, tough and demanding journey. All I can say, they have made a terrific start but staying committed to the journey will not be easy.
Let me end here from a recent quote from Dr.Rainer Kallenbach, CEO of Bosch Software Innovations. “Only new ecosystems provide the strategic basis for open platforms and interoperability. Together we will make IoT solution development easier and faster for our customers.”
Finally take a note: Next week Bosch will have its Connected World conference on 15th- 16th March, 2017, held in Berlin, Germany. I would certainly expect some further announcements on the progress being made by Bosch and in particular in BoschSI’s ‘push’ in the connected world of devices. My guess would be that much of this conference to be centered around the development work that has been going on with the strategic partners that Bosch Software Innovation have formed alliances with, especially announced in the past twelve months.
*** The majority of insights researched and used were sourced from the (multiple) Bosch Websites, as well as through a series of reading different White Papers or Thought Pieces they provide back when you register.