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Bosch grows with connected energy and building solutions

The key to further growth: artificial intelligence

  • Management board member Stefan Hartung: “Everyone is talking about AI. We’re putting it to use.”
  • Bosch energy and building technology sales rise to 5.5 billion euros
  • Bosch is expanding its involvement in software platforms

Bosch is growing with connected energy and building solutions. Last year, the Energy and Building Technology business sector sold some 13 million web-enabled devices – everything from connected heating, cooling, and ventilation systems in office buildings, to smart home applications. “The internet of things is and will remain the key driver for our business,” said Dr. Stefan Hartung, the member of Bosch’s board of management responsible for energy and building technology, at a press conference. The company expects the sector’s sales to grow to 5.5 billion euros in 2018. That amounts to an increase of 2 percent, or 6 percent when adjusted for exchange-rate effects. He added that artificial intelligence (AI) will be the key to further advances on the internet of things as well as future growth: “With the help of AI, web-enabled products will become intelligent assistants.”

Smart and connected: greater safety, efficiency, and convenience

Where energy and building technology are concerned, connectivity and AI have the potential to boost security, efficiency, and convenience. To give one example: The Building Technologies division offers cameras that use smart image analysis to pinpoint fires. With a direct line of sight on potentially dangerous situations, these cameras spot flames and smoke in seconds – which is even faster than conventional smoke detectors. Smoke does not first need to reach the ceiling before the alarm is raised – and those few extra seconds can help limit the damage and perhaps even save lives.

“Everyone is talking about AI. Bosch is putting it to use,” Hartung said. “In ten years, every electronic Bosch product will either utilize AI itself or will have been developed and manufactured with its help.” The company plans to invest accordingly, with around 300 million euros alone going to expand the Bosch Center for Artificial Intelligence (BCAI) by 2021. The BCAI currently employs 170 experts globally, and looking ahead, this is expected to rise to 400. They are currently working on some 80 development projects – from automated driving to applications in medicine and manufacturing. Many of these are being carried out in collaboration with academic partners, including the universities of Tübingen, Stuttgart, and Amsterdam.

Championing open platforms, partnerships, and interoperability

Bosch is also focusing on platforms and partnerships in its energy and building technology activities. “There are many devices and services from different manufacturers out there in the connected world,” explained Hartung. “We have to get these devices and services to interface. They have to understand one another and be interoperable in order to benefit people.” For this reason, the company set up Security and Safety Things GmbH (SAST) as a wholly owned Bosch subsidiary a few weeks ago. This startup is working on the world's first open IoT platform for security camera apps. SAST wants to deliver something unprecedented – an operating system that programs and controls apps for different types of security cameras. Updating cameras made by different manufacturers will require just one version rather than countless software variants. “SAST is striving to create nothing less than a global marketplace for security camera applications with this open, standardized operating system,” Hartung said.

Change in management

After five years as head of the Energy and Building Technology business sector, Hartung will hand over the reins to Dr. Christian Fischer on January 1, 2019. Before joining the Bosch board of management on October 1, 2018, Fischer was a senior partner at the management consultancy Roland Berger. He holds a doctorate in economics. “Bosch began exploring the opportunities offered by the internet of things ten years ago, which has given it a technological head start,” said Fischer at the press conference. “Bosch is extremely well positioned to take on the challenges of digital transformation. I’m looking forward to being a part of that.”

Tags: AI, artificial intelligence, Energy and Building Solutions, Bosch

About Bosch

Bosch has been present in Belgium since 1907. The Bosch Group employs approximately 1,644 employees in Belgium. The main sites are located in Tienen, Brussels and Mechelen. The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 400,500 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2017). According to preliminary figures, the company generated sales of 78 billion euros in 2017. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. As a leading IoT company, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, smart cities, connected mobility, and connected industry. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to create solutions for a connected life, and to improve quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.” The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 450 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. At 125 locations across the globe, Bosch employs 62,500 associates in research and development.

 

The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering.” The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant up-front investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-two percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust. The entrepreneurial ownership functions are carried out by the trust. The remaining shares are held by the Bosch family and by Robert Bosch GmbH.

Additional information is available online at www.bosch.be, www.bosch.nl, www.bosch.com, iot.bosch.com, www.bosch-press.com, www.twitter.com/BoschPresse, www.linkedin.com/company/bosch-the-netherlands, www.linkedin.com/company/bosch-belgium, www.twitter.com/BoschBelgium, www.twitter.com/BoschNederland

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