Bosch starts its own IoT cloud
Bosch launched its own IoT cloud to complete its offering for the Internet of Things. Currently, the Bosch IoT Cloud is limited to several Bosch divisions and to some partners. In 2017, however, the Bosch IoT Cloud is going to be available for public access. This was the major announcement of the annual Bosch Connected World conference that took place from March 9-10, 2016 in Berlin, Germany.
With the launch of its own IoT cloud, Bosch is entering into competition with other cloud service providers and now offers a complete portfolio of hardware, software and services.
IoT cloud with three layers
The Bosch IoT Cloud comprises three layers: Software as a Service (Saas), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). According to Bosch, an IoT cloud must support five patterns to differentiate itself from a 'regular' cloud. These are cloud-based apps, the support of asset-based and distributed IoT apps, the availability of a digital twin and the social IoT, meaning apps leverage the data shared by multiple assets. Bosch emphasizes that the IoT cloud is an open platform and they want to cooperate with other companies, which are active in the IoT environment. Also, Bosch points out that a very high degree of security is given with the data centers being based in Germany under German data protection law.
The three layers of the Bosch IoT Cloud (source: Bosch)
Strong focus on automotive and Industry 4.0 workplace
Bosch states that 5.1 million devices are connected using Bosch IoT Suite components, the Bosch IoT Cloud will power 50 IoT solutions by the end of the year 2016, and 47% of Bosch product classes are IP-enabled today. The presentations and use cases shown during the conference have left the impression that there is a strong focus on the automotive sector. In this context the next step regarding autonomous driving is to achieve "level 4", which means there is a high degree of automation with general awareness and no takeover requests. The final goal is to reach "level 5", i.e. full automation stage with no driver needed at all. The IoT is also gaining in importance in Industry 4.0, especially for the workplace setup and automation to increase efficiency and security.
Bosch presented an Industry 4.0 work environment consisting of four different solutions:
- ActiveCockpit to increase shop-floor transparency,
- Intelligent connected tools with the ability to track and trace,
- ActiveAssistent to guide workers intelligently through work processes, as well as the
- Flexible Automation APAS assistant, which enables direct human-machine interaction without additional monitoring.
The Bosch IoT Cloud and the IoT Suite provide the foundation for these solutions.
Use Cases: HUK will start use-based car insurance
Bosch showed several use cases during the conference, for instance the Bosch IoT Rollouts. This service is particularly relevant for the automotive industry and powered by the Bosch IoT Suite and running in the IoT Cloud. Through a central communication channel it is possible to perform firmware over the air (FOTA) updates, preventive diagnostics, web-based validation or calibration etc from the cloud and, via a telematics platform in the car, return information back to the cloud. Another example of a use case is the partnership of HUK-Coburg and Bosch in their “Motor Insurance Turns Digital” project. They have developed the HUK Autoservice, a repair shop network similar to the Bosch shop concept with extended services like maintenance, tire services etc. HUK Telematics is another example. It can be used for emergency and pay-as-you-drive services.
Competing with the big players
Bosch is expecting increasing demand for IoT solutions. With the launch of the IoT Cloud in combination with the IoT Suite, Bosch is expanding its existing sensors portfolio with software and service offerings for IoT use case scenarios. The Bosch IoT cloud can be flexibly deployed as a full cloud, private cloud or a hybrid cloud. In the latter case Bosch hosts the applications, and the data are hosted by the customer. The IoT Suite and the IoT Cloud are an opportunity for Bosch to offer its customers end-to-end integration, but they are also open for partners at the same time in an area with promising future growth rates.
PAC’s view: strong commitment towards the IoT
From PAC’s point of view, with the implementation of the IoT Cloud in addition to the IoT Suite, Bosch has made a smart move towards future business opportunities. It makes the company less dependent from the hardware market, but also leverages the value of the offered hardware components. Bosch will be a strong competitor to the other players on the market, such as IBM or Microsoft and it has both the advantage of being renowned as a reliable partner and the ability to guarantee data protection and security by means of local data centers.