IoT news from the Bosch ConnectedWorld conference

The ConnectedWorld conference, which took place in Berlin from March 15-16, 2017, clearly indicated the direction Bosch will be heading in in the following years. Three subjects will be at the center of undertakings: the connected car and autonomous driving, expansion of the Bosch IoT partner ecosystem and pursuit of its own digital transformation.

The connected car and autonomous driving

For Bosch, self-driving cars are a phenomenon of the not too distant future, which is why the automotive supplier plans to quickly expand its capacities around artificial intelligence in cars. To this end, it is investing in its Bosch Center for Artificial Intelligence and embarking on a joint venture with the University of Tübingen, Germany, regarding the founding of a Cyber Valley. Apart from its rather long-term investments in the future of mobility, Bosch also offers new and fairly specific solutions for the connected car in the form of a new IoT platform specifically designed around mobility: the Automotive Cloud Suite. Bosch’ existing and horizontal IoT platform (“Bosch IoT Suite“) has thus been complemented by a vertical, (industry-specific) system. The Automotive Cloud Suite allows the development, operation and distribution of services for connected vehicles. It will be quite interesting to see whether other business-specific IoT platforms will follow suit. The platform is however not Bosch’ only focus: instead, the company – in cooperation with NVIDIA – has developed the AI Car Computer, a device with sufficient computing power and deep learning capabilities to enable level 4 of autonomous driving.

IoT partner ecosystem

Systematically expanding its IoT partner ecosystem continues to be a top priority for Bosch. A particular focus here lies, of course, on connected cars and autonomous driving, as became quite clear in the speeches of the CEOs of NVIDIA, HERE and Mobileye at the Bosch ConnectedWorld conference. However, Bosch is also creating ever closer cooperative ties with other IT and industry heavyweights such as SAP, GE or AWS. For example, Bosch will be making its IoT Suite available on AWS at the request of clients. The underlying strategy is obvious: Bosch is using all its energy to prevent single giants such as Google from dominating the mobility or IoT market. Is it not a well-known fact that Google’s search engine is controlling the advertising market, and Amazon – the retailer – has successfully monopolized the cloud market? In consequence, the automotive industry and other businesses are joining forces, bracing themselves for fighting off “digital disruptors” in the area of mobility and IoT.

The digital transformation

The ConnectedWorld conference not only provided insights into Bosch’ visions and solutions around IoT, but showed quite clearly the need for organizational changes within companies, brought about by the Internet of Things and digitalization. Bosch has already started the process of reorganizing its group of companies, with a trend moving away from functional silos towards small and horizontal teams that are able to react faster and work in a more customer-focused and holistic manner. Individual employee goals will be replaced by team goals. The Bosch Power Tools Division is leading the way: it generates a turnover of €800 m and has now been divided into 10 separate business units with horizontal teams. The implementation of new organizational structures is a clear indicator of how serious companies are about their own digital transformation and of where they stand.