At home, on the road, at work, in the hospital, or even in orbit: Bosch is improving the everyday lives of people from all walks of life with smart and connected solutions. At the same time, the company is tapping into new areas of business through software, services, and licenses.
“We are systematically digitalizing our core business to increase the benefits for our customers. Going forward, we aim to turn the sale of every digital product into services-based revenue as well,” says Tanja Rückert, the Bosch Group’s chief digital officer, at CES in Las Vegas.
To achieve this goal, Bosch is focusing on the connection of IoT with AI – in other words, it is linking the internet of things (IoT) with artificial intelligence (AI).
This creates a virtuous circle in which connected products deliver information that, in turn, is processed by means of AI and incorporated into software updates for these products. At the core of this approach is the benefit for customers, since it allows users to be an integral part of the development process and enables solutions to be tailored precisely to their needs. Furthermore, neither development nor value creation ends with the sale of the products.
“We see the combination of AI and IoT as holding the key to leveraging the most user benefit from both of these technologies,” Rückert says. “Besides enabling us to develop new business models, this approach helps us offer better products and solutions that deliver real added value for individuals and society as a whole.”
Expanding software expertise: Bosch is already shaping the future today
Bosch laid the foundation for this long ago. As of the new year, all electronics product classes will be connectable. Sales of connected power tools, household appliances, and heating systems alone have grown by 50 percent within one year – from four million units in 2020 to more than six million in 2021. With the Bosch Center for Artificial Intelligence (BCAI), the company has established a strong unit in the field of AI that has already contributed some 300 million euros to result.
In addition, the company invests a total of more than four billion euros every year in its software expertise, around three billion of which goes to the mobility business. To shape the software-defined future of mobility, Bosch will also be pooling development activities for application-independent software in one unit as of mid-2022.
In the future, under the umbrella of its subsidiary ETAS GmbH, the company will develop and sell basic vehicle software, middleware, cloud services, and development tools for universal application. Bosch is also rapidly advancing connected and automated driving. Over the past five years, Bosch has generated some nine billion euros in sales just with driver assistance systems and the associated sensors.
Bosch Tech Compass: a survey conducted in five countries around the world
The Bosch Tech Compass – a representative survey conducted in five countries and presented for the first time at CES – shows what people across the globe expect from new technologies. According to the survey, the majority of respondents (72 percent) are convinced that technological progress is making the world a better place, for instance as a key to fighting climate change (76 percent). At the same time, four out of five people think technology should be more focused on tackling the great challenges of our time rather than serving individual needs. “We at Bosch also believe that technology offers a broad range of benefits,” Rückert says. “When we talk about high-tech, we’re not talking only about pushing the envelope on what’s possible. We use technology as a means to improve people’s lives wherever they are.”
From space to pediatric medicine: the Bosch SoundSee sensor system
One example of the benefit of AI and connectivity is the SoundSee sensor system. Since late 2019, it has been traveling through space to identify unusual sounds on the ISS, using AI algorithms to analyze and indicate when maintenance is required. Now, in collaboration with the non-profit healthcare company Highmark in Pittsburgh (USA), Bosch is pursuing a completely down-to-earth application of this technology: investigating how audio AI can be used as a diagnostic tool in pediatric medicine. Specifically, Bosch and Highmark are working to adapt the sensors in a way that will enable them to detect pulmonary conditions such as asthma at an early stage just by listening to children’s breathing patterns. “Using innovative technology to improve children’s health – that’s exactly what we mean with high tech,” says Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch in North America. SoundSee’s use in medicine also illustrates Bosch’s understanding of its “Invented for life” strategic imperative.
Bosch’s new gas sensor – the first on the market to contain AI – serves to protect both humans and nature. Part of Dryad’s Silvanet Wildfire Sensor, it is essentially a digital nose that helps detect forest fires early on. Dryad’s sensors are attached to trees, where they continuously monitor the local microclimate to detect incipient fires – and to wirelessly notify the local authorities, long before camera- or satellite-based systems can. Not only can this protect against devastation by fire, it can also reduce global carbon emissions from forest fires. “These sensors are going to help save lives, homes, and tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere – all thanks to AI and connectivity,” Mansuetti says.
High-tech #LikeABosch: new campaign for smart solutions
A new, lighthearted Bosch campaign shows the solutions the company has developed to improve the little things in people’s everyday lives. Called “High tech #LikeABosch – with many connected, intelligent, and sustainable solutions,” its protagonist takes viewers on a tour through her daily routine and uses several Bosch solutions, from smart glasses to a connected e-bike to a digital access pass for work. This makes her teenage son, who at the start of the clip said his mom was “old school,” look pretty out of touch.