What role does Asia Pacific play for the Bosch IoT business?
Bosch is strongly committed to the region. The company has been present in Asia for almost a century. I am proud to say that we enjoy a great reputation here. This high level of trust in our products and brand is now helping us introduce IoT solutions in the region. But I never underestimate our competitors. Now that vendors are attracted to the Asian market’s high growth rates, they are taking it by storm. The competition here is especially tough.
Thomas Herrmann joined Bosch in 1996 as a project lead for automotive safety solutions. For several years, he occupied various leading positions within Bosch in the automotive and energy areas. Following his passion for connected devices and solutions, Thomas joined Bosch Software Innovations in July 2016. He is now supervising sales of the Bosch IoT Suite and marketing.
What is the current state of digitization and IoT in Asia Pacific?
When it comes to IoT, in a sense there is no Asia, or any other region. As they say, IoT has no borders. Take, for example, the projects with over-the-air software and firmware updates (SOTA/FOTA) we have done in Europe with car manufacturers. They are now selling their connected cars around the globe.
And yet there is no doubt that Asia is a leader in both IoT technology and adoption. In fact, IDC estimates that by 2020, Asia Pacific will be the global leader in IoT adoption, accounting for 8.6 billion of 29.5 billion connected devices globally. In many ways, this region is showing Europe and the rest of the world the way forward. At the same time, we can share our extensive European experience in Asia.
Are there any particular regional differences regarding IoT in Asia Pacific?
The region is obviously very diverse. And of course, this is an incentive to pursue the IoT. In China, the fastest growing economy in the world, getting things done quickly is decisive. In Singapore, the audience first wants to know how something will pay off. In Japan, with its deep-rooted interest in technology, even top executives are very curious about technical details.
Which specific IoT software requirements do you see in Asia Pacific?
I think IoT gateway and device management are crucial parts of any software solution. The IoT isn’t possible without edge devices and gateways. Their connectivity is the foundation of the IoT, upon which all solutions are built. We all talk a lot about digital transformation and new business models based on the IoT. They will not happen unless we connect devices, but connecting them is only part of the deal.
Recently, IoT devices were dubbed an “enterprise security time bomb”: a survey revealed that the majority of companies can’t even identify them properly. They tend to get lost and forgotten on enterprise networks. And it’s no wonder. Can you imagine the time and effort required to manually manage millions or billions of devices? But the price of not doing it could be high. In the last two years, AT&T has recorded a 458 percent increase in the vulnerability scanning of IoT devices. The security risk can be prevented by using device management software to organize and monitor devices remotely. This also makes it possible to update their firmware remotely, thus eliminating yet another headache.
What are your favorite Bosch IoT projects in Asia Pacific?
In Singapore, our customer MANN+HUMMEL develops smarter cleaning technologies in their IoT lab. Since the environment is a major concern in Asia and elsewhere in the world, it is a promising project that we support with our technology. MANN+HUMMEL is testing filters that collect and analyze data to improve cleaning performance and reduce fine dust pollution from vehicles. They are using the Bosch IoT Remote Manager, Bosch IoT Suite’s cloud service. With it, they manage the connectivity and functionality of what may grow to millions of field devices.
Another exciting project is an IoT solution for agriculture rolled out by the Australian start-up The Yield. Farming is a sphere in which the smallest change in environmental conditions, such as weather or water quality, can spell disaster. With us, the Yield developed a solution to help farmers monitor farms’ microclimate and the condition of their crops remotely – from oysters to apples. Not only does this save time, it also enables them to make decisions based on real data.
Beyond technology, what is on the IoT agenda in Asia?
Partnerships are very important. Digital transformation means that, more than ever, technology powers organizations. As a result, the traditional way of doing business, with strictly assigned roles for vendors and customers, is becoming a thing of the past.
New industry relationships are not about buyers and sellers. Rather, they focus on partnership and joint project development. We cooperate with our customers to identify a business case and apply technology, with the aim of creating an IoT solution that’s right for everyone. As we say at Bosch, “No one can do the IoT alone”.