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Bosch's IoT startup to focus on software

Posted: 12 Dec 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Bosch  IoT  startup  BCDS  MEMS 

Thorsten Mueller, CEO of Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions GmbH (BCDS), based in Reutlingen, Germany, has been leading the latest startup subsidiary of Robert Bosch GmbH since it was formed in December 2013. Starting with just two staff, the startup has now grown to 100 employees split between Reutlingen and Coimbatore, India, and there are plans to expand early in 2015 at locations in Chicago and Shanghai, noted Mueller.

But the staff are focused on the company's mission of rolling out ready-to-use Internet of Things (IoT) systems for customers to take to market in four areas; smart home, transport and logistics, connected industry and personal smart activity.

Mueller, a PhD in physics, joined Robert Bosch, in 2005 at which time he was put to work in corporate research on inertial MEMS. In 2008 he joined the automotive business unit of Bosch working on strategic planning and clustered MEMS sensors and was also worked on the due diligence behind the acquisition of MEMS microphone company Akustica Inc. in 2009.

Thorsten Mueller, CEO of BCDS

Mueller said that although BCDS is intended to be a follow-on initiative to the successful Bosch Sensortec GmbH, which has taken the parent company into consumer markets and adding to original success in automotive, it will be different. Whereas Bosch Sensortec is essentially a component and hardware company, BCDS is a system-level company with a much greater emphasis on software.

This is partly because BCDS can, and should, stand on the shoulders of the initiatives that have gone before and partly because levels and styles of integration have changed and the creation of value in the Internet of Things will often be in the data that is collected.

Corporate R&D and Reuse

Although BCDS is like a startup within Robert Bosch, it can lean on 1,000 engineers engaged in corporate research and BCDS will re-use MEMS sensors created by Bosch Sensortec for consumer applications, Mueller said. BCDS will focus on complete solutions that include sensor platforms, software and services and extend from leaf-node to the cloud.

"Bosch Sensortec and Akustica are supplying components. BCDS is providing solutions that are market ready. We will heavily use the devices provided by Bosch Sensortec and Akustica," said Mueller.

"Our first product is a stick-on door sensor the size of a matchbox, that detects the status of the door, can tell the difference between movement, knocking and violent intrusion and send reports to the cloud which can in turn send a phone alert to appropriate persons." The HIS110 unit can also be applied to windows and detects conditions such as whether doors and windows are open, closed or tilted and offers advanced detection of intrusion attempts. This functionality can even be extended to monitor universal movement detection. The product is being made for BCDS in a Bosch automotive electronics factory in Suzhou, China. This is another example of how BCDS can leverage the investments that have gone before into other parts of Robert Bosch.

"Typically BCDS will produce something that includes a PCB with multiple sensors, local intelligence with an MCU and a radio, be it Bluetooth, ZigBee or GSM radio. We are not a component business. Our solid foundation is ready-to-use equipment as a tier-one supplier. There is no intention to design sensors on our own. A sensor is a component we would buy in. Obviously Bosch is the preferred supplier but we can source externally," he noted.

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