The Cloud As The Basis For Successful IoT Business Models

cloud computing

In cloud computing, data and programmes are no longer hosted on computers in homes or offices, but in a cloud computing centre instead. The centre’s operator is responsible for security and operations, makes the required computing capacity available, and provides the necessary programmes, data security, and back-ups. This relieves customers of many costly and time-consuming tasks. Cloud technology and cloud platforms form the basis for fast, simple scalability of applications.

Cloud Computing For The Connected World

Cloud computing offers a range of solutions for the connected world. Smart home systems, for example, can tell users the current temperature in their home and let them change the setting while they are still on the road. For heating service technicians, the cloud can provide remote access to authorised heating systems so they can troubleshoot problems in the event of a breakdown.

This means they can bring along any required replacement parts to their first, and only, service visit. Customers thereby benefit from lower service costs. In the agricultural world, sensor data from asparagus fields makes its way into the cloud, too. By knowing the exact temperature of the ground, farmers can improve their harvest and their yield.

The IoT Cloud of Bosch, the global technology company, helps with these smart home and agricultural applications. It also plays a role in urban infrastructure challenges, generating an online map of available park-and-ride spaces throughout the commuter train network in Stuttgart in southern Germany. Sensors detect which parking spaces are unoccupied and send this information to the cloud, where it is added to a real-time map that users can call up on their smartphone.

Another example is the book-and-park service for lorry drivers. Whenever they are looking for a rest area to park in, their lorry sends its location data to the Bosch IoT Cloud. This then reserves an available parking space nearby and informs the driver.

Scalability Is The Key

These are just a small number of examples of intelligently connected devices, complemented by services from an IoT Cloud, forming the basis of successful IoT business models. However, a major factor in the success of connected solutions is their scalability. When necessary, business models must be able to grow quickly. For Bosch, the IoT Cloud means the company now has the complete infrastructure. It comprises technical infrastructure as well as platform and software offerings. Initially Bosch had been using it for in-house solutions. From this year, it will also be made available as a service to other companies.

The Brain Of The Connected World

The key to a successful connected world is a service that can identify objects that are web-enabled, orchestrate the exchange of data and then enable the necessary related services. This must be supplemented by big data management, systems that allow enormous amounts of data to be analysed. For Bosch, the software core enabling all this for its IoT Cloud is the company’s “IoT Suite”. This suite is a set of software services that provide all the key middleware capabilities needed to build an IoT application from top to bottom.

The Bosch IoT Suite offers the functions necessary to connect devices, users, and companies. Rules for automatic decisions can be stored in the Bosch IoT Suite – such as when patterns of wear and tear should be reported and preventive action taken to service machinery. Bosch and its customers already operate many solutions and projects that are based on this platform: the Bosch IoT Cloud currently connects more than five million devices and machines.

The Opportunities Of The Connected World

This digital transformation should not be understood as a threat. Digital transformation and increasing connectivity are huge opportunities. To those companies with a strong industrial base and outstanding hardware expertise it offers the potential not only to develop their traditional businesses but also to enter completely new fields. The key prerequisite for this is to have in-house software and IT expertise. Bosch has been building these capabilities for many years.

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Mahesh Chikodi

Mahesh Chikodi is the UK country head at Robert Bosch Engineering & Business Solutions (RBEI), based in London. Robert Bosch Engineering & Business Solutions (RBEI) is a 100 per cent-owned subsidiary of Robert Bosch, the global supplier of technology and services. Mahesh is a senior leader whose experience lies in the manufacturing sector and focuses on the Internet of Things, enterprise applications, and data analytics. At RBEI, Mahesh is responsible for global customer engagement of two strategic accounts, as well as his overall responsibility for the Bosch subsidiary in the UK. He holds MBA in information systems from Karnatak University and a bachelor’s degree in computer science engineering from Goa University. He is presently pursuing a post-graduate management programme in strategy, innovation and leadership from Warwick Business School – University of Warwick.