Bosch IoT: Strong Potential in Manufacturing, a Huge and Rapidly Growing Sector in Asia-Pacific

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Bosch has strong potential in manufacturing, automotive, and transportation sectors, which are the high-growth verticals in Asia-Pacific.
  • The provider needs to expand its cloud partners and strengthen its security solution to address the main IoT challenges of Asian enterprises in those sectors.

Bosch is not the first name you would think of when talking about IoT or even in a wider ICT topic. The brand is more synonymous with industrial equipment and household appliances. However, with 6.2 million IoT connections and more than 250 deployments, Bosch is considered as one of the key players in IoT space. It started its initiatives in IoT as early as 2008, when the company acquired Innovations Software Technology. Fast forward to 2018, Bosch Software Innovations has acquired three companies to expand its IoT capability, launched Bosch IoT Suite (available on third-party clouds) and Bosch IoT Cloud, and opened its IoT Lab and IoT Campus.

Bosch’s real advantage is in manufacturing, automotive, and transportation sectors. Not only is it one of the leading equipment manufacturers; it also offers an IoT platform that supports open standards, AI, security, and cloud capabilities. Having an end-to-end portfolio addresses the integration issues between devices and platform, which is one of the major challenges for manufacturing companies in their IoT implementations. This advantage also provides Bosch with a competitive edge, as its IoT capabilities reflect the market direction towards Industry 4.0, smart manufacturing, and connected vehicles.

Asia-Pacific is huge in manufacturing, including heavy industry, automotive, chemicals, energy, and textiles. GlobalData IoT research shows that 69% of 144 Asian enterprises with IoT deployments (in agriculture, automotive, construction and engineering, energy, government, manufacturing, and transportation) are considering a cloud-based IoT platform. (Only 21% are already in use.) The low-latency network requirement of IoT is driving edge computing and data residency. Seventy-two percent (72%) of 288 IoT implementations by the same group of respondents are within a country. While there is a growing number of cloud IoT platform players in the market, their local footprints in the region are still limited. Bosch should consider expanding its cloud partners, especially with Chinese cloud players such as Alibaba, Tencent, and Huawei, as they are growing rapidly in the region. These partnerships enable Bosch to expand its footprint in the region and hence address the data residency challenge of the local enterprises.

The study also shows that security is the top challenge for the same group of enterprises in delivering IoT projects. IoT bridges IT and operational technology (OT). OT is often seen as business support (e.g., office facilities), but OT in these sectors comprises the revenue generators (e.g., production equipment). The cyber-risk to business is significantly higher. While Bosch has comprehensive security features to protect its IoT solution (authentication and encryption, firewall, anti-DDoS), there is nothing unique about it. The features are all common ICT standards found in other solutions and may not be sufficient to convince the enterprises to expose their OT to the public network (with a cloud-based platform). It is important for Bosch to bring its security solution to the next level: for example, leveraging its AI capabilities in security to offer prediction-based protections.

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