Bosch captures connected car efficiency with Software Innovations and IoT
The connected car is here to stay, and major Tier 1s are taking note of how the Internet of Things (IoT) can drive meaningful value for automotive end users, be they owners, technicians, dealers, or fleet managers. In this interview with Matthew Jennings, Regional President of the Americas for Bosch Software Innovations, he describes how his business unit is collaborating with Bosch’s various automotive divisions to help realize that potential.
What’s Bosch’s take on the convergence of IoT and automotive?
JENNINGS: It’s not going away, let’s put it that way. Bosch’s approach has been to really embrace it, and if you look at Bosch’s positioning, every major OEM in the world is a customer in some form or another of Bosch, and Bosch is providing a lot of support for connectivity. If you look at the CAN bus protocol, which a lot of the auto manufacturers utilize for communications within the vehicle, that’s a Bosch developed and generated protocol that was published in the early ‘80s. If you look at some of the acquisitions Bosch has done, like ESCRYPT, who provides security technology around moving data, I think you see a lot of the reasons it makes sense for Bosch to really embrace it.
More and more software is becoming a big part of vehicles. How do you think that is going to affect the architectures of the future?
JENNINGS: There are two big components that need to be addressed.
One, you have to be able to do firmware updates in the future because the automotive manufacturers know that they can continue to evolve the product and have a longer life by being able to do firmware over-the-air updates. You see organizations like Tesla doing that on a regular basis and the value of that.
Security is also going to be critically important. There have been issues of hackers getting into a vehicle’s CAN bus or what have you, and those things need to be addressed. Both from an electronic control module, but also into some of the car multimedia and infotainment.
If you look at the Bosch Software Innovations platform, which is the basis of the go-to-market strategy for the connected vehicle aftermarket for Bosch, we’re very strong in identity management, so there’s a lot of robust architecture around who has access at what point in time to what amount of data, etc., so there’s a lot of control that happens there. Then if you look at ESCRYPT technology, which focuses on how you protect data when it’s moved and how you authenticate the data on both sides, you need to be able to do that as well.
I think we all know that we all know that the only 100 percent secure connected asset out there is the one that’s turned off. So you need to drive the right discussions around identity management and security of the data and communications link to pull all of those pieces together to have a level of confidence in the security.
Software Innovations is a fairly new division within Bosch. Can you give us a little bit of a background on SI, it’s capabilities, role, etc.?
JENNINGS: Software Innovations is really set up to be the arm providing Internet of Things (IoT) platform solutions, both internally and externally for Bosch. We have a platform that allows you to manage the data, the devices, etc., and we recently did an acquisition early this year of a company called ProSyst, which allows you to do the device-layer protocol management to get data from the asset, be it a vehicle or what have you, up to the network; we have a rules engine that allows various stakeholders to apply their business logic to the data so it’s available in a way that they want to consume it; we have a business process management (BPM) component that allows you to integrate that data into various systems; and then a big data processing piece that allows for post analysis of the data as well.
We are engaged with a number of business units internally, whether that be with our Drive and Controls group, Automotive Aftermarket, Automotive Electronics, Bosch Engineering, or our Motorsport group. We’re really working with them to determine what the connectivity strategy should be, both for their business unit but also jointly with their external customers, and then working with them to build those solutions for external customers as well. So, if you look at our Automotive Aftermarket group, which is taking the connected car lead for the aftermarket, we’re leveraging our platform to go into areas like car sharing, like leasing, like, like corporate fleets to bring additional visibility and management of those assets while they’re in the field. We’ve leveraged components of the Software Innovations suite and added solutions capabilities on top of that for Automotive Aftermarket. If you look at Automotive Aftermarket they have a number of in-car connectivity devices, starting out with 12 V Bluetooth to the phone all the way up to ODB-II devices that are installed in the vehicle and open road tolling-type devices. So there are a number of hardware connectivity platforms there that then leverage the Bosch Software Innovations platform to build custom solutions for the end market and specific customers.
What can we expect from Bosch in the automotive sector moving forward?
JENNINGS: I think there’s going to be a lot of innovation that happens around the connected vehicle, and if you look at the expertise that Bosch has to pull more critical information out of any electronic control module in the vehicle, like actual mileage instead of just estimating mileage based on GPS coordinates, I think you’ll see a lot of that come forward and be leveraged in really meaningful ways. And when they leverage the Software Innovations platform to start to reference other systems in relation to that, it gets interesting.
In a corporate fleet, for example, it’s one thing know where the vehicle is and what its mileage is. But if you think about when that corporate fleet is refueled, you can then track the credit card system to say, “credit card was used at this location, where was the vehicle?” Now you’re starting to have parameters around other, more interesting things in managing the corporate fleet.
I also think you’ll see the expertise of Bosch come into play around gasoline systems or chassis systems. Because Bosch is often the developer of those gasoline injectors, or ignition modules, or starters, or generators, I think you’ll also see us bring expertise to help evaluate that data in the most productive way so that it’s meaningful to the end user. It’s not only the end user meaning the driver of the vehicle and what they want to consume from a data and information standpoint, but it’s also the end users around technicians, dealers, service providers, and fleet managers. Those are all end users of this data as well, so once the data is produced, each user wants to have its own flavor of how to consume and process the data. We really need to think about that in the future, and then back up into what data is required, what technology, what hardware, what software, etc.
Bosch Software Innovations