Sensors are paving a way to the future.
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Bosch doesn’t come to CES in Las Vegas touting major new product releases. Instead, the technology trade show is a forum for the multinational conglomerate to reveal its comprehensive reach throughout the world of industry.
It's also an opportunity for Bosch to brag about how it's the brains behind so many of the innovations on display.
During a press conference at CES 2016, Dr. Volkmar Denner, Chairman of the Board of Management for Bosch, suggested that most consumers have no idea how many products Bosch touches.
“Three out of every four smartphones worldwide now feature a Bosch MEMS sensor,” said Denner. “Statistically, that means three-quarters of you have a Bosch product in your pocket right now.”
Known in the U.S. primarily for its consumer products like kitchen appliances, spark plugs, and power tools, Bosch also has a significant presence when it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT). Denner said that Bosch’s software engineers working solely on IoT represent one-third of the company’s 55,000 R&D associates. "Today, Bosch is the only company that is active on all three levels of IoT: sensors, software, and services,” he added.
Bosch’s Smart Home System links all compatible devices—including those made by other manufacturers. This allows for connectivity between electronics, appliances and lighting, operable through a central control device and a smartphone or tablet. B2B ventures with ABB and Cisco have been launched to create a smart home platform.
But perhaps the most intriguing area for consumers is Bosch’s foray into connected mobility. The company arrived at CES with a prize already in its pocket—a CES 2016 Innovation Award in the “In-Vehicle Audio/Video” category—for a touchscreen that generates surface textures, allowing elements to be felt on the display. In addition to haptic feedback, the screen responds with visual and acoustic signals.
“It’s certainly cool, but it also has real implications for safety,” Denner explained. “To operate your radio or navigation system, you barely need to take your eyes off the road.”
Other car features in the works include fully automated parking by 2018, allowing drivers to leave a car at a designated drop-off zone for a garage; the car locates a vacant space on its own. And a community-based parking solution will use sensors in cars to measure gaps between parked cars on the street to then transmit data about available spaces. The information will be accessed via a real-time parking map.
Other sensors will connect to the cloud to share information about road hazards and optimize driving routes. And later this year, Bosch will debut a wrong-way driver alert system that will warn drivers if they are going the wrong way on a one-way street—as well as warning other drivers in the immediate area.
Yes, Bosch makes quality dishwashers and ranges. But as the leading global supplier of sensors, the company is also a major player behind the scenes of IoT. Producing 4 million sensors a day, Bosch is destined to have an increasingly connected role in our increasingly connected lives.
“We’re enabling the connected world at the most fundamental level," said Denner.