Access for other manufacturers and service providers
Certainty for end customers
Different appliances, but just one common standard for data exchange
Stuttgart and Munich – ABB, Bosch, Cisco, and LG aim to set up a consortium to provide a software platform for smart homes. The companies have now signed a memorandum of understanding to this effect. The plan is subject to approval by the antitrust authorities.
Under the memorandum, the parties intend to develop an open architecture for data exchange. The software platform would allow diverse devices and services to interoperate, and to exchange information with each other. Application software distribution will also be enabled. This will allow appliances and devices made by different manufacturers to be part of home automation, security, healthcare, and entertainment services. A common platform such as this has not been available up to now, making it a challenge for appliances and devices – light switches, motorized roller blinds, washing machines, multimedia equipment, smartphones, and tablets – to communicate with each other or to simply exchange information over the internet in a standardized way. The common platform is one more step toward the internet of things for the home, in which physical objects will be networked.
The software platform is intended to make the standard available to all manufacturers, software developers, and service providers. It is intended to unite diverse services in areas such as energy management, security technology, and convenience and consumer electronics. This will enable new business models: software developers, for example, will be able to develop diverse apps for these areas. And in the future, end-users wanting to have automated control for their electronic appliances in residential buildings will no longer have to choose between different technologies.
Safety, convenience, efficiency Thanks to sensors and software, for example, a smart home will be able to detect things such as upstairs windows that are still open, and combine this information with weather forecasts on the internet to close the windows and lower the blinds before a thunderstorm breaks. To give another example, during vacations, the controls can switch on lights at random to deter burglars. What is more, if a motion sensor is triggered, the smart home can alert a security service and feed a video stream to the owner’s smartphone.
Diverse appliances, but one language The above applications are already possible today. However, each of them requires a technical solution of its own, and the various solutions are not always compatible with each other. ABB, Bosch, Cisco, and LG intend to develop a common language that allows the appliances to communicate with each other. Under the standards that the consortium intends to establish, and that would be available to all manufacturers, appliances would be connected to a home gateway, which itself would be connected to the internet and a software platform. In this way, the services of different providers can interoperate. In the future, anyone who buys a new refrigerator, washing machine, heating system, or other type of electrical appliance featuring the consortium’s certificate of compatibility can expect that the appliance will interact and be compatible with the other appliances already in their smart home.
Technology Once these open standards have been developed, the parties’ aim is that these compatible appliances will communicate with each other over radio networks such as WiFi, ZigBee, and other wired connections like KNX. A central control unit in the building manages all the individual appliances, and also creates a secure internet link. Any control unit can perform this function, regardless of manufacturer, provided the unit runs on software that satisfies the relevant standard. Independent software developers can also program new apps that allow the central control unit, the heating and air-conditioning, and the electrical appliances throughout the building to be controlled over the internet. The software platform’s sophisticated security architecture helps to ensure that only authorized persons can access the functions in any one smart home.
About the smart home “Smart home” is used to describe buildings whose appliances are connected with each other, and thus offer their occupants new functions and services. In most cases, these can be controlled remotely over the internet. The terms “smart house,” “smart living,” and “e-home” are sometimes also used to describe the same approach. Whatever the term used, the meaning is the same. One of the benefits of such intra-connectivity in smart homes is efficient energy use, an important issue for the future. For example, if energy prices are available on the internet, homes can react automatically to them to cover their needs as cost-effectively as possible – and this without their occupants themselves having to act. The washing machine would then start when electricity is cheap. A further central issue in smart homes is security through things such as condition monitoring. Smart homes will also make ambient assisted living possible, for example in homes that are adapted to the needs of the elderly.
“Let’s take our homes into the internet!” says Dr. Stefan Hartung, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. “An open standard for data exchange is the basis for this. At the same time, our innovative and beneficial services can improve quality of life in the homes of the future, and allow us to use energy efficiently, safely, and comfortably, both in our homes and our cars.”
“This consortium represents an opportunity to bring together a variety of business ecosystem partners, all working together to help make the Internet of Things for the home a reality,” says Jesper Andersen, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Cisco Service Provider Video Software & Solutions Group. “Cisco is looking forward to participating in the consortium and creating a standard that allows consumers to experience a connected home.”
“This consortium is a solution that maximizes collaboration and customer value,” says Byunghoon Min, Senior Vice President, Convergence R&D Laboratory, LG Electronics. “LG Electronics will present never experienced smart home life to customers by creating synergy within the consortium.”
Contact persons for press inquiries: Dr. Ingo Rapold, phone: +49 711 811-48905 Thilo Resenhoeft, phone: +49 711 811-7088 Christian Hoenicke, phone: +49 711 811-6285
Investment in traffic infrastructure a requirement for future mobility
Technical potential of traffic management not exploited
Exploratory field tests of solutions and concepts in Germany
Berlin – Franz Fehrenbach, the chairman of the supervisory board of Robert Bosch GmbH, is calling for more investment in an intelligent infrastructure to facilitate future mobility. “The transportation of the future must be realized in Germany first. To enable this, we need more investment – and more sensible investment – in our mobility infrastructure,” Fehrenbach said at the 30th German Logistics Congress in Berlin. Above all, Fehrenbach sees the country lagging behind considerably in the area of traffic infrastructure. Catching up will involve not only bridge repairs and the construction of more freeways, he said. It will also require investments in infrastructure to be oriented toward the fundamental trends in mobility. According to him, electrification, automation, and connectivity are placing new demands on infrastructure. One of these is efficient traffic management. A first step toward this could be made by implementing a road toll, he explained. “The potential offered by traffic management as well as the other technical possibilities of a networked traffic infrastructure are currently still being ignored in public debate,” Fehrenbach said. Instead, the argument is centering on the question of scope and how the revenue generated by a vignette-based road toll system should be used.
Germany: exploit opportunities offered by trend towards connectivity Fehrenbach believes that the global trend toward digital connectivity will also fundamentally transform mobility – and with it, traffic. “We must make Germany a hub for this technology. In order to do this, we need the necessary infrastructure,” he said. The shape of future traffic flow – whether of people or goods – is still to some extent the subject of research. However, the mobility trends of the future are already clear. “Achieving electrified, automated, and connected mobility will only be possible if we create the necessary technological conditions and framework in advance,” Fehrenbach continued. This includes, for example, interfaces between renewable energy and alternative powertrains, telematics services, and the efficient management of traffic flows. “With a modern, integrated system, Germany could further extend its expertise in the realm of intelligent traffic management.” The limited discussion surrounding the topic of a road toll is thus disappointing, he said.
Mobility concepts are an export opportunity In particular, the megacities that are emerging worldwide need new mobility concepts. “Intelligent, resource-conserving, and hence sustainable mobility could be the next big export opportunity for Germany,” Fehrenbach said. However, Germany has up to now been lacking the necessary infrastructure to “field test” new concepts and solutions, he argued. “The role of infrastructure as a vehicle of innovation has been fundamentally underestimated. This has been demonstrated in the discussions about investment priorities and their financing.”
Competition: engine of progress rather than threat to it Fehrenbach currently sees considerable potential for efficiency in many of Germany’s markets and sectors. He believes that in some areas, a lack of competition, state intervention, and over-regulation could be leading to a lack of transparency, inefficiency, and undesirable market developments. “Competition is perceived as a threat rather than as an engine of progress,” Fehrenbach emphasized. Only by strengthening the principles of Germany’s social market economy will the country’s future as an industrial location be assured. “Competition as a core element of a social market economy guarantees progress, growth, and thus prosperity.”
Shaping the future: no letting up now With respect to the coalition negotiations between the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats, Fehrenbach pointed to the great need for reform which continues to exist in Germany. He warned against letting Germany’s momentarily strong economy divert attention away from the real challenges. “If we let up on shaping the future now, we will fall behind globally.”
About the German Logistics Congress The German Logistics Congress has been staged by the German Logistics Association (BVL) since 1983. It has become the most important annual logistics event in Europe. It is an important forum for German industry. The share of international participants is constantly increasing. The anniversary event is taking place from October 23–25, 2013, in Berlin.
More information on the event and the BVL is available online.
The initiative Launch: Save Food is an alliance between the global Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and Messe Düsseldorf GmbH. Save Food was launched in May 2011 with an international congress and exhibition as part of Interpack, the leading trade show in the packaging industry. Since the start of 2013, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has also been supporting the initiative.
Objective: Save Food looks for solutions that will combat global food losses and waste, and ensure less food is lost en route to customers and by customers themselves.
Background: In 1996, participants at the United Nations World Food Summit set themselves the target of halving the number of people suffering from hunger by 2015. The long-term aim is to end hunger on our planet by 2025. Worldwide, 842 million people, or 15 percent of the global population, are currently suffering from hunger. All their needs could be met using just a fraction of the food that is left unused.
The challenge: Each year, around one-third of foodstuffs is lost en route from field to table. There are various reasons for this. In the industrialized nations, up to 40 percent of foodstuffs (for example, North America) spoil in consumers' homes. In less developed countries, foodstuff losses result from inadequate harvesting conditions and a lack of infrastructure, such as inappropriate storage. In China, the proportion of the rice crop lost is 45 percent, while in Vietnam the figure is as high as 80 percent. These massive losses also mean a waste of resources such as agricultural land, energy, and, in particular, water.
First steps: The FAO has set up interdisciplinary working groups and launched studies. As well as surveys on causes of global food losses, studies in emerging markets have also looked at appropriate packaging solutions that will allow more effective use of locally available packaging materials, for example.
Field studies: An initial field study is already underway in Kenya. It is designed to identify solutions that will effectively tackle the loss of foodstuffs and examine how these can be put into practice and financed. The results are expected shortly (November 2013). Further studies are planned for Cameroon, India, Myanmar, Senegal, Thailand, Uganda, and Vietnam.
Bosch Packaging Technology Packaging allows food be transported better over long distances, and also improves the preservation and storage of food. Appropriate technological solutions take account of local conditions in countries with inadequate food supplies. In many emerging markets, there are still forms of packaging that are inappropriate for end consumers. Foodstuffs are often packed in unsterile, large-volume bags weighing 25 kilograms or more. Using Bosch packaging machinery, perishable products such as flour, rice, salt, and sugar can be packed hygienically in one-kilogram bags. This ensures customers receive exactly the right amount of good-quality food.
As well as plants in Europe and North and South America, Bosch Packaging Technology now also has its own assembly locations and sales and service centers in China, Thailand, Singapore, India, South Africa, and Egypt.
Press contact: Claudia Arnold (spokesperson for Industrial Technology), phone +49 711 811-6403 Dirk Haushalter (spokesperson for Packaging Technology) phone +49 711 811-58503
Stuttgart – Bosch will be playing an active role in this year’s celebrations in Stuttgart to mark the day of German Unity. On October 2 and 3, the supplier of technology and services will be presenting products and services relating to the mobility of the future. The focal point of the exhibition, on show in Stuttgart’s “Schlossgarten” park, is electromobility. There, Bosch will present products and solutions for electrically powered bikes, scooters, and cars. “Our systems for e-bikes and e-scooters also serve to give people a feeling of what driving electrically is like. In this way, we are supporting multimodal traffic concepts in large cities,” says Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the Bosch board of management.
Apart from smart operating units, the European market leader Bosch eBike Systems offers long-life rechargeable batteries and powerful drive units. True to the motto of the celebrations - “curiosity meets motion” - visitors can try out e-bikes fitted with Bosch technology in the Schlossgarten park.
Also outdoors, the Bosch Power Tools Indego robot lawnmower will demonstrate just how effortless it can be to look after the garden. The Indego mows lawns up to a size of 1000 square meters completely automatically. Musically as well, Bosch will be present at the celebrations. At 6 p.m. on October 3, the Bosch Allstars will be giving a concert on one of the four stages on Königstrasse, Stuttgart’s main shopping street.
Bosch is involved in many electromobility projects Baden-Württemberg is one of four German “Schaufenster Elektromobilität” (electromobility showcases). In this context, Bosch is involved in many projects to research and develop the electromobile future. For example, LivingLab BW is studying electromobility in everyday life in more than 40 individual projects. Its aim is to test the technologies that are already available and to develop viable business models. The “Get eReady” project is examining how vehicle fleets can be operated economically. As part of this project, it is planned to have 750 hybrid and all-electric vehicles on the roads in the Stuttgart region by 2015. In addition, Bosch is an active member of the Cluster Elektromobilität Süd-West (electromobility cluster southwest).
The company is working on challenges of electromobility that go far beyond classic product business. It annual investments in this field come to roughly 400 million euros.
From 1 to 3 p.m. on October 2, the Bosch exhibition will be visited by Peter Friedrich, the Baden-Württemberg state minister for the Bundesrat, Europe, and international affairs.
The complete program of events to mark the Day of German Unity is available online (German only).