Growth targets surpassed in 2014, despite difficult environment
Sales growth in all business sectors and regions
Sales expected to rise by 3 to 5 percent in 2015
Increasing importance of software competence
15,000 software engineers, 3,000 for the internet of things
Stuttgart – The Bosch Group has made a good start to 2015. In the first quarter, sales grew by roughly 13 percent.1 After adjusting for exchange-rate effects, the increase was 5.4 percent. For the current fiscal year, the global supplier of technology and services expects its sales to grow 3 to 5 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects. Because these effects are considerable, Bosch expects its nominal sales growth to be higher than this range. Presenting the annual financial statements in Gerlingen, Germany, Dr. Volkmar Denner, the chairman of the Bosch board of management, said: “Our economic and technological strength in our established fields of business allows us to open up new market segments.” Internet-enabled products and internet-based services are one of the focal points of the company's future sales growth. “We are driving connectivity forward in all our business sectors and playing an active role in shaping it,” Denner added. In 2014, Bosch launched many new products and connectivity solutions. They include web-enabled ovens and software solutions for connected heating systems and buildings, as well as for connected industry and connected mobility.
Business developments in 2014: significant progress In 2014, product innovations again helped Bosch to further improve its market position in many areas. In the past business year, the company increased its sales by a nominal 6.3 percent to 49 billion euros. Adjusted for exchange-rate effects, growth was 7.4 percent. As a result of negative exchange-rate effects to the tune of some 500 million euros, the temporarily strong euro had a considerable impact on the sales figure. This strong development of sales also contributed to an improved result. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose to 3 billion euros last year – a year-on-year increase of roughly 10 percent. Bosch thus disclosed an EBIT margin of 6.2 percent in 2014. This is roughly one percentage point better than the value for 2013, adjusted for one-off and extraordinary effects. “Our rigorous work on costs also played a part in this significant improvement in result. In 2014, we were successful despite only moderate global economic growth,” said Dr. Stefan Asenkerschbaumer, the Bosch chief financial officer and deputy chairman of the board of management. Following the complete takeover of BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH (now BSH Hausgeräte GmbH), the supplier of technology and services has strengthened its position in the area of smart homes. And with the acquisition of ZF Lenksysteme GmbH (now Robert Bosch Automotive Steering GmbH), Bosch has added to its portfolio in the growth area of automated driving.
Mobility solutions for tomorrow's traffic For Bosch, automated driving is a significant area of growth. The company is successively launching new driver assistance systems. For example, 2015 will see the start of series production of remote-controlled parking, the traffic jam assist, and an assistance function for evasive maneuvers and turning against oncoming traffic. In the Mobility Solutions business sector, more than 2,000 engineers are working to make the auto pilot for drivers a reality. When it comes to the mobility of the future, Bosch is not only concerned with automation, but also with connectivity and electrification. As of now, the company has received 30 orders relating to electrical powertrains. Each year, Bosch invests nearly 400 million euros in electromobility, not least in further developing battery technology. “We were instrumental in the success story of the diesel. We want to do the same for the electrical powertrain,” Denner said. One key to the market success of electrical powertrains is their suitability for everyday use. For example an app developed by Bosch gives drivers access to a network covering 80 percent of all web-enabled charge spots in Germany. For users, this means that recharging their electric vehicles is easy.
Today, Bosch sees itself as a supplier of mobility solutions that cover more than just the car. In 2014, systems such as gasoline and diesel direct injection were once again extremely successful. Increasingly, they are being joined by software solutions and mobility services. “Connectivity makes completely new solutions possible for the multimodal traffic of the future. And in established areas as well, it will play a significant role in creating customer benefit and conserving resources,” Denner said. Last year, for example, Bosch debuted connected electronic engine management systems for two wheelers. Riders can use their smartphones to read and evaluate vehicle data.
Growing significance of software competence In the connectivity business, there is a new “3S”: sensors, software, and services. Bosch is the globally leading manufacturer of micromechanical sensors, more commonly known as MEMS sensors. This year, it will manufacture 1.6 billion such “sensory organs,” nearly 25 percent more than in the previous year. Moreover, for some years now, the technology company has been expanding its software competence. Today, one in three of the 45,700 associates working in research and development is a software engineer. Three thousand engineers are working on the internet of things alone. “For Bosch, software expertise is a key competence for the future,” Denner said. “Embedded software is already one of our strong points, and we are successively adding to this with IT software know-how.” Only recently, Bosch acquired the connectivity specialist ProSyst, a supplier of gateway software and middleware. In smart homes, ProSyst software acts as an interpreter for the devices of different manufacturers.
Bosch IoT suite: platform for the internet of things One central software platform for the internet of things is the Bosch IoT suite. It orchestrates communication and data exchange between web-enabled objects such as factory machinery, heating systems, and security cameras. The Bosch IoT suite can also analyze and process the kind of big data generated in areas such as connected manufacturing. Bosch also makes parts of its IoT suite accessible for open-source developers. “Our IoT suite is meant as an invitation to participate. In shaping the connected world, we put our faith in open solutions, since we believe they will drive forward the manufacturer-independent networking of devices and machines,” said Denner, whose responsibilities on the Bosch board of management include research and advance engineering.
A multitude of services on the internet of things According to Denner, the business potential of the internet of things lies above all in the services that can be derived from connectivity. “Bosch is in equal measure a supplier of technology and services, and both are an advantage for us in the connectivity business.” Even today, Bosch offers a wide range of service solutions for many industries and customers. For example, its Security Systems division offers telematics services such as eCall for 500,000 vehicles in 16 languages. By the end of 2015, Bosch will have facilitated the connectivity of some 100,000 vehicles for the fleet management of leasing and insurance companies. At the Hannover trade fair, Bosch presented its remote service manager. In connected manufacturing, it makes the remote maintenance of machinery possible.
Data security and data protection in the connected world With growing connectivity, there is also a growing demand for data security and data protection. “The decisive factor for the widespread acceptance of connected solutions will be data protection, and thus people's trust,” Denner said. In this context, the Bosch CEO called for rapid adoption of the EU General Data Protection Regulation. “Both legally and technologically, there is still much to be done to make Europe truly ready for the internet of things.” In the area of data security, the company is already in good shape. Bosch employs more than 100 associates who specialize in secure data transfer. The company operates a center of competence in which it brings together relevant know-how in areas such as cryptographic methods and the management of certificates.
The business year 2014 by region and business sector
Asia Pacific: growth region number one In Asia Pacific, Bosch grew its sales 17 percent (19 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects) in 2014, to 13 billion euros. At just under 27 percent of total sales revenue, the region's share of sales reached a new high. Sales growth was especially strong in China, rising a nominal 27 percent to 6.4 billion euros.
Americas: significant growth in North America, difficult environment in South America Our business in North America developed very well, growing 8.6 percent to 8.5 billion euros. Adjusted for exchange rates, the increase was as much as 9.3 percent. In South America, weak automotive production and weakness of the Brazilian real had a negative effect on sales developments. At 1.5 billion euros, sales were down by an exchange rate-adjusted 4.4 percent on the previous year. In nominal terms, the drop in sales was 13 percent.
Europe: economic situation remains difficult Despite an economic situation that remained difficult, Bosch increased its sales in Europe by 2.1 percent to 26 billion euros. Adjusted for exchange-rate effects, growth was 2.5 percent. The region thus accounted for 53 percent of total sales. In Germany as well, sales were up year on year, at 10.8 billion euros.
Mobility Solutions: growth twice as fast as the market The Mobility Solutions business sector was once again able to accelerate its rate of growth. Sales rose 8.9 percent (9.9 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects) to 33.3 billion euros. Bosch thus grew twice as fast as the automotive market. The business sector's EBIT was 2.4 billion euros, and its EBIT margin 7.2 percent. Without one-off and consolidation effects, the year-on-year improvement in operating result is roughly 0.9 percentage points.
Industrial Technology: back on a growth path In 2014, the Industrial Technology business sector's sales amounted to 6.7 billion euros, a nominal 2 percent below the previous-year level (1 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects). This slight drop is due to a weak market, as well as to the divestment of the sector's pneumatics business in early 2014. Excluding this consolidation effect, sales increased by 2.5 percent, and 3.6 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects. All in all, Industrial Technology improved its EBIT to 67 million euros.
Consumer Goods: market leader in power tools Encouraging growth was posted by the Consumer Goods business sector. Its sales grew 5 percent to 4.2 billion euros, or 7 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects. Last year, the business sector generated EBIT of some 550 million euros and an EBIT margin of 13.1 percent. Its EBIT included the pro rata after-tax profit of the BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH joint venture.
Energy and Building Technology: enhanced competitiveness In 2014, the Energy and Building Technology business sector increased its sales by 1.7 percent (2.6 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects), to 4.6 billion euros. Its EBIT came to some 170 million euros. EBIT margin stood at 3.7 percent.
Headcount: 12,000 new hires this year In 2015, Bosch plans to take on some 12,000 graduates worldwide, 1,200 of them in Germany alone. Total Bosch headcount grew by some 9,000 in 2014, to 290,000. Following the integration of the former fifty-fifty joint ventures BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH and ZF Lenksysteme GmbH, the Bosch Group now employs roughly 360,000 associates (as per April 1, 2015).
1 Sales figure assumes that the consolidated group includes BSH Hausgeräte GmbH and Robert Bosch Automotive Steering GmbH.
AKU151 delivers the world's only microphone with both very high SNR and high performance density (SNR/mm3) in a tiny top-port package
High performance AKU350 delivers an outstanding 67dB SNR
New products leverage the in-house design and manufacturing capabilities of the world's #1 MEMS supplier
PITTSBURGH – March 9, 2015- Akustica, Inc., a Bosch Group company and provider of MEMS microphones, expands the Bosch consumer MEMS sensor portfolio with the addition of two new, highly robust, high performance analog microphones. The AKU151 is a tiny, top-port microphone with both high SNR and high acoustic performance density (SNR/mm3), and the AKU350 is an ultra-high performance 67dB SNR bottom-port microphone. The new microphones leverage Akustica/Bosch's latest MEMS, ASIC, and package designs and enhanced manufacturing processes to deliver the industry-leading performance and quality requested by consumer electronics manufacturers and expected from Bosch, the world's leading MEMS sensor supplier.
According to IHS, the MEMS microphone market will exceed $1.4B by 2018, almost doubling in size from 2012, with high performance microphones (>64dB SNR) being the quickest growing and largest segment of the market. This growth is being fueled by an increased focus on voice-input quality by smartphone manufacturers who are integrating multiple MEMS microphones into each smartphone to achieve improved noise suppression and speech recognition accuracy for their end users. In recent years, MEMS microphones have also become increasingly important for use in wearable devices which rely on voice as a key user interface such as headsets, smart glasses, and smart watches. These space-constrained, battery-operated devices bring a whole new set of acoustic challenges to device manufacturers who need microphones that are smaller and lower power but still provide high acoustic performance to address far-field use cases where the user's mouth is farther away from the microphone.
In-House Design and Manufacturing Advantages Akustica's newest microphones once again demonstrate the advantage of combining in-house MEMS, ASIC, and package design with in-house fabrication facilities. The microphones are the first to make use of new ASIC design elements that optimize performance depending on the target market. The two new microphones are also the first to be built using a new MEMS architecture and fabrication process which includes additional material layers and optimized thicknesses of current layers. And, the AKU151 is the world's first microphone to use an advanced, metal-lid, direct-port package.
The final performance of a MEMS microphone depends not only on how each component of the design performs independently, but also on how all pieces interact and perform together as a microphone system. In particular, high performance MEMS microphone design requires outstanding modeling capabilities, broad system understanding, and tight control of all aspects of design and fabrication. The combination of these competencies is what results in superior microphones that exceed customer requirements for acoustic performance and robustness. Akustica/Bosch is the world's only MEMS microphone supplier with all of these proficiencies under one roof, thereby enabling the type of industry-leading technical innovation that has been demonstrated by Akustica's recent introductions of its first and second generation HD microphone families, and again with the introduction of the AKU151 and AKU350.
AKU151 – Industry Leading Top-Port Acoustic Performance Density The AKU151, in its tiny 5.4mm3 package, presents consumer device manufacturers with a durable, RF-immune microphone in the top-port configuration that is easiest for use in their high volume assembly lines. Unlike other microphones where a smaller package typically results in lower performance, the AKU151 delivers a high SNR of 65dB, meaning that the AKU151 delivers almost twice the acoustic performance density (SNR/mm3) of any other top-port MEMS microphone. The AKU151 is also optimized for low power applications, consuming only 60µA during standard, full-performance operation, making it ideal for use in applications like wearables which require small, high performance microphones but have limited battery life.
AKU350 High Performance Bottom-Port Analog Microphone The AKU350 is a robust, bottom-port, metal-lid, 9.1mm3 microphone with a single-ended output that provides an outstanding 67dB SNR and a tight +/-1dB sensitivity matching. With its high SNR and accompanying microphone-to-microphone uniformity, the AKU350 is optimized to meet the needs of smartphone manufacturers who use multiple microphones with noise cancellation algorithms. These algorithms rely on well-matched, high-performance microphones to deliver superior noise suppression and speech recognition accuracy to the end user.
Higher accuracy microphones can significantly improve the quality of sound recordings made with mobile devices. This is particularly evident when one is making a recording of a quiet or distant sound whose signal level approaches the inherent noise level of the microphone. As Akustica recently demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, making a recording using a microphone such as the AKU350 – with a higher SNR than a typical smartphone MEMS microphone – can eliminate the hiss that can often be heard in recording playback, resulting in a crisper, more realistic sound.
"Akustica's customers continue to benefit from the unique combination of experienced designers and industry-leading facilities that we have at our disposal as part of the Bosch Group," said Horst Muenzel, CEO and General Manager, Akustica. "Nobody else in the world has the capabilities that we have. This is what allows us to uniquely respond to our customer's needs and to deliver new, innovative microphones with higher performance, more uniformity, greater robustness, and smaller footprints."
About Akustica: Akustica is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bosch Group and a top supplier of silicon microphone products that are improving voice-input quality in a host of voice-enabled applications, from mobile phones, laptops and tablets to small wearable accessories like headsets. The company offers worldwide customer support services, from design-in services to post-production quality assurance. Akustica is a global organization with corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA, regional offices in Taiwan and Shanghai, and a worldwide team of distributors. For more information about Akustica, go to:www.akustica.com.
The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. In 2013, its roughly 281,000 associates generated sales of 46.1 billion euros. (NB: Due to a change in accounting policies, the 2013 figures can only be compared to a limited extent with the 2012 figures). Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 360 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 50 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. In 2013, the Bosch Group invested some 4.5 billion euros in research and development and applied for some 5,000 patents. This is an average of 20 patents per day. The Bosch Group's products and services are designed to fascinate, and to improve the quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial. In this way, the company offers technology worldwide that is “Invented for life.”
Implementing the full Android Lollipop sensor stack with lowest power sensor and sensor hub combination
Significantly reduces power consumption by up to 95 % for always-on applications in mobile devices by handling sensor processing and data batching
The functionality can be easily extended through externally attached sensors and new software features
Bosch Sensortec today announced the BHI160 and BHA250, two sensor devices with integrated sensor hub. Today's smart phones rely on always-on sensors for applications such as fitness tracking, step counting, indoor navigation and gesture recognition. By offloading sensor processing to the BHI160 or BHA250, as well as buffering sensor data locally on the devices, system designers can ensure the main application processor is never woken up just to process sensor data. This significantly reduces system power consumption, and thus extends battery life – a major competitive advantage for phone manufacturers.
The new devices integrate a best-in-class 3- or 6-axis MEMS sensor with the new Bosch Sensortec DSP “Fuser Core”. The BHI160 and BHA250 are specifically designed for applications in Android smart phones – implementing the full Android Lollipop sensor stack inside the devices where they provide a flexible, low power solution for motion sensing and sensor data processing.
The new devices implement the full Android Lollipop sensor stack and can be updated with new software features to support future releases. The BHI160 is the industry's lowest-power solution that is fully compatible with Lollipop, using less than 1.55 mA for a complete 9-axis solution including the Fuser Core, the integrated accelerometer and gyroscope and an external magnetometer.
“In modern smart phones, sensors are a key component, and are often switched on all or most of the time for motion-sensitive applications,” says Dr. Stefan Finkbeiner, CEO of Bosch Sensortec. “By handling all sensor data processing, these new devices can make a substantial difference to overall battery life.”
The sensor hub devices are a full turnkey solution, reducing integration work and hence cutting time-to-market for OEMs.
Power-efficient core The Fuser Core is a 32-bit microcontroller that is optimized to execute Bosch Sensortec's sensor fusion and activity-recognition algorithms with ultra-low power consumption. It uses significantly less power than standard microcontrollers, with a saving of up to 95 percent compared to Cortex M0 and up to 90 percent compared to Cortex M4 based devices.
The BHI160 and BHA250 both offer identical functionality except that the BHI160 integrates a 6-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU), consisting of a 3-axis gyroscope and 3-axis accelerometer, while the BHA250 omits the gyroscope. This makes it a smaller and lower-cost device, and gives OEMs the flexibility to use it in eCompass applications where a gyroscope is not required.
Compact package The BHI160 is available in a 3.0 x 3.0 x 0.95 mm³ LGA package, while the BHA250 is provided in a 2.2 x 2.2 x 0.95 mm³ LGA package. These packages are the same size as competitive sensor-only devices without an integrated DSP. Integrating the sensor hub reduces the bill of material, and saves on valuable PCB space compared to solutions based on standard microcontrollers.
Both new devices are fully pin- and footprint-compatible with Bosch's sensor-only variants from Bosch Sensortec, giving OEMs the flexibility to support multiple different smart phone devices on one platform, and to make decisions later in the design cycle.
Availability Samples are scheduled to be available to selected customers in the second quarter of 2015.