Bosch acquires U.S. building automation specialist

Expansion of international activities with connected energy and building technology

  • Acquisition of Skyline Automation broadens technical expertise and market presence
  • Stefan Hartung: “strategic step on path to single-source provider of connected systems and services for buildings”
  • Growth with new business models and services for greater convenience, security, and energy efficiency

Stuttgart, Germany – Bosch is bolstering its international business with integrated services for commercial buildings – a strategic growth area for the Energy and Building Technology business sector. The Bosch subsidiary Climatec, based in Phoenix (AZ) in the United States, has acquired Skyline Automation. The company, which specializes in building automation and systems integration, provides installation and connectivity services for a variety of technical systems in buildings. Building automation can reduce energy consumption by up to 40 percent. Based in Clifton, New Jersey, Skyline Automation has a workforce of 40, and generated sales of 12 million dollars in 2015. The building service provider Climatec was acquired by Bosch in 2015, and has so far been active in the western United States.

“In acquiring Skyline, we are bolstering our activities in energy and building technology at a technical level and expanding our presence in the North American market, which is showing solid growth,” said Dr. Stefan Hartung at a press conference in Stuttgart. Hartung is the member of the board of management at Robert Bosch GmbH responsible for the Energy and Building Technology business sector. “Following the takeover of Climatec, this is the next strategic step on our path to becoming a single-source provider of connected systems and services for buildings.”

We are connecting cars with houses, and connecting entire cities. For tasks like this, Bosch contributes technical expertise from a wide range of different types of devices in a way that no other company can.

Dr. Stefan Hartung, member of the board of management at Robert Bosch GmbH

Connectivity enabling new business models and services

Connected solutions enable Bosch to tap into many new possibilities in its activities with energy and building technology, particularly where services are concerned. Market experts estimate that the global market for intelligent building technology will grow from its current level of around 6 billion dollars to around 25 billion dollars by 2021 – the equivalent of an average annual growth rate of 34 percent. “Services are becoming an integral part of our business. Every sale of hardware will be followed by the sale of complementary services in the future,” Hartung said. When it comes to developing and launching services for the connected world, Bosch’s broad business portfolio is a huge advantage, as is its expertise in software and sensors. “We are connecting cars with houses, and connecting entire cities. For tasks like this, Bosch contributes technical expertise from a wide range of different types of devices in a way that no other company can.”

Bosch Energy and Building Technology includes the Thermotechnology, Security Systems, and Service Solutions divisions, as well as the subsidiaries Smart Home and Energy Storage Solutions. In 2015, the Energy and Building Technology business sector generated sales of 5.1 billion euros.

Service Solutions: 15 percent annual sales growth

The new Service Solutions division, which was created at the start of 2016, is showing solid growth. The division’s roughly 7,600 associates provide communication services, remotely monitor buildings and industrial facilities, and ensure greater safety for cargo and vehicles along the entire logistics chain. Secure Truck Parking, for example, allows to book secure parking spaces for trucks at rest areas online before the journey. On behalf of automakers, Service Solutions provides the eCall automatic emergency call service and a concierge service. In 2015, Bosch Service Solutions handled more than 120 million customer contacts in 14 countries on behalf of more than 1,000 companies – 30 million more contacts than in 2013. Bosch expects the Service Solutions division’s sales to grow by about 15 percent each year.

Smart homes: global market potential of 10 billion euros

In smart homes as well, increasing connectivity will make life easier and relieve residents of tedious routine tasks. Market experts expect the global market potential of smart homes to reach 10 billion euros as early as 2017. By 2020, some 230 million households – 15 percent of all households worldwide – will be equipped with smart-home solutions. Since the beginning of the year, Bosch has pooled its activities in this area in the company Robert Bosch Smart Home GmbH. With its Bosch Smart Home system, the company offers a simple and secure solution for connected homes. At the IFA 2016, Bosch presented new products, including a small interior camera with a 360° view and a smart smoke alarm which also sounds in the event of a burglary and measures air quality.

Leading provider of smart heating solutions

Having sold more than 210,000 network-enabled products, Bosch is the leading supplier of smart heating solutions that greatly increase convenience, energy efficiency, operating safety, and service quality. The “HomeCom” portal provides installation companies with detailed information about their customers’ connected heating systems, including faults and predictions of what might have caused them. End users receive clear information about their heating system, along with consumption data and personalized energy-saving tips. Together with British Gas, Bosch has developed the “Boiler iQ” connected service. This allows British Gas to remotely monitor the heating systems of its U.K. customers around the clock. If the system detects a problem, it automatically sends an immediate appointment request to the customer’s smartphone. The service technician has all relevant information available for maintenance issues. Bosch is focusing on three business fields in this market: heating systems for residential buildings, domestic water heaters, and systems for commercial and industrial heating and air-conditioning systems. In all three segments, Bosch is making good progress and intends to grow faster than the market.

Smart video technology growth market: more than just recording images

Modern cameras do more than just record images – they also track speeds, directions, colors, and much more. A security guard who has to spend hours watching several surveillance monitors can easily overlook something important now and again. In this situation, it helps if the cameras can do some of the thinking and independently notify the guard if someone is climbing over a fence or stealing an artwork. Intelligent video analysis makes this possible. Bosch cameras are now equipped with this technology as standard. They recognize burglars and unattended luggage, count crowds of people, and sound the alarm in the event of fire. The intelligent algorithms behind this technology had previously only been available in top-of-the-range cameras, which are installed in critical areas such as airports and government buildings. This year, Bosch is making a complete package of analysis functions, known as “Essential Video Analytics,” available for the mid-price segment as well, thus making the solution attractive for new target groups such as hotels and retailers. The system allows large quantities of video data to be sifted quickly and easily for vital information. Because only relevant images are transferred, the memory requirements and the load placed on the network are considerably lower – as are the operating costs.

Tags: Thermotechnik, Connected Home, Smart, Connected solutions

About Bosch

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 402,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2017). The company generated sales of 78.1 billion euros in 2017. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology.

As a leading IoT company, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, smart cities, connected mobility, and connected manufacturing. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.” The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiary and regional companies in 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. At 125 locations across the globe, Bosch employs some 64,500 associates in research and development.

The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering.” The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant upfront investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-two percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust. The entrepreneurial ownership functions are carried out by the trust. The remaining shares are held by the Bosch family and by Robert Bosch GmbH.

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