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Innovation Lab to Explore Business Models Related to Internet of Things & Services

  • Think tank to develop new applications and business fields
  • Initial projects looking into networked mobility and buildings
  • Minister for Economic Affairs Würth praises exemplary partnership

St.Gallen/Waiblingen, 09/13/2012 -

The Bosch Group and the University of St. Gallen (HSG) have officially put the innovation lab "Bosch internet of things & services lab – a cooperation of HSG and Bosch" into operation in the presence of Benedikt Würth, Minister for Economic Affairs of the Canton of St. Gallen. The think tank’s mission is to find and test out business models for the internet of things & services (IoT). In addition, researchers will be working to develop internet-based products and services. There are currently five graduate students working under the direction of Dr. Markus Weinberger at the innovation lab’s research facility on the campus of the university. By 2013 there will be ten HSG and Bosch employees working at the facility. "The internet of things & services will revolutionize great swaths of the economy over the coming years. We see big growth potential for Bosch in this revolution, and we want the innovative work carried out in St. Gallen to help us crack open this potential," said Dr. Siegfried Dais, deputy chairman of the Bosch board of management.

"This initiative by the global giant Bosch validates our strategy of positioning St. Gallen internationally as a center of technology and learning. I’m delighted that Bosch has chosen St. Gallen as the location for this lab," emphasized Minister for Economic Affairs Würth. "The foundation of the Bosch innovation lab is an important milestone for HSG," explained Prof. Dr. Thomas Bieger, President of the University of St. Gallen. "The lab’s innovative format underscores the practice and technology orientation of our university." Prof. Dr. Elgar Fleisch, the scientific head of the Bosch IoTS lab and director of the Institute for Technology Management (ITEM-HSG), said: "For more than ten years we’ve been dealing with the fusion of the digital and real world. The collaboration with Bosch enables and commits us to strive for an even more creative and yet responsible approach to new information technologies for the benefit of economy and society."

The first major areas of research include networked mobility and the smart networking of buildings. Bosch Software Innovations GmbH, the Bosch Group’s software and systems unit, will provide operational support to the think tank, allowing the researchers to draw on this reservoir of expertise. Bosch Software Innovations already uses a software platform as infrastructure for electric vehicles in Singapore, and it is expanding the platform in stages. One way in which this internet-based eMobility solution helps drivers is by enabling them to find a vacant parking space with a charge spot – a particularly useful tool in megacities.

Bicycles as mobile advertising spaces

Paul Rigger and Thomas von Bomhard are working on a project to use bicycles as mobile advertising spaces. The displays are mounted on the sides of bicycles and can be controlled over the internet, making it possible for instance to change the advertising display to a message that is especially relevant for a particular neighborhood when the cyclist rides into it. Kristina Flüchter is also working on a bicycle-related topic. She is investigating the commercial and technical requirements for running a fleet of e-bikes. She is working on the assumption that the organizations who run hotels, leisure facilities, transport services, etc. in tourism regions might be interested in jointly operating an e-bike scheme.

Networked buildings: priority research area

The second major area of research, networked buildings, also allows researchers to draw on the expertise of a range of Bosch business areas, including Bosch Solar Energy (for energy supply), Bosch Thermotechnology (for heating and heat pumps), Bosch Security Systems (for data protection and access control), Bosch Healthcare (for telemedicine and emergency call systems), Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte (for household appliances), Bosch Software Innovations, and Bosch Energy and Building Systems (for energy management). Dominic Wörner is working on a smart heating control system whose features include the ability to process weather forecasts from the internet. Markus Köhler is also working on the networking of buildings. Both are looking into the question of how to actively involve the owners or users of a building in using important resources such as electricity and water more sparingly.

Combination of scientific research and practical applications

The Bosch IoT lab makes use of a unique combination of scientific research and practical applications, business administration and technology management. HSG’s technology management department is currently collaborating with 50 different companies on topics related to the internet of things & services. "We are working on problems from the world of business for the world of business," explained Prof. Fleisch, who emphasized: "The fact that we’re collaborating with a large number of different companies and that the major topics are not company-specific ensures that there is absolute scientific freedom of inquiry." The HSG professor is researching the economic impacts and infrastructures of ubiquitous computer use, and he is a co-founder of several university spin-offs. He also shares the benefit of his know-how at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich.

Bosch active in Switzerland since 1920

Bosch has had a presence in Switzerland since 1920, through companies such as Robert Bosch AG, Scintilla AG, Bosch Rexroth Schweiz AG, Buderus Heiztechnik AG, Bosch Packaging Systems AG, and sia Abrasives Industries AG. Bosch Group companies in Switzerland employ around 3,400 people and generated sales of around 1.4 billion Swiss francs (1.2 billion euros) in 2011.