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Bosch and SAP combine expertise for Industry 4.0

21 September 2016

German technology groups Bosch and SAP have agreed to form a strategic partnership for the internet of things (IoT) and Industry 4.0. Both companies also plan to expand their collaboration on cloud technologies and software solutions, so as to speed up manufacturing and logistics processes and to increase the safety and quality of products and services for customers.

''In order to make even better use of the major potential that connected industry holds, international companies must cooperate more closely than before, and they must base that cooperation on open standards,'' said Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner at the signing of the memorandum of understanding.

''New solutions that offer a high degree of customer benefit will appear only when companies concentrate on their strengths and their core competencies while also pooling their respective strengths,'' added Bernd Leukert, member of the SAP executive board responsible for products and innovation.

Under the MoU, SAP and Bosch will combine SAP HANA and Bosch IoT Cloud to enable customers process large quantities of data for IoT applications in real time. In addition, Bosch and SAP will work to combine their software and cloud expertise in the future.

Bosch IoT microservices will be made available on the SAP HANA cloud platform, as a way to connect different devices and components. This includes enabling secure and more efficient connectivity for vehicles, manufacturing machinery, or tools with various, and preferably open platforms. The aim is to offer customers new, smart services.

For instance, connected cordless screwdrivers can report their location down to the nearest centimeter to the production system, which can then select the torque appropriate to each screwdriver's task. The result is increased efficiency in production.

Fast databases such as SAP HANA are a prerequisite for saving, processing, analysing, and presenting large quantities of data from connected industry.

At the same time, Bosch said, the systems both Bosch and SAP develop are focused on data security and privacy. Both companies protect customer data with state-of-the-art technology. Customers can decide themselves whether to make personal data available and when it should be deleted.

''To get IoT and Industry 4.0 solutions implemented universally, we need standards and reference architectures,'' Denner said. On the topic of standardisation, Denner and Leukert expressed their support for close coordination with the internationally oriented Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and with the Germany-based Plattform Industrie 4.0. The aim is to institute a set of standardized conditions that will support the interoperability of machinery in the world of industry.

''Joint testbeds are a tried and trusted approach toward that aim, with partners working together to test the interplay of sensors, machinery, software, and cloud technology, and to derive standards from that,'' Leukert said.

One specific example of cooperation between SAP HANA and Bosch IoT Cloud is positional data for forklifts, which could increase the transparency and efficiency in logistics. In an existing IIC-coordinated test-bed known as Track & Trace, it is now possible to determine the location of forklifts in large warehouses, aircraft hangars, or industrial sites in real time and to the nearest centimeter.

Zeno Track, a start-up founded by Bosch, pinpoints the forklifts using cameras, GPS, laser scanners, radio, and connected motion sensors. The location data is transferred via the Bosch IoT Cloud to the SAP Vehicle Insights fleet management system. As a result, vehicle fleets can be managed intelligently and in a way that best supports the planning and fulfillment of transport orders or maintenance schedules. This reduces outlay and increases efficiency.

The cooperation between Bosch and SAP shows how the interplay of sensors and software enables the creation of new services that go beyond individual companies.

Moreover, the two companies aim to develop further solutions in areas such as automated and connected driving. These always produce great quantities of data that must be evaluated quickly and reliably. ''Databases and platform technologies are fundamental building blocks for new solutions in the internet of things and Industry 4.0. We would like to put these at the disposal of customers, partners, and users worldwide,'' Leukert said.

According to Denner, ''Bosch can draw on extensive sensor systems experience in the areas of mobility, manufacturing, consumer goods, and connectivity. By combining all this, we aim to help our customers generate new sales.''

Bosch and SAP are leading European members of the IIC. This international network of companies and universities is driving the implementation of the internet of things in several areas, including industrial manufacturing. The IIC is holding its first ever meeting in Germany from September 19-24. SAP and Bosch are supporting cooperation between the IIC and the Germany-based Platform Industrie 4.0.

Collaboration in software and cloud technologies

  • Long-term strategic technology partnership for increased customer enefit
  • SAP adds its HANA database platform to Bosch IoT Cloud
  • Bosch makes its IoT microservices available to SAP on the HANA cloud platform
  • Bosch has expertise in device connectivity, SAP in IoT applications
  • Both drive standards as part of the IIC and the Germany-based platform Industry 4.0

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