With more than 400 locations worldwide, Bosch has been climate-neutral since 2020. A custom IOT Solution was developed for the consistent improvement of energy efficiency. We spoke about this with Dr. Christian Fischer, member of the board of management at Robert Bosch GmbH.
An interview with Dr. Christian Fischer
Dr. Fischer, with digitalization and climate protection, society and business are currently trying to find quick answers to two megatrends that are “sustainable” in both senses of the word. How are you confronting this challenge at Bosch and how do you see the current situation from the customer side?
Bosch wants to use its competitive advantage from long-standing experience in combining networking (Internet of things, IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) for its future business and become a leading AIoT company. It is predicted that sales of networkcapable devices for the home will double in 2021, from four million to nearly eight million. The networking of things results in knowledge about how these things are used. Bosch would like to evaluate the data about the usage of its products with artificial intelligence and create new functions and services for customers via appropriate software updates. Digitalization also helps with climate protection. With its more than 400 locations worldwide, Bosch has been climate-neutral since February 2020. This is an achievement that is only possible thanks to the constant improvement of energy efficiency in production, systems, and buildings. For CO2-neutral production, we use our own IoT solution called “Energy Platform.” The platform also focuses on using solar and wind energy optimally – and it uses AI in the process. Today, Bosch shares its experiences with other companies: since the middle of 2020, the consulting company Bosch Climate Solution has been helping other companies reduce their CO2 footprints.
DR. CHRISTIAN FISCHER
Member of the Board of Management
Robert Bosch GmbH
As part of the Bosch management, you are also responsible for the areas of building technologies and smart homes. What are the approaches to successfully interlock the topics of digitalization and climate protection?
At Bosch, sustainability is defined as a central task; through economically, ecologically, and socially responsible action, we want to improve people’s quality of life and secure the basis that current and future generations need to live. Sustainability is not an end in itself here. Today, we generate innovation potential for product development: Bosch records approximately 40% of its sales with products that contribute to sustainable development. For example, CO2 savings between 20% and 100% per heating
system can be realized (with the use of “green” gases) by using
heat pumps and modern boilers from Bosch and Buderus. Networked heating thermostats control the heat on the basis of predefined rules – this is good for the for both the wallet and the
. Our smart home system’s energy manager also enables significantly greater CO2 reduction and consequently lower energy costs. It can distribute solar power from the roof intelligently and automatically, whether to the heat pump or battery storage – and in the future also to an electric vehicle. With such digital control, homeowners can save up to 70% on their power costs. Furthermore, Bosch has recently started the first real operation of a stationary fuel cell (SOFC) for climate-friendly power production in an urban setting at the bus station in Bamberg, Germany. As compared to the power mix in Germany, a SOFC system itself saves about 40% of the climate-damaging CO2 emissions when operated with natural gas – and when operated with hydrogen, the figure is 100%.
Starting in 2025, every Bosch product should contain or be produced with artificial intelligence. In which fields do you anticipate the greatest benefit from AI? Where is the German economy overall in the global comparison regarding this topic?
The evaluation and analysis of data with AI methods offers the opportunity to develop new functions and services, which in turn increase the benefits of the things. Data-driven business has thus far been the domain of IT companies outside of Europe. The highest investments in this future field are being made in China and the USA. Nevertheless, European industry has AI strengths that others do not have. Particularly when combining IoT with industrial processes, Europe has some advantages. These should be encouraged with goal-oriented innovation policies. In the process, our conviction about AI has to be secure, robust and traceable – for all AI decisions, people should retain control.