While roaming the halls of CES 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada, I had the opportunity to visit with Thorsten Mueller, CEO of Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions. I asked him what challenges the MEMS industry faces going forward towards the billions of MEMS devices in the IoT. Mueller said one key area is the multitude of protocols in the smart home.
Here is an example. Let’s say I want to start my smart home. Patrick Moore, says it best in a Forbes article in 2013:
- I go out and can buy a Nest thermostat, Kwikset door lock, Phillips Hue lighting, Lutron light switch, a Sonos audio system, and a bunch of Belkin wireless plugs. Now I have six different apps to setup, learn, and use that all look and feel different. Additionally, there aren’t easy ways to make the devices work as one system if you wanted to trigger an event after an event. What if I wanted my outdoor lights to turn on after the garage door unlocks? That’s not going to happen because it requires two separate apps.
There are other issues, too. For many of these products, you will need to have separate wireless adapters plugged into the wall. You see, many of these devices work on a different kind of wireless network. It’s not just WiFi, among home automation solutions. There are Zigbee, Zwave, Insteon, Itron, RadioRA2, and more. Because devices are speaking a different wireless “language,” they need different wireless adapters. Now imagine having five or six wireless adapters, plus your WiFi router in the house. Yes, ridiculous, and ugly, too.
Mueller also mentioned to me another positive effort: The joint venture Bosch has with Cisco and ABB, which is a very good thing for the industry. The joint venture will develop an open-software platform for smart-home devices and applications aimed at facilitating data exchange between different types of devices in the home, including washing machines, heating units, lamps, window blinds, smartphones, and tablets.
This alliance will also develop services on the platform for household devices in energy management, security technology, and entertainment. The three companies will be inviting appliance electronics manufacturers, home automation vendors, and service providers to collaborate in this effort. Bosch will also be making smart home connections in the Cloud via devices such as the smartphone.
Bosch also has major solutions in the Connected Industry. Its 250 manufacturing centers worldwide are proving grounds for industry solutions like those that increase cycle time and efficiency. What better place to test out these architectures than to deploy these in Bosch’s own manufacturing plants!
In transportation, there is a major need to have low-cost solutions to monitor humidity and temperature. The new BME680 would be a small, low-cost solution here as well.