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Bosch & SAP Partner to Advance IoT & Industrie 4.0

Stronger together is not just a political campaign slogan. Ot's the basis for partnerships to bring out the potential of IoT for industry.

Source: Bosch

Source: Bosch

Taking another step toward the advance of the IoT and the German manufacturing movement known as Industrie 4.0, Bosch signed an agreement with Europe's biggest software firm SAP (SAPG.DE).  The partnership would combine Bosch's platform and SAP's back-end software to extend new connections to industrial components through the cloud.

The motivation for collaboration is to bring together two complementary strengths. As SAP puts it, “Bosch has expertise in device connectivity, SAP in IoT applications.” And it is assumed that the combined whole will be greater than the sum of the parts, and the partnership is anticipated to contribute to the advance of open standards and Industrie 4.0.

Bosch has already developed its own IoT cloud as we saw in Industrie 4.0 Gets a Boost from Bosch.  Now Bosch's cloud will get a boost from SAP's enterprise computing platform, HANA. And SAP will gain the advantage of Bosch's IoT microservices on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform.

What that translates into for supply chains is more access to real time data for better planning and smoother logistics. That's the function of Zenoway, which was developed by Zeno Track, a start-up that Bosch acquired in 2015. Zenoway's connected forklifts leverage both Bosch's and SAP's strengths. It takes in the data on forklifts to the Bosch IoT Cloud which transfer it to the SAP Vehicle Insights fleet management system. That allows for intelligent fleet management based on constant monitoring and planning for efficient routes and avoidance of accidents.  

Source: Bosch

Source: Bosch

The data on connected forklifts come through five ways:

  1. Locating forklifts indoors and outdoors.  Outdoors location is determined by GPS and indoors by cameras, laser, or radio that can pinpoint location within inches. This feature contributes to safety as well as efficiency. If a couple of forklifts are in danger of a running into each other, a warning to slow down or stop goes out to the drivers. Also doorways automatically open as forklifts approach and close after it passes through so that doors don't have to be open longer than necessary letting out warmed or cooled air. 
  2. Sensors for vehicles and goods in transport.  The system can distinguish normal bumps in the road from the type of vibrations that can signify an accident. When a problem is detected, it can automatically summon help. It also senses weight to determine if the forklift is transporting a load or not.
  3. Driver assistance system for forklifts.  The system sets the speed according to a location's conditions, so a driver would always be in compliance and maintaining a safe speed.
  4. Data analysis for more efficient logistics.  That allows for optimized planning for the needs of the cargo, like more care for fragile items, and updates on the condition of the vehicle.
  5. Tracking goods without scanners.  Due to constant tracking via the forklift, cargo doesn't have to be scanned along the way for updates on location and delivery for more accurate and less time consuming checks on the transport.

That's one example of how the combined expertise yields a smarter system for improving the supply chain. As Bernd Leukert, member of the SAP Executive Board responsible for products and innovation, put it, “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.”

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