CES 2018: Bosch sees future in smart-city business
Smart solutions for better air quality, and for more security and convenience.
Urban populations are growing: according to the United Nations, roughly two-thirds of the global population will live in conurbations by 2050. In 2014, this figure was just one-half. Urbanization is increasing, and with it the challenges cities have to solve. Even today, therefore, there is a considerable need for smart solutions. Speaking at CES in Las Vegas, the Bosch management board member Stefan Hartung said: “We need a new conception of the city. One key factor here is technologies that make cities smart and worth living in. In the long run, cities without intelligence will not survive, but succumb to gridlock.”
Bosch is working to equip cities and neighborhoods for the future, offering smart mobility, better air quality, more convenience, greater security, and many new services. In short, the aim is significantly better quality of life in cities and neighborhoods. “When it comes to smart cities, few other companies can match Bosch’s comprehensive portfolio, cross-domain knowledge, and outstanding expertise in sensors, software, and services – and all this from a single source,” Hartung said. From January 9 to 12, the supplier of technology and services will be presenting many new solutions that make cities smart at CES 2018, the world’s largest electronics show. These range from a new compact unit that measures and analyzes air quality in real time, to a system that digitally monitors river water levels and gives early warning of flood risks, to a completely automatic parking space service that makes drivers’ lives easier.
For more business: the smart-city market is booming
Some of the world’s major metropolises are already synonymous with the term “smart,” among them Barcelona, Seoul, and London. Across the globe, cities large and small are investing in smart-city technologies. According to a study on behalf of Bosch, the smart-city market will grow 19 percent each year between now and 2020, reaching a volume of 800 billion dollars (680 billion euros). Bosch believes this is a great business opportunity: “For a long time, the smart city was a vision. We’re helping make it reality. Bosch is in an excellent position to make the connected city a technological and commercial success,” Hartung said. The company is currently involved in 14 extensive smart-city projects in places such as San Francisco, Singapore, Tianjin, Berlin, and Stuttgart. Others are planned to follow. Within the past two years, the company has doubled its sales from cross-domain projects to nearly one billion euros, and this figure is set to rise further.
In the Bay Area city of San Leandro, for example, the company has equipped roughly 5,000 streetlights with LEDs and supplied a system for remote management of the city’s street lighting. In this way, the lights are only switched on when they are actually needed. With this solution, San Leandro will be able to save roughly 8 million dollars over the next 15 years. At the Bosch CES press conference, Mike Mansuetti, the president of Bosch North America, said: “Whether cities are big or small, our smart solutions will help them save energy, and money too.” In the case of San Leandro and its 100,000 inhabitants, sensors can be used to measure and analyze air quality, and cameras can automatically re-route traffic in the event of congestion.
For better air quality: Climo creates basis for targeted action
Air quality is one of the greatest challenges cities face. Thanks to smart technologies, cities can take faster and more targeted action to improve it. However, this depends on accurate measurements. At CES 2018, Bosch is presenting a new solution that it developed together with Intel – the Climo microclimate monitoring system. Climo measures and analyzes 12 parameters that are important for air quality, including carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, temperature, and relative humidity. The appliance is one-hundredth the size of conventional systems – and one-tenth the cost. Climo won a CES Honoree Innovation Award in the “smart cities” category.
For early warning: digital monitoring of rivers
In many regions, climate change is resulting in unpredictable weather. Researchers expect that heavier rainfall will result in more frequent flash flooding. Up to now, mechanical devices have been used to measure river water levels. Hours may pass before these measurements become available for others. However, the flood monitoring system changes all this. In real time, it monitors the water level in rivers and other bodies of water close to cities, and warns of an impending flood. In a pilot project, Bosch is testing the new system on the Neckar river near Ludwigsburg, Germany. Ultrasonic sensor probes and cameras track changes in water level, speed, and throughput. The data is sent to the Bosch IoT Cloud for processing. Should critical thresholds be exceeded, the affected municipalities, residents, and business owners are alerted well in advance by text message. This gives them enough time to take precautions against flooding and flood-related damage. Among those interested in the solution are a number of Indian and South American municipalities that frequently have to combat flooding.