At a recent press event at Bosch HQ in Stuttgart, the company said that is bolstering its international business with integrated services for commercial buildings – a strategic growth area for the energy and building technology business sector.

The Bosch subsidiary Climatec, based in Phoenix (AZ) in the United States, has acquired Skyline Automation. The company, which specializes in building automation and systems integration, provides installation and connectivity services for a variety of technical systems in buildings. Building automation can reduce energy consumption by up to 40 percent. Based in Clifton, New Jersey, Skyline Automation has a workforce of 40, and generated sales of 12 million dollars in 2015.
“In acquiring Skyline, we are bolstering our activities in energy and building technology at a technical level and expanding our presence in the North American market, which is showing solid growth,” said Dr. Stefan Hartung. Hartung is the member of the board of management at Robert Bosch GmbH responsible for the Energy and Building Technology business sector. “Following the takeover of Climatec, this is the next strategic step on our path to becoming a single-source provider of connected systems and services for buildings.”

Market outlook

Bosch feels that smart buildings, both commercial and residential are an area for future growth, and the company has a number of products and services coming on line in the coming years. Market experts estimate that the global market for intelligent building technology will grow from its current level of around 6 billion dollars to around 25 billion dollars by 2021 – the equivalent of an average annual growth rate of 34 percent. “Services are becoming an integral part of our business. Every sale of hardware will be followed by the sale of complementary services in the future,” Hartung said. When it comes to developing and launching services for the connected world, Bosch’s broad business portfolio is a huge advantage, as is its expertise in software and sensors.
Bosch energy and building technology includes the thermotechnology, security systems, and service solutions divisions, as well as the subsidiaries smart home and energy storage solutions. In 2015, the energy and building technology business sector generated sales of 5.1 billion euros. Bosch estimates that it may be possible to multiply a product sale by up to five times with an additional service package.
To this end, the new service solutions division, which was created at the start of 2016, is showing solid growth. The division’s roughly 7,600 associates provide communication services, remotely monitor buildings and industrial facilities, and ensure greater safety for cargo and vehicles along the entire logistics chain. Bosch expects the service solutions division’s sales to grow by about 15 percent each year.

Smart video technology growth market

Bosch says that modern cameras do more than just record images – they also track speeds, directions, colours, and much more. A security guard who has to spend hours watching several surveillance monitors can easily overlook something important now and again. In this situation, it helps if the cameras can do some of the thinking and independently notify the guard if someone is climbing over a fence or stealing an artwork. Intelligent video analysis makes this possible. Bosch cameras are now equipped with this technology as standard. They recognize burglars and unattended luggage, count crowds of people, and sound the alarm in the event of fire. The intelligent algorithms behind this technology had previously only been available in top-of-the-range cameras, which are installed in critical areas such as airports and government buildings. This year, Bosch is making a complete package of analysis functions, known as “essential video analytics,” available for the mid-price segment as well, thus making the solution attractive for new target groups such as hotels and retailers. The system allows large quantities of video data to be sifted quickly and easily for vital information. Because only relevant images are transferred, the memory requirements and the load placed on the network are considerably lower – as are the operating costs.
It will be interesting to see if Bosch's prediction that we are becoming a service culture comes to pass, as I'm sure many other companies will be looking to follow this model, if it proves to be a success.