BCW 2019: Welcome to the Economy of Things

The key focus of the Bosch Connected World (BCW) conference, which took place in Berlin from May 15-16, 2019, was the constant evolution of IoT – the foundation of which was the spreading and integration of new technologies (sensors, connectivity, software, cloud). One example in this context are IoT platforms, which evolved to a central orchestration layer for all kinds of connected devices. And while the technology around IoT platforms has reached a certain level of maturity today, the evolution of IoT is by no means coming to a halt. For instance, we see that open source is gaining more and more attention in the market, and we believe that in the next few years IoT platforms will become a pure commodity. So what is next? Now that appropriate IoT technologies have become established, we are entering the next phase of IoT's evolution – which Bosch calls „the Economy of Things“. This terms represents the shift from mere technology enablement to the definition of business-related topics. Specifically, it stands for new business models being driven by increasing data exchange and interaction between things. Besides the integration of IoT technology with other emerging technologies such as AI or blockchain, this new paradigm requires effective business models to orchestrate existing and increasingly new, cross-domain value chains. Due to these deeply interconnected business models between different players and the fact that there is an open data exchange within this ecosystem, trust is a key success factor.

At BCW 19,  Bosch and its partners presented various offerings and new initiatives intended to come closer to this vision. For instance, Streamr presented its blockchain-based platform for exchanging real-time data. Most interesting to me was the announcement of Bosch and Munich Re regarding the delivery of IoT solutions (technology combined with risk management) around specific use cases such as safety and security as-a-service, intelligent incident control (based on KPIs, root causes and risk indicators, a specific outcome will be guaranteed) and pay-per-X (allows the shift from buying equipment to buying functions). Munich Re strongly believes in IoT-related business models; apart from its cooperation with Bosch and acquisition of IoT platform relayr, within its workforce the reinsurer has 40 people specifically dedicated to this topic.

Another interesting initiative was the introduction of the first Digital Trust Forum (to build up trust in digital systems) with representatives from different associations and organizations, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Digital Europe, ETSI, the Eclipse Foundation, Trustable Technology, Plattform Industrie 4.0, the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and the Trusted IoT Alliance.