Tell me a little about the ways you use Bluetooth at Bosch
We use Bluetooth in several different ways, but the main thing we use it for is communication between all of our devices, specifically power tools. Bluetooth allows us to collect data on location, usage, status and specific settings, which we can then pass back to our customers to use to their own advantage.
First and foremost, it is a means of communication for us; we can better co-ordinate with our customers what is going on with their items as we gain information on all of their assets. Once we have collected the data, we can turn it into useful analytics which translate into efficiency and productivity gains for them.
The great thing about Bluetooth is that is doesn’t require a lot of new infrastructure; the majority of people already carry a Bluetooth receiver in the form of a mobile phone, so we can send a signal every 8 seconds or so with the information that they need.
Additionally, there is a definite advantage to minimizing the distance that a signal is sent. By minimizing the air rate, we can ensure better reliability and connection, superior information at the point of usage as well as higher quality data with minimal noise involved.
What kind of results have you seen and what are your plans for the future?
We have been piloting this project for several years now and began to roll it out in January. Customer adoption is great because Bluetooth is such a ubiquitous technology and like I said, infrastructure costs are minimal. We are at the point now where we can integrate Bluetooth into everything, and our customers are very pleased with the results.
The next steps involve creating additional connection points and ensuring we take advantage of the technology which is available to us. We are very excited for new Bluetooth standards as this will allow us to have a much larger scale of data flowing between us and the user, even faster than we are now.
What is your perception of Bluetooth within industry 4.0?
I think there are huge benefits of Bluetooth, particularly when you look at manufacturing sites; it acts as your first stage between worker and assets and can be pushed to multiple areas to connect everything within the site. It is very exciting.
On a larger scale, Bluetooth can even enable applications like pallet tracking, allowing you to track all of your assets throughout a large facility and identify all of your individual products. The amount of data and information that we can gain from this is sure to make life easier for everyone!
What obstacles still need to be overcome?
With connectivity, size can never be small enough, and battery life can never be long enough; as these have improved in the last few years it has been a huge benefit for us and helped us to integrate connectivity into smaller objects like power tools. The more this improves, the more use cases will develop. If past history is a good indicator of the future, then we can expect this to keep improving.
From the other side, adoption is always a bit of a hurdle, as customers can be unsure of new technologies and never know which one is best. The best way to overcome this is to maximize the return on investment and value proposition that we have in our end products. Also of course, events like this help to really get the information out there.
You mentioned that you are excited for the new Bluetooth standards, what else are you interested to hear about?
For me, the most interesting thing is the use cases, in particular the ones which surprise you. I love when you hear about industries and companies using these technologies in ways you never would’ve thought of. Obviously, the new standards are very relevant to us and Bosch as a company, but the new use cases are what I find most interesting on a personal level. They really push the way that we perceive Bluetooth and how it can be incorporated into different businesses.
I am so excited to be part of Bluetooth World from a different side of things, and showcase how the technology is being used in a different industry.
Eli will be a keynote speaker at Bluetooth World on 18 September at 11:30. To hear his seminar and many more, you will need to purchase an 'access all areas' pass for just $99. Book today!
Alternatively, you can visit the exhibition for free - register now!