Bosch Leads Charge into Internet of Things

Bets on MongoDB for building apps never before possible

Things (e.g., devices, assets) are getting more intelligent. And every day, more and more of them are connecting to the Internet. This is forming the Internet of Things (IoT).

There’s no company more connected to this trend than the Bosch Group, a multinational engineering conglomerate with nearly 300,000 employees. Known for its appliances in the U.S., Bosch is also the world’s largest automotive components manufacturer. From smart power tools and advanced telematics to microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), it's at the forefront of IoT.

With such a wide-reaching, diverse product base, IoT represents a huge opportunity for the Bosch Group to increase efficiency and to develop new business models. It also poses a significant challenge, to design, develop and operate innovative software and industry solutions in the IoT. Bosch Software Innovations (Bosch SI) spearheads all IoT activities inside the Bosch Group and helps their internal and external customers to be successful in the IoT.

IoT is in its infancy, but growing up fast. By some estimates, 50 billion devices, appliances and systems will be connected by 2020. Traditional systems cannot support the volume, speed and complexity of data being generated across such a vast spectrum of potential use cases. Bosch SI was looking for an innovative partner to meet the challenges of Big Data in IoT.

IoT data made valuable

IoT goes beyond simply connecting assets and devices. It requires creating services that gather data and deliver immediate insight. The Bosch IoT Suite and the integrated database from MongoDB make this possible.

“IoT is the culmination of agility and flexibility on the one side and big data on the other side – and this is where MongoDB is of
great value to us.”

Dirk Slama, Bosch Business Development

Take, for example, the automotive field data app that Bosch is piloting. The app captures data from the vehicle, such as the braking system, power steering and windshield wipers. The data can then be used to improve diagnostics for preventative maintenance needs, as well as analyze how components are performing in the field. The value isn’t simply in the sensor attached to the electromagnetic components, but in how the back-end service is able to improve maintenance and product design processes.

In another example, an app based on the Bosch SI technology gives aircraft manufactures unprecedented control over how operators use highly advanced power tools used to tighten the six million screws, nuts and bolts on an airplane -- a mission-critical job with zero room for error.

The app captures all data transmitted wirelessly, including battery level, operator details and time-series calibration readings. If the torque or angle is off by the slightest bit, the app sets off an alarm so the operator can make on-the-fly adjustments. It manages maintenance schedules, tracks and traces details to prevent loss, and also creates an audit trail of tightening processes for compliance with the FAA and other regulatory bodies. By connecting data to manufacturing processes in real-time, the app makes that power tool exponentially more powerful.

In both instances, the Bosch IoT Suite collects data from individual sensors and equipment – the car’s braking system, or the wireless tightening tool. MongoDB stores, manages and analyzes all of this event data in real-time. MongoDB also stores business rules that trigger alarms and notifications, such as “alert driver when brake pressure drops below a certain level” or “send alarm when tool is being used incorrectly.”

Data management reimagined for IoT

The massive volume and increasingly unstructured nature of IoT data has put new demands on Bosch SI's entire technology stack, especially the underlying database. Rigidly defined RDBMS data models have limited use in IoT. They lack the flexibility, scale and real-time analytics needed to quickly capture, share, process and analyze IoT data.

IoT calls for a new mindset, and a new database. MongoDB helped Bosch SI reimagine what’s possible. Here’s how:

  1. Manage complex data types. IoT data arrives at higher speeds, in greater volumes and variability of structure. MongoDB can easily handle the full spectrum of data: structured, semi-structured, unstructured. Efficient modeling of data using JSON makes it easy to map the information model of the device to its associated document in the database.
  2. Support continuous innovation and business agility. Changes in IoT customer requirements, standards and use cases will require frequent data model changes. MongoDB’s dynamic schema supports agile, iterative development methodologies and makes it simple to evolve an app. Adding new devices, sensors and assets is straightforward, even when you’re dealing with multiple versions in the field concurrently. Instead of wasting time dealing with the mismatch between programming language and the database, MongoDB lets developers focus on creating rich, functional apps.
  3. Create a unified view. Creating a single view of an asset or customer with a relational database is complicated. Source schema changes require additional changes to the single view schema. MongoDB makes it easy to aggregate multiple views of related data from different source systems into one unified view.
  4. Power operational insight with real-time analysis. Apps handling fast-moving IoT data can’t wait on ETL processes to replicate data to a data warehouse. They need to react and respond in real time. MongoDB’s rich indexing and querying capabilities – including secondary, geospatial and text search indexes, the Aggregation Framework and native MapReduce – allow users to ask complex questions of the data, leading to real-time operational insight and business discovery.
  5. Be enterprise-ready. MongoDB complements agility with enterprise-grade availability, security and scalability. Zero downtime with replica sets. Proven database security with authentication, authorization, auditing and encryption. Cost-effective scale-out across commodity hardware with auto-sharding. As IoT data volumes continue to explode, Bosch will be able to efficiently scale without imposing additional complexity on development teams or additional cost on the business.

A bet that paid off

Bosch SI is making a strategic bet on MongoDB to drive innovative apps in every industry where it does business. It can improve the retail shopping experience with in-store maps and personalized notifications. Create safer working conditions in manufacturing environments. Trace agriculture through the food chain to support farm-to-table initiatives.

“It’s great to see MongoDB as a stable and growing company that we
can strategically bet on”

Dirk Slama, Bosch Business Development

The use cases are limitless. And MongoDB makes every single one possible.

The IoT market is exploding and Bosch is moving quickly. Bosch SI is continuing development on new apps and working closely with MongoDB to scale up existing apps – like growing a three million car pilot to a 300 million car application.

With MongoDB, scale-out will be fast, reliable and cost effective.

As a technology provider, partner and fellow innovator, MongoDB is in lock-step with Bosch SI. Bosch SI is accelerating implementation of new IoT apps and business models, ensuring the business units and customers it serves don’t miss a beat as new generations of sensors and equipment come online.