Bernd Heinrichs points to digital twins, compute power and digital services as pillars of the future for the supplier.

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Bosch CDO Heinrichs says development cycles are becoming shorter (Photo: Jonas Wresch)

HANOVER – The digital-transformation to-do list at Robert Bosch is long and Bernd Heinrichs, chief digital officer smart mobility solutions, has his work cut out for him.

“It’s a long road and we need sustainability, but also speed and innovation power,” he told the carIT Congress here on Tuesday. “And we have to be more open.”

Since Heinrichs joined Bosch from technology group Cisco a year ago, he has worked hard to change attitudes at the automotive supplier.

In his conference address, he cited four cornerstones of his approach to digitalization:

  1. Digital twins are needed for everything to develop new business models
  2. The company should adopt a combination of cloud and edge computing, also known as fog computing
  3. Bosch needs a service platform for new business areas
  4. And the company has to adjust to having more and more differentiated customers. “Our customer will in future no longer be the automaker, but also end users, cities and other organizations,” Heinrichs said.

The CDO said Bosch is on its way to reducing development cycles from years to weeks, which is key to success in today’s fast-moving auto industry.

Bosch, with its history in automotive hardware, is well positioned to thrive in a software-driven environment as well, Heinrichs said. “Hardware is the starting block, but we can make a difference with a combination.”

The 132 year old group also has to move away from being a company-driven business to one that takes its cue from markets. “The biggest learning for Bosch is that “not-invented-here” is something positive, not negative,” Heinrichs said. “We have to learn from partners, from cooperations with technology companies and startups.”

One partnership Bosch is pursuing is in the area of shared mobility. “The dominant mobility area in the next 15 years will be shared mobility,” Heinrichs said.

The supplier is determined to play a major role here and, possibly, have its own people mover. Said Heinrichs: “We are working on our own solution and are partnering on the way there.”