The vending machine solution applied by Mahesh and his team also won the ‘IoT Product of the Year’ award from prestigious Computing Big Data Excellence Awards, in London.]
Smart Coolers in the UK

Smart Coolers in the UK

An Interview with Mahesh Chikodi

Clock Reading Time: 6 Minutes

On Phantom sensors, energy coming from food waste, and less stressed smart cooler stockers – Mahesh Chikodi, responsible for developing the Internet of Things (IoT) business in the UK, talks about creating intelligent and connected solutions for the business of tomorrow…

Mahesh, we hear of Bosch being a global IoT leader, but we don’t hear a lot about Bosch and IoT in the UK – is the company missing out on important developments here?

Not at all. We are actually quite active in all regions, including the UK – we are working on IoT solutions in various sectors, including Manufacturing, Retail, Transport, and Hi-Tech…

I heard that even includes vending machines and the beverage industry? Quite a new field for Bosch…?

That is correct. We are working with the world’s leading supplier of smart POS or Point of Sale marketing equipment solutions - better known as Intelligent vending machines – for the retail food and beverage market.

How do you turn a smart cooler into a smart point of sale then?

By installing a small, nondescript box into the machine. This so-called Energy Management Device (EMD) was developed by our colleagues at RBEI in India and is equipped with several intelligent sensors. Amongst other parameters, it can track energy, temperature, inventory levels of the stock, along with footfalls and customer engagements. This edge computed data is then send to the customer cloud for further analytics.

…to figure out what, exactly?

The data shows whether the customer engagement at the vending machine is optimal while the device self learns and controls the temperature depending on active use times for energy optimisation.

…an early blossom of Artificial Intelligence then?

If you want to put it like this, yes… The software can also help create the most efficient route for the cooler replenishment based on location data and inventory data from the EMD. Customer engagement is assessed by the EMD detecting opening and closing of the coolers’ doors and assessing the number of people walking past through thermal detection and heat mapping built in. It is also looking at predictive maintenance, meaning that the machine will tell us if the thermostat is going to fail soon, for example.

How many machines have been equipped so far?

You can already find Bosch technology in more than a couple thousand smart coolers all over the UK and in 2019, this solution will be offered in Asian and Latin American Markets.

The vending machine solution applied by Mahesh and his team also won the ‘IoT Product of the Year’ award from prestigious Computing Big Data Excellence Awards, in London.]
The vending machine solution applied by Mahesh and his team also won the ‘IoT Product of the Year’ award from prestigious Computing Big Data Excellence Awards, in London.

But certainly Bosch won’t just be satisfied with vending machines, when it comes to the IoT?

You have to see the larger picture. Not only are we providing a solution for the end-user, but we are optimising supply chains and energy consumption. There’s also less waste. This is essentially the subset of a smart city and smart coolers are only one example.

So what else are you working on?

We have many examples to share. We are in the early stages of developing ‘Intellidigest’- a solution that aims to reduce food wastage by on-spot-incineration and converting it into bio-energy using IoT Sensors and solutions. Indirectly, this also reduces the number of bin lorries travelling around cities.

How advanced is this already?

This solution is at very early stages and we have agreed to not disclose any details for the time being. What is up and running, however, is the second example. At a very popular food retailer in UK, we have installed Bosch Phantom (an IoT energy & asset monitor) into retail stores to provide a store-wide energy overview. The Bosch IoT device provides real-time data at a store and department/area view as well as at a device level. It is less intrusive than sub-meters, fewer are required and also provides lots of other data such as electrical parameters, such as peak current, Power Factor, usage profile etc.

What about logistics? It is an industry that is supposed to highly benefit from IoT Solutions?

There is an example here as well. We have installed an IoT tracking device onto trailers transporting engine components from Turkey to the UK. This solution helps just-in-time deliveries, real-time tracking and provides confidence and the opportunity to react before a line-stop. In addition, the device measures temperature, humidity, shock-levels etc. so the handling of components can be monitored.

Does all this position Bosch as one of the global leaders on IoT, do you think?

My examples serve as only a fraction of all the ongoing IoT projects in the UK – and we haven’t even talked about other countries or the overall strategy of Bosch yet. To really become a global IoT leader, we need engagement from all associates – we need to encourage cross-divisional collaboration and innovation – coming up with new ideas and contributing to the development of the business. The possibilities are endless.

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