Bosch see the smart kitchen as a rapidly growing market and to innovate the company thinks it is necessary large brands and manufacturers to continue to invest in innovative smaller companies. The group, BSH Startup Kitchen develops home appliances products under the global brands Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau and Neff, and the local brands Thermador, Balay, Profilo, Constructa, Pitsos and Zelmer. BSH was founded in 1967 by Bosch and Siemens. Today the company invests in startups with cutting-edge technologies for the future home that aim to make everyday life easier for all.

To discover more about how the smart kitchen will evolve, Digital Journal spoke with Lars Roessler, Venture Partner and Head of BSH Startup Kitchen.

Digital Journal: How big is the home IoT market set to become?

Lars Roessler: The importance of Smart Home is still increasing. In the near future, we expect connected devices in every part of the home. Connectivity is a global megatrend, expected with up to 50 billion connected devices by 2020. The global smart home market alone grows strongly to $113 billion within the next few years. Our goal is to provide connectivity features with all BSH electronic products.

DJ: What is the level of consumer interest in the smart home?

Roessler: Home Connect, BSH’s digital ecosystem, is currently available in 40 countries worldwide. Consumers’ interest is still high and continuously growing, especially in some regions like Asia. We now have just over two million connected devices on the market. The ambitious goal is to increase the number of connected devices to three million by the end of 2019.

DJ: What does the smart kitchen concept involve?

Roessler:As more users around the world use digital helpers to find cooking inspiration, manage shopping lists and order ingredients online, they expect solutions to be integrated and consider their personal preferences. In the next few years, we will see smart kitchen solutions in a variety of shapes as the level of collaboration between digital service and content providers, personal assistants and kitchen appliance manufacturers increases. Consumers benefit: they can save time, easily manage their food inventory and consistently achieve great cooking results.

DJ: Why are Bosch investing in smart kitchen start-ups?

Roessler:Bosch aims to become a leading player in the IoT and smart home space. When it comes to kitchen appliances, the share of connected products is increasing rapidly. We see great potential in offering our users meaningful services that enrich the actual appliance usage. This is the path we have already taken since 2016 when we starting building an ecosystem of partners on our Home Connect platform. We invest into start-ups with strong assets and strategic fit to build seamless and integrated solutions; this is our plan also with Chefling.

DJ: What are the advantages of using start-ups as opposed to in-house development?

Roessler:The IoT and digital kitchen solution spaces move fast and rely on different skill sets than appliance development. Large companies like Bosch have an advantage from collaborating with external innovators, especially in the area of digital services in the home or kitchen. Actually, both sides can benefit – if we bring together the teams, skills and usage insights from digital assistant solutions like Chefling with the kitchen appliance expertise from Bosch, we will create superior user experiences.

DJ: How quickly will products come to market?

Roessler:We are working on some pilot projects, including an improved pantry management solution with Bosch refrigerators. These will be visible in the market from 2020.

DJ: How are security concerns being addressed?

Roessler:Information security of the Home Connect platform is ensured by measures in three areas: technical precautions, organizational framework conditions and procedural support.

Communication between the home appliance and the Home Connect App is technically secure using common security protocols, authentication mechanisms and encryption algorithms. Encryption methods and certificate structures are used that are considered secure according to today’s technical standards.

The respective technical managers with regard to security aspects also design extensions to the Home Connect landscape. A comprehensive group of experts examines new concepts before releasing them with regard to security-relevant requirements.