This summer, OC released the first in a series of white papers on smart cities, Smart cities in Europe: Financing the commercialisation of smart city technology. We, in collaboration with VB Research, interviewed smart cities champions and experts, including Arif Hatip, General Manager & Founder of BeYond (Business Incubator of Robert Bosch).
On integrating technology developed by smaller companies into their solution:
We work with any kind of companies: large groups, mid-cap companies, small ventures and start ups. In the past, if you look at the entertainment system in a car it consisted of the music and later the navigation system, that’s it. Today it’s a multitude of functions and you cannot come up with all of the functions yourself as a tier one supplier, and it doesn’t make much sense to do so. You don’t need to come up with a web search if there is already a globally well accepted web search. You have to take into account that the end user is using some services on his smart phone, in his living room, etc. Therefore consumers are used to these services during the whole day, so why use other services with other technologies in the car?
Car manufacturers expect us to be able to integrate besides complex driver assistance functions also services from large third-party companies or from smaller startups into our automotive infotainment systems. Small companies might, for example, provide some parking function that enables you to identify vacant parking spaces in real time. We must be able to take that cloud service and integrate it into the infotainment system and make it conveniently usable (e.g. routing of the navigation).
On extent to which at Bosch Car Multimedia encourages innovation by smaller companies:
We facilitate innovation amongst smaller companies in many ways. At a very basic level we pass a specification to potential suppliers and ask them to come up with a solution. We also run short hackathons where we ask companies to come in and develop solutions that can be integrated into our car infotainments systems. Furthermore, we have started collaborating with external accelerators around the world in order to enhance our scouting of promising start ups on the one hand, but also to offer support to relevant small and new ventures. Venture companies are way more agile and quick than established automotive companies, so we need to find innovative ways to collaborate more closely with start-ups and support them by generating an exchange with regard to capabilities vs experiences.
On the advantages for smaller companies:
Technologies and business models are so diverse in these times, the business models are changing so fast, that you cannot bring up all of the promising innovations and business ideas yourself. Its just a matter of fact, not all smart people and innovative ideas can be in your organization or are in any big organization at all. Smaller companies or new start ups can act with a maximum of speed and flexibility in order to identify and exploit opportunities. Many start ups change or at least adapt their business models during first years according to lessons they learn down the road. Thus, “Flexibility” is also in this context a valuable asset.