Bosch Insider Offers Intrusion Insights

During a time when flashier offerings like access control and especially video surveillance garner the lion’s share of attention (and even that has been tempered by the economy), Bosch is keeping intrusion interesting. The company’s ongoing commitment to dedicating resources toward research and development (R&D) are evident in its new product introductions, such as the Conettix IP module, Professional Series detectors and Commercial Wireless devices.

Bosch’s commitment is not going unnoticed as a recent report by IMS Research shows the firm has outpaced all but one of its top 10 competitors in market share growth since 2006. SSI caught up with Gregor Schlechtriem, vice president, Global Business Intrusion Detection Systems for Bosch, during a recent Intrusion Workshop conducted at its Fairport, N.Y., North American headquarters. In the following extension of the feature-length interview that appears in the October 2009 edition of SSI, Schlechtriem talks about Bosch’s newest intrusion technologies, its partnership with Inovonics and differences between the U.S. and European markets.
What percentage of Bosch’s new intrusion sales are IP at this time?
Schlechtriem: If we look at the control panels, we are seeing more than 30 percent of the intrusion business becoming IP at this point in time. It’s an increasing rate, probably about 5-10 percent annual growth. I think it’s very attractive from a commercial standpoint. We’ve seen how much can be saved in telephone and communications costs by replacing PSTN with IP. I believe that is one of the primary drivers in this area.
The Conettix IP module can convert most major brand control panels into IP communicators. How does Bosch approach integrated solutions and interoperability?
Schlechtriem: We do have a clear commitment as a product manufacturer so we have to have open interfaces to integrate into a number of systems that are out there. If you look at our panels, we have a lot of protocols implemented to allow communication to different central stations. Besides that, we are offering our own integration tools to integrate different product lines. I think we offer some very good integration between video and access, for example, that provides for a little more than what you would get if buy products from different parties. But again, we have a commitment to open interfaces because our goal is to provide products to the market, and unfortunately you’re not always the selected partner to provide the complete service.
What percentage of Bosch’s new intrusion sales are wireless at this time?
Schlechtriem: Right now, we see about 10 percent of panels having wireless added in one or more aspects. We don’t have a fully self-contained panel. I’m talking about wireless in a sense that some of the sensors would be on the wireless path connected to the panel.
Bosch Vice President, Global Business Intrusion Detection Systems, Gregor Schlechtriem in his Fairport, N.Y., office.

How did the relationship with Inovonics develop? Why them, and what’s that all about?
Schlechtriem: We’ve been working together on a project by project basis for several years. We share some customers – some end users who enjoy our technology and their technology. They have proven to have a very good and reliable product. RF is different from wired because it is very much dependent on environmental conditions in that the objects, surroundings, other electronic devices and systems, etc. affect its reliable operation. If you are looking at a big-box retail application for example, you would have GSMs, you would also have RFID systems to track goods within the shop, theft prevention and stuff like that. So all of that affects your environment and Inovonics has proven to be very stable, very reliable in most environments. That attracted us to them. They have good technology, so why should we reinvent the wheel if there is someone around who already has what we think we need?
Do you see that as any kind of trend with Bosch, partnering more with technology providers as opposed to getting everything through its own R&D?
Schlechtriem: I think in these times, you certainly have to define what your core competencies would be and you would have to define things where you are looking for reliable group partners. Is that a general trend? I don’t think so. I think we’ll rely heavily on our engineering force for a lot of other technologies.
With the Inovonics arrangement, does that also pertain to products outside of the United States as well?
Schlechtriem: We’re looking into that right now. Inovonics also features European products. There are differences with spectral frequencies and stuff like that, but we’re looking into that right now. I can’t give you any specific reason, but the European wireless market is developing slower than the U.S. market. The Inovonics product is located in the commercial wireless market and that’s almost nonexistent in Europe at this point and time or at least it’s very limited.
That’s surprising in that you would think with all the historical buildings and structures in Europe wireless solutions would be in demand there.
Schlechtriem: There are a limited number of projects that exclusively require wireless, but it’s a small segment of the market.
Are the manufacturing regulations and standards more lenient in the U.S. than overseas?
Schlechtriem: Yes. The key challenge is, from our view, there are four clusters in Europe that follow different regulations. Then each and every one of the countries within those clusters has their own national regulations. Additionally, you have some vertical markets that impose more regulations. If you had an intrusion system for a bank in Germany, that would be very different from what you could provide as a banking system in France, which would be a different system from what you could provide to a bank in the United Kingdom. It’s more patchwork to different markets. If you want to serve the European market, it’s quite challenging.
What’s the reason for that? Is it because the market is older there?

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