EXCLUSIVE ONLINE BONUS: Q&A With Bosch’s Jeremy Hockham

The rapid pace of technology we’ve seen in this industry has been head-spinning to say the least. It’s fun but also very challenging. We’ve seen a great embracing of partnerships in the industry among technology providers. Some haven’t adapted that well to it. Some have really embraced it. Some of the European countries have been more progressive on the partnering side for technology. Where do you see that going and what is Bosch’s philosophy in terms of partnering with what on the surface might look like a competitor but maybe brings some competencies that helps both parties?

Hockham:It’s very interesting because when I first came into this industry in 2001, we always used to talk about CCTV and CCTV — explained the heritage, in other words that it was closed-circuit TV and everybody virtually operated in a closed world. Now we talk about video and that transition from CCTV to talking about video is no accident because the world has become very open. If you operated very successfully in the CCTV world, in a closed world, of course you have to make a very conscious transition to this more open world. We recognized this in Bosch some years ago. It was one of the reasons why we initiated the formation of ONVIF because we recognized we were moving into an open world. With an open world, if we’re not careful, it’s also going to bring lots of barriers and challenges to the open connec
tivity between systems.

So that was one of the reasons we initiated that, but I think if you look at our activities and what we launched at ISC West, we’re becoming very much more proactive with developing integration with partners. So we now have a new integration partner program that we launched at ISC West. We have strategic partnership with Genetec, Milestone, OnSSI, and a very broad range of others in an ever-growing list. It amazes me how many different VMS systems are out there. It’s very evident in the video world but I think it’s also evident in the intrusion world too, where we are being asked for our system solutions to integrate with more and more partners. That brings with it some challenges but I think if you embrace it and work proactively with your partners it leads everyone to a better place. It leads us as Bosch to a better place, our partners to a better place, and most importantly our end customers.

By most accounts we’re pretty much heading out of the recession, which is awesome news of course. But how did that affect Bosch in the U.S. and abroad and are we seeing any continuing ramifications of that?

Hockham: The past year’s been a very interesting period in all of our careers. It’s sort of laid new ground in many respect. Bosch sales last year reached 52.5 billion Euros, which is a pretty sizeable organization. I guess that translates to about $70 billion U.S., so a pretty good-sized corporation, and just over 300,000 associates worldwide. Last year, the organization spent 4.8 billion Euros in R&D, and just under 5,000 patents. But your point to what’s going on with growth, 2011 was a good year for Bosch. Bosch grew about 9% in 2011, which is pretty impressive on an organization of that size. Last year, it was about 2% and this year it’s pretty modest the first quarter or so of 2013.

That slightly slower growth rate we’ve seen in the past few years is largely because of slowdown in western Europe. Also although there are some pretty impressive growth rates in China, they’re lower than they have been in the past, but it’s a good engine for growth in the whole in the whole of the Bosch organization. We’re also dealing with that reality. If we look a bit closer to home, it’s interesting to see how strongly the U.S. automotive sector is growing with about 60% of Bosch revenues in automotive. That’s clearly a good driver for the business here in the U.S. I think also a good sign for the economy as a whole. It might be slightly staggering to believe the light-duty vehicle sales in 2013 are likely to hit just under 16 billion units. In 2009, it was about half that. So it’s quite amazing how much the automotive sector has bounced back and that’s a good indicator for the economy as a whole.

If we look at the security division, we’re actually seeing very strong growth in our intrusion business or close to double digits. Being that we’re offering predominantly in the commercial segment that is not really experiencing that sort of growth, we clearly are taking share and enjoying the benefits from our new products. Both our investment and the high end of building the platform there with our new B Series panels are getting us good growth there.

Blog: Bosch Exec Explains Why Company Is a Willing and Able Partner

Video is a very complex story as I am sure you’re aware. The marketplace is moving in multiple directions at the same time, so price points are falling, shifting from analog to IP. We’re seeing a strong growth in our IP business, but at the moment that’s clearly offsetting declines we’re seeing in the analog space, which is not surprising. I think we’re very excited about the benefits we’ll see from our new products as they really drive both growth in the IP segment, both growth in the higher price points, mid-price points, and the lower price points, which were the things we launched ISC West. And alongside that, we obviously have strong distribution partners in Tri-Ed, ADI and Anixter. In recent weeks we’ve expanded that to include Ingram Micro and ScanSource, so it gives us a stronger distribution space to exploit the potential of our products there.

How does Bosch close the loop to get feedback or communication going between its vast group of engineers and meeting the needs of the resellers? This would be not only in terms of the technology but also the sales part, ease of installation for the guys in the field, the training?

Hockham: One of the things I’ve been doing for the past five years or so is meeting with groups of dealers every few months or so in different cities and just talking about the needs and challenges of their business, what’s important to them, what keeps them up at night, what are the ways in which we could help improve their business. My goal in these discussions is very much to really understand their drivers, and if we can do things to help them be more successful, then they’ll be more successful and that will drive our business as well. At those meetings is always my head of sales operations who’s responsible for customer service and tech support and training, and also my marketing guy. Through those interactions we have a whole wealth of anecdotal input into the way in which we could improve our offer. Many of the things we’ve incorporated, like live chat, have come out of those interactions with our customers. Clearly, training and tech support are key parts of those discussions, one of the priorities.

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at [email protected].

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