- Bosch investment strengthens the position in an important field of technology
- Bosch and Reflekt jointly developed the world’s first software platform for the industrialization of Augmented Reality
- A wide variety of applications are possible in virtually any industrial sector
For the last two years, Bosch has already been closely cooperating with Reflekt GmbH in the development of Augmented Reality (AR) applications for production, service, training and marketing applications. Bosch now plans to extend this successful cooperation by taking a minority stake in the AR specialist. Contracts to that effect were signed on December 16, 2015. Since its foundation in 2012, the Augmented Reality startup Reflekt has evolved into one of the most renowned companies in the area of industrial AR solutions. Its international team in Munich (Germany) consists of more than 25 employees. The transaction is subject to the approval of the cartel authorities.
Investing in an important future technology
“In the future, Augmented Reality applications will be used in many areas of our lives. In the industrial sector and the automotive aftermarket, AR applications will save time and reduce costs,” says Dr. Eng. Hans-Peter Meyen, Member of the Divisional Board of the Bosch Automotive Aftermarket division. Reflekt CEO Wolfgang Stelzle adds: “We are convinced our long-term partnership with Bosch will be strengthened by this investment. The reputation and market position of Bosch will accelerate our international expansion and product development.”
Augmented Reality applications enhance the perception of reality by combining reality with augmented information. Once the user points his smart-phone or tablet camera onto a specific area, additional digital information such as explanations, 3D objects or videos are shown on the display of the device. In automotive workshops, for instance, Augmented Reality allows technicians to see components true to scale and in their correct location, even though they may not be visible on the product without disassembly. Work instructions, error codes and the required tools are displayed as well. “Together with Reflekt, we will continue to advance our worldwide position in this important pioneering field,” Meyen says.
Software platform for the industrial development of Augmented Reality
Having been involved in AR applications at an early stage, Bosch and the AR specialist Reflekt have evolved into worldwide leaders in the industrialization of Augmented Reality. Together, both companies developed the “Common Augmented Reality Platform (CAP)”; the world’s first software platform for the industrialization of AR. Using CAP, highly complex AR applications and their digital and visual contents can be integrated quickly and easily in technical documentation or diagnostic procedures. The platform enables integration into existing IT infrastructures. Also, it enables easy integration of data such as text information, circuit diagrams, videos and augmented 3D animations. CAP thus allows the industrialization of AR applications. In this way, Bosch and Reflekt have already developed a range of AR applications throughout the last two years. Combining the AR competence of Reflekt with Bosch expertise in the area of documentation and solutions development for service, production and training, a unique product has been created. This enables, for the first time, the wide-spread use of AR in industrial environments.
Besides applications for the automotive sector, Bosch also sees a variety of useful possibilities to apply Augmented Reality in other industrial sectors. As part of the total solution, Bosch offers licensing of the CAP system combined with consulting, engineering and complete authoring services.
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Caption: Visualization of hidden parts with Augmented Reality
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Founded in 2012, RE’FLEKT has evolved into Europe’s leading experts for business solutions including Augmented and Virtual Reality. At the location in Munich, employees from different nations create interactive applications for industry, media and marketing. RE’FLEKT focuses on the development of user-oriented applications for mobile devices and smart goggles. Its customers include Alstom, Audi, BMW, Bosch, Hyperloop, Porsche, ProSiebenSat1 Media and ThyssenKrupp among others. RE’FLEKT conducts its own research in cooperation with the University of Michigan-Dearborn and the Technische Universität München.
The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 360,000 associates worldwide (as per April 1, 2015). The company generated sales of 49 billion euros in 2014.* Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiary and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including its sales and service partners, Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. In 2014, Bosch applied for some 4,600 patents worldwide. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to create solutions for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.”
Further information is available online at www.bosch.com and www.bosch-press.com, http://twitter.com/BoschPresse.
The Automotive Aftermarket division (AA) provides the aftermarket and repair shops worldwide with a complete range of diagnostic and repair shop equipment and a wide range of spare parts – from new and exchange parts to repair solutions – for passenger cars and commercial vehicles. Its product portfolio includes products made as Bosch original equipment, as well as aftermarket products and services developed and manufactured in-house. More than 18,000 associates in 150 countries, as well as a global logistics network, ensure that some 650,000 different spare parts reach customers quickly and on time. In its “Automotive Service Solutions” operations, AA supplies testing and repair-shop technology, diagnostic software, service training, and information services. In addition, the division is responsible for the “Bosch Service” repair-shop franchise, one of the world’s largest independent chains of repair-shops, with some 17,000 workshops. In addition, AA is responsible for more than 1,000 “AutoCrew” partners.
Additional information can be accessed at www.bosch-automotive.com
*The sales figure disclosed for 2014 does not include the former joint ventures BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH (now BSH Hausgeräte GmbH) and ZF Lenksysteme GmbH (now Robert Bosch Automotive Steering GmbH), which have since been taken over completely.