Claiming that 90% of consumers access the internet before they buy equipment to heat their home, Bosch Thermotechnology President Uwe Glock said today’s heating market is all about digitalization.
“The increased demand for web-enabled heating systems is one of the reasons for our good performance,” he said at a press conference March 14 during ISH 2017 in Frankfurt, Germany. “More than 265,000 connectable products sold to date make Bosch Thermotechnology the leading provider of smart heating solutions for greatly enhanced comfort, energy efficiency and service quality,”
Worldwide sales of the company’s space- and water-heating products have increased by 8% since 2015 when Bosch launched a new generation of connectable devices, Glock said. These include Bosch Therm 9900i instantaneous gas water heater, which recently won an innovation award at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The connected device allows homeowners to operate it with their smartphone or tablet.
The tankless unit is available for new residential and light commercial applications in the United States where Bosch’s focus is on replacing tank water heaters with tankless devices that save energy, he said. Glock described the U.S. market as difficult but one where Bosch is trying to enhance its footprint. The company generated $200 million in sales in 2016 in North and South America.
Another product, Control 8000, links co-generation units and boilers with intelligent controls in commercial buildings. Bosch EasyControl provides radio-based control of individual rooms for indoor climate and domestic hot water in residential buildings.
The internet and connected devices will allow Bosch to better support heating contractors that install and service their products, said Thomas Bauer, who oversees the company’s sales and marketing. Bosch intends to use the internet to attract customers and refer them to its trade partners.
“Bosch Thermotechnology offers intelligent tools to make all work processes easier for the heating contractor to ensure that the latter can focus on their core business and offer end customers the best possible service,” Bauer said.
The online contractor tools described below are available in Germany but will not cross the Atlantic in the next two years, Bauer told BNP Media after the press conference. However, they could provide a glimpse to what’s in store for U.S. contractors.
A German-language website allows homeowners to enter a few details about their house and request a quote in two minutes. Bosch then sends the information to a qualified heating contractor who will contact the homeowner within 24 hours and prepare a quote in a timely manner.
An EasyDoc installation app uses a QR code to provide field personnel with information on a product for installations and service jobs. Bosch Easy Service Pro is a digital tool that identifies components in a heating system and proposes the correct settings.
The Home Con Pro portal allows heating contractors to keep their eye on connected systems and identify disruptions immediately. The portal then reports the likely cause of the disruption to ensure the technician has the right spare parts on the truck on the first visit to the customer.
“Digital solutions are key to shaping a successful future for the heating industry,” Glock said. “Connectable solutions will account for a major portion of our revenues in the foreseeable future. We aim to be a strong partner to heating contractors to support them on their way to a connected world.”