Bosch launches remote boiler maintenance with Sigfox IoT partnership

Consumer electronics and industrial technology manufacturer Bosch has agreed a deal with Sigfox to connect a range of its boilers to the IoT, targeting predictive and remote maintenance.

e.l.m. leblanc, the French subsidiary of Bosch, will be connecting 100,000 boilers across the country to begin with, and in doing so will relaunch a previously aborted connectivity strategy. In recent years it attempted to remotely monitor boiler performance and optimise maintenance; however because dedicated narrowband connectivity platforms were unavailable at the time, its reliance on broadband became a costly prohibiting factor.

Sigfox says the project allows the boilers to communicate and trigger an alert when a failure occurs. This, in principle, gives e.l.m. leblanc the ability to conduct more efficient, speedier and remote maintenance based on real-time data analytics. A sophisticated analytics platform could, ostensibly, analyse patterns and identify warning signs to predict potential failures in the offing.

“e.l.m. leblanc, one of the biggest boiler suppliers in France, provides a classic use case for demonstrating both the IoT’s potential to save water users time and money, and enable equipment providers and their service partners to open new business opportunities,” said Stuart Lodge, SIGFOX executive vice president, global sales & partners. “The new offer also illustrates how SIGFOX’s simple connectivity greatly improves the final user’s experience: as soon as the boiler is installed, it is instantly connected to the network without any setup or pairing and without requiring local Internet service.”

The launch of the connected boiler range will potentially see the realisation of one of the connected home’s most-touted benefits: having energy supplies measured, monitored and maintained in real-time and in the most efficient way possible. Perhaps the age of waiting a day, a week or a month for a boiler repair could be coming to an end.

Meanwhile, AT&T has confirmed it won’t be looking at proprietary platforms like Sigfox for its IoT ambitions. Instead, it’s going to be focussing on NB-IoT using licensed LTE spectrum, unless its customers demand otherwise.

“I think the decision that we have made as a company that AT&T is going to standardize on the LTE stack as opposed to unlicensed bands,” Mobeen Khan, AVP of AT&T solutions, said in an interview with Light Reading. “We’re not interested in the others, unless there’s a strong customer need that’s driving it for a specific customer. [In that case,] we’ll look at it, but otherwise out standard offerings are LTE.”

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