View from India: Bosch India inaugurates its first smart campus in the country

Bosch India, a leading supplier of technology and services, celebrates its 100th anniversary in India and looks forward to new innings.

Bosch India, which set up its first sales agency in Kolkata in 1922, has grown and established itself with its automotive technology, industrial technology, and consumer goods and building technology. Its India presence is the largest development centre outside Germany for end-to-end engineering and technology solutions. “Bosch has been part of the transformation in India for the last 100 years, and during this era we have revolutionised the mobility and the ‘beyond mobility’ ecosystem. With our new Spark.NXT campus, the company continues to invest in smart and sustainable solutions that are ‘Invented for Life’ and supports the government’s vision for an Atmanirbhar Bharat [Self-Reliant India],” said Soumitra Bhattacharya, managing director of Bosch Limited and president of the Bosch Group, India.

The company is expanding its artificial Internet of Things activities in India by transforming its headquarters in Adugodi, Bangalore into a new smart campus called Spark.NXT. With an investment of Rs800 crores (Rs8bn, or £83.5m), the campus has been developed over the last five years. The sprawling 76-acre site is Bosch’s first smart campus in India and it can potentially house 10,000 associates. “It is a special year for both India and Bosch India, as the nation celebrates 75 years of independence and Bosch celebrates a century of its presence in India. One hundred years ago, Bosch came to India as a German company and now it is as much Indian as German. This is a great example of German engineering and Indian energy,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his virtual inaugural address.

Clear air is fundamental for living and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has launched the National Clean Air Programme in 2019. This is to initiate clean air action plans to reduce PM2.5 pollution in 122 cities by 20-30 per cent by 2024 as compared to 2017. For its part, Bosch has chalked out sustainable energy-water conservation measures, along with a green cover. The company has invested Rs50 crores (Rs500m, or £5.2m) in the reduction of energy consumption at the new campus over the long term. “Technology is key to Bosch. We leverage technology to chalk out various energy-efficient measures and water-management solutions. Our effort is towards improving the environment, and products and solutions are developed to conserve natural resources. Our aim is to reduce the emissions in the supply chain,” explained Filiz Albrecht, member of the board of management and director of Industrial Relations at Robert Bosch GmbH with responsibility for India from 1 July. 

The auto industry is now at an interesting juncture in India, with the proliferation of electric vehicles, battery-charging infrastructure and the ever-changing needs of smart-connected electro-mobility. The transition from BS IV to BS VI, a higher environmental standard of emission, could be another growth engine. The fact that the government is encouraging the use of green hydrogen with its new green hydrogen policy could spark off new openings. Two wheelers are fitted with GPS and pillions must wear a helmet; safety features are incorporated into the automobile and connectivity happens through the mobile app. Affluent buyers look at cars in the price bracket of Rs12 lakh (Rs1.2m, or £12,540) and above. Industrial technology is getting sleeker and, in consumer technology, many products are contactless or give an enhanced customised consumer experience. Software-defined vehicles and products, along with new design aesthetics, could be the way forward.

A new wave of thinking may be required to arrive at bigger applications, as well as advanced R&D and technology platforms to create digital-sustainable localised products. It could probably align with the Production Linked Incentive scheme, which is the government’s push for the domestic manufacturing along with clearances for ease of doing business.  

When we look at the Bosch journey, we need to go on a flashback. It began as MICO Bosch in India in Kolkata – MICO, an acronym for Motor Industries Company Limited, set up its manufacturing plant in Bangalore. The fact that Bangalore has a large engineering-IT-science base has helped strengthen its position in the auto industry, as well as machine tools. It has generated employment for allied industries and packaging units, as well as opened doors for smaller manufacturing units to flourish. This has all contributed towards Karnataka’s growth. Later, MICO was rebranded as Bosch.

“The company has had its presence in the state for several decades now and it is heartening to host its Indian largest smart campus here. Karnataka, primarily Bangalore, has been a technology hub and houses the largest number of R&D centres across the globe. This campus is another feather to its cap,” added Basavaraj Bommai, Chief Minister of Karnataka.

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