Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions

Experiences of a Field Application Engineer in the IoT

Interview with Thorsten Klein

In our “blog post zero” we have given you an overview of where our blog is heading. You have seen an exciting teaser and found out, which topics we want to tell you about. In this blog post, we will introduce one of our Field Application Engineers – Thorsten Klein. In the following interview, he will share his expert knowledge and experience with you.

Thorsten Klein standing in front of the Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions building
Thorsten Klein

How would you define your job as a Field Application Engineer (FAE)?

It's not that easy to define my job. So this is my own witty definition for you. When I go to a party and people ask me what I am doing at Bosch, then I immediately know that the explanation will need some time - FAE stands for Field Application Engineer.

It could equally stand for: “Fresh And Exciting” when I can try out some cool stuff in the laboratory, test the newest algorithms by driving cars through sharp turns, or travel through Europe to different customers.

Also it could stand for: “Fairs And Events” when I exhibit the new cool stuff “invented for life” to other company’s or students at formula student events. And sometimes it stands for: “Flight And Execute”, because I leave everything behind to be with the client in time.

But mostly it stands for: “Fun And Enjoyment.” I enjoy every week from Monday to Friday. If you have a job like this, you know that you are at the right place.

How do you describe your daily tasks?

man sitting in a laboratory looking on a screen

Pre- and after sales and focusing on the clients’ view, is my daily business. I have to translate the client’s language into the engineering language and ensure that I understand what the customer needs.

For this to happen, it is often essential that I talk to the customer and understand what kind of issue he has. The customer comes to us with an issue and, most of the time, with an idea how we should solve it. My task is to talk with the developers to see if the client’s preferred solution is really the best solution. Sometimes we get a first “quick and dirty” solution to show the customer how we could solve his request.

When the customer decides to work with us, the project will be addressed to the developers and they will develop a solution in Bosch quality. When a new product comes off the assembly line, I will implement it together with the customer in his environment.

What is your responsibility at Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions?

I am not boxed in only one area, I’m working for two! Industry and topics regarding the Cross Domain Development Kit. The tasks in these areas are completely different.

In Industry 4.0, I am deep in the technical requests which our customers have. I visit the client and help to integrate our products. In some cases, the issues I solve could only affect one particular customer. But sometimes we see that this could be a scalable issue, so we look for a general solution for everyone. This is the benefit when each customer has similar use cases.

The issues that affect the Cross Domain Development Kit (XDK) are more complex. The XDK is a solution for everyone and so there can be various issues that are concerning everyone. Each question is based on another use case. For deep questions I am often on the edge of my knowledge because I am not a Software developer. In these cases, I rely on the expertise of my colleagues. My focus is to push the story of the XDK into the world.

In the future I will probably give some trainings on “How to use the XDK.” This could be an interesting topic for another blog post.

What do you think about Industry 4.0?

I really like the idea of Industry 4.0! For decades we have been trying to make open tasks in the world easier. Therefore, we produce the idea that we need cheaper, more efficient and better technology. Industry 4.0 became a buzzword in recent years, but I can totally understand it. The idea of Industry 4.0 is to connect the machines together and collect data from it. With this data and some smart algorithms, we can enable many things like predictive maintenance, an increased production efficiency, we can even control the outcome of the machines by quality and much more. Who could be better for this task than Bosch? We benefit from the fact that Bosch is both a lead supplier and lead user. We have a wide range of associates in various Bosch departments. They have already used our products and therefore gained a wealth of experience before the products were launched on the open market.

What do you think about the Cross Domain Development Kit?

Cross Domain Development Kit on transparent background

The XDK is amazing! It fits perfectly to my favorite slogan: “Just do it.” You have an idea and need sensor data to realize it? Use the Cross Domain Development Kit for fast results. The XDK is like a good pocket knife. You see that it could be great, but after a deeper look you see the whole potential. But a pocket knife has the drawback that the amount of tools is restricted. The XDK doesn’t have this drawback! With the possibility to connect other sensors, the conceivable use cases are nearly infinite.

Is there anything else you want to tell us?

I think we're only at the beginning of the Internet of Things but Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions is one of the pioneers. The fact, that we have our parent company Bosch behind us and can still be flexible on our own, enables us to make decisions quickly and efficiently. Therefore, we have a head start in the race in the world of the Internet of Things.

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