Bosch renews its focus on fire

Monday, June 1, 2009

FAIRPORT, N.Y.--Currently the fire market is dominated by four major players - Tyco, Siemens, Honeywell and GE - but Bosch Security Systems is working to change that. Within three to five years Bosch aims to displace one of those players and take its place among the top four. (A goal that is shared by Fike, see story this page.)

“The market is ready for someone new,” said Charles Davis, product marketing manager for Bosch Security Systems. Davis, who was brought on board in September of 2008 to help relaunch Bosch’s fire division, believes Bosch is well positioned to achieve that goal.

The effort, he explained, is two-fold, involving both the introduction of a portfolio of products designed specifically for the United States, and essentially creating a revamped dealer channel.

“Bosch has committed R&D resources for the U.S. market and plans to develop a portfolio of products to become a full systems solutions provider,” Davis said. Bosch has an “aggressive schedule over the next two and a half years to build up the portfolio.” With the recent introduction of two new panels - the first a reworked FPD-7024 panel, a conventional panel that converts to an addressable panel; the second a new FPA-1000, an analog addressable panel, with a built-in Web-server offering a Web-based approach for programming, maintenance and report generation, and built-in gas detector functionality, as well as the ability to tie Bosch’s voice and mass notification offerings into these panels - Bosch is “at the very beginning stages of the venture,” he said.

Previously, Bosch’s fire panel offerings were limited to systems aimed at the lower end of the marketplace, and “a long list of piece-parts - about 1,200 items,” Davis explained.

With the many changes in the 2010 fire codes, now is a good time to be building new products, Davis said.

Going forward, an understanding of new code requirements as well as a high level of technical competence and engineering resources will be critical. To this end, Bosch is working on training its existing dealers (most of whom are security dealers who also do some fire business) and recruiting a new pool of experienced fire dealers who have not used Bosch in the past.

Bosch has identified and is actively wooing 7,000 experienced dealers, Davis said. In addition to new product offerings, Bosch intends to offer these dealers “consultative services, business model plans, benchmark studies and other materials. We want to help them be successful, so we can be successful.”

Getting the dealer program in place will take two years and the entire re-launching process will take three to five years, but expect to hear more from Bosch in the months ahead.

“The Bosch brand image as a recognized fire alarm system manufacturer in the in the industry is not well known right now … but we’ve got a strategy in place and by the end of the year we want to be recognized as a serious player.”