Bosch Expands Distribution Sales Of Intrusion Products

My Bosch rep stopped by today and told us Bosch would be offering many of their intrusion panels through distribution. Is moving to distribution a last ditch effort to save their security business? In my experience Bosch technology has been falling behind for years and losing market share in the US.

What does everyone think of Bosch moving to distribution?

[IPVM Update: Bosch detailed response inside]


If you decided to get into the intrusion business and weren't a Bosch dealer. Would you purchase through distribution?

I will admit I am not super familiar with the alarm industry, but I thought that many/most products were available through some kind of distributor already.

Is (or was) the non-distribution model of Bosch seem as a competitive advantage, similar to how Avigilon limits their product to specific qualified partners only?

That's correct. Limiting Bosch and its programming software to qualified dealers has provided us with a competitive advantage for almost 30 years (previously radionics).

I wasnt aware they were struggling, I thought they were doing just fine.

I spoke with a Bosch executive a few minutes ago. They are sending over a statement this afternoon shortly explaining the move.

He explained it to me on the phone but I asked for it in writing since I am not strong enough in intrusion to quickly and confidently summarize and analyze it. Look for an update later today here.

Should be good.......

They have always sold through distribution and direct, both. On top of that some items were restricted both within distribution and within various integrators.

The change is supposed to clear this up, although the verbal explanation I heard earlier this year was less than clear--hence, I hope the exec's statement provides some specifics.

I could be wrong but I don't believe their panels, keypads or software have ever been available through distribution in the US. Motions and cameras sure but not the parts that matter.

Bosch response:

We have been expanding our intrusion product line and have introduced many new panels, peripherals and detectors over the past few years. The business is doing well, and our market share is growing.

Bosch motion detectors and video products are already available through distribution, and we’ll soon introduce several enhancements to our B Series Control Panels that will make the panels ideal for the distribution channel as well. As a result, we will be selling B Series panels and peripherals through select distribution partners.

Bosch G Series Control Panels will continue to remain exclusive to our direct dealer network.

Let me know if anyone wants clarification.

So that makes sense, the B series is what I would use in lite residential use, I have never installed one as pricing never made it really worth it when compared to my standard residential panel. The G series which is a direct descendant of the Radionics 9000 main panels, I am glad to keep them in proprietary dealer network only, otherwise there would be little point of being a Bosch dealer.

That's going to cause a little heartburn for guys who have specified projects. Now it can't just say "BOSCH or equal" it has to be performance specified.

I can not imagine that the B panel will have any relevance to commercial systems that are spec'd for Bosch. The commercial line the G panel will still be the commercial security standard,and a dealer protected product,as will the fire products. If pricing is good enough through distribution I may revisit the B panel. The overview is that it is a good and flexible system for small installations, think of this B panel as the replacement for a 4214 or 2212 type of small entry level security control. As a Bosch dealer I do not feel that this threatens my dealer channel at all.

Bosch has responded with more details on the enhancements they mentioned:

The new Cloud Remote Connect service will enable easy connectivity for our Remote Programming Software and Remote Security Control app without the need to change customer router settings or use DNS. Both B Series and G Series Control Panels equipped for the Cloud Remote Connect service will be available in the near future.

They've been talking about cloud service for years; I have yet to see something from them. Their inability to offer a stable network and/or cellular service has hurt them. I would be curious to know how they intend on competing with alarm.com and DMP, which offer a more affordable, easier to use platform for dealers and end users.

Learning RPS is not easy; most small alarm dealers do not have time to learn how to use software built in the 90's or have employees to program remotely from a back office. Bosch should be focusing on improving their platform to keep their dealers onboard. Bosch focuses too heavily on hardware and disregards programming software and apps completely.

In my opinion, Bosch does not have anything to offer new dealers. At best, they may sell a few panels to some Honeywell, DSC or GE guys who only want to take over a Bosch system. I do not forsee any new dealers coming on board as full-time Bosch dealers. This move will alienate many dealers and will ultimately fail unless they can create a better solution for installers.

YES, YES, Would love to use the old Omegalarm equipment once again!

Bosch is actually doing something very very smart. Their new remote services for B and G do not run through their servers, or get hosted by a 3rd party, you connect directly from phone/tablet/pc via certificated process. No monthly fees for this service. They want to make money the old fashioned way...selling hardware. For the lite end of the market, it works better and it is cheaper to operate. PLUS, you can see ALL of your partitions via remote service (Honeywell, you can't, and keep lying to your customer base about this). One drawback for Bosch continues to be their wireless sensor offerings.

Jeremy, setting up those certificates are complicated and cumbersome. Especially if you have a new employee. Direct connections are great, but they require firewall port forwarding or a VPN that open vulnerabilities on customer's network. Open firewall ports destroy PCI compliance. Setting up port forwarding rules on a home security system or small business system where they will get a new router next year creates unnecessary service calls. Bosch's new cloud platform that won't require port forwarding and will be hosted at Amazon and will cost money and will still require programmers to use the outdated RPS software.

DMP uses a 2048 RSA certificate and 256 BIT AES encrypted VPN for the app and remote programming in the cloud. Connection for remote programming is instant; this helps installers finish installing faster. Alarm.com has a robust platform that uses 128 BIT AES that works across many different alarm manufacturers. Having a web interface to program makes everything easier. I programmed a new XTLplus from DMP last week in less than 3 min from my iPhone. Including 2 cameras.

My point with all of this is that I don't believe new dealers are going to say, "Hey! Let's sell Bosch, it takes longer to install, it's less secure and their app is just ok." Bosch should be focusing on their dealers and keeping them as dealers rather than attempting to attract less qualified dealers.

1, Bosch's response on this:

Bosch offers 256-bit AES encryption with cipher block chaining (CBC) for a higher level of security on all communications for control panels connected via IP or cellular, at no charge. This is true for both direct connections and those that will be connected via the new cloud service. With the Remote Connect cloud service, we’re using TLS connections authenticated with factory installed PKI certificates – the IT industry standard for securing connections. Dealers will have the option to connect direct to the panels or to use the Remote Connect cloud service; they can choose the method that will meet the needs and requirements of each end customer.

Before I go my rant, the new G-series panel 8512-9512 is the real meat and potato of the line. So far those panels seem to be working out good.

Too little, too late for Bosch. I highly doubt they are going to pull the Honeywell/DSC local alarm guys to the B-Series line. I don't think they are going to invest the time and resources to learn RPS, when they swap out it out with a low cost wireless system like Honeywell, 2GIG, DSC. They released the B-Series in 2013, why now would they release it everyone on the street (Tri-Ed & Scansource)? It's once thing when you lunch the panel with this coming in but 3 years later? This doesn't effect us much at all because we hardly use the B-Series panel. I can throw in a Vista 21 IP and get Total Connect in half the time it takes to program and setup a 5512 panel. Don't get me started on how horrible Wyless is. (Wyless is the third party company running the cell cards for Bosch). If we have a Bosch system, we force the client to get a POTS line just so we can use RPS. That's how unreliable Wyless is. The smartphone app is a joke compared to Total Connect. Way behind in wireless sensors in this portion of the market.

Bosch has been behind since the purchase of DS/Radionics back in 2001. For years they did nothing to update the line at all. They lost a lot of dealers to DMP and Honeywell. We chose Honeywell for our residential/light commercial while still using Bosch for large installations and Fire Alarm Systems. Back in the 90s we standardized on the G-Series panels. Whether it was a high school , level 4 Federal building or Mrs. Smith down the street, every alarm panel was the 9000 series. Bosch lost some market share even before B-Series so this move isn't going to move the needle.