How 20 PDEng trainees helped Bosch Security Systems extend their future products

Department of Mathematics & Computer Science | Eindhoven University of Technology

We’re at the Bosch Security Systems headquarters in Eindhoven. Ten of the twenty Eindhoven University of Technology trainees are waiting nervously until all stakeholders of Bosch have found a place in the room. The final presentation of their eight-week project is about to start. A short period in which the technological design trainees worked as a team on a real life assignment coming from the industry. A period in which they actually delivered a working prototype for Bosch.

The group of talented software designers holding a Master’s degree in their own specialization, started off with the challenge to make the existing Bosch DICENTIS conference system BYOD (bring your own device) compatible. A challenge which cannot be done in eight weeks. After a domain and feasibility analysis, the project team redefined the scope of the project to extending the current system in order to pair the participant’s personal smart devices with the conference system, making sure this occurs in a secured environment, and with keeping the existing functions of the DICENTIS system intact as much as possible.

Win-win situation
This project at Bosch Security Systems is the first of three in-house training projects this class of 2016 will carry out this year before working on their final graduation projects to receive their Professional Doctorate in Engineering degree in Software Technology (PDEng ST). The PDEng ST, formerly known as OOTI, is a two-year salaried program of the department of Mathematics and Computer Science, which can be followed after gaining a Master’s degree in the field of Computer Science or a related field.

During the program the trainees will increase their scientific and technological knowledge, but also learn how to apply it in practice.

Dr. Yanja Dajsuren, Program director of the PDEng ST: “During the program the trainees will increase their scientific and technological knowledge, but also learn how to apply it in practice. The variety of customers from the industry will give the trainees a broad experience in a short period of time, working with different types of customers and working on different projects.” Dajsuren continues: “And from the industry’s point of view, they profit of having a group of bright millennials working together on a project approaching it from other angles with the latest knowledge in software technology equipped with scientific research and design methods. A win-win situation.”

Aside from the technical skills needed to complete the project, the trainees also develop a set of professional skills they will need in their future careers in the industry. Carlos Giraldo, member of the PDEng ST team: “For example, we expanded our organization and planning skills, worked on our leadership and team collaboration skills, and communicating with the customer was also part of our roles.” After two years the trainees are ready for an industrial career as a technological designer, and later on possibly as a tech lead or software/system architect.

Managing the project
Back to the project. After agreeing with Bosch Security Systems on the scope the real work began. The trainees were divided in four groups, each analyzing and designing their own part of the project: architecture & design, front-end, infrastructure & networking, and back-end. Within these four groups, each member had its own role. This made it possible to manage the project, design and develop software systems, and present a working prototype to Bosch within such a short period of time. Surprised reactions were heard during the final presentation. Ger Cloudt, ‎Global Software R&D Manager at Bosch Security Systems: “It is always interesting to see how this young generation of software developers is taking advantage of existing software in the field. Long time ago when I started developing software it was all about developing everything from scratch. Nowadays knowledge and usage of existing platforms as iOS and Android and Open Source Software leads to fast results as again demonstrated by this group!”

It is always interesting to see how this young generation of software developers is taking advantage of existing software in the field.

The aftermath
After a few days off, the PDEng ST team has already started on their next training phase. And what will Bosch Security Systems do with the results the project team delivered? The importance of smart devices still is increasing in people’s personal lives. Think about all the apps available used to control different devices at home, control media in a car, and so on. How long does it take before people want to connect their own smart device to their meeting structure? This is exactly where the results of the project will be used for by Bosch Security Systems to build on further.

This is now the second time that Bosch ST-CO collaborated with the TU/e PDEng ST program. Hans van der Schaar (System Architect at Bosch Security Systems who also holds a PDEng degree) who was involved in defining the BYOD project, also worked in 2012 with PDEng ST trainees on designing a scalable UI based on HTML5. In that project, four prototypes were built to control a PA (Public Address) system. The experiences gained in these two projects are used in current and future products and thus have proven to be very valuable for Bosch Security Systems.