Sections

5 Ways The Internet Of Things Is Changing The Game For Education And Learning

Geetika Shukla

There’s been so much buzz about the Internet of Things (IoT) lately – maybe not as much as for the U.S. presidential campaigns, but it’s pretty close. For today’s youngsters, the day will come when a computer is no longer seen as a separate object or device. With technology very much entwined in the basic fabric of everyday living, our children might feel offended if their obedient room lamp doesn’t immediately acknowledge their presence by switching itself on.

Over time, the IoT will be a mindset, rather than a steady stream of technology. Even though every other device in our home, workplace, or surrounding environment will be intelligent enough to connect and talk to each other, people will inevitably focus on the transformational possibilities for our world.

The realm of education is no exception to the IoT’s influence. Until now, educational technology has pivoted more or less around virtual conferencing and classrooms, online tutorials, and similar offerings. However, this is only the beginning. Here are five ways the IoT can transform education.

1. Connect academies all over the map

Some of the latest IoT artillery in this field includes digital highlighters, smart boards, and even smarter boards. This means your printed text could be digitally transferred to your smartphone or any other app at an incredible speed through tools like C-Pen and Scanmarker. Interactive boards can receive, acknowledge, and reciprocate information, simplifying and accelerating the overall learning experience.

Just imagine a scenario where students sitting in a classroom or at their desk at home can interact with their classmates, mentors, and educators scattered across the world. Now, let’s suppose the lesson of the day is focused on sea life. To give students a really exciting – and highly educational – experience, the teacher decides to access live information generated through sensors and live feeds monitoring a particular body of water.

2. Conserve and sustain to survive and flourish

With the aid of the IoT, a variety of options are possible in terms of environmental and energy conservation, ecosystem regulation, traffic, and transport, to name a few, that can help schools build up their budgets and offer better learning opportunities. For example, a school district in Pennsylvania saved a fortune on energy by using the IoT to support its energy monitoring and control program and reinvested the savings into its education programs. After all, living a green lifestyle is the way to go for all of us – we might as well put it to work so we can invest in more critical areas.

3. Win over students (and parents) with a safe and secure learning environment

The safety and security of students are paramount – whether you are a parent, educational authority, security official, or concerned citizen. With empowered sensors, RFIDs, cameras, and connected devices, monitoring and surveillance of entire buildings is possible. Instant notifications, alerts, and configured actions would be a significant addition to the security and safety of schools and other educational institutions.

4. Grant parity for all

The connected world of everything has a lot to offer students who need modified learning plans and exceptions. There are already a number of devices, tools, and apps that create appropriate learning experiences while bringing them on par with the rest of the class. One such example is the Lechal shoe project, which enables the visually challenged to better navigate the world through technology.

5. Turn learners into creators

The IoT indeed promotes and paves the way for creativity – and for children, there’s nothing better than learning the nuances and applications of hyperconnectivity firsthand. After all the predictions regarding the enormous number of connected communication and decision-making devices in the years to come, this is an excellent opportunity for schoolchildren to understand, build, and control such systems themselves.

The future trajectory of IoT-enabled education: Bumpy or smooth?

The IoT has the potential to strip away common barriers in education such as economic status, geography, language, and physical location. But once the initial glitz of being “super and hyperconnected” fizzles out, there are more important questions that need to be answered.

Converging education with technology is not just about bringing learning resources or making learning simpler and faster – it’s about quality, impact, and community acceptance too. Even with all the fancy resources and technology at our children’s fingertips, it is still a long and tough road ahead for the IoT to reform education in a path-breaking and everlasting way. Nevertheless, the seeds are sown well and the harvest appears to be promising.

Learning doesn’t stop when you graduate; if you want to be successful, it’s a lifelong endeavor. Learn How to Create a Culture of Continuous Learning.

Comments

Geetika Shukla

About Geetika Shukla

My association with SAP is eight wonderful years. I have a disposition for the latest technological trends and a fascination for all the digital buzz apart from the world of process orchestration, cloud, and platforms.

$18.5 Billion On Back To School Tech

Danielle Beurteaux

It’s been a long time since shopping for supplies for the new school year meant grabbing a bunch of spiral notebooks and a new pencil case. If your August budget is a bit tight this year, blame technology. Because this year, parents will be spending more than ever for their kids’ back-to-school items.

According to a new report from American Express, the average back-to-school bill this year will hit $1,642. Compare that to 2015, when the average spend was $1,239. That amount includes everything from shoes to violins, but a driver in the increased bill is technology. Fifty-nine percent of parents plan to buy new technology for the coming school year, compared to 46% last year. Almost all parents (92%) say that tech is now an integral part of their kids’ education. Last year, that number was 82%. Parents are buying laptops, tablets, and cellphones, in that order; almost three-quarters of those cellphones will be smartphones, which are increasingly perceived as a necessary part of the educational experience.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) reports that 59% of American’s back-to-school shopping includes tech purchases, a 12% increase from last year. The organization is projecting that a whopping $18.5 billion will be spent on tech in 2016’s school shopping season. The top purchases on the CTA’s ranked list are smaller purchases and accessories; laptops are number 6 on the list and tablets way down at number 9.

While American Express reports that some parents say they’ll be cutting back on other expenses so they can buy all these new devices and accessories, another report found that they’re feeling more confident about their personal finances. That’s a driver of the likely increase in spending. The report also says that most shoppers will start their back-to-school buying by researching products online, but will head to a brick-and-mortar store to actually make the purchase.

According to the National Retail Federation, another reason for the increase is because we’ve entered a “stock up” period. The organization defines two spending periods: “stock up” is when parents are buying new; “make do” are the periods in-between when the technology is still working and their kids’ clothes still fit. But the NRF also says that growing confidence in the economy is also a factor. But many shoppers are still looking for bargains, and also starting the shopping process earlier than usual this year.

The NRF figures put the average technology spend this year at almost double the amount that will be spent on traditional stationery.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, college students (and/or their parents) will be spending the most, to the tune of $48.5 billion. Compare that to 2009, when that number was $30.1 billion. Of that, $11.54 billion will be spent on electronics.

Compared to the historical high of $30.3 billion in 2012 for back-to-school and $53.5 billion for back-to-college, this year won’t be a record-breaker. But the trend is upward, and it looks as if this year’s school shopping period will make many retailers very happy.

Engage customers by to responding to – and creating – moments that matter to customers, anytime and anywhere. Learn more in Live Business: Live Customer Experiences for the Digital Economy.

Comments

After The Hype Roller Coaster Stops: A Business Case For The Cloud And Cloud Solution Maturity

Fred Isbell

In general, the hype around any technology or solution is very similar to a roller coaster ride. Something triggers a new technology, and the hype rises over time to unrealistic proportions. Sooner or later, reality – and, at times, a bit of delusion – sets in about the actual reality and value. Then the technology matures, we set run-rate expectations, and the status quo emerges. At that point, reality meets expectations – reaching an equilibrium.Hype-1

The rise and adoption of cloud computing is a classic example. To dive deeper into this hype cycle, I hosted and moderated the SAP Digital Business Services thought-leadership Webcast “Making a Business Case for the Cloud: Issues, Considerations, and Best Practices” featuring panel of subject experts including:

  • Stuart Williams, vice president of Research, Technology Business Research (TBR)
  • Lisa McCann, North America COO of Services, SAP
  • Eamon Kearns, senior director of Emerging Solutions, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Throughout this hour-long event, our guests provided insights into things that many of us have not seen or understood before. Here are a few of those key insights.

TBR: Cloud maturity and migration are real

According to Stuart Williams, going digital involves the use of technology to transition business processes to new business models. “At TBR, we sees broad adoption of public cloud services, but the integration across hybrid cloud environments is lagging – becoming a pain point with room for improvement,” he observed.

The TBR model comprises three basic sets of buyers:

  • Outcome-based: These buyers purchase outcomes – not technology – and depend on a solution provider for key
  • Co-innovators: They build solutions based upon platforms and rely on a solution provider to co-innovate, even though they do not own the basic
  • Owners and controllers: Buyers own and control solutions, building solutions by innovating technology and sources from their investment in technology and solutions.

Ultimately, as Williams cited, cloud solutions are the glue when transforming business processes with specific road maps for each buyer category.

SAP: Achieve the first-mover advantage now

The most important step is to start now. Become your early adopter or early mover and reap the corresponding advantages such as market share, profitability, and sustainable competitive advantage. To help businesses make that jump, Lisa McCann outlined a four-phase approach for using a digital business framework while explaining the importance of the digital core and some very pragmatic approaches, including a cloud discovery workshop and specific value assurance services.  Lisa’s comments reminded me of a classic sports quote:

“There are three types of players: Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen and those who wonder what happens.”
– Tommy Lasorda

Lisa urged, “This is real, and it’s happening now. Don’t go about this without consistency. Make sure you do it right the first time. The use of business scenario recommendations is a great low-barrier gateway and a quick approach to translating the current use of SAP technology into unique digital business scenarios.”

Learn more by visiting SAP Digital Business Services.

MIT: Move to the cloud and stop building more data centers

I’ve been fortunate to hear the MIT success story a couple of times, including at the SAPPHIRE NOW/ASUG earlier this year. Like a great movie, the story never gets old, and I learn something new each time. By deciding to stop building additional data centers on its high-priced real estate, MIT has shifted its focus to existing resources for core academic computing – showcasing the business value of cloud.

Eamon Kearns discussed how leveraging SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud (HEC) is shifting the consumption of the university’s landscape of SAP solutions from on-premise data centers to those that are secure, remote with full advantages such as security and disaster recovery. He spoke about applying the staffing and technical expertise in a cloud-based model to assign MIT-specific resources to relevant academic computing – and never missing a beat in the process! As SAP S/4HANA is the digital core, this is a classic “reduced barrier to entry” adoption model with a high level of security and a built-in support system.

What is your business case for the cloud?

I encourage everyone to view the on-demand replay of “Making a Business Case for the Cloud: Issues, Considerations, and Best Practices” and to visit SAP Digital Business Services for more information on the expertise and resources available to help you along your cloud journey and migration.

Join Fred online: TwitterFacebookLinkedInsap.comSAP Services Hub

Comments

Fred Isbell

About Fred Isbell

Fred Isbell is the Senior Director of SAP Digital Business Services Marketing at SAP. He is an experienced, results- and goal-oriented senior marketing executive with broad and extensive experience & expertise in high technology and marketing. He has a BA from Yale and an MBA from the Duke Fuqua School of Business.

The Robotics Race

Stephanie Overby

As robotic technologies continue to advance, along with related technologies such as speech and image recognition, memory and analytics, and virtual and augmented reality, better, faster, and cheaper robots will emerge. These machines – sophisticated, discerning, and increasingly autonomous – are certain to have an impact on business and society. But will they bring job displacement and danger or create new categories of employment and protect humankind?

We talked to SAP’s Kai Goerlich, along with Doug Stephen of the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition and Brett Kennedy from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, about the advances we can expect in robotics, robots’ limitations, and their likely impact on the world.

SAP_Robotics_QA_images2400x16002

qa_qWhat are the biggest drivers of the robot future?

Kai Goerlich: Several trends will come together to drive the robotics market in the next 15 to 20 years. The number of connected things and sensors will grow to the billions and the data universe will likewise explode. We think the speed of analytics will increase, with queries answered in milliseconds. Image and voice recognition – already quite good – will surpass human capabilities. And the virtual and augmented reality businesses will take off. These technologies are all building blocks for a new form of robotics that will vastly expand today’s capabilities in a diversity of forms and applications.

Brett Kennedy: When I was getting out of school, there weren’t that many people working in robotics. Now kids in grade school are exposed to a lot of things that I had to learn on the job, so they come into the workplace with a lot more knowledge and fewer preconceptions about what robots can or can’t do based on their experiences in different industries. That results in a much better-trained workforce in robotics, which I think is the most important thing.

In addition, many of the parts that we need for more sophisticated robots are coming out of other fields. We could never create enough critical mass to develop these technologies specifically for robotics. But we’re getting them from other places. Improvements in battery technology, which enable a robot to function without being plugged in, are being driven by industries such as mobile electronics and automotive, for example. Our RoboSimian has a battery drive originally designed for an electric motorcycle.

qa_qDo you anticipate a limit to the tasks robots will be able to master as these core technologies evolve?

Goerlich: Robots will take over more and more complex functions, but I think the ultimate result will be that new forms of human-machine interactions will emerge. Robots have advantages in crunching numbers, lifting heavy objects, working in dangerous environments, moving with precision, and performing repetitive tasks. However, humans still have advantages in areas such as abstraction, curiosity, creativity, dexterity, fast and multidimensional feedback, self-motivation, goal setting, and empathy. We’re also comparatively lightweight and efficient.

Doug Stephen: We’re moving toward a human-machine collaboration approach, which I think will become the norm for more complex tasks for a very long time. Even when we get to the point of creating more-complex and general-purpose robots, they won’t be autonomous. They’ll have a great deal of interaction with some sort of human teammate or operator.

qa_qHow about the Mars Rover? It’s relatively autonomous already.

Kennedy: The Mars Rover is autonomous to a certain degree. It is capable of supervised autonomy because there’s no way to control it at that distance with a joystick. But it’s really just executing the intent of the operator here on the ground.

In 2010, DARPA launched its four-year Autonomous Robotic Manipulator Challenge to create machines capable of carrying out complex tasks with only high-level human involvement. Some robots completed the challenge, but they were incredibly slow. We may get to a point where robots can do these sorts of things on their own. But they’re just not as good as people at this point. I don’t think we’re all going to be coming home to robot butlers anytime soon.

Stephen: It’s extremely difficult to program robots to behave as humans do. When we trip over something, we can recover quickly, but a robot will topple over and damage itself. The problem is that our understanding of our human abilities is limited. We have to figure out how to formally define the processes that human beings or any legged animals use to maintain balance or to walk and then tell a robot how to do it.

You have to be really explicit in the instructions that you give to these machines. Amazon has been working on these problems for a while with its “picking challenge”: How do you teach a robot to pick and pack boxes the way a human does? Right now, it’s a challenge for robots to identify what each item is.

qa_qSo if I’m not coming home to a robot butler in 20 years, what am I coming home to?

Goerlich: We naturally tend to imagine humanoid robots, but I think the emphasis will be on human-controlled robots, not necessarily humanshaped units. Independent robots will make sense in some niches, but they are more complex and expensive. The symbiosis of human and machine is more logical. It will be the most efficient way forward. Robotic suits, exoskeletons, and robotic limbs with all kinds of human support functions will be the norm. The future will be more Iron Man than Terminator.

qa_qWhat will be the impact on the job market as robots become more advanced?

SAP_Robotics_QA_images2400x16004Goerlich: The default fear is of a labor-light economy where robots do most of the work and humans take what’s left over. But that’s lastcentury thinking. Robots won’t simply replace workers on the assembly line. In fact, we may not have centralized factories anymore; 3D printing and the maker movement could change all that. And it is probably not the Terminator scenario either, where humanoid robots take over the world and threaten humankind. The indicators instead point to human-machine coevolution.

There’s no denying that advances in robotics and artificial intelligence will displace some jobs performed by humans today. But for every repetitive job that is lost to automation, it’s possible that a more interesting, creative job will take its place. This will require humans to focus on the skills that robots can’t replicate – and, of course, rethink how we do things and how the economy works.

qa_qWhat can businesses do today to embrace the projected benefits of advanced robotics?

Kennedy: Experiment. The very best things that we’ve been able to produce have come from people having the tools an d then figuring out how they can be used. I don’t think we understand the future well enough to be able to predict exactly how robots are going to be used, but I think we can say that they certainly will be used. Stephanie Overby is an independent writer and editor focused on the intersection of business and technology.

Stephanie Overby  is an independent writer and editor focused on the intersection of business and technology

To learn more about how humans and robots will co-evolve, read the in-depth report Bring Your Robot to Work.

Download the PDF

Comments

Tags:

What Is The Key To Rapid Innovation In Healthcare?

Paul Clark

Healthcare technology has already made incredible advancements, but digital transformation of the healthcare industry is still considered in its infancy. According to the SAP eBook, Connected Care: The Digital Pulse of Global Healthcare, the possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead for the Internet of Healthcare Things (IoHT) are astounding.

Many health organizations recognize the importance of going digital and have already deployed programs involving IoT, cloud, Big Data, analytics, and mobile technologies. However, over the last decade, investments in many e-health programs have delivered only modest returns, so the progress of healthcare technology has been slow out of the gate.

What’s slowing the pace of healthcare innovation?

In the past, attempts at rapid innovation in healthcare have been bogged down by a slew of stakeholders, legacy systems, and regulations that are inherent to the industry. This presents some Big Data challenges with connected healthcare, such as gathering data from disparate silos of medical information. Secrecy is also an ongoing challenge, as healthcare providers, researchers, pharmaceutical companies, and academic institutions tend to protect personal and proprietary data. These issues have caused enormous complexity and have delayed or deterred attempts to build fully integrated digital healthcare systems.

So what is the key to rapid innovation?

According to the Connected Care eBook, healthcare organizations can overcome these challenges by using new technologies and collaborating with other players in the healthcare industry, as well as partners outside of the industry, to get the most benefit out of digital technology.

To move forward with digital transformation in healthcare, there is a need for digital architectures and platforms where a number of different technologies can work together from both a technical and a business perspective.

The secret to healthcare innovation: connected health platforms

New platforms are emerging that foster collaboration between different technologies and healthcare organizations to solve complex medical system challenges. These platforms can support a broad ecosystem of partners, including developers, researchers, and healthcare organizations. Healthcare networks that are connected through this type of technology will be able to accelerate the development and delivery of innovative, patient-centered solutions.

Platforms and other digital advancements present exciting new business opportunities for numerous healthcare stakeholders striving to meet the increasing expectations of tech-savvy patients.

The digital evolution of the healthcare industry may still be in its infancy, but it is growing up fast as new advancements in technology quickly develop. Are you ready for the next phase of digital transformation in the global healthcare industry?

For an in-depth look at how technology is changing the face of healthcare, download the SAP eBook Connected Care: The Digital Pulse of Global Healthcare.

See how the digital era is affecting the business environment in the SAP eBook The Digital Economy: Reinventing the Business World.

Discover the driving forces behind digital transformation in the SAP eBook Digital Disruption: How Digital Technology is Transforming Our World.

Comments

Paul Clark

About Paul Clark

Paul Clark is the Senior Director of Technology Partner Marketing at SAP. He is responsible for developing and executing partner marketing strategies, activities, and programs in joint go-to-market plans with global technology partners. The goal is to increase opportunities, pipeline, and revenue through demand generation via SAP's global and local partner ecosystems.