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The Internet Of Things (IoT) For Business

Richard Howells

The massive numbers of connected things and the explosion of data generated by connected devices (“things”) has changed the way we do business forever.

With the emergence of smart products, assets, and always-on “things,” we now have access to unparalleled amounts of information. This – along with the evolution of Big Data, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and technologies such as blockchain – is enabling us to converge operational and information technologies to make machines smarter and drive end-to-end digital transformation.

Every “thing” is connected

Today, we live in a world where everything is connected – from the products we buy, to the equipment and assets we use, to the cars we drive, to the places where we work, to the homes in which we live.

We have seen the evolution of Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things. And now we are seeing this in everyday life, with sensors on:

  • Things at home, such as washing machines, thermostats, and personal tracking devices
  • Things at work, such as machines in production plants, assets, and equipment
  • Things we travel on, such as trains, planes, and automobiles

Every “thing” is intelligent

As these “things” collect and exchange data, we can leverage the data they provide to make them smarter through built-in machine learning. We can improve how employees perform their jobs in the warehouse, on the production floor, or across the business by leveraging AI. We can use 3D printing to transform the way we think about business processes and reimagine the manufacturing of products.

By moving to an environment where we can leverage the data from these innovations, we can predict patterns, automate processes, and manage by exception.

Every “thing” in the moment

This constant connectivity is resulting in more real-time transactions. As consumers, we leverage omnichannel technology to place orders, anytime, anywhere, and on any device. This ability to order “in the moment” has raised the bar for how quickly vendors are expected to fulfill our orders.

And when we go to work, we expect the same real-time systems, ease of use, and access to information. We want to leverage the Big Data that is now available to not only make real-time business decisions but to automate as many of these decisions as possible.

But we can’t afford to hire armies of data scientists to analyze Big Data to tell us everything is fine. We need to drive predictive analytics and machine learning techniques to enable us to focus on identifying and solving issues when they occur, as well as recognizing patterns and opportunities to increase margins or drive new business processes. To achieve this, we must place Big Data into the proper context to solve business problems.

Every business process needs to be connected to “everything”

IoT creates the ultimate Big Data challenge. Data contains zero value unless it can be turned into actionable insight and integrated into a role-based business context that provides visibility of “everything,” both structured and unstructured.

It is not good enough to rely solely on the business data from the business systems we leverage today. We need to access data from real-time sensors on products, assets, fleets, infrastructure, markets, and people in the field. We must also capitalize on unstructured data, such as customer sentiment, to get a true picture of demand, as well as weather and traffic situations to see the impact of environmental changes on our business processes.

Connect things with people and processes

The journey a company takes to connect things with people and processes is becoming the catalyst for digitalization. IoT is not necessarily new to most companies. But while many can collect, store, and visualize their data, they may not understand what to do next.

We need innovative solutions that enable companies to not only digitalize existing end-to-end business processes but enable them to evolve new business models to run digitally.

Leveraging the Big Data provided from IoT would allow our organizations to create:

  • New business processes
  • New business models
  • New work environments

To learn more about IoT for Business, join me at the SAP Leonardo Live – IoT for Business event on July 11 and 12 in Frankfurt, Germany. Visit this website for additional details or follow @SAPLeonardo for the latest news.

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About Richard Howells

Richard Howells is a Vice President at SAP responsible for the positioning, messaging, AR , PR and go-to market activities for the SAP Supply Chain solutions.

Industry 4.0: Digital Transformation In Manufacturing

Sandeep Raut

Manufacturing companies have traditionally been slow to react to the advent of digital technologies like intelligent robots, drones, sensor technology, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and 3D printing.

Industry 4.0 has changed manufacturing. At a high level, Industry 4.0 represents the vision of the interconnected factory where all equipment is online, and in some way is also intelligent and capable of making its own decisions.

The explosion in connected devices and platforms, combined with the abundance of data from field devices and the rapidly changing technology landscape, has made it imperative for companies to quickly adapt their products and services and move from the physical world to a digital one.

Today, manufacturing is transforming from mass production to an industry characterized by mass customization. Not only must the right products be delivered to the right person for the right price, the process of how products are designed and delivered must be at a new level of sophistication.

The first step in digitization is to analyze the current state of all systems, from R&D, procurement, production, warehousing, logistics, and marketing to sales and service.

The digitization of manufacturing impacts every aspect of operations and the supply chain. It starts with equipment design and continues through product design, production process improvement, and ultimately, monitoring and improving the end user experience.

Digital transformation revolutionizes the way manufacturers share and manage product and engineering design specs on the cloud by collaborating across geographies.

Downtime and reliability are critical when it comes to the operation of equipment on a shop floor. Big Data analytics offers quick and easy access to operation, production, inventory, and other quality data, which enables managers and operators to adjust machines as needed across the enterprise.

Quality and yield are directly related to manufacturing processes, as the way that raw materials are used, inspected, manufactured, and integrated really determines product quality. Cognitive computing helps manufacturers identify quality issues more efficiently, increases production yield, and reduces problems that lead to service and warranty costs.

Implementing smarter resource and supply chain optimization strategies improves the cost efficiency of resources like energy consumption, worker safety, and employee resource efficiency.

Service excellence is also an important element of a manufacturing company’s digital transformation strategy. Connected devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) are changing how after-sales service is delivered. Here are a few examples from industries such as industrial equipment, power generation and HVAC providers:

  • Push service notifications
    • How is your asset health?
    • How is your asset usage?
  • Predictive/preventive maintenance
  • Breakdown assistance
  • Usage-based billing
  • Spare parts fulfillment

General Electric’s jet engines combine cloud-based services, analytics, and online sensors to report usage and status and help predict potential failures. The result is improved uptime and lower cost of ownership.

Additive manufacturing (3D printers) for prototyping help shorten the iteration cycles in the design process and help turn innovation into value. 3D printing is also quickly gaining ground in low-volume commercial manufacturing of customized products.

Smart machines integrated with forklifts, storage shelves, and production equipment are able to take autonomous decisions and communicate with each other to drive material replenishment, trigger manufacturing, and much more.

Industry 4.0 allows manufacturers to have more flexible manufacturing processes that can better react to customer demands.

For more on the impact of digital transformation in manufacturing and other industries, see Live Product Innovation, Part 3: Process Industries, IoT, And A Recipe For Instant Change.

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Connected Four: How EMEA Enterprises Excel With Connectivity

Franck Chelly

The objective of the game Connect Four is simple: The first player who forms a line of four of the same-colored discs wins.

For businesses, achieving connectivity in today’s world of Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and intelligent devices isn’t quite as easy, but the stakes remain the same: connectivity equals victory.

These four organizations based in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) – the Connected Four, as I like to call them – are demonstrating how connected products, assets, fleets, infrastructure, markets, and people can result in a decisive competitive advantage.

1. Hamburg Port Authority: Increasing efficiency and capacity with smartPORT logistics

The Hamburg Port Authority (HPA) manages the safe maritime transport of goods for businesses across Germany and throughout the world. With shipping demand constantly growing, HPA sought a solution to increase port efficiency and capacity.

Through the development of the smartPORT logistics platform, HPA was able to ensure its freight forwarders, container terminal operators, and customers are always connected. By enabling real-time data exchange, HPA, its partners, and customers have a clearer picture of existing port traffic and operations. This will lead to more efficient cargo-handling processes across the supply chain.

2. Alliander: Providing improved energy service, saving time, and cutting project costs

Alliander, a Dutch energy distribution company, serves more than 3 million customers per year.

The organization is currently collecting data from sensors and other intelligent devices to ensure its employees, assets, and infrastructure are all better connected.

By making this information available to its staff in a single point of data access, Alliander can achieve a wide range of goals, including:

  • Pinpointing old gas pipes that need to be replaced, a previously hours-long process that now takes just seconds
  • Predicting peak loads in certain areas of its energy network, enabling the company to better understand where it needs to increase capacity

3. Piaggio: Giving people their kicks with peace of mind

Since the 1946 launch of its Vespa scooter, Italy-based Piaggio has been treating thrill-seeking riders to the time of their lives. And while enabling customers to hit the road for an exciting journey is top of mind for Piaggio, the company is fully committed to ensuring vehicle safety.

Piaggio is largely achieving this with bleeding-edge IoT technology. IoT-connected Piaggio vehicles can alert users that their scooters or motorcycles require service, as well as communicate potential issues directly to the manufacturer or a mechanic. Addressing these issues as soon as they’re detected would allow riders to quickly continue on their adventures, safe from harm’s way.

4. Roche: Stopping diabetes in its tracks with connected care

Connected care is creating stronger relationships between doctors and patients. It’s encouraging people to take better care of themselves. And it’s equipping doctors with greater insight into patient data.

Roche Diagnostics, a Swiss life sciences company, developed a mobile app that enables doctors to track the health of patients in real-time. Combined with a blood glucose monitor and wearable fitness device, the app helps doctors to prevent the spread of diseases such as diabetes. If unhealthy behaviors are detected, the doctor can immediately schedule an appointment with the patient to address the issues and develop a proper healthcare plan.

Turn connectivity into a competitive advantage

The connected four – HPA, Alliander, Piaggio, and Roche – are at the cutting edge of today’s digital economy.

Each enterprise has figured out a way to harness the power of connectivity and transform it into measurable business results, from more efficient processes and faster project turnaround times to lower project costs and new revenue streams.

Business leaders are always on the lookout for new ways to satisfy customers. To achieve this in today’s world of Big Data and constant connectivity, organizations need to embrace the latest technologies.

Download this free brochure to explore how your enterprise can begin implementing innovative solutions and turning connectivity into a competitive advantage and follow @SAPLeonardo on Twitter.

Connect with industry experts, partners, influencers, and business leaders at SAP Leonardo Live, our premier Internet of Things (IoT) conference for breakthrough innovation and technology. Register here and join us from July 11–12, 2017, in Frankfurt, Germany, to experience how your company can run a digitized business.

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Franck Chelly

About Franck Chelly

Franck Chelly is Vice President of Internet of Things and Digital Supply Chain at SAP EMEA. Over the last 29 years, he has presented to business and IT audiences in many different countries around the world on themes such as digital transformation, the Internet of Things, the new customer engagement, the future of digital marketing, the cloud revolution, and the challenges of adoption culture in organizations.

The Future of Cybersecurity: Trust as Competitive Advantage

Justin Somaini and Dan Wellers

 

The cost of data breaches will reach US$2.1 trillion globally by 2019—nearly four times the cost in 2015.

Cyberattacks could cost up to $90 trillion in net global economic benefits by 2030 if cybersecurity doesn’t keep pace with growing threat levels.

Cyber insurance premiums could increase tenfold to $20 billion annually by 2025.

Cyberattacks are one of the top 10 global risks of highest concern for the next decade.


Companies are collaborating with a wider network of partners, embracing distributed systems, and meeting new demands for 24/7 operations.

But the bad guys are sharing intelligence, harnessing emerging technologies, and working round the clock as well—and companies are giving them plenty of weaknesses to exploit.

  • 33% of companies today are prepared to prevent a worst-case attack.
  • 25% treat cyber risk as a significant corporate risk.
  • 80% fail to assess their customers and suppliers for cyber risk.

The ROI of Zero Trust

Perimeter security will not be enough. As interconnectivity increases so will the adoption of zero-trust networks, which place controls around data assets and increases visibility into how they are used across the digital ecosystem.


A Layered Approach

Companies that embrace trust as a competitive advantage will build robust security on three core tenets:

  • Prevention: Evolving defensive strategies from security policies and educational approaches to access controls
  • Detection: Deploying effective systems for the timely detection and notification of intrusions
  • Reaction: Implementing incident response plans similar to those for other disaster recovery scenarios

They’ll build security into their digital ecosystems at three levels:

  1. Secure products. Security in all applications to protect data and transactions
  2. Secure operations. Hardened systems, patch management, security monitoring, end-to-end incident handling, and a comprehensive cloud-operations security framework
  3. Secure companies. A security-aware workforce, end-to-end physical security, and a thorough business continuity framework

Against Digital Armageddon

Experts warn that the worst-case scenario is a state of perpetual cybercrime and cyber warfare, vulnerable critical infrastructure, and trillions of dollars in losses. A collaborative approach will be critical to combatting this persistent global threat with implications not just for corporate and personal data but also strategy, supply chains, products, and physical operations.


Download the executive brief The Future of Cybersecurity: Trust as Competitive Advantage.


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To Get Past Blockchain Hype, We Must Think Differently

Susan Galer

Blockchain hype is reaching fever pitch, making it the perfect time to separate market noise from valid signals. As part of my ongoing conversations about blockchain, I reached out to several experts to find out where companies should consider going from here. Raimund Gross, Solution Architect and Futurist at SAP, acknowledged the challenges of understanding and applying such a complex leading-edge technology as blockchain.

“The people who really get it today are those able to put the hype in perspective with what’s realistically doable in the near future, and what’s unlikely to become a reality any time soon, if ever,” Gross said. “You need to commit the resources and find the right partners to lay the groundwork for success.”

Gross told me one of the biggest problems with blockchain – besides the unproven technology itself – was the mindset shift it demands. “Many people aren’t thinking about decentralized architectures with peer-to-peer networks and mash-ups, which is what blockchain is all about. People struggle because often discussions end up with a centralized approach based on past constructs. It will take training and experience to think decentrally.”

Here are several more perspectives on blockchain beyond the screaming headlines.

How blockchain disrupts insurance, banking

Blockchain has the potential to dramatically disrupt industries because the distributed ledger embeds automatic trust across processes. This changes the role of longstanding intermediaries like insurance companies and banks, essentially restructuring business models for entire industries.

“With the distributed ledger, all of the trusted intelligence related to insuring the risk resides in the cloud, providing everyone with access to the same information,” said Nadine Hoffmann, global solution manager for Innovation at SAP Financial Services. “Payment is automatically triggered when the agreed-upon risk scenario occurs. There are limitations given regulations, but blockchain can open up new services opportunities for established insurers, fintech startups, and even consumer-to-consumer offerings.”

Banks face a similar digitalized transformation. Long built on layers of steps to mitigate risk, blockchain offers the banking industry a network of built-in trust to improve efficiencies along with the customer experience in areas such as cross-border payments, trade settlements for assets, and other contractual and payment processes. What used to take days or even months could be completed in hours.

Finance departments evolve

Another group keenly watching blockchain developments are CFOs. Just as Uber and Airbnb have disrupted transportation and hospitality, blockchain has the potential to change not only the finance department — everything from audits and customs documentation to letters of credit and trade finance – but also the entire company.

“The distributed ledger’s capabilities can automate processes in shared service centers, allowing accountants and other employees in finance to speed up record keeping including proof of payment supporting investigations,” said Georg Koester, senior developer, LoB Finance at the Innovation Center Potsdam. “This lowers costs for the company and improves the customer experience.”

Koester said that embedding blockchain capabilities in software company-wide will also have a tremendous impact on product development, lean supply chain management, and other critical areas of the company.

While financial services dominate blockchain conversations right now, Gross named utilities, healthcare, public sector, real estate, and pretty much any industry as prime candidates for blockchain disruption. “Blockchain is specific to certain business scenarios in any industry,” said Gross. “Every organization can benefit from trust and transparency that mitigates risk and optimizes processes.”

Get started today! Run Live with SAP for Banking. Blast past the hype by attending the SAP Next-Gen Boot Camp on Blockchain in Financial Services and Public Sector event being held April 26-27 in Regensdorf, Switzerland.

Follow me on Twitter, SCN Business Trends, or Facebook. Read all of my Forbes articles here.

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