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A Hard Hat Is Not Enough: IoT Is Saving Lives In Qatar

Judith Magyar

Standing on a roadside in Qatar where camel once passed, I watch hundreds of trucks roll by.

I am with Philippe Garnier, corporate plant manager for QDVC, a thriving local construction company. Philippe is responsible for all the machines and vehicles needed to build the new 14-lane orbital highway that will circle the city of Doha. Ten years ago there was nothing here but sand. Building this particular 40 kilometer stretch will take four years, he tells me.

“When people drive down this highway,” he says, “it will be just another road. No one will be thinking of the thousands of lives touched by these roadworks – the men working under the desert sun and their families far away.”

Philippe thinks about those lives every day. Besides the machinery, he is also responsible for the safety and welfare of the thousands of workers and all the visitors on every one of QDVC’s projects around the country.

Massive construction cranes dot the skyline around us. These behemoths are notoriously dangerous if they fall over or crash into one another. But there is not the slightest danger of that happening on any QDVC site, thanks to a 3D anti-collision software designed specifically to save human lives.

“We’ve been using the solution for seven years and have not had a single accident or injury in all that time,” says Philippe.

Saving human lives

Powered by in-memory computing technology, the innovation is the brainchild of Dr. Severin Kezeu, one of the world’s first IoT pioneers. Back in 1991 he realized that all equipment could be controlled through IP addresses on the Internet, and that all things could communicate with each other in that way.

“It’s a matter of tagging everything – machines and equipment – and giving people wearable devices or smartphones. You just need an IP address,” he says, making it sound very simple indeed.

Severin met with lots of resistance along the way. At that time, only the military was interested in anti-collision solutions. There was also the question of financing. Just one network card cost $100,000. Twenty-five years later, every industry has been transformed by the Internet of Everything.

“My goal is to save lives. It was really unacceptable for me to see how many people were dying every day on construction sites. That gave me the inspiration to build a solution to avoid accidents and fatalities. Besides safety, the software provides a critical layer of security and helps speed up construction schedules.”

Severin’s biggest project ever was a construction site in Saudi Arabia involving 250 cranes and 30,000 workers. It proceeded without a hitch.

Treating people right

Human habitation in Qatar dates back 50,000 years. Today, 88% of Qatar’s 2.6 million inhabitants consists of expats and migrant workers.

The country is gearing up for the FIFA World Cup 2022 – the first Arab country ever to host the event, raising plenty of controversy in the process. One of the issues has been the treatment of workers on construction sites. According to Amnesty International and other organizations, conditions are appalling.

I mention this topic to Philippe, and ask if we can have a look at the workers’ camp. To my surprise, he says yes. “I can’t speak for other companies,” he says, “but our workers live in the  Club Med of camps.”

We drive the 30 kilometers from the construction site to the QDVC Campus City. Four thousand workers live in rooms for two or four men.  Air-conditioned buses are lined up ready to drive them back and forth to their shifts.

“The men work eight-hour shifts and get paid overtime if necessary. We work around the clock. If temperatures rise over 38° Celsius, we stop,” says Philippe.

The campus is as sustainable as possible: it generates its own power, bores its own wells for water, and subsidizes local vegetable and livestock farmers. The canteen caters to culinary tastes from India, Africa, Thailand, the Philippines, and Arab countries. There is a mosque on site. The men have access to WiFi in recreation rooms and plenty of sports facilities.

Diversifying the economy

Many countries made their fortunes in the oil and gas era, but those that invested in the welfare of their people and diversified their economy over the years reaped the most benefits. According to the World Happiness Report 2017, published by the UN Sustainable Solutions Network, Norway, for example, is the happiest country is the world, in spite of the drop in oil prices. Qatar, with the highest income per capita in the world, ranks 37 out of 150 countries measured.

For the past few decades, economic diversification has been high on the agenda of all the countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Economic transformation is not a simple undertaking. It requires a holistic approach incorporating a variety of measures. Saudi Arabia, for example, has announced its Vision 2030 plan, which aims to reduce the kingdom’s reliance on oil. One of the goals is to generate 35% of economic output from small and medium enterprises.

Experts advise countries on the diversification path to consider three things: upgrade local enterprises so they can become world-class competitors, use digitization to leapfrog economic development, and finally, build a skilled labor force capable of continuous learning.

Training the next generation

Besides providing humane living conditions, QDVC invests heavily in training.

“Recruitment is always a challenge,” says Philippe. “The turnover rate is high; we fluctuate from 15,000 to 9,000 workers as some projects end and new ones begin. Twenty percent of our people are highly skilled engineers, the others are operators and laborers. Using sophisticated software and systems requires continuous training and workshops for the operators, so that is a big part of our program.”

I look at the hundreds of people manning the construction cranes and machines and trucks as we drive down the road on our way to the airport. They may not know there are people like Philippe and Severin who are looking out their safety and welfare, but their lives are certainly changing with each new effort to improve their conditions or teach them new skills.

That is the way of progress.

For more on how the IoT is changing business, see The Internet of Things and Digital Transformation: A Tale of Four Industries.

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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.

How Technology Provides Smart, Secure Parking For Truck Drivers

Gil Perez

If you’ve planned a trip recently, you’ve likely spent time researching and booking hotels, perhaps using one of a growing number of travel websites. Many people wouldn’t dream of setting off without a clear idea of where they’re going to sleep that night.

This, however, is a daily reality for truck drivers.

Facing a parking crisis

In Germany alone, there is a deficit of 14,000 official truck parking spaces. With no way of knowing where they can find available spaces in advance, truckers approach an average of four different parking areas before they find a free parking slot.

Robust statutory requirements for drivers to take timed rest periods only add to the pressure. Violation of the strict rest period rules can result in serious legal consequences for both drivers and their employers. And with an immovable deadline for getting off the road, drivers who can’t find an official space often have no choice but to find a less-appropriate alternative.

Parking by the side of the road can obstruct traffic and creates a driving hazard, endangering both the truck driver and the public. And parking in dimly lit industrial areas can put the driver and the cargo at risk from criminal activity. Trucks parked in unofficial parking spaces risk cargo theft, often perpetrated by organized criminal gangs.

Giving drivers the information they need

Now, Boschhas the potential to transform the way logistics and forwarding companies manage parking arrangements for their trucks. Leveraging cloud-based technology within a connected parking solution, Bosch Secure Truck Parking allows drivers to find and reserve available parking spaces in advance using an online booking portal.

Enabled by the Internet of Things, Bosch can link the booking portal to access control systems at truck parking sites across Germany. Based on number-plate recognition, access is granted only for trucks that have a reservation. Payment is then made online by the company that owns the truck.

Saving costs and improving efficiency

For forwarding and logistics companies, the solution offers considerable savings in both costs and efficiency. Last year, €1.5 billion was lost in Germany as a result of cargo theft. However, it isn’t only the value of the cargo lost that creates problems for the companies involved.

Theft can also cause significant delays in the delivery of products to their destination, either as a result of necessary repairs to the truck or sourcing new cargo. And in the age of just-in-time delivery contracts, a delay can result in substantial financial penalties for the logistics provider.

Taking the stress out of parking

Bosch Secure Truck Parking represents a massive change that could greatly improve quality of life for truck drivers. With a single stroke, it removes the stress of not knowing where or when they will find a parking space. It also enables drivers to set off on their journey comfortable in the knowledge that they and their cargo will be spending the night in a safe, secure environment.

Bosch’s vision is to enable every driver to have a pre-booked parking space waiting before they set off. For an industry in which every stage of the logistics process is worked out with the greatest precision to optimize efficiency, it is only surprising that this is the first solution to address this issue.

Helping to preserve our green spaces

In future, the secure truck parking solution also has the potential to help ease Germany’s truck parking space shortage. As well as enabling the state to manage its official parking sites more efficiently, the technology could also encourage a wide range of organizations to offer parking spaces to truck drivers.

Bosch’s online booking portal lets companies restrict bookings to specific periods, such as evenings or weekends only, when they don’t need the space for their own operations. All payments are made online so companies can benefit from an additional revenue stream without requiring additional staff to manage activity and handle cash transactions. And with automatic number-plate recognition technology controlling access barriers, companies can offer the service securely, confident that only trucks that have pre-booked can access their premises.

By increasing usage by trucks of existing parking sites, the solution can minimize the need to build new parking areas. This will not only provide significant cost savings for the state, it will also help preserve our precious green spaces for future generations.

To learn more about Bosch Secure Truck Parking, read the announcement or connect with us on @SAPLeonardo for the latest IoT news.

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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Gil Perez

About Gil Perez

Gil Perez is senior vice president of Digital Assets and The Internet of Things (IoT) and general manager of Connected Vehicles and IoT Security at SAP.

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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Unleash The Digital Transformation

Kadamb Goswami

The world has changed. We’ve seen massive disruption on multiple fronts – business model disruption, cybercrime, new devices, and an app-centric world. Powerful networks are crucial to success in a mobile-first, cloud-first world that’s putting an ever-increasing increasing amount of data at our fingertips. With the Internet of Things (IoT) we can connect instrumented devices worldwide and use new data to transform business models and products.

Disruption

Disruption comes in many forms. It’s not big or scary, it’s just another way of describing change and evolution. In the ’80s it manifested as call centers. Then, as the digital landscape began to take shape, it was the Internet, cloud computing … now it’s artificial intelligence (AI).

Digital transformation

Digital transformation means different things to different companies, but in the end I believe it will be a simple salvation that will carry us forward. If you Bing (note I worked for Microsoft for 15 years before experiencing digital transformation from the lens of the outside world), digital transformation, it says it’s “the profound and accelerating transformation of business activities, processes, competencies, and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of digital technologies and their impact across society in a strategic and prioritized way.” (I’ll simplify that; keep reading.)

A lot of today’s digital transformation ideas are ripped straight from the scripts of sci-fi entertainment, whether you’re talking about the robotic assistants of 2001: A Space Odyssey or artificial intelligence in the Star Trek series. We’re forecasting our future with our imagination. So, let’s move on to why digital transformation is needed in our current world.

Business challenges

The basic challenges facing businesses today are the same as they’ve always been: engaging customers, empowering employees, optimizing operations, and reinventing the value offered to customers. However, what has changed is the unique convergence of three things:

  1. Increasing volumes of data, particularly driven by the digitization of “things” and heightened individual mobility and collaboration
  1. Advancements in data analytics and intelligence to draw actionable insight from the data
  1. Ubiquity of cloud computing, which puts this disruptive power in the hands of organizations of all sizes, increasing the pace of innovation and competition

Digital transformation in plain English

Hernan Marino, senior vice president, marketing, & global chief operating officer at SAP, explains digital transformation by giving specific industry examples to make it simpler.

Automobile manufacturing used to be the work of assembly lines, people working side-by-side literally piecing together, painting, and churning out vehicles. It transitioned to automation, reducing costs and marginalizing human error. That was a business transformation. Now, we are seeing companies like Tesla and BMW incorporate technology into their vehicles that essentially make them computers on wheels. Cameras. Sensors. GPS. Self-driving vehicles. Syncing your smartphone with your car.

The point here is that companies need to make the upfront investments in infrastructure to take advantage of digital transformation, and that upfront investment will pay dividends in the long run as technological innovations abound. It is our job to collaboratively work with our customers to understand what infrastructure changes need to be made to achieve and take advantage of digital transformation.

Harman gives electric companies as another example. Remember a few years ago, when you used to go outside your house and see the little power meter spinning as it recorded the kilowatts you use? Every month, the meter reader would show up in your yard, record your usage, and report back to the electric company.

Most electric companies then made a business transformation and installed smart meters – eliminating the cost of the meter reader and integrating most homes into a smart grid that gave customers access to their real-time information. Now, as renewable energy evolves and integrates more fully into our lives, these same electric companies that switched over to smart meters are going to make additional investments to be able to analyze the data and make more informed decisions that will benefit both the company and its customers.

That is digital transformation. Obviously, banks, healthcare, entertainment, trucking, and e-commerce all have different needs than auto manufacturers and electric companies. It is up to us – marketers and account managers promoting digital transformation – to identify those needs and help our clients make the digital transformation as seamlessly as possible.

Digital transformation is more than just a fancy buzzword, it is our present and our future. It is re-envisioning existing business models and embracing a different way of bringing together people, data, and processes to create more for their customers through systems of intelligence.

Learn more about what it means to be a digital business.

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About Goswami Kadamb

Kadamb is a Senior Program Manager at SAP where he is responsible for developing and executing strategic sales program with Concur SaaS portfolio. Prior to that he led several initiatives with Microsoft's Cloud & Enterprise business to enable Solution Sales & IaaS offerings.