Leveraging IoT To Boost Business

JP George

Today‘s businesses implement IoT (Internet of Things) tools for a variety of purposes. IoT platforms provide access to integrated hardware and cloud tools that let companies perform remote inventory management, for example, and gather data-based insights, which in turn enables more autonomous business operations and improves profitability.

IoT is an advanced ecosystem that incorporates hardware, software, networking, and security, and it‘s easy for a business to underestimate the complexity of its implementation process. The fact that it overlaps multiple specialized sectors, from data science to sensor manufacturers, makes it vital for companies to collaborate with experts throughout their IoT deployment.

Gathering data from the physical world

From construction firms to retail stores, employers can collect useful data throughout their daily operations. Remote construction sites can gather weather conditions, for instance, and retail stores can collect product counts at multiple locations. IoT technology can not only gather data, it can also alert employers of abnormal situations, such as when temperatures reach over 100 degrees. Common IoT components include intelligent devices, communication networks, cloud services, application platforms, and security protocols. Companies that are implementing new IoT technology often choose to work with an existing platform rather than starting from scratch.

Existing IoT business solutions

Helium is an established IoT firm that specializes in integrated smart sensing solutions. One of its products is an intelligent refrigerator that senses temperature data and alerts clients when the temperature might cause food to spoil. IBM Watson IoT is another option for companies looking for practical IoT solutions. The company tailors its cloud-based platform for the automotive, electronics, insurance, manufacturing, and retail industries.

IBM’s IoT for Insurance package, for example, gives participating insurance companies information on policyholders’ location, security, weather, traffic, and health. This data, in turn, allows the insurer to provide personalized and immediate protection and services when necessary. Other well-known IoT solution providers include Microsoft, Google, VMware, and Harman.

Optimizing IoT technologies

It’s important for companies that are considering IoT implementation to align IoT development with their business needs. Often, this means ensuring that the IoT platform is optimized for actionable insight. For example, instead of asking a smart refrigerator to send data every five minutes, embedded logic enables it to send only abnormal temperature alerts. This approach will not only free up server space, it also decreases energy consumption.

The cost benefits of IoT optimization is especially pronounced when scaled for thousands of IoT devices. Leveraging an IoT solution provider that values secure software optimization and development can help a company’s long-term IoT aspirations.

IoT security is essential

Because IoT technology communicates through a network, businesses need strong security measures to prevent infrastructure intrusions. For client and business data, data encryption is a must; for IoT technologies, so are network security, authentication, encryption, PKI (public key infrastructure), API (application programming interface) security, and security analytics. A recent report by Forrester Research recommends using an end-to-end IoT security approach to protect proprietary data and prevent breaches. Companies should also ensure that their IoT platform is robust, scalable, and upgradable for future connectivity developments.

IoT benefits

For any industry, IoT integration requires careful planning, deployment, and management. According to experts at VMware, successful implementation requires a solution built upon a foundation of collaborations and partnerships of multiple digital spectrum; the right tools and team are needed to reap its benefits with efficiency and security.

Consulting established IoT experts can help companies avoid costly errors while achieving their technological goals more quickly. Conducting different types of employee training for IoT implementation and putting together a talented data team can also effectively complement a company’s future IoT development.

For more on the business value of IoT, see The IoT Transforms The Sum Of The Parts, Not Just The Whole.


About JP George

JP George grew up in a small town in Washington. After receiving a Master’s degree in Public Relations, JP has worked in a variety of positions, from agencies to corporations all across the globe. Experience has made JP an expert in topics relating to leadership, talent management, and organizational business.

Blockchain Meets Life Science: Where Trust Is A Matter Of Life Or Death

Susan Galer

Walt Disney, Bill Gates, and Shakespeare have more in common than anyone could imagine, united by the business imperatives embodied in the promise of blockchain technology.

This was just one of the things I learned after tuning into a recent SAP Game-Changers Radio broadcast entitled “Changing the Game in Life Sciences.” Host Bonnie D. Graham adroitly guided three experts through a fascinating exploration of blockchain’s potential to transform the life sciences industry with undreamed-of trust and efficiency for everything from drug discovery and tracking, to patient control of their own data.

Dream it, do it

Peter Ebert, senior vice president of business development and sales at Cryptowerk Corp., had every right to quote Walt Disney’s maxim, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” I saw proof of his company’s co-innovation during a VIDEO interview at SAP TechEd demonstrating a blockchain POC to help the pharmaceutical industry better track drugs. On the radio, Ebert was unsurprisingly optimistic, comparing Disney’s vision for Mickey Mouse in 1928 with blockchain’s potential to change people’s lives.

“Blockchain will not only be a technical technology or technical thing in our lives. It will impact all our experiences,” said Ebert. “If you go to the doctor and you’re getting blood drawn or you’re taking a pill…you want to make sure that this pill is not a counterfeit, that the technology around you and the devices are not counterfeit. Think about the doctor or other people treating you—you want to make sure that they have the education [and] the skills to treat you well and correctly.”

Blockchain’s trust has special significance to #lifescience where digital assets actually mean life or death @SAPRadio 

Ebert thought blockchain’s ability to prove authenticity to any digital asset had special significance to life sciences. “You can infuse this irrefutable trust into your supply chain of digital data assets,” said Ebert. “In life sciences, digital assets actually mean life or death. They’re not just any old assets; they are very precious data that relates to your life, to my life.”

Find blockchain architects for life science

While Deloitte reported 35 percent of surveyed health and life sciences organizations plan to deploy blockchain by 2018, Eric Piscini, principal, financial services practices, injected some caveats. His inspiration was a Bill Gates quote that stated, “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years, and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”

“In the next two years we’ll talk about the blockchain, and 10 years from today we will not talk about blockchain anymore because blockchain will be embedded into everything that we do,” said Piscini.

The number-one challenge is finding people who understand both blockchain and life sciences.

“You need someone who understands what blockchain is capable of, the limitations, the challenges, and the opportunities from a technology point of view,” said Piscini. “You also need someone who can understand clinical trials, content management, and adverse effect management from a business point of view, and bring all of that together.”

Love all, trust a few

Joe Miles, global vice president of life sciences at SAP, turned to Shakespeare’s quote “Love all, but trust a few,” to describe how blockchain can deliver trust that helps patients and the medical industry.

“Blockchain is one of the many things that has a capability to really help simplify and automate trust,” he said. “To ensure that the appropriate people are seeing your information or your business information across all the different constituents that you deal with daily in a way that is productive and efficient.”

Miles thinks blockchain can streamline clinical trials, getting lifesaving products to market faster and more safely. “How do we reduce the time from compound to approval? How do we get this in the hands of the patients who need it to save lives all over? It’s expensive, it takes a lot of years,” he said. “Blockchain presents an opportunity to streamline that process to make it more transparent.”

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Rise Of The Digital Conglomerate In Asia

Koert Breebaart and Scott Russell

Asia’s conglomerates are at an inflection point. From South Korea’s chaebols and Japan’s keiretsu to India’s business houses and Southeast Asia’s family-owned multinationals, these large groups have exceptional track records of success. However, they now find themselves competing for customers, capital, and talent in a very different and globalised environment.

Despite most Asian conglomerates working hard to improve operational efficiency and the quality of their products and services, new challengers – including agile online retailers such as Alibaba and Amazon, and global digital-powered entities like Google and Tesla – are fast disrupting markets, with new ways of selling and making decisions. Conglomerates face a stark choice: disrupt or be disrupted.

At the same time, rapid technical and social innovation is highlighting the need for continuous innovation. As technology plays a bigger role in their day-to-day lives, consumers want to shop for products and services that are personalised, transparent, convenient, and available on demand. Customer expectations, in other words, have never been higher.

Global market trends are also inescapable. With prices for commodities such as oil and minerals fluctuating, many Asian conglomerates are under pressure to reimagine their business models to open new revenue and profit sources as old ones close.

Some conglomerates have already adapted, successfully deploying digital technology to engage in new ways with customers, streamline operations, and optimise business outcomes. However, many are still yet to transform their operations for the digital age. To maintain and grow their competitive edge, Asian conglomerates should consider transforming key aspects of the business value chain by:

  • Evolving customer engagement and commerce to drive growth
  • Enhancing workforce engagement across employees and contractors to drive profit
  • Enabling superior business and supplier collaboration to drive down spend across direct materials, indirect spend, and travel
  • Optimizing the extended supply chain by harnessing the Internet of Things (IoT) to better connect assets, products, and equipment – increasing cost savings and enhance the customer experience
  • Providing real-time intelligent insights by bringing together business transactions and insights to drive more informed decision-making

Download our white paper “Rise of the Digital Conglomerate In Asia” to learn more. If you are interested, we are happy to demonstrate how SAP is uniquely positioned to help you with a powerful end-to-end enterprise platform, capable of digitising every business process across 25 industries. 


Koert Breebaart

About Koert Breebaart

Koert Breebaart is the Digital Leader and Vice President for the Conglomerates Industry Business Unit at SAP (Asia-Pacific and Japan). He leads the industry through value management, customer co-innovation, digital transformation, and business process performance improvement programs by developing road maps, reimagining business models, and reducing costs with digital technologies. On top of his expertise, Koert is also a passionate writer who consistently pens his thoughts and experiences in articles. He is the author of the book “5 Steps to Customer Centricity,” and the Director of the short documentary “Social Entrepreneurs: New Heroes of the 21st Century.”

Scott Russell

About Scott Russell

Scott Russell is the President and Managing Director for SAP Southeast Asia (SEA). Russell is responsible for business strategy, operations, P&L, and sustainable growth for SAP across SEA. He leads high-performing teams across Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and other emerging markets in SEA. Russell has more than 20 years of experience in the IT industry spanning across software, cloud and services. Russell has helped hundreds of companies leverage leading enterprise software including cloud solutions and providing expert guidance to achieve their business goals. Before joining SAP, Russell was with IBM Global Business Services, where he led the Systems Integration and Application Maintenance business for IBM Australia New Zealand and the Managing Partner for IBM in Thailand and Vietnam previously to that. Russell is also a respected thought leader and a regular speaker at seminars and conferences, including the World Economic Forum on ASEAN and Bloomberg ASEAN Business Summit. He has been featured in numerous media, including CNBC, Bloomberg TV, Channel NewsAsia, Nikkei Asian Review, Business Insider, Business Times and many others. Russell is passionate about helping companies leverage technology innovation by converting business strategy into successful execution with cloud and software solutions.

Human Skills for the Digital Future

Dan Wellers and Kai Goerlich

Technology Evolves.
So Must We.

Technology replacing human effort is as old as the first stone axe, and so is the disruption it creates.
Thanks to deep learning and other advances in AI, machine learning is catching up to the human mind faster than expected.
How do we maintain our value in a world in which AI can perform many high-value tasks?

Uniquely Human Abilities

AI is excellent at automating routine knowledge work and generating new insights from existing data — but humans know what they don’t know.

We’re driven to explore, try new and risky things, and make a difference.
We deduce the existence of information we don’t yet know about.
We imagine radical new business models, products, and opportunities.
We have creativity, imagination, humor, ethics, persistence, and critical thinking.

There’s Nothing Soft About “Soft Skills”

To stay ahead of AI in an increasingly automated world, we need to start cultivating our most human abilities on a societal level. There’s nothing soft about these skills, and we can’t afford to leave them to chance.

We must revamp how and what we teach to nurture the critical skills of passion, curiosity, imagination, creativity, critical thinking, and persistence. In the era of AI, no one will be able to thrive without these abilities, and most people will need help acquiring and improving them.

Anything artificial intelligence does has to fit into a human-centered value system that takes our unique abilities into account. While we help AI get more powerful, we need to get better at being human.

Download the executive brief Human Skills for the Digital Future.

Read the full article The Human Factor in an AI Future.


About Dan Wellers

Dan Wellers is founder and leader of Digital Futures at SAP, a strategic insights and thought leadership discipline that explores how digital technologies drive exponential change in business and society.

Kai Goerlich

About Kai Goerlich

Kai Goerlich is the Chief Futurist at SAP Innovation Center network His specialties include Competitive Intelligence, Market Intelligence, Corporate Foresight, Trends, Futuring and ideation.

Share your thoughts with Kai on Twitter @KaiGoe.heif Futu


How Manufacturers Can Kick-Start The Internet Of Things In 2018

Tanja Rueckert

Part 1 of the “Manufacturing Value from IoT” series

IoT is one of the most dynamic and exciting markets I am involved with at SAP. The possibilities are endless, and that is perhaps where the challenges start. I’ll be sharing a series of blogs based on research into knowledge and use of IoT in manufacturing.

Most manufacturing leaders think that the IoT is the next big thing, alongside analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. They see these technologies dramatically impacting their businesses and business in general over the next five years. Researchers see big things ahead as well; they forecast that IoT products and investments will total hundreds of billions – or even trillions – of dollars in coming decades.

They’re all wrong.

The IoT is THE Big Thing right now – if you know where to look.

Nearly a third (31%) of production processes and equipment and non-production processes and equipment (30%) already incorporate smart device/embedded intelligence. Similar percentages of manufacturers have a company strategy implemented or in place to apply IoT technologies to their processes (34%) or to embed IoT technologies into products (32%).

opportunities to leverage IoTSource:Catch Up with IoT Leaders,” SAP, 2017.

The best process opportunities to leverage the IoT include document management (e.g. real-time updates of process information); shipping and warehousing (e.g. tracking incoming and outgoing goods); and assembly and packaging (e.g. production monitoring). More could be done, but figuring out where and how to implement the IoT is an obstacle for many leaders. Some 44 percent of companies have trouble identifying IoT opportunities and benefits for either internal processes or IoT-enabled products.

Why so much difficulty in figuring out where to use the IoT in processes?

  • No two industries use the IoT in the same way. An energy company might leverage asset-management data to reduce costs; an e-commerce manufacturer might focus on metrics for customer fulfillment; a fabricator’s use of IoT technologies may be driven by a need to meet exacting product variances.
  • Even in the same industry, individual firms will apply and profit from the IoT in unique ways. In some plants and processes, management is intent on getting the most out of fully depreciated equipment. Unfortunately, older equipment usually lacks state-of-the-art controls and sensors. The IoT may be in place somewhere within those facilities, but it’s unlikely to touch legacy processes until new machinery arrive. 

Where could your company leverage the IoT today? Think strategically, operationally, and financially to prioritize opportunities:

  • Can senior leadership and plant management use real-time process data to improve daily decision-making and operations planning? Do they have the skills and tools (e.g., business analytics) to leverage IoT data?
  • Which troublesome processes in the plant or front office erode profits? With real-time data pushed out by the IoT, which could be improved?
  • Of the processes that could be improved, which include equipment that can – in the near-term – accommodate embedded intelligence, and then communicate with plant and enterprise networks?

Answer those questions, and you’ve got an instant list of how and where to profit from the IoT – today.

Stay tuned for more information on how IoT is developing and to learn what it takes to be a manufacturing IoT innovator. In the meantime, download the report “Catch Up with IoT Leaders.”


Tanja Rueckert

About Tanja Rueckert

Tanja Rueckert is President of the Internet of Things and Digital Supply Chain Business Unit at SAP.