Beyond The Hype: Business Results With Augmented Reality, Wearables, And More

Brent Cohler

First, our computers shrunk into phones. Now, they’re morphing into wearables – smart watches and glasses, a projected US $12 billion market according to BI Intelligence. When coupled with wearable for augmented realityinnovations in augmented reality (AR), 3D visualization, location-based services, and the plethora of sensor data these devices collect, there are endless possibilities to enhance existing apps or create completely new use cases.

Here’s an interview I recently conducted with two of the panelists from SAP – Josh Waddell, VP of Mobile Solution Management and Damien Murphy, Senior Mobility Specialist. These guys eat, sleep, and breathe mobile – keeping on top of each iOS update and new device release. They collaborate with SAP customers on a daily basis, helping these leading organizations determine which of these technologies they should implement, and how to do so most effectively.

So, let’s jump right into it with a bit of an icebreaker. What’s your favorite app today – pick one that highlights some aspect of these mobile innovations?

[Damien] One recent innovation that has caught my eye is a Kickstarter project called “Structure Sensor”. It is essentially an Xbox Kinect shrunk down to fit on an iPad. What I like about this is that you can now convert real world objects into 3D virtual objects. So why is this cool? Well, now that the real world is virtual, you can have virtual objects interact with the real world like never before. Then, combine this with vrAse (AR headwear), and you have a fully immersive augmented reality system that interacts with the world around you. Watch this video to see a demo.

[Josh] There are so many. The new IKEA catalog app with AR is really interesting, especially when you start thinking about the impacts it could have in terms of the bottom line for IKEA. The app allows you ‘see’ their furniture in your house before you make a purchase. There are several others out there that have a similar use case – trying on a pair of virtual sunglasses for example, but the potential benefits of reduced returns, shipping costs, restocking, etc…for IKEA have to be more exciting than sunglasses. Another AR app I really like the LEGO app just because I love watching my daughters play with it. They are both Legomaniacs.

All of these underlying technologies are exciting and sexy. As a result, they get a ton of news coverage. However, why do some take so long to become main stream – or some never do at all? For example, we’ve been hearing about AR for years, but its use is still not prevalent. Has it’s time arrived? And if so, why now?

[Damien] The reason Augmented Reality (AR) has started to gain more attention in recent years is because the hardware is now powerful enough to track 2D & 3D objects and render video, images and 3D at suitable frame rates on mobile devices to enable AR applications. Where we are now is a turning point similar to when the first iPhone came out which had far more CPU & GPU power than previous mobile devices and also boasting JavaScript support, making it more like a desktop than ever before. That was 6 years ago and now the iPhone 5s is 40 times faster than the first iPhone.

What about wearables?

[Damien] Google Glass was announced in 2012. However, today the population of owners is still quite limited – only a small community of about 10,000 innovators or developers who were lucky enough to be hand selected by Google, and who also paid $1,500. Is this something that will become a mainstream consumer device in the near term? I realize there’s a bit of a “chicken and egg” scenario here as there won’t likely be mass consumer appeal until there is a robust marketplace of apps, while at the same time, most developers won’t want to invest their time and effort until they know the audience exists.

[Josh] Having Google develop a wearable is great for the entire industry. Just their presence alone is generating buzz – establishing the accelerating the market. To a lot of people I speak too outside of work, Google Glass has already become the Kleenex of wearables, despite other name brand companies like Epson, Brother, and Samsung investing in wearables. But, you are right. Getting your handing on pair of glass, or any other glasses is not easy today. Even if you can get your hands on a pair, wearables that people will actually wear are still waiting on technology.

I personally haven’t made my mind up on the “chicken and egg” scenario. Certainly in some areas like fitness consumers are leading the charge, but opposed to other recent trends, I believe the enterprise will lead a lot of the adoption of glasses in particular. A guy who looks like he just left Dragoncon staring at you in the coffee shop – Creepy! The FedEx driver dropping off a package at your house or the HVAC repairman, utility employee, etc. – if they were wearing smart glasses to provide you with better service – it wouldn’t be creepy.

You have the opportunity to work on a variety of mobile apps across different industries. Tell me about one of the exciting projects you’ve been tackling lately.

[Damien] This has to be SNAP, a consumer app for the retail or consumer products (CP) industry. Think about buying a new piece of furniture or a new grill – something that requires assembly – and then coming home and having to endure the painful assembly process using print directions with hundreds of steps and terrible illustrations. SNAP revolutionizes this experience with a 3D interactive, step-by-step guide that is beautifully, and accurately, displayed on a tablet or phone. Plus we’ve built in many other bells and whistles that enhance the consumer experience.

I’ve had the opportunity to play around with some of those apps you’ve referenced – they are in fact very slick, and incredibly realistic. But, what does it take to get the models into the system. Seems like this would be prohibitive, applying this to a manufacturer with hundreds or thousands of different products.

[Damien] I had been working on some 3D apps on iOS when I first joined SAP back in 2011, and I felt like it could take a team of developers years to get all the things I needed to do in 3D complete. So I started to reach out to other people in SAP to see if there was a team already working on such 3D frameworks that I could leverage for mobile. To my delight I was informed we had just acquired a 3D company called Right Hemisphere. I reached out to them and learned that they would be releasing a 3D framework (SAP Visual Enterprise Mobile SDK) for mobile which we could leverage in our apps.

As soon as it was released, I downloaded it and had the perfect app to add it to. Just 3 days later, my app had 3D animated scenes and instructions included. Something like this would have taken me far too long to develop on my own, but using this new SDK, I was able to achieve my goal in a trivial amount of time. This then allowed me to scale from a single embedded 3D scene to a cloud based repo of 3D scenes which could be downloaded to the app on the fly. These advancements enable enterprises to distribute 3D data over the air to mobile devices simply & securely.

It’s definitely an exciting time to be involved in this industry. With constant innovation come new opportunities to throw in this device functionality here or add this sensor data there. How do you prevent overload – adding too much to an app so that it actually makes the app slow and clunky or just flat-out too confusing for the end user?

[Josh] I believe the impact of AR and the usability of wearables will really become an entire topic on its own. Today we are working directly with our customers, and their end users, to design these next generation user interfaces. We have been hosting a series of design thinking innovation academies with customers and in all of the sessions it has become immediately clear that while we are making great progress, in some ways we are just beginning to scratch the surface. Because we have not seen the widespread adoption of wearables, a lot of constituents that we anticipate will have influence, such as labor unions and state and local governments, have not really begun to think about the impact of the technology. This is fine of course, it just adds a little extra pressure to make sure SAP and our customers get it right the first time and stay focused on maximizing the benefits of the technology. While many of the benefits of a hands free working environment seem clear, we have stay focused and make sure we don’t, for example, replace the safety benefit of working with both hands with the safety risk of distracted drivers.

If you’d like to hear more about this topic…

Be sure to join us on November 20, 2013, for the Webcast Beyond the Hype: How Augmented Reality, Wearables, and Other Mobile Innovations Are Driving Business Results Today.

During this hour, Damien and Josh will cover:

  • What’s real and what’s hype when it comes to some of the latest mobile innovations
  • How to hone in on use cases that will wow users and drive business results – today
  • Five steps you must take to incorporate these innovations into your mobile strategy
  • Plus they will leave plenty of time for live Q&A

This blog originally appeared on the SAP Community Network.


Brent Cohler

About Brent Cohler

Brent Cohler is the Senior Director of SAP Digital. He has led all facets of B2B and B2C marketing and have experience in a variety of industries. His specialties include customer acquisition via mobile, online (SEM, SEO, display, social media, email and affiliate) and offline (event, television, print, radio and outdoor) campaigns.

Why 3D Printed Food Just Transformed Your Supply Chain

Hans Thalbauer

Numerous sectors are experimenting with 3D printing, which has the potential to disrupt many markets. One that’s already making progress is the food industry.

The U.S. Army hopes to use 3D printers to customize food for each soldier. NASA is exploring 3D printing of food in space. The technology could eventually even end hunger around the world.

What does that have to do with your supply chain? Quite a bit — because 3D printing does more than just revolutionize the production process. It also requires a complete realignment of the supply chain.

And the way 3D printing transforms the supply chain holds lessons for how organizations must reinvent themselves in the new era of the extended supply chain.

Supply chain spaghetti junction

The extended supply chain replaces the old linear chain with not just a network, but a network of networks. The need for this network of networks is being driven by four key factors: individualized products, the sharing economy, resource scarcity, and customer-centricity.

To understand these forces, imagine you operate a large restaurant chain, and you’re struggling to differentiate yourself against tough competition. You’ve decided you can stand out by delivering customized entrees. In fact, you’re going to leverage 3D printing to offer personalized pasta.

With 3D printing technology, you can make one-off pasta dishes on the fly. You can give customers a choice of ingredients (gluten-free!), flavors (salted caramel!), and shapes (Leaning Towers of Pisa!). You can offer the personalized pasta in your restaurants, in supermarkets, and on your ecommerce website.

You may think this initiative simply requires you to transform production. But that’s just the beginning. You also need to re-architect research and development, demand signals, asset management, logistics, partner management, and more.

First, you need to develop the matrix of ingredients, flavors, and shapes you’ll offer. As part of that effort, you’ll have to consider health and safety regulations.

Then, you need to shift some of your manufacturing directly into your kitchens. That will also affect packaging requirements. Logistics will change as well, because instead of full truckloads, you’ll be delivering more frequently, with more variety, and in smaller quantities.

Next, you need to perfect demand signals to anticipate which pasta variations in which quantities will come through which channels. You need to manage supply signals source more kinds of raw materials in closer to real time.

Last, the source of your signals will change. Some will continue to come from point of sale. But others, such as supplies replenishment and asset maintenance, can come direct from your 3D printers.

Four key ingredients of the extended supply chain

As with our pasta scenario, the drivers of the extended supply chain require transformation across business models and business processes. First, growing demand for individualized products calls for the same shifts in R&D, asset management, logistics, and more that 3D printed pasta requires.

Second, as with the personalized entrees, the sharing economy integrates a network of partners, from suppliers to equipment makers to outsourced manufacturing, all electronically and transparently interconnected, in real time and all the time.

Third, resource scarcity involves pressures not just on raw materials but also on full-time and contingent labor, with the necessary skills and flexibility to support new business models and processes.

And finally, for personalized pasta sellers and for your own business, it all comes down to customer-centricity. To compete in today’s business environment and to meet current and future customer expectations, all your operations must increasingly revolve around rapidly comprehending and responding to customer demand.

Want to learn more? Check out my recent video on digitalizing the extended supply chain.


Hans Thalbauer

About Hans Thalbauer

Hans Thalbauer is the Senior Vice President, Extended Supply Chain, at SAP. He is responsible for the strategic direction and the Go-To-Market of solutions for Supply Chain, Logistics, Engineering/R&D, Manufacturing, Asset Management and Sustainability at SAP.

How to Design a Flexible, Connected Workspace 

John Hack, Sam Yen, and Elana Varon

SAP_Digital_Workplace_BRIEF_image2400x1600_2The process of designing a new product starts with a question: what problem is the product supposed to solve? To get the right answer, designers prototype more than one solution and refine their ideas based on feedback.

Similarly, the spaces where people work and the tools they use are shaped by the tasks they have to accomplish to execute the business strategy. But when the business strategy and employees’ jobs change, the traditional workspace, with fixed walls and furniture, isn’t so easy to adapt. Companies today, under pressure to innovate quickly and create digital business models, need to develop a more flexible work environment, one in which office employees have the ability to choose how they work.

SAP_Digital_Emotion_BRIEF_image175pxWithin an office building, flexibility may constitute a variety of public and private spaces, geared for collaboration or concentration, explains Amanda Schneider, a consultant and workplace trends blogger. Or, she adds, companies may opt for customizable spaces, with moveable furniture, walls, and lighting that can be adjusted to suit the person using an unassigned desk for the day.

Flexibility may also encompass the amount of physical space the company maintains. Business leaders want to be able to set up operations quickly in new markets or in places where they can attract top talent, without investing heavily in real estate, says Sande Golgart, senior vice president of corporate accounts with Regus.

Thinking about the workspace like a designer elevates decisions about the office environment to a strategic level, Golgart says. “Real estate is beginning to be an integral part of the strategy, whether that strategy is for collaborating and innovating, driving efficiencies, attracting talent, maintaining higher levels of productivity, or just giving people more amenities to create a better, cohesive workplace,” he says. “You will see companies start to distance themselves from their competition because they figured out the role that real estate needs to play within the business strategy.”

The SAP Center for Business Insight program supports the discovery and development of  new research-­based thinking to address the challenges of business and technology executives.


Sam Yen

About Sam Yen

Sam Yen is the Chief Design Officer for SAP and the Managing Director of SAP Labs Silicon Valley. He is focused on driving a renewed commitment to design and user experience at SAP. Under his leadership, SAP further strengthens its mission of listening to customers´ needs leading to tangible results, including SAP Fiori, SAP Screen Personas and SAP´s UX design services.


Why New Technology Has An Adoption Problem

Danielle Beurteaux

When 3D printing became a practical reality, in the sense that the actual printers became more efficient, less expensive, and more accessible to the average consumer, there was an assumption that the consumer 3D printing market was going to take off. We’d all have printers at home printing…. what? Our clothes? Toys? Spare organs?

That has yet to happen. 3D printing company MakerBot just went through its second employee layoff this year, driven by a market that’s developing much slower than predicted.

That same thinking is in play with a somewhat more prosaic technology – digital wallets. Apple Pay was released this year, as was Samsung Pay. There’s also Google’s Android Pay. During an earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said: “We are more confident than ever that 2015 will be the year of Apple Pay.” But that expectation has yet to be realized, at least vis-à-vis consumers.

Consumers aren’t using any of the digital wallets en masse. According to Bloomberg, payments made via mobile wallets – all of them – make up a mere 1% of retail purchases in the U.S. The reason is that consumers just don’t see a compelling reason to use them. There’s no real reward for them to change from SOP.

Both these instances highlight a problem with assumptions about mass adoption for new technology – just because it’s cool, interesting, and accessible doesn’t mean a market-worthy mass of people will use it.

Who is more likely to use mobile wallets? Emerging economies without a stable financial and banking systems. In those environments, digital payments present a more secure and quicker method for purchasing. These are the same areas where mobile adoption leapfrogged older technologies because there was a lack of telecommunications infrastructure, i.e. many never had a landline phone to begin with, and they went directly to mobile. The value-add already exists. (But there are also security issues, to which consumers are becoming more sensitive. A hack of Samsung’s U.S. subsidiary LoopPay network was uncovered five months post-hack. Although one was expert quoted as saying the hackers may not have been interested in selling consumer financial info but instead in tracking individuals.)

Here’s some interesting data and a good point made: mobile payments are most popular in situations where the buyer already has his or her phone in hand and the transaction is made even quicker than swiping plastic. For example, purchases made for London Transit rides are responsible for a good portion of the U.K.’s mobile payments.

Mass technology adoption is no longer driven simply by the release of a new product. There are too many products released constantly now, the market is too diverse, and the products often lack a true raison d’être.

Learn more about how creative and innovative companies are finding their customers. Read Compelling Shopping Moments: 4 Creative Ways Stores Connect With Their Customers.


Mobile Marketing Continues To Explode

Daniel Newman

If your brand isn’t among those planning a significant spend on mobile marketing in 2016, you need to stop treating it like a fad and step up to meet your competition. Usage statistics show that today people live and work while on the move, and the astronomical rise of mobile ad spending proves it.

According to eMarketer, ad spending experienced triple-digit growth in 2013 and 2014. While it’s slowed in 2015, don’t let that fool you: Mobile ad spending was $19.2 billion in 2013, and eMarketer’s forecast for next year is $101.37 billion—51 percent of the digital market.

  1. Marketers follow consumer behavior, and consumers rely on their mobile devices. The latest findings from show that two-third of Americans are now smartphone owners. Around the world, there are two billion smartphone users and, particularly in developing regions, eMarketer notes “many consumers are accessing the internet mobile-first and mobile-only.”
  2. The number of mobile users has already surpassed the number of desktop users, as has the number of hours people spend on mobile Internet use, and business practices are changing as a result. Even Google has taken notice; earlier this year the search giant rolled out what many referred to as “Mobilegeddon”—an algorithm update that prioritizes mobile-optimized sites.

The implications are crystal clear: To ignore mobile is to ignore your customers. If your customers can’t connect with you via mobile—whether through an ad, social, or an optimized web experience—they’ll move to a competitor they can connect with.

Consumers prefer mobile — and so should you

Some people think mobile marketing has made things harder for marketers. In some ways, it has: It’s easy to make missteps in a constantly changing landscape.

At the same time, however, modern brands can now reach customers at any time of the day, wherever they are, as more than 90 percent of users now have a mobile device within arm’s reach 24/7. This has changed marketing, allowing brands to build better and more personalized connections with their fans.

  • With that extra nudge from Google, beating your competition and showing up in search by having a website optimized for devices of any size is essential.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) helps people find you online; SEO integration for mobile is even more personalized, hyper local, and targeted to an individual searcher.
  • In-app advertisements put your brand in front of an engaged audience.
  • Push messages keep customers “in the know” about offers, discounts, opportunities for loyalty points, and so much more.

And don’t forget about the power of apps, whose usage takes up 85 percent of the total time consumers spend on their smartphones. Brands like Nike and Starbucks are excellent examples of how to leverage the power of being carried around in someone’s pocket.

Personal computers have never been able to offer such a targeted level of reach. We’ve come to a point where marketing without mobile isn’t really marketing at all.

Mobile marketing tools are on the upswing too

As more mobile-empowered consumers themselves from their desks to the street, the rapid rise of mobile shows no signs of slowing down. This is driving more investment into mobile marketing solutions and programs.

According to VentureBeat’s Mobile Success Landscape, mobile engagement—which includes mobile marketing automation—is second only to app analytics in terms of investment. Mobile marketing has become a universe unto itself, one that businesses are eager to measure more effectively.

Every day, mobile marketing is becoming ever more critical for businesses. Brands that fail to incorporate mobile into their ad, content, and social campaigns will be left wondering where their customers have gone.


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The post Mobile Marketing Continues to Explode appeared first on Millennial CEO.

photo credit: Samsung Galaxy S3 via photopin (license)

Daniel Newman

About Daniel Newman

Daniel Newman serves as the Co-Founder and CEO of EC3, a quickly growing hosted IT and Communication service provider. Prior to this role Daniel has held several prominent leadership roles including serving as CEO of United Visual. Parent company to United Visual Systems, United Visual Productions, and United GlobalComm; a family of companies focused on Visual Communications and Audio Visual Technologies. Daniel is also widely published and active in the Social Media Community. He is the Author of Amazon Best Selling Business Book "The Millennial CEO." Daniel also Co-Founded the Global online Community 12 Most and was recognized by the Huffington Post as one of the 100 Business and Leadership Accounts to Follow on Twitter. Newman is an Adjunct Professor of Management at North Central College. He attained his undergraduate degree in Marketing at Northern Illinois University and an Executive MBA from North Central College in Naperville, IL. Newman currently resides in Aurora, Illinois with his wife (Lisa) and his two daughters (Hailey 9, Avery 5). A Chicago native all of his life, Newman is an avid golfer, a fitness fan, and a classically trained pianist