We are clearly in a time of personal connectivity, with unprecedented amounts of information available via smartphones, Internet streaming, and devices like cars and fridges that can communicate insights in real time. These technologies enable virtual control, for instance giving us a remote view of what is left in the fridge for dinner or even enabling the fridge to place its own milk order before it expires.
When it comes to monitoring our daily activities, we are spoiled for choice. Entire industries and brands have sprung up overnight, and many are already trying to define the next wave of innovation or risk becoming redundant by competitors and newer devices.
While for decades businesses have had access to data from devices that, for example, monitor machines or equipment locations, the interpretation of that data to produce insights and actions has been largely human driven. In addition, the constraints of operating in data silos resulted in manual system interactions, interpretations, or compiling reports from various data sources that were already out of date by the time they were received. In addition, data analysis was highly restrictive, did not support scenario planning, and often required manual intervention to activate subsequent business processes.
Today things are very different, and many customers I have talked to in recent weeks see big opportunities in making smarter use of what they already have, rather than fundamentally transforming their manufacturing and logistics assets. Examples include:
- Ensuring vending machines are working and well stocked, especially with extreme weather events
- Increasing staff vehicle sharing in remote areas
- Gaining insights into the fresh food supply chain logistics network.
Nothing highlights making smarter use of what you already have than the Hamburg Port Authority. For the Hamburg Port Authority, the challenge was clear – how to double in capacity without expanding the port?
The keys to solving the Hamburg Port Authority’s capacity challenge are connecting stakeholders, devices, and sensors to automate processes, alerts, and generate actions. These connections enable them to detect pressures to the smooth flow of the port and determine how to relieve them before they can cause bottlenecks. This story reminds me of the pain of trying to get to the airport most mornings!
Getting the whole business involved
It’s always nice to hear how organizations are innovating with the aid of IoT and transforming their business with greater insights to deliver values across multiple streams. It seems nearly every organization is dedicating time and effort into thinking about the connected world, but what gets me really excited is when everyday employees get involved in the solutions’ design, deployment, and adoption. Employees understand the deep business process and can help identify the not-always-obvious opportunities that may be unique to your business. That’s why having their input is more likely to create solutions that succeed, deliver better value, and achieve your outcomes.
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.