IoT Cloud Solutions Provide Enterprises Affordable Access to High-Speed Data Networks: SAP Labs

In a conversation with Dataquest, Srikanth Gopalakrishnan, Vice President – IoT Digital Connected Assets, SAP Labs India, talks about IoT transformation, how enterprises take control of IoT and how SAP is managing the explosion of data from IoT. Excerpts:

Q. How is IoT transforming industries?

Organizations are no longer new to the concept of Internet of Things, it is now about how they can best apply it to drive real business value. According to a recent white paper from IHS, 75.4 bn devices will connected by 2025. This makes it apparent that every organization across industries will, if not already, be using this technology to increase their operational efficiency, derive business insights and to gain better visibility and control over their assets. Furthermore, IoT can bring change to each industry as it transforms business models and customer experiences, potentially creating new revenue streams. IoT has already made its presence felt in each industry, be it healthcare or manufacturing, IT or retail.

The important part of a connected ecosystem of machines is that we now have data that has the potential to transform business processes within organizations. Concepts like the “Lot size of one”, which changes mass manufacturing to something more specialized based on customized orders is already taking the industry by storm.

Q. How does an enterprise take control of IoT?

The explosion of data that enterprises receive through sensors can be overwhelming to many. Connecting thousands of devices introduces new challenges to enterprises working on traditional operating environments. Organizations need to scale and decode the complex data coming their way, the first step of taking control of this is to simplify the device management. Having a centralized IT infrastructure platform with automated configuration and management will provide enterprises focused data. Security is critical because the data we receive from sensors is directly linked to the physical machines and this can be misused. People have the tendency to hoard information but the key is to be smart about data. Not all data collected from machines has to be pushed to the cloud for processing. We are entering an age of edge intelligence. Most of the data is processed through edge servers for local processing and only the relevant information is passed to the cloud. This is critical to manage the cost of heaving data to the cloud. Hence, hybrid processing of data will become the norm.

Q. How is IoT cloud shaping up in the industry?

Organizations are increasingly leveraging cloud based IoT platforms by building and deploying applications on it. IoT cloud solutions provide enterprises affordable access to high-speed data networks which enables them to significantly extend the reach and usability of the IoT applications. These solutions are enabling enterprises to manage their assets in real-time, automate processes at the core and connect to any device or application at the edge of your network. Organizations across industries are looking at creating next-generation, machine-to-machine and IoT applications on the IoT cloud platform.

For example, the SAP HANA Cloud Platform for IoT allows integrating the cloud platform with analytical applications. Businesses can consolidate data from sensors and other business systems, access the information on almost every mobile device, and deliver data sets in a secure, protected way. All of this – with an open design for third-party developments and extensibility – is now available in the cloud so that they can get up and running quickly with the lowest possible up-front investment.

Q. How SAP is managing the explosion of data from IoT?

Enterprises are constantly looking for solutions to manage the explosion of data that comes their way and SAP Cloud Platform aims at achieving this for our customers. The process of managing data begins with enterprises applying the universality of the cloud through certified and secure data centers and the power of in-memory computing via SAP HANA for ingesting, managing, and analyzing Big Data from IoT solutions. SAP HANA’s advanced engines and business libraries such as predictive, planning, geospatial, graph, text search, text analytics enables faster analysis of Big Data. SAP leverages open standard based technologies with secure connectivity options to connect multiple IoT devices to a single IoT hub in the cloud. Additionally, enterprises can also store and forward the data synchronization via SAP SQL Anywhere and SAP MobiLink service. Data ingestion and pipeline management is being done with SAP Vora and Data Hub.

Q. Can you please throw some light on IoE (Internet of Everything)? How does it help the enterprises?

The Internet of Everything consists of the intelligent connections between things and devices, people, processes, and data. IoE systems make sensor data more meaningful and have a secure, usable infrastructure that lets actionable information be shared across the business ecosystem. In the era of IoT, communications happen over computers and machines, IoE makes networked connections more relevant and valuable, converting information into actions that create new capabilities.

The Internet of Everything has been a term that encapsulates the co-working of people, processes and machines. To give you an example, in the near future we will have fashion designers put up their designs on a cloud marketplace. Buyers will be able to choose a design and preferred garment, the system will then help in getting this 3D printed at the nearest 3D printer station. This is the true meaning of everything from people to process to physical products being connected in real time.

Q. Who all are your customers?

SAP has a wide range of customers spanning multiple domains like digital supply chain, manufacturing and asset management. We have customers from Oil and Gas, Utilities, FMCG, Healthcare, Discrete and Process manufacturing who are part of our strong digital transformation story. We work with the likes of Kaeser Kompressoren, Caterpillar, BASF to name a few.

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