What’s in a name, especially when considering all of the “things” that make up The Internet of Things (IoT)?
At SAPPHIRE NOW, Steve Lucas, president of Platform solutions at SAP, was on-hand to clear up terminology misconceptions around IoT and provide examples of how SAP helps customers in this burgeoning space. “I like saying Internet of Things even though others have asked me to call it the Networked Economy and Internet of Everything,” said Lucas. To provide context of just how far we’ve come as a connected society, Lucas asked the audience if they remembered the first “romantic” moment of using the internet such as the first time viewing CNN.com. “We’ve moved from this thing that we log into to something that’s just there,” said Lucas. “The internet is the air we breathe.” Lucas believes this internet of people, “where we do stuff and talk to each other” has propelled us into this new era where we might think about shopping for mundane items like thermostats. “Now if you buy one, it has to come with internet connectivity so an app on your phone can tell you how warm your house is,” said Lucas. “The Internet of Things is real, it is here, but you have to help us build it.” Lucas warns that IOE isn’t about the things, it’s about the apps connecting the things, a notion that John Chambers, CEO of Cisco first acknowledged. Apps become extremely important when you consider by 2020 there will 50 billion connected things generating 50 trillion GB of data. “Think about all the sensors managing all this data,” said Lucas. “There is a way for the sensors to decide and become smarter. It’s about making the network itself smarter.” Smart cities like Philadelphia are cleaning up in the IoT space. One of the city’s prominent trash collectors utilizes trash bins with sensors that determine if they are empty or full. Other cities use predictive policing so they can be in the hot spots of crime. Traffic control also benefits from IoT. “These infinite devices create infinite opportunities for you,” said Lucas. “Clearly IoT is a path to do that. But you need a proper platform to enable it.” Lucas helped unveil such a platform, an aircraft demo app, built on SAP HANA, that tracks a plane fleet in real time. Through the app, users receive plane maintenance and inventory alerts, how an engine repair might fit into other repairs taking place and the best way to allocate inventory. The demo made a convincing case of predicting demand and was a great example of how to build IoT into business processes effectively. “This is not just about getting data from disparate items, this is about going from edge to end,” said Lucas. This is about taking data from IoT and making it actionable into business apps. We have the products to make this happen edge to end.”
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