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Author's profile photo Irfan Khan

Improving our environment one DNA sample at a time

At the end of October we announced the general availability of five new Big Data-enabled applications. You can read more about them in our Big Data press release. Essentially, each application handles a different aspect of an organization’s relationship with their customers.

Four of the applications are part of the Customer Engagement Intelligence family of solutions, each managing different aspects of the customer relationship through the sales and marketing process. The fifth application, Fraud Management, deals with customer relationships that are, shall we say, more acrimonious! Nonetheless, combine these five applications with Demand Signal Management and Sentiment Intelligence and you have a whole suite of solutions that leverage Big Data to transform the customer relationship.

Of course, Big Data can do more than improve customer relationships. SAP recently announced collaboration with the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) initiative to help understand our relationship with our planet.

The International Barcode of Life initiative is a consortium of institutions across 25 different nations, collecting and analyzing organism from all regions of the world. Their mission is to create a library of DNA sequences and habitat information for every multi-cellular species on the planet, facilitating their rapid identification.  This is an ambitious project when you consider there are an estimated 10 to 100 million different species. But the benefits to society are huge. Information about species is used in everything from managing water and food quality, protecting our ecosystems and agricultural land, to human disease control, monitoring transmission of viruses, and more.

But it is an urgent project at the same time. Research estimates that one third of all species will be extinct by 2100. If you assume there 100 million species in the world and that they will go extinct at a uniform rate over the next 86 years, it means a staggering 1,000 species are lost to us every single day. Yes, you read that correctly: 1,000 species going extinct, daily!

SAP and the International Barcode of Life project are collaborating to help build an application to crowd source the collection and analysis of all of this information. The goal is an application that anyone can use on a mobile device to collect a species sample, send it off for testing, and get the results back … and to do this from anywhere on the globe.

Barcode of Life - Splash screen.png Barcode of Life - Home screen.png
Splash screen Main menu
Barcode of Life - Sampling process.png Barcode of Life - My samples.png
DNA collection process List of samples collected by user
Barcode of Life - Sample information.png Barcode of Life - Sample image and barcode.png
Detailed information about a species identified by a specific DNA sample Images and DNA barcode for a species identified by a specific DNA sample
Barcode of Life - Groups.png Barcode of Life - samples map.png
Home page for a specific group crowd sourcing the collection of samples in a region Map of DNA samples collected by a group

The screenshots above give you an idea of just how easy we are hoping to make this – and to be able to use by anyone, even those in regions where desktop computers are unavailable but where mobile devices often are ubiquitous.

This application designed to crowd-source the collection of a massive data set, provides a rich source of information about our world – one that we want to analyze. The second part of this co-innovation project involves mining all of this data using SAP HANA and SAP’s analytic tools. Through this we will gain insights into the genetic variation of species, their evolution, and their migrations resulting from climate change.

Whether it’s with our customers, the human species, or any other kind of species, there is no doubt that Big Data gives us the opportunity to understand all of our relationships.

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