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Author's profile photo Oliver Betz

Where the hell are my keys? 21st century lost and found in in the cloud

“Darling – any idea where my keys are?” 01_KEYS.jpg

Running late already for our weekly dancing class. “Honey, have you seen my keys recently?“  Yes, indeed – classical ballroom dancing: Rumba, Cha-cha, Jive, Waltz, … You know what ? Geeks can dance …. “Yes, I am sure I had them with me – how should I otherwise have opened the door?” … The ballroom dancing calls had been a Christmas gift from my wife. Yes, I know exactly what your thoughts are … “I’ll check if my keys are in my bag which I had at work” … Well, you know, at the age of 45 you have to do some kind of sports to keep in good shape. “No, not in the bag” Yes, dancing is sports – you don’t believe me?  No – I don’t meant watching dancing with stars on TV sitting on the couch – I mean really doing it yourself. Try out yourself. But be careful who you pick as partner. You better don’t risk 15 joyful years of being married to your beloved one.  “No, I definitely did not leave them in the car. No, really not. OK, honey – I’ll double-check”. But you know what? After a long day at a software company having successfully managed 6 conference calls starting in the morning with my Australian mates and ending the day with my colleagues in Palo Alto, having created 3 power-point presentations on the value of HANA, published one SCN blog and posted 10 tweets dancing is feels like relaxing your brain … “I found them – you would not believe it – the keys had been still in the car“.

Wouldn’t it be good if …

Obviously this is a 100% fake story which could have never happened like this in real life – but wouldn’t it be great if there is an app you can just ask where the keys are? The app would just tell you where to find them and how to get there. Not that I expect that app to be as good as my wife. Any you know what? This app exists, it comes with a beautiful, simple User Interface based on SAP UI5, is powered by SAP HANA and – our team won SAP Demo Jam in Las Vegas showcasing this app – check out how Santosh Kumar and  Simranjeet Kaur from our SAP Custom Development APJ team rocked the house at SAP TechEd && d-code. Isn’t that a great app and an even better demo performance? OK – I know we are on SCN so everyone reading this blog is a techie and hates these marketing blogs published by all these SAP guys on SCN. So let’s get serious.


Why did the team come up with this use case?

We are all loosing things on a daily base. Thousands of smartphones get lost in cabs per day – zillions of socks get lost – and still it is a secret why always the left sock gets lost (the answer to this question is not 42 by the way). Yes, smartphones have a built-in functionality to track and find the device once lost – but what about the other pieces which are not GSM enabled but still are valuable for us? How do I find my handbag, my wallet, my watch (yep – I lost already  a watch in an SAP office …), my laptop, … Why not having a way to define which items are important for me so that we track and trace them wherever they are, anywhere on the planet. Science-Fiction? No – this can be done already today. The technology is available. This is how “SPOT ON” was born – an application to find and track any items valuable to us.

How to bring this to life?

Ok, the application needs to be simple, easy to use and accessible from anywhere on any device. So let’s build a cloud based application coming with a SAP UI5 frontend, running on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform. At the core of the solution is a tracking device providing the geo-location of the item it is tagged to.

Here are the technical specs for the tracking device:

  • GSM – Simcom 900a
  • Microcontroller – Atmega 324
  • GPS Module – gotop1513 sf
  • Voltage Regulator – IC 2576adj
  • Battery Charging Management – IC Max 1555


As youcan see this is yet a prototype but radically reduced the size of this prototype should not be a big thing.

SPOT ON is build with SAPUI5 and SAP HANA XS. The data is exposed using the SAP HANA OData Interface. The application also runs a XSJS service which is responsible for retrieving the latitude & longitude data of the device from an external server.

Tour the app

Let us have a look what the application can do: After logging in you we are re-directed to a dashboard with 4 tiles:

APP Screen 1.jpg

A click on the “Manage Item” tile opens a screen which provides an overview on all items which have been registered: With one shot you can see when the device was registered and the location where the device was detected the last time. You can easily register new items by adding the name and the unique device ID which is used the map the database entry with the physical device.

APP Screen 2.jpg

Next we click on the “Search” tile. Here we can either manually select the item which we want to retrieve or we can use the built-in voice recognition capabilities by e.g. saying “SPOT ON find Pickup Truck”. Having recognized the task and the requested item, the app highlights the position of the app in Google maps and displays the optimum route to get there.

APP Screen 3.jpg

OK – Walking from Jaipur to Gurgaon might be not the best idea – let’s take a car next time.

But that’s not the end of the story. The team had bee also been able to add predictive analytics capabilities. Based on statistics on which category of items has been lost in which locations we are able to do a prediction where an item most likely will got lost.

The future of SPOT ON

There are multiple, possible use cases for SPOT ON. One can use such a solution to trackany kind of shipment in the world any time it is in reach of a GSM connection. In today’s world items are typically tracked by scanning a barcode tagged to the item. This allows us to know when an item leaves a hub or reached a hub but we don’t know where it is in between. As more and more planes are equipped with GSM responding infrastructure – we might be even able to see when an item is in the air. Finally one can evaluate tracking and shipment data to improve efficiency of shipping and utilization of transportation routes – but also early detect critical zones where items are getting lost or stolen more often.

A big congratulation to the team behind SPOT pot – you rock and we are proud of you !

Demo jam Team.jpg


See als my previous cloud blogs:

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