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Our local team’s quest to simplify the world started earlier this year when a colleague, Merlin Yamssi from our SAP Dublin, CA office, challenged us to help a partner unlock the power of their data, migrate to SAP technology and save lives.  Who could resist a challenge like that? Enter the cranes!

Our partner, SK Solutions, has developed a world-leading anti-collision platform.  Our task was to help migrate the architecture to SAP technology while focusing on scalability, responsiveness and simplicity. Every second, thousands of sensor readings capture data such as 3D position, speed, weight and inertia, wind speed and direction. This sensor data is analyzed and displayed to a local embedded console for the crane operator.   While the system provides meaningful alerts and dashboards, the simplicity is that a real-time auto-pilot system is engaged when the risk of collision with other cranes, trucks and people exceeds safety limits.  Milliseconds count.

SAP technology resides on these consoles, both storing and processing the sensor information, as well as streaming the information to a central SAP HANA cloud-based console for remote monitoring and maintenance.   A dashboard, utilizing SAP’s Visual Enterprise, displays a live 3D representation of the construction site along with the real-time risk collision metrics. Extending beyond anti-collision, equipment sensor data that was primarily captured for preventing collisions is processed for additional metrics specific for asset management and maintenance.

The project was challenging, rewarding and provided some fun play time for the team.  Along with working with the SK Team and Cisco (who provides network infrastructure as part of the solution), we had a parallel task of building a demo so that we could showcase the technology and solution at upcoming shows, starting with Sapphire earlier in the year.  As we integrated the actual Crane Operator’s console with joystick controllers, along with our RasperryPi and custom-built circuit boards, visitors to our Toronto Lab were greeted by the whirring sounds of the crane’s motors and an Erector-Set-like model crane, sometimes in pieces but mostly assembled.


As the project evolved, we gained valuable insights into the Internet of Things. As more and more devices come online, sensor data is growing at a rapid rate and expected to outpace human traffic over the Internet. The challenge is to deal with the vast amounts of data, identify the necessary insights and make critical and timely decisions. 


Since Sapphire our demo has grown in size, most recently showcased in Steve Lucas’ keynote speech in TechEd with two live Spyder Cranes!


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Who says that simplifying the world can’t be fun?

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