Google Glass, Oculus Rift, 3D printing, BeagleBone, Arduino, robotics, iBeacons, Raspberry Pi and good coffee, welcome to the d-shop!
The d-shop (short for “The Developer’s Workshop”) is a global program that aims to bring hardware technologies closer to all SAP employees. With the Internet of Things (IoT) gaining momentum, the d-shop helps close the gap between what SAP developers know really well (software) and what we need to know better (hardware) to be leaders in the Internet of Things.
D-shops are physical spaces where anyone can touch and try hardware, attend lunchtime workshops to learn how to get started with the different technologies and connect with colleagues who share similar interests.
The technologies covered by d-shop include electronic prototyping platforms such as Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone or Arduino supported by a stock of standard electronics components to help colleagues design and build hardware that connects to SAP platforms.
D-Shop also provides access to augmented and virtual reality devices such as Google Glass, Oculus Rift, and Epson Moverio. This is a fast-moving field that attracts increasing interest from SAP customers. Choosing which technology to base a new development on is not easy – this is why experiencing those devices for oneself and talking with colleagues who are facing the same challenges is the best way to make an informed choice.
The 3D Printing revolution is upon us, as the promise of personalized, on-demand printing of objects in a variety of materials holds tremendous promises for everything from manufacturing to healthcare and retail. D-shop introduces colleagues to creating 3D models that they can later print on our 3D printers. Again, nothing beats the experience of going from an idea in the head to an object in the hand in a couple of hours!
SAP’s first d-shop opened last year in Palo Alto. Germany followed suit quickly after that with a d-shop at SAP headquarters in Walldorf. This year will see new d-shops open in a number of other SAP locations worldwide including China and India.
In Palo Alto, the big project that’s keeping everybody busy at the local d-shop is the smart campus project. The idea is to install different kind of sensors around buildings to enable employees to better use the facility such as, for example, small ambient lights that change color in meeting rooms to give a cue to people waiting outside the room whether it is available or not. No more “knock-knock, hey, we have the room until the next hour”!
D-shop accelerates adoption of Internet of Things technologies by lowering the barrier for getting started (“look, it’s cheaper and easier than you think, and you’ll have your first working prototype within two hours”) and connecting early adopters within SAP (“did you know there are seven other teams at SAP also developing prototypes based on this technology?”).
Running d-shop is a demanding job: one needs to serve the increasing internal demand for knowledge transfer and expert advice, while at the same time remaining at the forefront of technology adoption. But I know I speak for everyone in our team when I say we derive an immense amount of personal satisfaction from addressing both challenges on a daily basis.