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With hundreds of pages emerging every day on the Internet of Things topic both inside and outside of SAP, I’m at a point where I now need to add a few more from COIL. I wonder what there will be more of by this time next year? The 1.3 zetabytes of information to be transmitted over the Internet from more than 25 Billion devices connected to the Internet or more articles, blogs and ads about the Internet of Things? 

It’s not so difficult to find a lot of super useful and informative content on the subject and yet few of us would argue that there are also far too many IoT articles out there that amount to little more than some rearrangement  of what has already been said before. At least those which focus upon facts and conjecture over what is the  IoT addressable market and how it is being fueled by more and more devices, etc.

Given where COIL is focused- IoT co-innovation with partners, I am more interested  to describe COIL project work surrounding  potential IoT solutions that actually hit the mark because they are largely underscored by compelling use cases validated by customers in various industries with pressing need and are capable of deployment  of such solutions as opposed to being left to scratch their heads over how they could take advantage of some lab originated prototype or proof of concept that looks cool, but is still missing some fundamental elements required to deem it commercially viable.

COIL orientation to the IoT topic in this way is not really new. COIL has for some time now, been enabling such project work under the equivalent topic heading of Industry 4.0. The “Open Integrated Factory” is a project executed in SAP Co-Innovation Lab (COIL EMEA) and was the main attraction at the SAP booth at the Hanover Fair in April 2014, the world’s largest industry fair. This Industry 4.0 showcase incorporates a real assembly line from SAP customer FESTO. Our COIL Future Factory located in Dresden has also been active for some time demonstrating  SAP innovation as it pertains to manufacturing integration. Earlier in 2014, our COIL lab in Palo Alto provided the backstop for development of an SAP Hana adapter for the OsiSoft PI server Energy management repository.

It was therefore a natural inclination for COIL to stay close to this topic through all of last year and it was the draft publication of an SAP Marketing MRD for the SAP IoT strategy (June, 2014) that lead to our efforts to devise an effective way to support that dimension of strategy meant to enable the rise of a robust ecosystem of IoT solutions that SAP and partners could bring to market. Some modest changes to strategy and a bit of shifting among leadership roles and responsibilities not withstanding, this has led to formation of the SAP Co-innovation Lab Kickstarter Program for IoT.

The approach for getting this program off the ground meant to first play to our strengths such as developing strong and relevant collaboration with other teams that could help to both accelerate IoT solution development and at the same time, bring a high degree of SAP value to help partners succeed in connecting their IoT applications to SAP IoT technologies and platforms. With so many different teams across the organization also focused upon IoT, it has been a positive experience to connect with others and to identify common goals and discovering how to take advantage of pooled talent and resources. Our COIL team is now collaborating with different colleagues across P&I, GPO, custom development, HCP, various IBUs, PSG, and the SAP field. This will be a program where we will not only work to provide rich IoT landscapes to support this co-innovation project work with partners but where we will bring additional value by applying SAP Design Thinking Principles as a way to test problem statements and assertions and to drive overall refinement of these co-innovated solutions. The end goal will be to produce solutions that can flow directly into go to market in the form of OEM, RDS, custom development engagements or even to further augment what SAP delivers from the Cloud.

As a way to begin piloting our COIL Kickstarter program and to help ensure we stay on target to produce results that ultimately leads to delivering customers with a must have experience, we connected with our industry business leads from Oil & Gas, Mining and Insurance where we found fertile opportunity, high interest, strong need and an abundance of data and analysis as it relates to meeting and exceeding customer requirements.  In the weeks ahead we will certainly publish more information about each of our pilot projects and the COIL Kickstarter program via SCN, our Kickstarter JAM site as well as upcoming marketing events but the primary intent of this blog post is to give everyone a brief glimpse into where our first 3 pilot projects for the program will focus.

Pilot 1: Predictive Analytics and Operational Integrity; OIL & Gas

Predictive Analytics from SAP provide asset performance insight; to improve operations real-time decisions at the point of work execution. The solution utilizes performance indicators and machine learning to gather and analyze “big data” from networked sensor signals which monitor asset performance through the Internet and adjust operations and maintenance activities if variations are found. The result is dramatically improved equipment up-time, asset productivity, greater reliability and improved process safety, with a significant reduction in maintenance costs.

To be clear there is indeed an available sales play available today for SAP Predictive Maintenance and Service, cloud edition, an offering which helps maintenance and service engineers to remotely monitor equipment in order to predict failures and improve product quality.  There is however, no industry-specific O&G Predictive Analytics software solution right now.  The scope of the COIL project will therefore include working with two partners both using Asset Management global standard ISO 15926 to build their solutions. Our intent in the project to see both get fitted to SAP HANA to analyze disparate data sets to improve O&G asset operations. The target end user will be our O&G customers in Operations who are actively seeking to reduce maintenance costs, obtain higher degrees of accuracy in identifying assets that need to be fixed, reduced downtime, asset refurbishment vs. complete tear out and replace, and improved operating integrity and reliability for assets. The following solutions will comprise our offering as formed up with key partners in COIL:

1.) What base analytics are used today? What KPIs are used?  If customers don’t have KPIs they track, they can implement a solution, from one of the two partners we will engage with in this project which includes over 400+ KPIs based on ISO 15926, 26 pre-defined, job-specific dashboards focused on Operations personnel (maintenance workers, etc.)    This solution as of today already supports SAP BI, BW and HANA implementations.

2.) Machine to Machine Learning- the 2nd partner participating possesses a predictive analytics solution complementary to the complete solution by adding its functionality to this offering, we will seek to further entice customers to work with us, leveraging their auto-notification capabilities (sent to SAP PM for notification that something needs to get fixed), as well as leverage its neural ‘learning’ network into our story to monitor machine performance through identified performance signatures

Through this complete, co-innovated solution, the intent is to incent  customers to fully adopt an SAP Analytics ‘platform solution’ (based on SAP HANA) and work with us to integrate disparate data sources to perform the analysis on processes, machines and KPIs that they need to  improve overall operating efficiency.

What I also love about this project is the opportunity for it to spawn follow on projects (some already envisioned and in parallel discussions). One very plausible idea is to leverage the OsiISoft adapter for SAP HANA.(built at COIL) This 2nd firm we are working with has additionally built a historical data aggregation capability that is integrated with its M2M neural network supporting assets.  Once this partner completes its integration to SAP HANA, the adapter can be used to load OsiSoft historical data info into its solution for analysis and to offer asset signature development and performance operating range and use this input to monitor asset conditions for operations.

Pilot 2: Predictive Analytics and Safety, Mining Operations

Our second project in development also finds us working with two partners. The first offers a software platform to help organizations to bridge the gap between their IT systems and their mobile workforce. It is a real-time notification and alerting system that utilizes sensor data from mobile and wearable devices such as GPS, activity data, and heart rate to drive improved situational awareness for workers.

Improved situational awareness on industrial sites helps workers stay safe, make better decisions, and allows enterprises to manage their operations as safe and efficiently as possible. The second partner has already recently worked with SAP to create Fiori-based solutions on SAP HANA and has significant experience with developing solutions for the mining industry. The proposed use case is now being finalized and has been further validated by our IBU with some of our leading mining customers which surrounds the very real worker safety concerns related to what is known in the industry as “rock-bursting”.

Micro-seismic monitoring is a basic industrial tool used for daily safety monitoring at rock-burst-prone mines. Rock masses react to mining excavation by tiny readjustments that produce micro-quakes. Recording these micro-quakes and locating them in 3 dimensional spaces provides a means to monitor rock mass stability in real time, as much in underground mines as in surface operations. The partners will work together to get the situational awareness platform running over SAP HANA to take advantage of real time prediction related to the ingestion and analysis of micro-seismic sensor data  that can be validated and pushed out as a visual alert via ruggedized wearables for mining personnel. The project proposal is still being finalized and may additionally engage one or more of the firms specializing in sensors that do this type of monitoring including satellite based laser sensors that can provide additional data regarding mine integrity.

Pilot 3: Usage-based Insurance using Driver Behavior Data

This third project is as compelling as the other two but still in the early stages of project development. Some of this likely stems from the reality that insurance actuaries are acutely focused upon obtaining assurances that investment in the technologies underscoring usage-based Insurance (UBI) delivers and expected ROI. Driving Behavior Data (DBD) has the potential to bridge the gap between pre and post-accident factors used by actuaries today but innovations such as insurance credit scoring can still appear more appealing than the investment to obtain vehicle telematics capturing DBD.  The project is nonetheless still gaining momentum as our IBU reaches out to both customers and partners where there is emerging validation surrounding the need to evolve a solution that does in fact possess the right ROI arguments for telematics and DBD. Ultimately, this project will seek to craft a solution that can allow SAP insurance customers to build out Telematics Services for its customers creating an opportunity to both competitively offer discounts as well as to create new reoccurring revenues.

Kickstarting the COIL Kickstarter Program

Our team of COIL collaborators is off to a fast start at the top of 2015 with just these first 3 pilots and we are already seeing a pipeline of new IoT project proposals now forming up too. (That’s my reward perhaps for spending quality time at FKOM 2015 San Diego!)  We’ve recently created an internal facing JAM site to try and keep us all informed and to allow us to rapidly share information and to keep everyone fully connected. It’s our hope to open this burgeoning community to many more via our JAM site as each of the projects mature. If any or all of these projects sound like something you would like to learn where you might contribute and become more involved, please drop us note here in COIL Palo Alto.   If for some reason IoT is not your thing, well stay tuned to this blog space as we have some SAP HANA geospatial project work in the queue that is equally cool.

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