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Written by Krishna Kumar, CEO and Founder of AppOrchid and Michelle Hickey, Value Engineering, Startup Focus

AppOrchid joined SAP Startup Focus in August 2014. By March 2015, Dan Goldenblatt, Director of Business Development, EMEA, AppOrchid was standing alongside Quentin Clark, CTO, SAP, at his inaugural keynote discussing the AppOrchid solution that leverages SAP HANA to build multi-device cognitive apps quickly across structured and textual data sources spanning the Internet of Things (IOT) to address risk and increase productivity.

Link: Keynote – Quentin Clark, CTO, SAP

Krishna Kumar, CEO & Founder, AppOrchid shares a personal story about his life as an entrepreneur, and his dream and vision to leverage technology to convert the universe of perpetual connectivity for the betterment of our existence today, and for generations to come.

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A digital revolution at the speed of thought.

It’s been two years since I founded my third start-up. Collectively, it’s been a 16-year journey that’s been replete with successes, failures, trials and tribulations. As I look back I become keenly aware that I’ve never seen so much happen in so many areas, in so little time, and it’s all due to data.

Every minutia of human thought can now find a conduit on a Twitter stream for the world to see and opine. Facebook and Google are now pioneering technologies that motivate the public to trade their private data for social visibility while creating ‘for-profit intelligence’ enterprises. The Ubers’ and Squares’ of the world are questioning the very foundation of industries that have been unshakable for decades. Personal assistants and smart phones are now quintessential extensions of our social and professional existences. Cloud vendors, device and chip manufacturers and network providers are harvesting machines of incredible bandwidth and processing power while making them smaller and increasingly energy efficient. Media streaming companies like Netflix are now generating blockbuster ‘entertainment-ware’ while using predictive algorithms to engage users to participate in behavioral feedback and mutable content authorship.

What you see is a common thread of unstructured data combining with ‘Internet of Things’ powered devices that are generating an information Tsunami of unprecedented volume, variety and velocity. Every microscopic detail of our mortal existence can now be tracked, monitored, tailored and analyzed for anomalies, improvements and transgressions.

What if we could convert the universe of perpetual connectivity for the betterment of our existence today, and for generations to come? What if we could track a field engineer’s observations in an email of an asset failure into an SAP service ticket? What if we could take brain pulses and scan for genotypic similarities across a genome database and discover genetic mutations that could be causing Alzheimer’s? What if we could use public CAMs to detect a traffic accident and send to every hospital in the neighborhood and auto-align smart buildings to keep elevators and emergency rooms ready, replenish emergency medications and alert the right doctors at the right time?

That thinking, that curiosity, gave birth to AppOrchid – an idea to convert the power of unlimited bandwidth, parallelized computer power, elastic cloud and connected devices into basket of opportunities that can save our planet from energy crises, look for cures to insidious diseases and empower our lifestyles in ways that could only be fathomed in science fiction at the best of times.

So, I have an Idea, now where are the tools?

I arrived at an established idea to address a collective need, with the technology to help me realize my vision.  Thus I began, in earnest, with my quest and literally a to-do list:

  • A high speed database
  • Natural language processing capabilities
  • Multi-dimensional query
  • Predictive libraries and machine learning capabilities.
  • A powerful UX to bring them all together, including mobile devices.

The entrepreneur’s nightmare scenario is always that napkin that is never long enough. So there I go with my laundry list and a Google search app on my iPad that comes back to me with 20 open source github options, 15 different vendor configurations, a dozen or so open source license agreements that would have given me the tizzy even without the grande extra shot latte that I pump into my system every morning at 5:30am.

It became clear that what I needed was that “one throat to choke” – one system that gives it all without the fuss or a name recognition problem. I found it – SAP HANA with the new features, performance improvements and benchmarks that seemed to do the trick.

The journey begins.

My good friends Paul Kurchina and Puneet Suppal introduced me to Deepak Aher, who was the SAP Startup Focus Market Enablement Lead, Americas. Right off the bat the chemistry with Deepak was obvious.

Let me digress a little to say my prior experiences working as a startup with big companies have been anything but smooth sailing. For most startups, recognition and acceptance in the ecosystem is seldom a chapter of convenience. But this was different. I knew it immediately. How?

The investments SAP had made in making the ecosystem was evident. SAP Startup Focus was and is one of the best initiatives I have seen and dealt with and I believe in its future and viability in making SAP a great partner player for years to come. There I was, smack in the center of a sprawling facility that Startup Focus called their home. Deepak introduced me to an endless stream of super nice people. Between SAP Startup Focus and SAP HANA it was clear, that I found my match. I now had the potential to realize my dream. I now had “one throat to choke.”

The rubber meets the road.

Within days of our first meeting, I had the SAP HANA system on the Amazon cloud screaming results at the speed of thought. We also had Dharini Ramakrishnan, Lead Solution Architect, Americas, Startup Focus, SAP who was always less than a few minutes away from resolving any roadblocks and issues. As with any infrastructural engine, SAP HANA had some teething problems initially, but the honesty and the workarounds were refreshing. Within a couple of days, we were self-proclaimed SAP HANA hackers, ready to break out of our infancy into solving the real world problems that have been burning us for months.

So we start with our first problem.

Amidst heightened awareness of climate change and geopolitical disputes associated with the fossil fuel supply chain, there is a growing mandate to implement renewable solutions globally. Solar and wind production, however, are not predictable and can cause significant intermittencies leading to forecast issues and challenges in pricing and operational management. Add to that, there’s no systematic approach to capturing metrics; the system planning that ensues is inaccurate, rigid and capital intensive. Currently, the approach for portfolio planning is very elementary, with little understanding of the variables. As dependency on renewable climbs, the legacy tools utilized are unable to incorporate the empirical assessments of subject matter experts, simulated weather conditions, and variable macroeconomic and geopolitical attributes. The inability to perform system planning within a certain degree of accuracy leads to several millions of dollars in lost opportunity and reliability.

The AppOrchid solution.

The unique AppOrchid solution combines a gamified UX approach, powerful predictive analytics and a natural language-based interface that helps the portfolio planner perform what-if analysis of their system. Using the SAP HANA solution, what-if analysis can now be performed on the fly without latency issues.

For example, by simulating variable weather conditions using solar production models and predictive planning, it’s possible for managers to estimate the total generation by the electric grid ahead of time. Every five-minute iteration of solar production data across the grid leads to massive amounts of big data, which the system processes in real-time. That type of analysis can only be performed with a product like SAP HANA.

When weather conditions cause solar production to drop, the AppOrchid app draws on IoT sensor capability to execute response options to stabilize load, thereby avoiding stress to the grid. After several iterations of this process, machine learning self-calibrates and optimizes the decision response for future actions of the system.

Finally, cognitive reports provide the intelligence to the end user for all potential solar conditions and the associated systems’ response across multiple years. This helps the portfolio planner to plan capital projects, pricing programs and customer contracts with a predictability that was previously not possible.

SAP support and motivation.

The successful demonstration of SAP HANA for this very innovative use case spread like wild fire. IoT and artificial intelligence based apps on SAP HANA provided the promise and stimulation for enterprise prosperity in unprecedented ways. SAP Startup Focus helped promote our company internally and within three weeks of validation we had been introduced to over 10 prospects. The visibility and the success of this alliance were instantaneous. Most recently, we presented to a 2000+ audience alongside Quentin Clark, CTO, SAP. The appeal of the alliance with SAP and Startup Focus is inspiring and motivating to say and least. Within the short span of under 6 months, we have started several SAP HANA installations in pilot mode and steadily progressing into prime time rollouts.

I remain keenly aware that I’ve never seen so much happen in so many areas, in so little time, and it’s all due to data.

Krishna Kumar, CEO & Founder, AppOrchid

Krishna Kumar is an entrepreneur, innovator, visionary and architect with proven expertise in taking a concept to a market-leading industry recognized commercial product. Within a short period, he has commercialized the product, secured beachhead customers and made the company profitable with 300% quarter over quarter growth. Prior to AppOrchid, he was the Founder & CEO of Space Time Insight and later CTO, a company with over 44M in VC financing. Under his leadership, Space Time Insight created a market called ‘situational Intelligence’. He has extensive experience in building management teams, acquiring marquee customers and securing multiple multi-million dollar deals. He has also successfully envisioned and implemented product roadmaps. Additionally, Krishna has 2 patents on big data and has filed for 7 more in the field of cognitive computing and IoT. Prior to that he was the Vice President of Ness, a Nasdaq listed company spearheading their SAP practice.

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