As I move into my new role from customer engagement to heading up SAP’s global IoT and Innovation business, people are saying “Wow! That’s a big change!” But here’s the interesting thing. The IoT and customer engagement are more closely linked than many people realize. And the reason is that the IoT is providing a closer connection than ever before between the products many of SAP’s customers manufacture and the people who use those products. Let me give you an example.
It is well known that modern automobiles have evolved into highly complex, computer controlled machines. A modern, high-end car typically contains about 100 million lines of code, much of it used to monitor and control its various mechanical systems. It is also estimated that in less than 5 years, 250 million cars will be connected to the internet. This means that increasingly, auto manufacturers will be able to monitor automobile performance in near real time, and apply analytics to sensor data in ways that allow them to anticipate mechanical problems before they become serious problems for the car owner. This capability has major implications for the auto industry. For instance, auto manufactures will be in a better position to detect faulty system components early, and adjust a manufacturing process or a supply chain operation so they can avoid a costly product recall in the future.
Turning cars into connected things will do a great deal more than just improve the manufacturing process. The same monitoring and analysis technology can be applied to how people operate their cars and how they use the car’s features, which can lead to design improvements that strengthen customer loyalty. Consumers, who are already widely “connected” through their smartphones and wearable technologies, are increasingly becoming wirelessly connected to their cars. This not only creates a new way for auto manufacturers to understand how consumers interact with their products, but it opens the door to entirely new product and service opportunities.
In the Our Digital Planet vision, SAP postulates that data-driven business frameworks are the future. In a hyper connected world, the collaborator is king and 21st century companies need to think outside the four walls of their offices and embrace digital transformation. The Internet of Things is already revolutionizing business, generating revenue and improving customer experiences. Read up on SAP and how IoT fits into the Digital Planet vision at this link.
Lots of numbers are flying around about how many billions of connected things there are in the world today, and how many billions more there will be in five years, and how many trillions of dollars of new business will come because of the IoT. These numbers are so big that it’s hard to grasp what they mean to a business or a manufacturer. But I did see one statistic recently that made me think how much is just over the horizon. One industry analyst estimated that with all the connected devices we have today, only 1 tenth of one percent of the things that could be connected actually are connected.
Keep an eye on this blog space, because I’ll have lots more to say about the IoT in coming months.