Canada’s best kept secret?
It’s been six months since I made the journey north of the border to become SAP Canada’s new President, and already I’ve been blown away by the innovation on display by the SAP Labs here. Spread across Toronto, Waterloo, Montreal and Vancouver, they are pushing technology forward in profound and globally significant ways.
This puts SAP Canada as a whole in a unique position, because it creates opportunities for collaboration between the field and Labs. You only have to look as far as the work we did with Cirque du Soleil on its latest show TORUK to see the benefits that brings. Having Labs close by to produce Canada-made demos is good for business, and it’s great for customers who are constantly presented with new technological possibilities they didn’t know existed.
Augmented reality in Montreal
Upon visiting SAP’s development Lab in Montreal, I was amazed by the augmented reality technology being developed right there in the city. This is the kind of technology you typically associate with innovation hubs in California, Japan or Germany.
The followinig video shows how SAP in Montreal worked with the smart eyewear company Vuzix to create hands-free augmented reality glasses. It’s amazing to consider the potential this has in improving efficiency in factories by providing real-time access to workers right in front of their eyes.
Big data analytics and the digital boardroom in Vancouver
SAP’s Lab in Vancouver is doing big things with big data and analytics. I was especially impressed upon hearing that a small team of their software developers had been invited by the US government to present on how big data can support the president’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Presenting to an audience of policy makers, economic advisors, UN officers, and open data enthusiasts from some of the world’s largest tech companies, they showed how data analysis is made easier through visualizations, opening up new opportunities to find meaning in vast arrays of numbers. Being so closely linked to saving and improving lives, it’s a great example of the potential of accessible big data.
At SAP Labs Vancouver, one of the Digital Boardrooms is currently being admired in exclusive locations around the globe. Putting to use three 70 inch touchscreen monitors for executives to pull up visualizations of performance data as the focus of their meetings, it’s designed to help them cover much more ground in shorter meetings. It’s a great to see it in action.
The Digital Boardroom in action can be viewed here: SAP Digital Boardroom Brings you to a New Level – YouTube
Gadgets of the future and self-driving cars in Ontario
SAP’s Lab in Waterloo, Ontario has taken futuristic gadgets to a whole new level. Their ‘d-shop’ is full of cutting-edge electronics for developers to play around with. Arduino microcomputers, Beagle Bones, 3D printers, SparkFun Inventor’s Kits for Redbot (a small programmable drone) and more. There’s nothing like inspiration for innovation. SAP customers are invited to check out the d-shop themselves. Feel free to get in touch about that and I will pass on your request for a tour.
Ontario’s plan to allow self-driving cars on the road puts the province alongside California and Nevada when it comes to innovation in the automobile industry. In Waterloo, I saw how SAP is working with the telematics company Intelligent Mechatronic Systems to make self-driving cars safer, smarter and greener.
Showing off Canadian innovation in the US and beyond
Canada’s largest energy company, Suncor, revealed its use of Internet of Things technology at an executive summit in New York. The SAP customer uses 1.4 tons of ore to produce one barrel of oil, so operations and cost control weigh heavily on productivity and profitability. They say the digital transformation opportunity presented by IoT, more specifically sensor technology, is allowing them to get much more value from assets – both equipment and people. With help from SAP and other innovative vendors, Suncor’s speaker proudly spoke of the company’s goal to become an ‘operator of the future’.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what SAP Labs across Canada are achieving. I can’t wait to see what comes next.