Since November last year I’m a new member of the Community Experience Team at SAP based in Walldorf. With holiday season and Christmas in between I haven’t had the chance to meet who is the Community in person so I was really lucky to participate Walldorf’s first SAP Inside Track (SIT) last week, which also was my very first one. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out because I was curious to meet some SAP Mentors and Community members and to learn about Internet of Things (IoT) in practice. These are my three personal take-aways from the SIT event in Walldorf, how to develop IoT innovations in two days only:
1) IoT starts in your pocket
We all heard about it, sensors connecting products with machines and people. This is what the common understanding of the Internet of Things is. We all witness how Industry 4.0 is shaping the future of the manufacturing industry and devices interact seamlessly. Crazy ideas came up under the participants of SIT, like for example one team working on the idea if a drone could fly by heartbeat measurements. Insane! Another team showcased how you could control a drone with hand movements. I felt like being in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
But my team – 5 strong men and I – started with our daily device, our iPhone. Taking an iPhone 6S Plus for example, has ten sensors according to Google: pressure sensitive display, touch ID fingerprint scanner, NFC for Apple Pay, Barometer, Compass, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, 12MP Camera with OIS, ambient light sensor and a proximity sensor. With a passionate rowing coach in our team, we tried to measure back movements of rowing students by the help of an iPhone. By transmitting those measurements data from iPhone to the SAP HANA Cloud Platform and having a clear display with SAP Lumira (theoretical speaking, since we didn’t have time to finish) our rowing coach would have real-time data to underline his coaching advice. From beginning of our team’s brainstorm session to the developing part I was amazed how all this is possible with our phones. How a simple IoT idea could arise from our daily device.
2) You are not alone
Who doesn’t know the feeling of being under a majority of experts, especially in an IT-company? “What do I know better than them?”, “I’m not a developer, but I have basic IT skills”, “Does excel count?” So I have to admit that when we grouped up in teams I felt a bit lost between my 5 strong male team members, as I described them before. When we introduced ourselves I was indeed the only one coming from a total different department – marketing. So Malin Liden’s keynote was not only inspiring but I just experienced the situations she outlined and totally sympathized with her message. As the Vice President for Marketing Innovation at SAP, Malin outlined that when you realize that your expertise is a minority in a group of people, don’t be ashamed or hesitate. It is the diversity in a team with different skills, knowledge and experiences that drive innovative ideas. I was also lucky to have team members who embraced the differences which built perfect conditions for such project.
3) Why the Community is an innovation driver
From the moment I walked into the S3-room, I noticed that everyone was very open and also warmly integrating newbies. People were mingling around chatting. There were members who have seen each other in one of the previous SIT events before and happy to meet again, and members who just met and got to know each other. Inclusion, as Malin said, is a prerequisite for innovation. We, in the community, all have different backgrounds. We come from different organizations, departments, locations, experiences, cultures – so diversity is not only a skill. It is driving innovative ideas, because everyone is unique and contributes with its individual experience and expertise. The Community is a place where people learn from each other and exchange knowledge and opinions. It is a place where people support and receive support when needed, at least this is how I experienced it online and live at SIT. “There is always someone in the Community who is one or two steps ahead. Very helpful.” is a statement I received from a Community member. That’s why I found it is no wonder that so many great ideas have just come up in one day. Also to mention that a lot of participants took the day off just to be part of that special get-together. That’s why I see great potential in the Community to push forward innovations.
In summary I can tell that IoT is not as complex as it seems out there, as said earlier, it can start in your pocket. Whether you are working on a project or working on new ideas, you are not alone. There is always someone who knows the answer and can help you. In the right set of people, you can achieve big. I learned that the Community is a mix of nice and fun people, who can create great things in a short time. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to participate SIT and look forward to more Community activities online and live.
You can read more about the event in this blog or by following the tag “SAP Inside Track”.
(The Rowing Team from left to right: Lukasz, Frank, Karim, Dirk, Mynyna, Jakob)