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Author's profile photo David Cruickshank

Catching up with the SAP Co-Innvoation Lab Silicon Valley, Oct 2017

End of year is closing in and yet some of the project work has been so engaging that it also feels a lot like the year just got started. I’m finding myself at the lab on a Saturday to meet with a customer about co-innovation. That comes up a bit later this afternoon leaving me time to think about what I intend to share about what’s up on the COIL project front here in Palo Alto. It is a perfect prompt for me to write some of this out as a blog post.

We’ve been cultivating and nurturing big data and IoT co-innovation projects from COIL Silicon Valley since 2014. As part of it, we’ve nearly always engaged in some way with colleagues from some of our process industry business units like for Oil & Gas, Construction & Engineering and Mining exploring a variety of IoT use cases. In mining, our lab here at SAP Labs Silicon Valley originally looked at how IoT technology could improve safety and lower risk using real time situation awareness featuring the use of wearables.

COIL offered a hands on approach to discovering what could be done with IoT, predictive analytics, wearables, even VR/AR to help an industry achieve its zero harm goal. The project work from those early days demonstrated what was possible despite things that change in terms of ecosystem – based engagements, the work initially done in this lab yielded insight we find important and of value to people even now. I was so happy this year to have two students join us here in our lab for a couple of months, (Marius and Martin) who breathed new life into the original demonstrator we fabricated at COIL so we could continue to inform and share what we know. Ours is a physical model of a mine which is a super way to demonstrate some of the key concepts.


These guys did an amazing job forming up real mining customer requirements data into designing a prototype dashboard for the solution. My mine demo co-creator Stan, was able to backstop their work with his knowledge of Raspberry pi and the wiring harness he fabricated to run all LEDs, smoke generation and elevator operation. The students even wrote a mobile app we can use to manage the mine demo scenarios and automation. It’s pretty cool. They additionally worked with a local team to create a demo for Connected Parking but I’ll save the outcome for a future post. If you want to learn more about mining co-innovation awesomeness, be sure to look into the project work our COIL team in Johannesburg is doing with partners to merge a financial and operational model that improves performance and reduces risk.

What Else?

  • SAP O&G Gas IBU with SAP Digital Edge Processing and IoT Gateway with Dell/EMC and Intel


This project kicked off nearly a year ago but is now starting to pick up some momentum at the SAP Co-innovation Lab. The shift of Transaction and Remote Systems (TARs)  to SAP Dynamic Edge Processing (DEP) and on the partner side, events such as Dell acquiring EMC and vmware kept us all from complete focus and moving quickly, but this has perhaps been a good thing, A project aimed at forging a bundled IoT-based solution allowing  offshore oil rig operations to react to sensor data in real time and can take actions based on good data without relying upon a satellite uplink is while straightforward in terms of the enabling technology, is still very complex for operations within a large process intensive industry. The added time has allowed the project team to zero in on two use cases, an asset inspection scenario and a man down scenario- both integral to sound operational integrity.

COIL has provided the SAP Dynamic Edge Processing and SAP Hana landscape and has it supported with Dell RX930 servers and IoT gateways featuring Intel IoT security  .Data collected at the edge can be used to alert and trigger back end ERP transactions like a failed asset triggering a work order, requisitioning and delivering parts. Or this same sensor data can be used to predict potential workforce or environmental hazards.

The team is crafting a demonstration of the solution’s capabilities that it believes will aid serious discussion with customers seeking IoT based solutions. The demo will employ a unique demonstrator device comprised of industrial grade pumps, pipes, fittings, valves and a supply tank fitted with an array of sensors detecting fluidity, pressure, leakage, temp, motor vibration, etc., the device will continuously circulate water in as closed circuit where the flow of this water can be changed with two different valves as well as changes made to its variable speed motor.

We can trigger different sensor patterns using the valves to control water flow and to model measured degradation that can then be used to signify known signatures of anomaly behavior or perhaps signifying a new normal. The demonstrator in generating a variety of sensor data is channeled to the Dell IoT gateway as a single point of data aggregation at the edge that can be applied to on rig operations. The demo will also depict how the data is integrated into SAP back end systems. In the man down use case, sensors are worn by rig employees such as personal gas detectors and other bio metric and location status. We are little behind with the demonstrator fabrication but expect to have it running in the lab in early November.

There’s always more to share from the lab than what I can cover in a brief blog. I do however want to mention that the rudiments of some broader inter team collaboration surrounding the topic of VR/AR in industry are already beginning to emerge and take form as proposed project work in the lab. In this era of IoT and all things connected, we now frequently discover intersects between different COIL projects with regular occurrence.

We are in one project capturing data from the building using OSISoft data collection and use of its connector to get the (power, computing center racks, hvac, lights, schematics, etc.) data directly to SAP Hana. Our SAP pdms  and the SAP Asset Intelligence Network (AIN) development colleagues are interested to provide insights regarding all of this data to a VR/AR edge device and application.

We are just now pulling together all of the required data and fully provisioning the project landscape. Additional effort is being made developing the use case demos. Concurrently, we are interested to explore the future of Visual Enterprise publishing and authoring services from the cloud that can also be readily applied to VR/AR applications and complement data going into a headset from SAP pdms. There is also some possible intersects with our Hybris colleagues weaving AR applications into the a Digital Boardroom Live Airport demo: We had a blast using 3D printing to create some of the demo elements.

Yet another upcoming track and trace project will also collect campus wide data to become yet another source of use case demos featuring VR/AR. Throw in a few device partners and you have some core ingredients to produce project outcomes capable of illustrating a broad spectrum of technologies and capability fundamental to a digital company.

 I like it better than my keyboard and mouse.

What I appreciate experiencing most is the effort made by project requestors and their teams to not only show how art of the possible can become tangible, but that project teams make the effort to select use cases that reflect what a given industry is demonstrating a capacity to absorb as new capability and which can be executed to scale.

Stay tuned and I’ll do my best to share as things progress. If this has not met your daily dose of co-innovation lab news, you can find more from our coil locations all over the globe at,com .

For more insight into co-innovation exploration and using it as an approach to achieve transformation goals, do check out my series over at the Digitalist especially if you like reading about what it means to really obtain insight from business such as sourcing data and analysis from drone services. Next time around I need to remember to catch up with the SAP NS2 team and the work they are doing with Pure Storage. I was looking at their landscape in the computing center and have to ask, are you just storing data and moving packets around, or are you all going to space?

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