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Author's profile photo Thomas Neuhaus

Intelligent and autonomous things (IoT) (Trend No. 3)


The Introduction in the 6 Digital Tech Trends. Read the Blog Series Introduction

Intelligent autonomous things (AuT) will benefit from Artificial Intelligence (AI) and new network technologies.

Autonomous things can act in the form of a human-machine hybrid combination or completely alone as a machine. The combination of several intelligent and autonomous things in one process sequence or simultaneously – will increase in the future.

SAP IoT portfolio


For years, production lines in industry have been connected to each other, the control system monitors and controls production. This requires a great deal of data. What happens to it? The OEE or other key figures are calculated. For a few years now, the OEE data have been used for this purpose. But… if the AI component is added, the data is matched with algorithms autonomously. If we then add the things that are created in the plant and fill them with data and the AI as they are created, we integrate things in the plant to build things again or integrate things into new networks and processes. Then semi- or fully autonomous digital ecosystems emerge.

Things respond to actions, stages or messages from other things.

Desgin to operate


Autonomy also means processing data directly and quickly. Edge computing” plays an increasingly important role in this. This means that information, services and applications can once again be brought closer to people and devices and used. Intelligent devices can process and use data directly and autonomously.

Instead of sending all the information collected by cameras, scanners, handheld terminals or sensors to the cloud for processing, edge devices perform some or all of the processing themselves, to the source where the data is collected.

SAP Leonardo IoT Edge Servies


Edge services provide powerful micro-services on the edge. Featuring robust offline capabilities that help you gain domain-specific insight, monitor real-time events and actions, and execute business processes locally, even when connectivity is disrupted.

The appropriate hardware must be provided to meet Edge Gateway requirements. Today, there are several vendors with different hardware and service deployment options.

These are now integrated into the following stand-alone environments:

·     Stand-alone industrial robots

·     The autonomous drones

·     Means of transport without a driver

·     Lidar and radar technology

·     Various household items

·     Connection of autonomous things

It is important to define a complete and precise architecture with intelligent and autonomous things, their hardware (sensors, edge hardware), applications, platforms, resources, networks, energy, and communication. To this architecture we can add the technological trends of the previous blogs, networks, and communication (WLAN, LAN, 5G), Experience Environment for the interaction of intelligent and autonomous things or their platforms, Hyperautomation for data acquisition and process automation.

Think about what you can use, where and how! Different technologies help for different challenges, but not all are suitable for all challenges.

IoT Landscape


Take the SAP products as an example:

SAP Leonardo IoT


In other industries, apart from the manufacturing industry mentioned above, the intelligent and autonomous things now built can be used in new digital ecosystems such as:

Applications like Smart Supply Chain, Smart Production, Smart Home, Smart City and many other smart little things are being implemented now more and more.

SAP industries portfolio

But what if I now connect Smart Supply Chain, Smart Logistics and with Smart City with each other autonomously?

This will happen gradually, and we will barely notice it.

While this may sound like science fiction, it is already reality today. The question is simply, how much do we allow? Where are the limits? Where is there a benefit for companies and for us? What is allowed? The basis for this is data, which I will discuss in the next blog.

Today’s things, products, wearables are created with this technology. So, you can use them further, whether for your smart products or your new business ideas.

The most important thing, a business plan should be available, so a company knows what it wants to achieve! What added value can be created for customers and thus for the company. If a company has not yet recognized the potential or is seen in its entirety, but there is a possibility to expand it at any time and thereby react to technological, regular, and economic changes.

Prof. Dr. Karolin Frankenberger, Lehrstuhlinhaberin und Direktorin am Institut für Betriebswirtschaft (IfB-HSG) der Universität St. Gallen


IoT Business Model Builder by BOSCH


How do you get a realistic pilot project? Take your time and attend a Design Thinking Workshop with a mixed team. Take the resulting prototype and then make your own experiences in a pilot project in your company. Remember; start small, think big and don’t invest more than 5 days in the pilot project.

The SAP Leonardo Suite with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), SAP Leonardo IoT, SAP Edge Services are SAP services and products that enable you to optimally use this technology for your products and business models.

Data-Driven Insights

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In the next blog post you will learn about the data, its value, how it came about and what is worth protecting. Applications that support data collection and data analysis will increase even more. The technologies mentioned above (AI, RPA, IoT, UI) support this trend.

It is increasingly important that the use and exploitation of data is examined with a focus on core values such as ethics, integrity, openness, accountability, competence, origin, and consistency. This also requires regulators, security, and data protection.

In addition, the digitization of processes, information and products increasingly leads to traceability of origin.

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      Author's profile photo Lora Baker
      Lora Baker

      Very interesting article!