This week at the SAP Leonardo Live event in Frankfurt, Germany - SAP brought their new Innovation platform, SAP Leonardo, to real-life. Over the course of two days, attendees gained a fully immersive experience of SAP’s vision for Big Data and IoT - as well as Leonardo, the platform that’s been designed to transform how enterprises manage these concepts.
In essence, Leonardo is a platform designed to provide real-time visibility across the entire enterprise value chain. To understand a bit more about what exactly the platform is and what it is designed to do - refer to my blog post: An Introduction to SAP Leonardo, where I dive into more details on this topic.
Now, I want to explain the 5 key takeaways from this week’s event, highlighting the main trends that are about to make their enterprise debut - and some of the implications all this change will have on the modern enterprise.
Edge Computing is about to take-off
The migration of intelligence to sensors and industrial gateways is a priority. Edge computing, which enables IoT devices to process data at a much faster pace than if data were to be transmitted to the cloud or to the on-premise database - thereby improving the quality of service (among other benefits) - was previously only available to extremely large corporations & government organizations. However, recent acquisitions by all of the key technology players are clear indications that edge computing will become a reality for more and more organization moving forward (for example: SAP with Plat.One, Azure with Solair and AWS with Greengrass).
With surprising speed, SAP has announced the launch of IoT Service 4.0, which entails the migration of Plat.One— the recently acquired edge computing solution— onto the Hana platform. Now, it’s time to test the possibilities of this new software layer and start pushing new IoT solutions to their limit.
Agile Development is key
With these new technological advancements, organizations must identify new means for managing project lifecycles. Agile development is key in reducing the time spent between solution design and realization.
SAP is assisting organizations in their need to increase agility through another remarkable innovation included in SAP’s newest IoT solution: A set of accelerators that will allow companies to build prototypes and mock ups across IoT applications quickly, helping to decrease initial investment while boosting access to innovation.
Currently, the Build.me accelerator set can be used to create a closed loop circle across the application mockup and prototyping process. Soon, the addition of many other interesting accelerators will also be made available.
3D Printing is a reality
As digital manufacturing continues to come to life - additive manufacturing has become a full fledged reality. As many case studies have shown us over the last few years, 3D printing has valid use cases from the development of spare parts to the rapid, cost-effective development of prototypes.
Further emphasizing the reality of 3D printing? The Distributed Manufacturing module from SAP Leonardo. The Distributed Manufacturing module could be used to assist companies in sharing 3D models with 3D printing suppliers, ensuring security and data integrity across this critical process.
Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence (AI) are slowly taking the stage
Today, machine learning and artificial intelligence are the industry's hottest trend. However, while they may be the most talked about technological advances, the technology is still in the early stages and will rely on early adopters to propel them forward. The B2C space has been most apt to utilize the technology (via product proposal from search history, text recognition and chatbots) - but most have yet to activate its full potential. In the B2B and enterprise space, contrastingly, machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies have yet to be exploited anywhere near to their full potential value.
However, even though artificial intelligence is off to a slow start, it is certain that this innovation will be the future standard for all cloud platforms.
Cloud is king, but On-Premise is still necessary
Industry 4.0 applications are still moving a significant amount of data and analytics applications onto the cloud (see SAP Manufacturing Insight as a brilliant example of this). On the other hand however, one of the advantages of SAP's Leonardo is it’s ability to embed with the on-premise shop floor layer with SAP MII and ME. As more and more companies are still in the process of creating a unique semantic layer for multiple shop floor applications, SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence is the right answer.