Innovations that matter, using Analytics that matter: Part I

Luckily I work in an environment where innovation and making things better and simpler is part of our day-to-day challenge. It is very satisfying when so many smart people share their creativity and knowledge to come up with innovations that really matter to business, to customers and to the environment. The Digital Economy - and its shadowing-baby called Digital Transformation - encourage us to make processes smarter, better and more efficient. They also challenge us to use our software in a smarter way leveraging technology that is surrounding us.

As you’d probably expect, my personal and special attention goes to innovations where business analytics play a key role, or even make the difference. One thing all innovations have in common, is that SAP is very strict in partnering with the best vendors when developing innovations: the competence of individual components needs to stay where it belongs to unlock its full potential. It doesn't make sense if SAP would develop their own devices; it's not their comptence nor their specilization.

SAP’s Innovation Summit blew me away. The summit brings the best and most creative resources together who challenge each other and showcase how SAP leads and defines innovation. Innovations are applied and used by our customers today; innovations that ensure our customers are ahead in their respective industries. Wanna know? Here is the first part of an overview of the very best innovations focussed around those where analytics really matters.

Optimizing Insurance

Especially in North America insurance companies are very keen on preventing leakage issues in houses and properties. Most of the houses and properties there are 100% made of bricks, and their core materials tend to be very sensitive to water-leakage or moisture-issues; they affect the core of the property quickly and could cause dramatic damage or even make the property collapse. These leakage thus cause huge costs for the Insurance companies.

SAP got in touch with them and we made following: at very limited costs, the insurance companies have sensors placed in their insured properties permanently spotting leakage. This information is brought into a SAP Hana Cloud Platform (HCP) application which alerts both the insurer as the inhabitant when leakage appears. The platform is also connected to the SAP Ariba network allowing to immediately bring in third party maintenance people to repair the leakage. But the innovation is way beyond that; the insurance companies utilize the big data and analytics capabilities of HCP to further optimize:

  • They generate insights on types of properties, regions or specific areas where leakage tends to occur more. Think of the age or location of properties that have greater risk on leakage. It allows them to optimize their insurance policies for this segmented group, using SAP Lumira and Design Studio dashboards utilizing real-time information from the HANA Cloud Platform.

  • The insurance companies deploy predictive models allowing to optimize their insurance policy offerings to any new habitant of a property depending on the risk of a leakage. Properties with less risk can have better conditions. New properties that become within the insured policies are parsed through the predictive models, and the insurers can now predict the risk of leakage depending on parameters they got insight into from the properties that already are in their “inventory”

  • The SAP Ariba network is fully utilized making SLA’s with maintenance companies and negotiating conditions

The above shows how Digital Transformation – and enabling a permanent link between the Insurer and the Insured Object – can better both the conditions for the insurer as the habitant of properties. Here is how it works:

Shop Performance and Shelf optimization

Of course the Retail Industry is a good candidate for new innovations on process and performance optimization. The overwhelming power of it's opportunities for analytics is obvious, as well as is its potential for IoT related innovations. The industry is highly customer centric, extremely agile and extremely sensitive to market fluctuations. It is also an industry that is very well suited to getting closer to its customers based upon user experience and immediate customer involvement.

Impressive innovations are being created for customers regarding shop and shelf optimization.for retail. A first example about getting better insights in real-time on customer behavior in the shop. By placing small camera's on every shelf in a shop, it is possible to

  • use face detection technology finding the age and gender of the customer looking though the products on the shelf

  • the technology also monitors in real-time how long a customer stays with the shelf. It allows to create exact heat maps of the most intense visited places on the shop floor. Business Analytics help the shop manager to verify how visitor-density evolves by changing shelfs or changing the type of products being put on the shelf. Using predictive analytics, the shop manager can start simulating what the customer density per shelf will be, when changing order or products

Below is a video showing the picture the face detection camera's are capturing when somebody visits a shelf in a retail store. On the right hand you notice the real-time data being collected and stored in the HCP platform.

A similar example where SAP worked together with Powershelf shows how connected-shelfs can be monitored and leveraged in favor of the customer. The connected-shelf recognizes the customer and is capable of offering tailored offerings. The distributor has real-time insights on all of his connected-shelfs with concatenated data and uses business intelligence and predictive algorithms to re-allocate stock, run basket analyses, optimize product-mixes and compare regional performance using GEOSpatials. It is all facilitated in real-time, again leveraging the in-memory HCP platform. Ahh, and Alexa was also inited to the discussion:-) .... she's the amazing "Amazon Echo lay".

Color recognition

You thought Lego was only for kids? Have a look at below video where our Lego robot fixes the famous Rubik cube real quickly. You'd probably say "nice, but seen that before". I know, but yet we need to re-think about the technology behind it. Working with supplier of color-detection-sensors, SAP developed a color-recognition algorithm that can be applied in numerous use cases (think pharmaceuticals or agriculture). Our Lego object is being directed by the real-time data stream coming from the color-detection-sensor. Passing an algorithm for unlocking the Rubik cube solution (actually written by children in a hackaton!), it drives the Lego object to solve the puzzle. It doesn't take too much imagination that by replacing the Lego-vehicle by an industrial machine (i.e. harvest sorting machine in agriculture), a use case for optimizing industrial processes is there. The power is of course in the scalability and the real-time insights on both analytics as predictive algorythmls it brings. By using the HCP platform, the gateway ois open to other networks like Ariba. How about for example a agriculture machine that recognizes and automatically sorts the harvest of a fruit-grower, while automatically looking for the best offer of a logistics firm shipping the sorted fruits to different distributors.

Scalable Architectures: SAP Hana Cloud Platform - HCP

Reading through the above examples, one quickly recognizes these innovations have a number of things in common:

  1. they all excel because the competence of the individual components stays where it belongs. Only partnering with the best of breed suppliers allows for innovations that really matter. SAP stays at his core and does what it does best: handling and optimizing software driven processes and data-management. SAP is not even considering producing their own detection devices, to just name an example.

  2. The HCP Hana Cloud Platform is the central cornerstone for the Digital Platform that allows for these innovation,s. It is scalable, extremely performant and connects operations, analytics, in-memory computing and business networks in one single-handed platform. Well done !

More Innovations

These innovations really grab me to the troth. That's why I listed down the very best of them in this section of the website. Enjoy and be impressed like I am.

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