Development aid using software
With the Collaboration@Rural project, SAP is supporting small retailers in rural areas of north-eastern South Africa. Spaza shops, which are comparable with the mom-and-pop stores of the 1950s – are the only places where inhabitants of very remote areas can purchase daily essentials. But the store owners find it very difficult to procure goods. They usually have to travel for a whole day to buy what they need from the nearest large supermarket. These trips take up valuable time and cost most of the money made from the store.
This is where the SAP project comes in. Because there is hardly any infrastructure and the power supply often fails, too, the well-established GSM network forms the basis of a mobile infrastructure that enables the spaza shop owners to order their goods by text message. The orders from the individual retailers are gathered in the SAP system provided and are bundled together. By joining forces with other retailers in an area, the spaza shop owners can negotiate better prices. In turn, thanks to a greater order volume, the goods manufacturers are willing to send their trucks to remote areas and deliver their products straight to the spaza shops. A classic win-win situation for all parties.
Control room of the future
In a research project, SAP showed how networked software can assist the command center in future cases of civil protection. The “Urban Management Plattform” is developed by SAP Research, security specialist TZS and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence.
In the scenario presented at CeBIT – involving a powerful storm front – all the information is gathered in a fictitious control room. There, the emergency services have access to weather data and simulations of people’s movements, among other things, so that they can identify the regions likely to be most affected and take preventive action.
In the test scenario, the storm caused several serious accidents. Thanks to the software connection with the hospitals in Berlin, the control center can decide which emergency services should transport what number of patients to which clinics. The software also displays the shortest route to the nearest hospital with free beds, taking the current traffic conditions into account. The SAP Investigative Case Management for Public Sector package forms the cornerstone of the solution, which is usually deployed at police stations and is based on the SAP Customer Relationship Management application. In around two years, it is conceivable that the software will be used in real-life control rooms.
Pirates under fire
Product piracy is becoming a danger for an increasing number of companies. In Germany alone, plagiarism causes losses of around €30 billion a year. On a worldwide scale, current estimates lie between €200 and €600 billion annually. The joint venture Original1 – comprising SAP, the Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia, and security experts Giesecke & Devrient, who supply the banknotes for the German Bundesbank – is now taking the counterfeiters to task.
Thanks to sophisticated technology, original branded products can be tracked along the entire production and supply chain using forgery-proof product codes. Both RFID chips and barcodes can be employed, which are first read by a Nokia cell phone and then compared with the product data stored in the SAP system. In such a way, products that are difficult to monitor – like drugs or chemicals – can be uniquely identified as counterfeits. The initial focus is on manufacturers of brand-name items and on public-sector institutions, such as customs. However, in the foreseeable future, end customers may also be able to trace the path of a product from the factory to the store.