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Ford and SAP Put Design in High Gear

June 26, 2015 by Robin Meyerhoff 0

Over 200 journalists descended on SAP in Palo Alto this week to see how SAP uses a design approach that puts “people back at the center of everything” from healthcare to connected cars.

The visit was part of a Silicon Valley press tour organized by Ford Motor Company, called “Further with Ford,” which showcased the latest innovation from the company’s R&D center and key technology partners, including SAP.

Denis Browne, Senior Vice President of Imagineering at SAP, opened the event saying, “SAP and Ford are coming together because we are both focused on user experience and design. People want a consumer-grade experience no matter where they are. And as we all figure out how to deliver amazing experiences to our customers, design – and for SAP, design thinking – becomes critical.”

Moray Callum, Vice President of Design at Ford Motor Company, stressed the importance of making “an emotional connection with users. Engineers have a lot of fantastic technology that they want to add, but customers are wary of it. So it’s our job to make it more accessible, to make technology seamless and something people enjoy.”

He also talked about how Ford is using technology in the design process. For example, biometrics help measure customers’ responses to the interior design of cars by tracking where customers’ eyes go within a car, and how long they look at particular features. Using EEG measurements, Ford can even estimate what excites people, worries or confuses them about the interior of a car.

SAP showed journalists demonstrations of how Big Data and the Internet of Things are being used to improve people’s daily lives including: seamless in-car services for fueling and parking, preventing sports injuries, and fighting cancer. They also provided a “sandbox” where journalists could see how augmented reality, Google Glass and 3D printing has the potential to radically simplify everything from industrial design to medical treatment.

The connected car demonstration showed how SAP technology makes it easy for drivers to find parking, fuel or refreshments. The SAP HANA Cloud platform aggregates data from sensors located in cars, gas stations, mobile devices, parking systems and convenience stores. Drivers are then automatically notified when they need fuel, provided with a list of the closest gas stations and special offers for drivers’ favorite snacks available for purchase there.

SAP also presented a connected insurance demo. It works like this: sensors in the car provide data like how fast a person drives, if they made sharp turns or sudden breaks, and driving conditions. Drivers can use the application to understand their driving risk and benchmark performance against other drivers. Insurers use the app to get better visibility into drivers’ performance so they can more accurately calculate premiums.

All drivers must “opt in” to have sensors monitor their driving data and communicate it to insurers.

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