In SAP d-shop locations, employees have an easy and fun way to tap into the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT). SAP employees can explore the latest IoT and prototyping technology and create new ideas for applications.

Entering the SAP d-shop (developers’ workshop) in Walldorf, Germany, makes you feel like a kid again. Stumbling over a moving telepresence robot built from a repurposed vacuum cleaner, surrounded by drones, Lego bricks, Google Glass goggles, 3D printers, electronics parts, and odd-looking machines, you will probably start wondering if this approach to the Internet of Things is not just a bit too much fun for a serious software company like SAP. A lot of fun – but quite smartly applied and strongly justified by the huge potential of the Internet of Things.

The Huge Potential of the Internet of Things

No one denies that the Internet of Things, or the digitization and interconnecting of the physical world, is a megatrend with overwhelming potential. But the IoT is more than just having your refrigerator reorder milk when you have run out. A recent McKinsey study, The internet of things: Mapping the value beyond the hype, points out that capturing the maximum benefit of the IoT will require an understanding of where value for business and society can be created. Tapping into the IoT’s potential will also make it necessary that different systems seamlessly connect and communicate with each other.

Exploring Uncharted IoT Territory

SAP is well under way in the IoT space with a platform and solutions that help generate data-driven intelligence from connected things, people, and devices. And SAP is already helping customers reimagine and transform business models and customer experiences to take advantage of the new technological possibilities.

However, there is still much uncharted territory and more potential in the IoT, and SAP wants its employees to lead the way in exploring this territory. With SAP d-shop spaces in 10 SAP worldwide locations, SAP makes it very easy for you to explore IoT technologies such as sensors, robotics, virtual reality devices, and more.

Educational, Inspirational, Creative

SAP d-shop locations are physical spaces where people can touch and try hardware, attend workshops, or brainstorm and connect with others who share similar interests. In SAP d-shop spaces, you can not only play and experiment with new hardware, you can also learn how to best connect the new devices to SAP platforms and applications, allowing new features to be developed and ensuring interoperability.

Julien Vayssière, who is responsible for SAP d-shop locations globally, describes the concept: “We want to encourage people to make time to learn and experiment – to get out of their comfort zone and realize that working with hardware is a lot easier than they think. SAP d-shops remove all barriers that stand in the way of being creative with hardware: We offer workshops at lunchtime, loan the hardware, organize events where colleagues can showcase their projects, or people can just come and mingle with others and create their own demos and prototypes.”

Reimagining andCcreating Value

SAP is convinced that this playful approach leads to many great exchanges and to the exploration of use cases no one could think of individually. And this is exactly how value can be created with the IoT.

Marcus Behrens, Product Design Director at SAP, is one of the creative minds who have become regulars in SAP d-shop: “Building my own solar-powered device in an SAP d-shop and monitoring it every day gives me a better understanding of the challenges our customers face when transitioning their products to a digital product. I am now helping a streetlight manufacturer to reinvent its product with sensors and connectivity. Thanks to the SAP d-shop, my project is based on my personal experience with hardware and my knowledge of SAP HANA Cloud Platform.”

Gadgets and Cutting-Edge Technology

The technology that can be explored in SAP d-shop locations includes sensors, wearables, virtual reality devices, robotics, 3D printers, microcontrollers, wireless nodes, and gateways. SAP d-shop visitors are encouraged to experiment with cloud applications and platforms for storing and processing huge volumes of data. Since SAP d-shops do not host their own systems, they promote the use of the SAP HANA Cloud Platform (but also non-SAP platforms and frameworks) so that participants receive holistic insight into IoT.

To stay on top of any new developments, Julien and his colleagues are constantly monitoring new trends in order to decide which other new technologies should be included in their SAP d-shop showcase portfolio. The newest addition, a headset for reading brainwaves, is expected to arrive in the SAP d-shop locations very soon.

Fostering Development Culture

Clas Neumann, Global Head of SAP Labs Network – where many SAP d-shops are located – understands that a creative development culture needs to be continually fostered: “We can already experience that the Internet of Things is getting closer in our daily lives. At the same time, the digital transformation of businesses and factories is in full swing. However, a life production environment cannot be the playground for prototypes & try-outs. SAP d-shop creates this dedicated space to experiment for example with robots, drones or self-driven vehicles – to innovate freely beyond purely software, which puts a fresh perspective on development.”

SAP d-shop Spaces All Around the Globe

At the end of 2013, SAP opened the first SAP d-shop in Palo Alto, United States. Currently, the company runs 10 SAP d-shop spaces: Bangalore, India; Budapest, Hungary; Markdorf and Walldorf, Germany; Moscow; Palo Alto; Sao Leopoldo, Brazil; Shanghai; Ra’anana, Israel; and Sofia, Bulgaria. More locations will be added later this year.

Customers and Partners, Come on in!

Since many SAP customers and partners have shown interest in SAP d-shop, they can now get in touch with their SAP contact to arrange for an SAP d-shop visit.

Learn more: You don’t need to die to go to developer heaven.

Photos: SAP