“Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets,” Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci once said.
True to inspiration, 21,000 people came together on the openSAP platform this summer to unlock the secrets of the Internet of Things (IoT) through SAP Leonardo, SAP’s new digital innovation system.
In the first-ever teaching of the massive open online course (MOOC) “Touch IoT with SAP Leonardo,” learners delved into cutting-edge technologies like blockchain, autonomous vehicles, drones, artificial intelligence, and IoT. Through hands-on exercises, lively discussion forums, near real-time instructor interaction, peer review, and a prototype challenge with a charitable upshot, learners got a taste of how to apply new digital concepts to reimagine a world shaped by IoT.
The course, which ran from June 7 until late July, attracted participants who were mostly professionals (95%), many of which were SAP employees (25%). Learners came from more than 100 countries, with the most common being India (33%), Germany (14%), United States (12%), Brazil (4%), and UK (3%). Overall learners rated the course 4.39 out of 5 stars, citing that they were: (very) satisfied with the openSAP learning experience (97%); (very) satisfied with the course content (94%); and think the skills taught in the course will help them in their (future) work (93%).
Among the course highlights were guest sessions with leading industry analysts like IDC, which contributed its “IoT and the Future of Business” video (openSAP login required). Analyst firm Technology Business Research also produced a unit exploring how to think big and start small with IoT.
A hands-on SAP Connected Goods exercise brought into sharp focus the business insights that can be derived when data captured by IoT sensors is analyzed in combination with other known data (watch the Exercise Video, openSAP login required).
More than 3,600 people participated in the optional exercise by logging in as a “connected good” – in this case, a container holding their favorite drink. Participants then got to see what the most popular drinks were in different geographies and how to look at data trends over time; for example, comparing temperature over time with other information.
“We just used that as a way for people to see how data can quickly give you a lot more insight in the aggregate,” explains course developer Bob Caswell, senior product manager, SAP.
Prototype Challenge Puts People at the Heart of SAP Leonardo
The newly acquired skills were put to the test in an IoT prototype challenge. Learners were introduced to SAP Leonardo and given the tools (including SAP Build, an online prototyping tool), templates (based on SAP Connected Goods examples), and learning resources to design and build their own IoT prototype. Each prototype was required to include a story based on design thinking methodology, persona, and UX journey. Participants then had to create a mockup of their prototype using templates or examples from SAP Build.
A total of 1,580 prototypes were submitted for review. Of these, five were selected as winners of the challenge, each winner receiving an Intel NUC Mini-PC (courtesy of SAP Partner Intel) to advance their interest in the Internet of Things.
As the winning prototypes demonstrate, the future of IoT is about more than connecting things. It’s also about connecting people through empathy and shared resources. In a move for social good through tech, SAP partnered with online micro-lending platform Kiva.org to give the top 200 learners the opportunity to fund an entrepreneur of their choice with a $25 stipend.
Kiva is an international nonprofit organization that provides micro-lending services in the developing world. To help Kiva with operating costs, SAP gave an additional $5,000, for a total contribution of $10,000. For more information, see the Kiva Funding Impact Report.
“People often think about the Internet of Things as a technology that brings connectivity to inanimate objects,” says Caswell. “But there’s a human side too. The Internet of Things is at its best when it empowers and connects people to live better. In that spirit, partnering with Kiva.org was a great way to remind the community that IoT is not only about connecting things, but also people.”
IoT is at its best when it empowers and connects people to live better, says SAP’s Bob Caswell
Top Five Prototypes Reveal Future of IoT
What do smart farming, health and safety, and utilities have in common? These are just some of the scenarios explored in the prototypes created by participants in the openSAP course Touch IoT with SAP Leonardo. Read on to find out the story behind each of the winning prototypes.
It’s no secret that the insect world has an outsized influence on humankind’s technological advancements. For Tesfaldet Negash, a development architect at SAP, inspiration came from an errant bee that had become trapped in his office. Thinking back to his experiences with his family’s bee hives, Negash set out to create an IoT prototype to help both bees and beekeepers alike – if by nothing else other than enabling them to spend less time together.
“The bees do not want to be annoyed,” explains Negash, who recalls getting stung often as a child around the hives. “The only time the beekeeper would like to have contact with the bees is in the time of harvest. If there are no exceptions or problems, the beekeepers would like to leave the bees alone.”
Hanna, the fictional persona at the center of this prototype, carefully manages her time as a beekeeper and mother of two school-age children. Beekeeping is very demanding work that requires driving to the hives, suiting up in protective gear, and moving the heavy hives (about 20 kg each) to perform basic checks for weight, moisture, and humidity. With the Beehive App and remote IoT sensors located in each hive, Hanna can check the conditions of her 200 hives remotely via the app, allowing her more time to spend with her family.
“Even though Hanna is an imaginary persona, I know what beehives need to do. And for the family aspect, I am a father, so I know what it means to have kids and work. You have to balance between these two,” says Negash.
In selecting an entrepreneur to fund on Kiva, Tesfaldet again thought back to his prior experiences – this time to a memorable trip he took to Uganda. “When I opened the portal and saw Uganda, it was quite easy for me. I just had to identify the recipient.”
He therefore decided to support a young woman who was trying to establish a small retail shop there.
The complex, fragile network of an electricity grid – with its interconnected transformers, wires, feeders, distribution control center, and consumer endpoints – provides a rich proving ground for an IoT solution. Central to the Connected Grid prototype is the persona of the power utility distribution manager, whose job includes tracking asset maintenance to prevent outages and assigning resources to tackle largely unforeseen problems across the grid.
As the developer of the Connected Grid prototype, Mohit Kakkar, an IoT architect at Deloitte, says, “Using the technologies available today, they know what the problem is and where the problem is, but they are not able to predict when the problem will happen again. There is no machine learning. The technicians, field crew members, and customers are not integrated in a single solution.”
When an outage does occur, response times from field crews can be delayed as the information filters through the network. Mohit sought to develop a solution that connected all points on the grid, so that distribution managers had insight into real-time operational parameters as well as predictive analytics capabilities. Even consumers benefit from heightened transparency into their individual energy consumption patterns.
Mohit plans to further develop his prototype through his work and include aspects in the Deloitte Reimagine Platform Solution Roadmap. His executive leader, Darwin Deano, Principal and SAP Chief Leonardo Officer at Deloitte, says, “I’m very happy to see one of our consultants take advantage of what SAP offers and produce something that we think we can replicate and bring to clients.”
In selecting a project to fund through Kiva, Mohit chose a project that was just $25 short of meeting its funding goal. He says, “When I received $25 to fund someone, I was actually very happy to know that my hard work and my imagination of the prototype eventually helped someone who needs this particular amount of money.”
For the more than 422 million adults who have diabetes, self-care can be time consuming and daunting. The patient likely has no medical skills but must nonetheless accurately measure his blood sugar, calculate the insulin dosage, and adjust his insulin pump accordingly.
“They are not specialized, but the responsibility is put on them to measure and calculate their insulin dose, or go to the hospital. This takes some time and can be risky,” explains Vivek Krishnadas, IT technical consultant at Accenture and developer of the Diabetes Care prototype.
Krishnadas was inspired to create this IoT prototype based on what he learned about people’s diabetic care requirements in daily life. He says, “Even simple things, like driving or going for a run, can be a challenge and they have to plan around it because of their condition.”
By wearing a “connected” insulin device, the patient is able to share data with an experienced medical professional who can monitor the patient remotely and administer medication via the device. Additionally, artificial intelligence can augment the solution by reading data and patterns to provide automated diabetes care, easing life greatly for the patient. “They don’t have to frequently go to the hospital because the IoT device provides all the data that the doctor needs,” says Krishnadas.
Krishnadas, who has completed other openSAP courses, enrolled in this course because he wanted to get up to speed on the anticipated wave of IoT applications to come. He’s looking forward to doing more in-depth courses with SAP on IoT, blockchain and machine learning.
Krishnadas chose a project on the Kiva platform that aimed to provide drinking water to children in Africa. “I looked for things that can have maximum impact. In this case it was for a school and I knew that it would help a lot of kids” he says. “It was really a privilege to be part of that initiative.”
Mushroom Farm Manager
Mushroom Farm Manager is a smart farming solution to help farmers monitor the growing conditions within their mushroom tunnels, control stock levels, and track deliveries. IoT sensors within the mushroom tunnels and on delivery trucks provide information to the Mushroom Farm Manager app, which in turn enables farmers to decide to increase production levels to meet demand or scale back in order to stop food waste. Not only the farmer benefits from a real-time IoT solution, but customers do as well by receiving good quality mushrooms in a timely manner.
Aoife O’Dwyer, UX Designer at SAP and developer of the prototype, says, “IoT provides an ideal solution because of the sensors, which allow to track the temperature of the mushrooms when they are growing and in delivery.”
In developing her prototype, O’Dwyer tapped into the firsthand knowledge and experience within her family. “My parents actually have a mushroom farm,” she says. “Watching them and listening to their problems is where the idea came from.”
She liked the hands-on approach of the prototype challenge. “By actually doing something yourself, you’re focused more and you’re inspired to go look up more things related to your project, so you do more research yourself,” she says.
In choosing an entrepreneur to fund through Kiva, O’Dwyer took a pragmatic approach by focusing on the section of projects that were expiring soon. “I found a few that just needed the $25 to close their project before it expired,” she recalls. “I picked my favorite one of those because I thought it would be good to close a project out.”
An average of 430 deaths occur each year in the U.S. from carbon monoxide poisoning. Very often the source is a home gas boiler. Through remote monitoring by trained experts using an IoT solution, problematic boilers can be identified for proper maintenance – before it’s too late.
In the Smart Boiler scenario, Paul Thompson, who is the UKI & Europe Lead for SAP Mobile at IBM, homed in on a number of aspects that fit together to create a strong case for an IoT solution: consumer, asset maintenance, environmental, and health and safety. “It seemed like the type of scenario which people will be applying IoT to resolve in the future,” he says.
In the case of gas boilers, consumers often have no idea how this equipment works or what it requires, making communication with maintenance experts frustrating and fraught with misunderstanding on both sides. Thompson thought, “if they could do that through an app, which now basically everyone understands, life would be much easier.”
Thompson relied on a technique known as empathy mapping to develop the personas at the center of his prototype. “It was really only through the empathy mapping for the owner that I understood the complexity of the domestic heating system,” he explains. “I thought we should try and make it easier to understand, and have the ability to set temperature and timing remotely”. The empathy mapping brought out key aspects (or “hills”) for prioritization, which Thompson says would have been overlooked had a “just add IoT to a boiler” approach been followed.”
Thompson elected to use his Kiva stipend for investment in farming equipment in a community that had been impacted by the Ebola virus. “A small amount of money can make a massive amount of difference in terms of farming efficiency,” he says. “It’s putting in place something which will accelerate: high yields mean more food coming out, and more food coming out means more money for investment. I picked that because I thought it would have the biggest impact in terms of the number of people helped.”