Officially opened on May 28, a new Industry 4.0 startup program at the SAP Data Space location in Berlin accommodates five startups that will build their product and go-to-market strategies with the help of SAP .
Competition for the accelerator spots was stiff. Of the 75 startups that applied, five were chosen to participate in the six-week program that includes presence in Berlin, Germany’s No. 1 hub for startups.
“SAP has many customers in discrete industries that are seeing a transformation in the way they manufacture or in their supply chains,” said Ram Jambunathan, senior vice president and managing director of SAP.iO.
“The notion of Industry 4.0 actually originated in Germany where we have this strong background in manufacturing and fabrication,” explains Eva Zauke, vice president of Digital Supply Chain and Manufacturing, SAP.
For this startup acceleration program the SAP.iO Berlin Foundry teamed up with the SAP Startup Accelerator program to offer startups a packed acceleration program in the Industry 4.0 space.
“We are focusing on building an intelligent ecosystem for SAP that complements our strategy to deliver the intelligent enterprise,“ says Jambunathan. “Much of the most interesting innovations are happening in the startup world. In the SAP.iO Foundries, we help early-stage startups scale their business and build innovative software to deliver value to customers, through internal and external mentors, workshops and by giving them customer access.“
“In addition, SAP as the market leader in transportation and supply chain management can offer the startups expertise and support to integrate their solution with SAP offerings which increases the value proposition to SAP’s customers, especially in the focus area of Industry 4.0, bringing together manufacturing and SAP Leonardo technologies,“ says Zauke.
By working with SAP and the startups, customers may realize additional value to the investments they already made in SAP solutions or are planning to make in the future, continuing SAP’s history of customer-centric innovation.
Furthermore, the startups get access to SAP APIs and platform technologies: “Feedback from the startups helps us improve our platform so we know what further to do to create stickiness for SAP Cloud platform,“ Jambunathan explains.
For six weeks, the five startups will work out of the SAP Data Space in Berlin. The program will conclude with a Demo Day on July 5 at SAP headquarters in Walldorf, Germany.
“One look says more than a thousand words,” could be the motto of this Munich-based startup, which developed the software NUIA that makes it possible to control enterprise applications such as SAP ERP with eye trackers. By evaluating live gaze patterns and applying deep learning, users are made more efficient in their everyday workflows. Several kilometers of daily mouse movements are reduced up to 80 percent. Some mouse actions, for example to switch input fields will even be omitted, as the software understands the user’s intention and automatically selects the desired field. Search patterns can also be detected.
“For example, a customer is checking products on a website and we can recognize patterns of what they are interested in. It then becomes possible to adjust what they’ll get to see on the next page accordingly,” says Stephan Odörfer, co-founder and CTO of 4tiitoo. „Our goal is to make the daily computer workflows easier and to reduce or to eliminate useless activities.“
“Artificial intelligence is what Canadian startups are focusing on now,” says Luke Richard, technical sales consultant for Acerta. Located in the Canadian startup corridor between Toronto and Waterloo, Acerta is applying artificial intelligence and machine learning to the automotive industry to predict and detect failures in the production process.
“Usually, actions are only being taken once things break,” explains Acerta CEO Greta Cutulenco. “Part of the movement toward autonomous vehicles is being able to predict those failures before they happen.”
Since there is not a lot of data available on autonomous driving yet, Acerta is currently focusing on automotive development and manufacturing for predictive analytics.
“It’s a large, resource-rich environment that SAP is offering,” Richard says. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to access SAP’s customer and partner network and to build something tied closely to SAP’s platform.”
“You can completely automate a production line or a workstation – but interaction between man and machine is something that deserves the appropriate attention for supporting the operator in his tasks,” says Arkite NV CEO Johan Smeyers.
Arkite NV has created what they call the Human Interface Mate, a 3-D sensor that is covering a production environment and monitors every movement and every acction. Upon detection of an anomaly, the operator gets informed by a light indicator or an instruction.
“Think of it as a virtual guardian angel,” Smeyers says. One hundred installations are currently in the market, especially in automotive production with its complex manufacturing processes and and its focus on zero defects.
“We are already adhoc connected to customer ERP and MES systems, but want to strategically integrate further with SAP to bring additional value to our combined customers,” Johan explains.
“There is a lot of sound in this world that goes nowhere,” Neuron Technology Evangelist Jiri Cermak says. “If you know how to utilize the sound you can gain so much important information.”
Neuron Soundware is doing just that with the Neuron box to which microphones and IoT devices can be connected, allowing sound to be digitized, processed and presented to neural networks for decision-making. Basically, the solution is about classification of machine sound and anomaly detection for predictive maintenance.
“When you’re driving your car every day, you realize at once when it starts sounding different all of a sudden,” Cermak says. “You can tell something is off and so can the mechanic. The sound reflects what is happening physically in the machine and there are people who actually know that the sound means.”
According to Neuron CEO Pavel Konecny: “Scale is the most important thing for us now. While in Germany every big corporation seems to have an accelerator, the Czech Republic where we are based is much more conservative in these matters. With SAP, we have a strong partner for connecting with customers.”
“We’re trying to replace Henry Ford’s assembly line,” arculus Co-Founder and COO Witold Kopytynski says. “While Ford could provide the customer with any car they wanted as long as it was black, nowadays there are so many variants and features to each product that the line is no longer capable of keeping up with the demand for customization.” The idea is to replace the assembly line with separate stations to and from which all materials will be transported on top of Autonomous Guided Vehicles (AGVs). Breaking up the fixed sequence of production allows to decide where to send the product after each step depending on the load of the system.
“At arculus, we’ve developed both the AGV and the digital twin software to control and operate the production sequence that allows monitoring in real time,” says Kopytynski. “We see our solution as perfectly compatible with extended warehouse management and production planning. Our long-term goal is to build a generic package solution that can be rolled out in other industries as well.”
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