“Smart Kicker” foosball game at SAP TechEd conceptualizes intelligent enterprise.

SAP TechEd: At This Foosball Table, the Winner Is the Intelligent Enterprise

Becoming a foosball champion was the last thing on my mind when I arrived at SAP TechEd in Last Vegas, but when I met up with Joe Binkley, senior director of Marketing for SAP Cloud Platform, for our video interview, I had no choice.

Your Business, Play by Play

This was no ordinary foosball table, mind you. An overhead high-speed camera used image recognition software to track the ball as it hurtled up and down the table. Sensor-based data from the ball live-streamed to an iPad screen next to the table, as well as the adjacent SAP Digital Boardroom. In both places, colorful displays analyzed and revealed real-time and historical stats on our game and others. It was a near-perfect microcosm of business.

Running on SAP Cloud Platform, the “Smart Kicker” foosball table used IoT services, SAP HANA Database-as-a-Service, and SAP Analytics Cloud. According to Binkley, when people see the game in action, right away they start thinking about how to conduct business differently, reimagined as an intelligent enterprise.

“Suppose you have a retail operation, and you want to look at the flow of people as they move around your store,” said Binkley. “Capturing this data can help you figure out the ideal pricing models for end caps. If you’re manufacturing food in cans, watching the cooking process on cameras installed on the factory floor can help you discard certain batches because you detected problems.”

Intelligent Enterprise Reinvents Business

When I finished the game, I walked over to Kevin Liu, product marketing at SAP, who was standing by at the adjacent SAP Digital Boardroom with our stats. The highest scorers, biggest game winners, fastest ball speeds, number of shots taken, and more represented a wealth of data for business.

“SAP Digital Boardroom brings in data from multiple devices and systems, both on premise and in the cloud,” said Liu. “Having all that historical and real-time data in one place allows people to get answers immediately and make better decisions based on the facts. They can conduct future scenario simulations instantaneously, using current data for more accurate forecasts and strategic planning, and finding new ways of approaching business problems.”

The lesson for businesses that are building the Intelligent Enterprise is clear: grab hold of the handles and give it your best shot.

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