IoT and the Intelligent Enterprise

We are dependent upon technology. Even reading this, you are living the digital life. Artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are two of the most powerful Clydesdales in the technology stable.

AI and IoT are quickly disrupting not only the business landscape, but transforming our very way of doing business and how we live our lives. In case you think this is just another post spewing jargon and rehashed AI and IoT tropes, I’m living the transformation within my own organization, Thulium, and within my own personal life.

As I write this, I’m up 30,000 feet and tapped into in-flight WiFi, and while its dearth of speed reminds me of my old dial-up connection, it’s irrefutable how far we’ve come in such a short duration of time. Between the Pavlovian bell notifying me that my approved electronic devices can be turned on and the in-flight beverage service, I’ve already received three notifications on my iWatch from my Ring App. On my mobile phone, I see in real time that the airport carpark did indeed plug in my Tesla at the charging station, and as any working mom would do, I turned up the heat using the Nest app on my phone because I forgot to adjust the thermostat before leaving my family at zero dark thirty this morning. Who reading this cannot relate to the world I am describing?

Only a few years ago, I could’ve called this the start to a riveting work of fiction. In today’s world, real life is stranger than fiction. Yes, Francis, there is artificial intelligence, and we are tapped in and tethered culturally. We have been assimilated. Resistance is futile. The IoT and AI in our pockets and handbags have seamlessly woven their way into the very fabric of our existence as human beings and we’re never going back.

While AI is arguably the rage-du-jour for 2019, I would argue that IoT may have the greatest impact on business over the next five years. Paired with machine learning, AI has had significant success in specific applications, even though generalized AI is still out there on our horizon — a vision but alas not fully realized yet. IoT however, has spread across many applications and infiltrated a vast number of businesses.

For those who are not as aware of how the IoT is impacting our lives — beyond my in-flight experience — let me share a few clarifying examples. Do you have a voice assistant like Siri, Alexa, or Google Home? While powered by AI, these are also IoT devices. A newer car or truck? Most likely an IoT connected device. Ever been tempted to track your teenager using the family car? You can thank the IoT. Even your mobile device is an IoT device. Anything and everything connected to the Internet is an IoT device. Beyond consumer devices, companies from farmers to utilities are harnessing the power of IoT in connected tractors, drones, pumps, valves, switches, and even IoT-enabled bearings, to name a few.

The spread of Internet connectivity among virtually all the devices around us has created a world of IoT. Every device has an identity that can be tracked, monitored, giving direction to, and receiving information from. While AI will help us utilize all of the new-found data and connections, IoT itself is having an even more profound effect on the world around us and our experience of the world around us. By connecting virtually everything, our understanding of our world — and enabling our ability to manipulate our environment even from afar — will make our very near future look magical to those born only a few generations ago. Okay, yes, even I am still pinching myself. We’ve come a long way, baby.

This week at MWC19, SAP is launching a major IoT update with SAP Leonardo IoT, which will enable organizations to embed IoT data and technology into almost any line-of-business solution one can imagine. The integration of SAP Leonardo IoT within organizations will not only bring the power of an immense trove of data to business, it will allow companies to introduce greater productivity and an array of new product offerings to customers.

“SAP delivers valuable insight and drives business results by embedding IoT data into business processes,” said Elvira Wallis,  senior vice president of SAP Leonardo IoT and global head of IoT, SAP. “With the launch of SAP Leonardo IoT, SAP solidifies its commitment to the IoT, and in particular Industrial IoT. The combination of IoT and our depth and breadth of high-value industry and application expertise helps customers gain greater business value and a stronger competitive advantage.”

SAP Leonardo IoTThat embedded intelligence, merged with the ever-growing connections of the IoT is driving a new type of organization: the Intelligent Enterprise. Through vast networks of devices, computers, mobile platforms, and more — all interconnected via the cloud and powered by the dawning of AI — businesses are now beginning to resemble a living organism. If you replace organic cells with devices, nerves with the Internet and cloud, and the brain with AI, we can easily see how the Intelligent Enterprise is being birthed before our very eyes.

I would recommend everyone take a moment this week — whether you are here in Barcelona with us at MWC or a half a world away reading the coverage — and look around and contemplate our evolving world and your place within it. We have the opportunity to create tremendous good out of the Intelligent Enterprise. With great power comes an even greater responsibility. How will you use yours?


Tamara McCleary is CEO of Thulium and an expert on branding, influence, and social business, working in collaboration with SAP.

A version of this article originally appeared on LinkedIn.