As recently as late 2020, Cogniac was a little-known Silicon Valley startup with promising artificial intelligence (AI)-driven computer vision (CV) technology and a big-time opportunity to find new markets for that technology via the SAP.iO program.

Fast forward two-and-half years to the spring of 2023, and not only has Cogniac found a strong market for its technology, it has earned a place among the vanguard of enterprise-class CV software, having been recognized by analyst firm IDC as a leader in the field alongside the likes of AWS, Google, and Microsoft.

How does a company ascend so far, so fast? In the case of San Jose, California-based Cogniac, it couldn’t have happened without superior technology, a partnership-driven mindset, and an openness to work with SAP to develop an industry cloud solution that readily integrates with the SAP portfolio to bring more value to customers.

Cogniac’s Visual Operations Intelligence platform is one of more than 300 apps and integrated end-to-end solutions developed within SAP’s industry cloud and is available to customers across multiple industry verticals in SAP Store. Cogniac’s technology also has been integrated into the SAP Digital Manufacturing solution, providing AI-enabled visual inspection capabilities for the shop floor to customers in a range of industries.

Cogniac is among a wave of up-and-coming companies that are blazing a trail for other independent developers to follow, showing how to leverage the expertise and resources of SAP and system integrator partners to quickly scale up and monetize their intellectual property and technology. It’s all part of SAP’s “one-portfolio” approach, which is rooted in the belief that by working together, companies that are actively engaged in SAP’s industry cloud – including independent developers, global and regional services partners, and others – can create solutions that generate more value for customers and themselves than they otherwise would working individually. The one-portfolio approach is first and foremost about solving customers’ business problems, whether the solution comes from an SAP partner, SAP itself, or a combination of the two.

In Cogniac’s case, the solution was born from the SAP.iO program and, following a successful pilot project involving automotive parts production, it’s now fully commercialized for customers in travel and transportation, automotive manufacturing, mill and mining, industrial manufacturing, and other verticals seeking to upgrade and automate their visual inspection capabilities for quality management and maintenance.

Here’s where the implementation expertise of another industry cloud partner, Montreal-based Syntax, enters the picture. As a system integrator, Syntax is playing a critical role in scaling and implementing Cogniac’s technology for customer use cases. It’s yet another example of how combining an independent developer’s domain expertise – for Cogniac, its computer vision driven by AI – with a system integrator’s expertise – Syntax is deeply experienced in customer implementations where IT and OT converge – and SAP’s end-to-end business process expertise, resources, reach, and positioning can result in a solution that fills an obvious customer need. Not only can creative industry cloud partnerships like these result in new revenue streams and market opportunities for developers and system integrators but they can bring solutions to market much faster than before.

Speaking of speed, the Cogniac-developed visual inspection capabilities within SAP Digital Manufacturing can be implemented by Syntax at enterprise scale quickly, in a day or two, because they readily integrate with existing camera infrastructure and workflows. The low-code/no-code AI technology behind those capabilities represents a huge step forward in shop floor automation for a wide range of use cases, enabling high-speed inspection with greater accuracy at a lower cost. In this case, AI could also stand for augmented intelligence, for its ability to help customers make better decisions faster, as well as for automated intelligence, for its ability to free human beings from monotonous, repetitive inspection tasks.

Smart Press Shop Project: Extension of SAP DM solution with Visual Inspection | Syntax

The industry cloud relationship between Cogniac, Syntax, and SAP is a great illustration of the innovation mindset driving the one-portfolio approach, where instead of taking it upon ourselves to develop proprietary solutions in areas where we aren’t necessarily strongest, like computer vision, we combine forces with partners to come up with collaborative solutions that deliver more value to the folks who matter most: our customers. To support that approach, SAP has updated its compensation models to make it easier and more attractive for partners to monetize their intellectual property and expertise on industry cloud.

When all this comes together, as it has with Cogniac and Syntax, the result is a win-win-win for customers, partners, and SAP.

Philipp Raub is product manager for Visual Inspection at SAP.
Bianca Ruebartsch is global head of Energy and Natural Resources Ecosystem at SAP.