Outgrowing its original mobility roots, a larger-than-ever Mobile World Congress (MWC) puts on display the possibilities of a hyper-connected world for both digital businesses and consumers.
The top trends of the year were digital transformation, the race towards a faster connected world with 5G and the promises and opportunities of the Internet of Things (IoT) across a variety of industries.
As the premier showcase for the digital revolution, MWC attracted more than 108,000 attendees from all over the world. Organizations from a variety of industries from automotive and financial services to smartphone manufacturers, content providers and telecommunications operators showed what will be possible when connectivity speeds have jumped 100x or more to 5G by 2020. Faster, ubiquitous connectivity will not only be convenient for downloading an HD movie in a few seconds – but will prove vital for driverless cars for example, when latency (aka, a “dropped call”) could be fatal.
For Stephan Gatien, general manager of Telecommunications at SAP, the event was about demonstrating how we can work with our customers to help them transform and unlock value in that digital world that is moving fast to the cloud: “For SAP it is important to showcase our vision and what transformation means. We believe SAP can be the catalyst for new business models in the digital era, and with our showcases we want to highlight how we can help all industries transform and drive incremental business value.”
Innovation will increasingly come from the SAP ecosystem
Showcases of digital scenarios highlighted concrete projects that SAP is doing with customers and partners. “Innovation will increasingly come from our ecosystem,” says Gatien. “We need to enable our ecosystem to develop innovation on our platform, encourage new ideas within our customer and partner communities or in our startup program to enhance the SAP portfolio.”
Partnership with Apple: First Apps Showcased at MWC
To underscore the role of the SAP ecosystem, SAP and Apple showed a first set of iOS apps that have been jointly developed on SAP Cloud Platform. The approach is industry-oriented with apps for the professional services, retail, and utilities industries. Beyond these reference apps, the expectation is that the vast majority of future iOS apps on SAP Cloud Platform will be developed by SAP partners.
- With SAP Retail Clienteling for example, a sales person can gather customer information across channels, and suggest personalized products based on the customer profile. Detailed and real-time information about availability and pricing will help to improve customer satisfaction.
- The Project Companion App helps project managers to get an overview of the project’s key data and necessary actions.
- The Asset Manager App is a mobile solution for utilities or oil & gas companies managing work orders, notifications, condition monitoring, material consumption, time management and failure analysis to keep mission critical assets running while detecting problems before they occur.
The partnership demonstrates how the combination of SAP and Apple can meaningfully impact the digital experience of all key stakeholders in a company (customers, employees, suppliers, partners). SAP offers SAP Cloud Platform software development kit (SDK) for iOS on which any iOS developer can build business applications with an Apple flavor.
“To reinvent ourselves, we will grow in that platform space thanks to our ecosystem,” says Gatien. “The only way for us to make the platform strategy work is for people to adopt it and for that they need to see a value to build on it. The Apple partnership can be an important accelerator of this strategy.”
It will give SAP access to hundreds of thousands of Apple developers, the benefit for Apple is to further establish themselves as an enterprise brand.
Connected Cars: Optimize the Rental Car Experience with SAP Vehicles Network
Another showcase is a cooperation with Hertz and Nokia demonstrating how innovations from our SAP Leonardo portfolio (such as SAP Vehicle network) can offer an intelligent experience and provide IoT friendly self-services for rental car users. When a Hertz customer downloads an app he will get additional services such as an overview of available parking spots at his destination that he can pre-book. The car directs the driver to the parking and allows the driver to open the gate to the reserved parking. The app also shows gas stations nearby. When the business trip is over, the user has all expenses – from lunch to the gas bill – already in the expense report.
“With this prototype we are showing SAP’s IoT innovation capacity”, says Gatien. “But at the same time enabling integration of key processes such as travel management for business travelers with our Concur solution.”
Connected Stadium and Fan Engagement
SAP also helps sports clubs like Bayern Munich to better engage with fans, and to make the most of an event. “An event has a life-cycle,” says Gatien. “Global and local telco operators want to align with sports clubs, and propose services for fan engagement before, during and after a football match or a music concert.”
Fans participating in a loyalty system could get additional information or services, such as pre-ordering tickets or merchandise. Or fans could register for the TwoGo car-sharing app, and share a ride with other fans, and earn loyalty points that can be redeemed on the club’s website. Wifi spots and sensors in the stadium will make the stadium connected, giving fans access to data, such as the expected waiting time at the food corner, so that fans will not miss the second half waiting for a sausage.
In a connected stadium, the venue manager gets alerts due to traffic jam, when delays are expected for fans coming from one direction. Or the manager gets a notification if for example a turn-stile has a malfunction, and can send a technician and look at a heat-map that shows the visitor flow, and can order staff where needed.
Smart Cities: Transportation Safety with Wearables
“We are demonstrating how the combination of our know-how in different industries can position SAP as a provider of smart solutions for future cities in areas such as transportation and waste management, citizen security services or congestion prevention,” says Gatien. “To help cities become smart we have huge opportunities to co-innovate with Telco operators to help them go evolve beyond the connectivity for smart grids and wired buildings into new value added sensor friendly scenarios.”
An example of a co-innovation with an SAP partner and operator is NTT in Japan. The telecom giant teamed up with SAP to help prevent accidents in public transportation. The company developed a fabric, a vest for bus drivers, embedded with sensors to monitor vital signs like heartbeat and nervous system responses. This analysis goes to SAP Cloud platform where it’s combined with data such as current traffic and weather conditions – and sensor-driven data like GPS signals, and information from on-board devices that estimate the vehicle’s condition. The predictive capabilities of SAP Cloud platform together with NTT’s IoT analytics will help bus companies identify potential danger before accidents occur.