Soccer team in a huddle

SAP Internet of Things Community Dreams Big for Charity

Feature Article | December 1, 2016 by Jacqueline Prause

What happens when 18,000 people come together to imagine new ways the Internet of Things (IoT) can enhance people’s lives and make the world a better place?

Newborns receive round-the-clock care; busy crowd areas are effectively monitored and secured; litter in municipal parks is whisked away before it becomes an eyesore; and hikers on remote trails get the information they need to ensure vital access to water throughout their journey.

openSAP Learning: Hands-On Challenges, Crowdsourcing, Expert SAP Tools

These are just a few of the marvelously innovative ways in which learners in a recent openSAP course applied the principles of IoT to solving problems they noticed in the world around them.  The course, Imagine IoT, was held October 12, 2016 to November 10, 2016 as a first-of-its-kind IoT introductory course presented on openSAP, SAP’s award-winning learning platform that offers a broad range of business and IT courses modeled on advanced learning techniques like crowdsourcing, gamification, and build-your-own-app challenges. Imagine IoT presented the basics of IoT targeted to nonexperts and experts alike, with no pre-requisite technical knowledge required. The course covered fundamental topics such as sensors and the cloud, as well as new interaction paradigms, like augmented reality and wearables.

The course culminated in a prototype challenge, engaging learners to design and build their own IoT prototypes that included a story, persona, user experience journey, point of view, and mockup. Learners also had access to the SAP prototyping tool BUILD to complete their projects. The prototypes were evaluated through peer assessment and SAP expert judgment. Due to the high standards and innovative approaches applied by the learners, SAP decided to showcase the top 150 of the more than 1,300 submissions received. Visit the gallery (login required) to see the winning prototypes.

What happens when 18,000 people come together to imagine new ways IoT can make the world a better place?

Winners Help SAP Distribute $50,000 Charitable Donation

The top 10 winners of the challenge got to decide how SAP should allocate its $50,000 donation among three pre-selected charities: NetHope, Institute of International Education, and Wikimedia. This unprecedented approach granted each of the 10 winners an opportunity to designate $5,000 to one of the three charities. The charities were chosen by SAP based on their support of the “Internet of Good Things” by fostering education and utilizing technology to make the world a better place. SAP also took into consideration the rankings of the charities for their operational effectiveness. Read more in the SAP Community blogs for further information about the class and the charities.

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SAP CEO Bill McDermott; Tanja Rueckert, executive vice president of Digital Assets and IoT, SAP SE; and  Bernd Leukert, member of the Executive Board, Products and Innovation, SAP SE, present SAP’s check for a $30,000 donation to the charity NetHope, one of three charities selected to receive a donation as a result of the openSAP “Imagine IoT” prototype challenge. (Photo via SAP)

4 Winning Prototypes from the “Imagine IoT” Challenge

Read on to learn more about some of the winning prototypes. Each of these prototypes presents an innovative, targeted solution to a highly specific, real-world problem. Together they showcase the unique and imaginative ways IoT can be applied to solving a diverse array of challenges in our daily lives.

Hospital Newborn Baby Monitoring System

This prototype aims to provide comprehensive, close monitoring of critical health information for newborn babies during their first precious days in the newborn unit of the hospital. For busy hospital staff, an IoT solution can provide the extra support to ensure each newborn receives proper and timely care – and hospitable staff are quickly alerted to problematic developments.

The chief challenge of this prototype is data consolidation from numerous devices to prevent data gaps and present a single source of truth. Some of the IoT-related technologies used in the prototype include baby wristbands with sensors to measure body temperature and heart rate, and additional sensors to record sleep patterns; room cameras and bed cameras to monitor general conditions in newborn room and follow the babies’ activities; integration interfaces to collect data from other lab systems and to create data pool; and interfaces to show health data, pictures, and videos of babies for nurses and doctors – and for parents too.

For Bahadir Murat Kandemirli, an experienced technology project manager based in Dubai, UAE, the inspiration to create the newborn monitoring system came at 1:12 PM on Friday, May 30, 2014 after his son was born. “When I saw my son for the first time in the newborn room, there were thousands of questions in my mind about his health,” says Kandemirli. “I could not find any answers to my questions. Then I asked myself why they did not have a monitoring system to learn critical data and follow up some important activities about my baby.” When Kandemirli talked to doctors and nurses about his concerns, he saw that the data gap was a pain point for hospital staff. “I understood the fact that they really needed this kind of a tool to help them and increase their work efficiency.”

Kandemirli has participated in other openSAP courses, as well as courses on other non-SAP learning platforms. He describes his openSAP experiences as “fantastic and outstanding” – citing the easy-to-comprehend training videos and documents, as well as the exceptional quality of the teachers, and the useful scoring system. He especially enjoys the opportunity to work with new SAP applications and tools like SAP S/4HANA and BUILD, noting, “This is the most important and significant thing to get hands-on experience and to merge the theoretical lessons with practical experience.”

Below is an image from the prototype. For more detail, see the prototype submission as a PDF or in BUILD   (login required).

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Olympic Games Safety

Perhaps no show draws more attention and generates more excitement than the Olympic Games. The Games can only be enjoyed however in a safe and secure environment. Organizers of the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, for example, have already begun to engage leading technology firms to develop video intelligence analytics to monitor crowd safety, as well as sophisticated devices that can detect high-risk substances.

The potential of IoT to further expand the number of touchpoints across a system or venue inspired Kevin K. Rad, an SAP solution architect at Coresystems in Switzerland, to create a prototype that focused on ensuring Olympic Games safety, as well as demonstrated how the technology can be made usable for humans in a social context. “IoT can expand the system’s boundaries,” says Rad. “Combined with technologies like cloud computing, Big Data, machine learning, and global WiFi, we can have more things connected, which means more things belong to the whole, as a system. We have more interactions, hence more control.”

A former professional water polo player from Australia, Rad has spent a lot of time around sports venues and knows about the challenges unique to these environments. IoT can make it easier and less expensive to monitor safety on a large scale compared to many of the current security solutions. New technologies used in this prototype include: smart cameras that can detect suspicious behavior or people; sensors that can detect high-risk substances; gas sensors to detect high-risk gas in the area; smart cameras that can predict crowd movement; and smart roads.

Rad believes learning is done best by doing. “I found this challenge useful in this way, particularly that there are peer reviews. You get feedback, you provide feedback, and all learning happens in action.”

Below is an image from the prototype. For more information, watch the video.

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Smart Water for Long-Distance Hikers 

Water is a precious life resource, so it shouldn’t be left to happenstance as to whether you will have enough or not – certainly not when you’re on a desert trail some 20 miles from the nearest camp or station. Olga Werner, a UX Visual Designer at SAP, applied the fundamentals of IoT to solving the problem of providing hikers with relevant information about the amount and quality of the water available at various stations on long-distance hiking trails. Werner says, “Lately, I got into hiking and I am inspired by the three long distance hikes in the United States – one in particular: The Pacific Crest Trail. It is over 4,200km long, and it takes hikers usually from 4 to 6 months to hike. I found it fascinating how hikers handled the water situation, especially in the desert.”

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Hikers face the tough choice of having to somewhat blindly rely on the availability of water at the next station – or they can carry their own water, but then they must endure hauling the extra weight. The Pacific Crest Trail report offers crowdsourced information about water along the trail, but unfortunately it may not be current. “I thought that with the help of IoT, this problem could be solved and make this hike even more enjoyable,” says Werner. Sensors at the water stations along the trail can gather valuable data, alerting hikers to dangerous situations like water scarcity or contamination. Hikers are able to access this information in real time with an app to better plan their trip.

Werner enjoyed building the prototype because it challenged her to further her understanding of IoT, a topic which she had little prior knowledge about. “It helped to dig deeper into this topic and internalize IoT,” she says.

Presented here is an image from the prototype. For more detail, see the prototype submission as a video or in BUILD (mobile view) (login required).

Municipal Solar-Powered Waste Bins

For Mathias Ehret, a senior solution manager at Corporate Business Solutions Unternehmensberatung GmbH in Munich, Germany, the inspiration to create an IoT solution for municipal solar-powered waste bins came during his evening commute when he passed a motorized, solar-powered waste bin that had clearly malfunctioned. “There was a lot of litter around it and the lid was standing open with rubbish,” he recalls. “I got a little angry. You have an expensive device that’s standing around and there’s already more litter than you would have by putting a trash bin there. I thought, well, this poor thing is not able to cry for help. When I got out of my subway train I already had a low-flying prototype.”

This prototype provides a solution for real-time maintenance of the waste bins by alerting municipal workers to problems with specific waste bins – for example, a low battery, a blocked solar panel, or lack of capacity to hold more garbage. This prototype successfully mitigates two common challenges of IoT scenarios. One is the operational management of distributed devices, due to the need to specifically identify which waste bin is malfunctioning or full. The second challenge has to do with the data collection, because of the sheer volume of the data.

Ehret’s company is currently engaged in IoT projects now on behalf of its customers, including smart cities scenarios. It is also developing best practices for various types of IoT scenarios and business processes. Participating in the Imagine IoT course has helped Ehret explore IoT in greater depth, as well as given him new ideas that he can apply to current projects at work. He has taken other openSAP courses and likes the Design Thinking approach often used. “This was the first peer review challenge I’m at,” he says. He prefers this practical learning approach to more traditional passive methods “because you are really forced to work on the class content. That’s really effective. Yes, it takes a lot of time, but after that, you’re really firm in what you’re learning.”

Below is an image from the prototype. For more detail, see the prototype submission as a PDF  or in BUILD (login required).

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Register for openSAP courses here.

To see more winning entries in the Imagine IoT prototype challenge, visit the gallery (login required).

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