Apple and Samsung support SAP’s Leonardo IoT platform

SAP has significantly expanded its Leonardo IoT platform, adding a suite of new services and announcing new partnerships with Bosch, Centrica, Samsung, and Apple. Unveiled at its Leonardo Live event, the expansion aims to snap up new big data and Internet of Things customers on SAP’s HANA cloud platform, leveraging the enterprise software company’s brand recognition and expertise.

Leonardo is the IoT-focused piece of SAP’s cloud strategy – which is centered around its HANA platform, the in-memory database technology that has evolved over the years to its current cloud-based iteration. Seeing AI and machine learning as core building blocks for IoT applications, the goal is to get as much data into the SAP platform – and Leonardo is that conduit.

SAP claims that its software handles 70% of the world’s transactions, worth upwards of $30 trillion, but what it will increasingly handle is data – the commodity that holds value in the IoT. CEO Bill McDermott is now reaping what the company sowed back in 2010, when it decided to initiate the beginning of a $50bn investment in improving its platform and product – through some M&A, as well as inhouse reinvention, and a heavy focus on improving the user interface.

The new features include Leonardo IoT Bridge (role-based digital command center for operations managers), SAP Global Track and Trace (cloud-based end-to-end asset tracking), Leonardo IoT Edge (network edge compute capabilities), SAP Digital Manufacturing Insights (cloud-based performance management and process optimization system), and SAP Asset Manager (mobile application for asset management and monitoring).

As can be seen in the announcements, the platform is aimed primarily at asset tracking and operations management, which includes the analytics and predictive maintenance side of the industrial equation. The goal here is to use SAP as the glue that ties together diverse streams of operational data, where the value of the platform is greater than the sum of its parts.

An example of this sort of deployment would be an industrial manufacturer that uses the platform to monitor its own assembly supply chain, to ensure that it is manufacturing on time, and then uses that same platform to monitor its post-sales process – to provide services on top of its products, such as maintenance and emergency interventions.

The Leonardo platform would sit at the center of such an operation, and SAP would hope to provide many of the other parts of business software keep businesses running – such as the ERP (enterprise resource planning), accounting, payroll, payments, and administration tools – things that don’t crop up often in IoT coverage, but are absolutely vital.

“Less than one year ago, we announced our commitment to invest and grow our IoT business. With SAP Leonardo as our digital innovation system, our new solutions and the many customers and partners demonstrating real life use cases with us at Leonardo Live, we are defining the path to digital transformation with innovation that can scale across the entire organization,” said Tanja Rueckert, president of IoT and digital supply chain at SAP.

SAP says that the new functions, in combination with its existing portfolio, will enable new scenarios, such as outbound logistics. It points to an example that combines its Global Track, Connected Goods, and Vehicle Insights applications, to track shipment, package, pallet, container, and transport data and sensors – with Leonardo IoT Bridge providing the cross-system visibility needed to build services with.

The Samsung partnership is focused on the Leonardo IoT Edge system, and involves an integration with Samsung’s IoT-focused Artik processor modules. The pair have now certified that the Artik 530 and 710 gateway modules support Leonardo IoT Edge, to carry out the edge compute and analytics functions that can improve the efficiency of a business process. Essentially, Samsung is hoping that SAP adopters will pick the two Artik modules to power their IoT deployments.

The case for edge computing, or fog computing, has been made many times. To recap, there are certain devices or environments where streaming data to a cloud-based application does not make sense – perhaps because of the cost of backhauling that data over a wireless network, or the inherent latency that stems from the cloud.

With sufficient compute power, an edge device could drastically reduce the amount of data that needs to be sent to the cloud, through a filtering and sorting process, or could intervene if it spots a worrying pattern in a data set – shutting down a turbine just a second or two quicker than it might take a cloud program to do so, which could potentially reduce the repair bill by an order of magnitude.

Meanwhile, Bosch Software Innovations has launched its IoT Remote Manager on SAP, opening it up to the SAP community. Part of Bosch’s IoT Suite, which is already available on Bosch’s own IoT Cloud, as well as AWS and IBM’s Bluemix. The expansion is part of a wider transition towards the IoT, for the German industrial giant. The IoT Remote Manager already claims to have connected more than 1.5m vehicles, and over 1m smart homes – for a total of 6.2m devices currently connected via the Bosch IoT Suite. The Remote Manager system supports LoRa, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Z-Wave, Modbus, EnOcean, and OPC, as well as the BBF.069, ProSyst (owned by Bosch), and the Open Mobile Alliance’s LWM2M, for upper-layer device management.

The partnership with the utility centers around Centrica’s Panoramic Power, an energy insight and management tool that is part of Centrica’s Distributed Energy and Power business (and was acquired for $60m back in 2015). The pair say they will be combining data from wireless sensors with Panoramic Power’s algorithms, to provide business customers with better views of their energy consumption.

The goal is to use the Leonardo platform as the means to capture and process the device data, but the pair have said that they will also explore new energy solutions for commercial and industrial customers – in conjunction with SAP’s Asset Intelligence Network, which acts as a platform to connect manufacturers, operators, and third-party service providers around industrial machinery, and SAP’s Predictive Maintenance and Service suite.