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In case you missed Björn Goerke's TechEd 2016 keynote last night, let me give you the shorthand version. He arrived on stage in a DeLorean "Back to the Future" style and shared a story of the car needing to tap into unused solar panel energy in order to get back to the future. That's definitely one way to get my attention!

Fun premise aside, this led to a great demonstration of how you might go about managing and optimizing thousands of connected things. And I liked the way Björn phrased it, which solar panel installations can I tap into to suck out the energy? Meaning, if we only had a persistent, real time, and holistic view of Internet of Things (IoT) resources utilized and available... imagine the possibilities! And then he showed us how that would look. In his own words:

"I need to connect the sensor world with my master/detail world of [my] backend systems… The solar panel information with the sensor data is on the other side. That’s a very common problem in IoT… Tons of sensors, and they are all individual but they relate to each other."

Indeed. He then continued his story by showing a world where backend data (location of the solar panel, info related to installation, dates, labor costs involved, estimated power generation, business partners involved, description) was correlated and combined with sensor data (operational status, temperature, current power feed, utilization rate). What if, through the power of geospatial calculations using SAP HANA, we could get a map-like contextual view of all this?

And that is exactly what he showed as the basis for where he needed to go to get his DeLorean the solar energy it needed without any disruption. Now, as powerful of a story as it was, what are your next steps if you want to recreate something similar but for real world scenarios?

Well, if you are at TechEd, be sure to stop by the Smart Connected Business pod at Explorer Zone 42 (EZ42) on the showroom floor. There you can learn firsthand about these types of scenarios, including details about SAP Connected Goods. This is a cloud-based solution that can show you a geospatial overview of all your connected devices in a region (think of connected coolers, for example) and conveniently check the status of these devices, see the contextual metadata related to each, and setup alerts based on operational activity. Sound familiar? Think of it as the real world version of Björn's demo, just without the DeLorean.

Speaking of which, coincidentally, there is a brand new openSAP course launching next week called "Imagine IoT" which gives an overview on IoT industry trends and SAP's strategy, plus also includes a prototype challenge where you can go hands-ons to build your own IoT prototype. I say "coincidentally" because, as part of this free course, there is a real-world scenario demonstrated that involves connected solar panels!

And last but not least, be sure to check out what SAP and Intel are doing together with IoT for retail stores to provide a superior customer service experience with smart inventory. It's a pretty cool (and real!) scenario.

Not that I don't love time traveling DeLoreans, but lest we forget, the larger point is just how much IoT is already a reality.