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Perhaps it’s something in the water here in Las Vegas, but I couldn’t help myself with the title for this blog post. You see, I lead the IoT Smart Connected Business team at SAP and was excited to learn that our demo pod location this year at TechEd 2016 is Explorer Zone 42 (EZ42) on the show floor. I found this to be a pleasant surprise and quite fitting. For those unfamiliar, the number 42 rose to fame as a result of Douglas Adams, the late great author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. If you haven’t read it and think you’d like comedy mixed with science fiction, it’s definitely the book for you.

But what does that have to do with the Internet of Things (IoT)? Well, stick with me for this next part. In the book, there is a supercomputer, Deep Thought, constructed by hyper-intelligent beings that take the form of white lab mice. And this supercomputer is constructed for the purpose of answering the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything. And then it takes Deep Thought millions of years to compute and check the answer, which turned out to be 42. But then, Deep Thought points out that the answer is kind of meaningless because the beings who constructed it never actually knew what the Question was.

I could go on, but needless to say, Adams’ science fiction work has done wonders for elevating the status of the number 42. Just ask Google what the answer is to life, the universe, and everything. And I also love how Adams found a humorous way to poke fun at Big Data and technology before it was even popular to do so. After all, how useful is powerful technology when it takes a long time to give you an answer if you were not even asking the right question?

Which leads me to what we do here on the IoT Smart Connected Business team at SAP… We are hard at work designing and building IoT products and technologies that take full advantage of existing business systems and data to make your business Run Simple like never before. The more things are connected and asking each other questions (and providing answers to those questions) in a smart way, the more actionable insight you get, and the more value you can gain from your business.

If you’re just getting started with the Internet of Things, check out our free openSAP course Imagine IoT for a concise introduction to the topic in general, SAP’s IoT strategy, and a walkthrough of how to build your own IoT prototype. Also, we have tons of sessions here at TechEd that cover this: IoT Made Easy – How to Create IoT Apps for Smart Connected Business or SAP & Intel Smart Inventory: Transforming Fashion & In-Store Customer service or Moving Exabytes Is Expensive: Lambda at the Edge to Enable IoT at Scale, and more.

Last but not least, let me leave you with a teaser video for a new product we are just now launching: Connected Goods:

What if more things were connected in a smart way? We may not have the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything, but stop by Explorer Zone 42, and we’ll do our best to answer any questions you do have about the Internet of Things and what you can do to turn your business into a Smart Connected Business.