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The Internet of Things is one of the most perplexing developments in modern history. I recall reading speculation about it over 20 years ago, although the term itself had not been coined yet. For the past five years, it has finally come to life. The number of IoT devices grew by 30 percent between 2015 and 2016. According to a report by Gartner, over 8.4 billion devices were connected to the IoT this year.

While the growth of the IoT fascinates industry pundits around the globe, it also raises a number of questions. As the discussion continues to unfold, SAP is playing an important role in addressing them.

Stephen Patterson of NetworkWorld wrote an article stating that it is one of the biggest changes in his 20-year career. Patterson writes that the industrial IoT is built on the premise of personalization and customizability:
“For the time being, the industrial IoT does not have many one-size-fits-all products. Early adopters and innovators in different industries will prototype and pilot until methods and best practices are exposed and multifunctional teams in IT, operations technology, security, plant engineering, finance and management gain experience. Then there will be industry-specific one-size-first-all products, methods and best practices to implement them. SAP is well positioned to pivot right into the middle of the next growth phase enabled by IoT.”

Here are a couple of the biggest discussion surrounding the IoT and the future SAP holds in it.

Industrial IoT will dominate the landscape

The IoT has fulfilled the dreams that Isaac Asimov fans have held for over 50 years. However, it wouldn’t maintain its current growth rate without a strong demand among key industrial players.

Industrial IoT is the future of commerce. It is going to propel both SMEs and multinational organizations into the next century.

How will SAP impact industrial IoT?

The potential benefits of SAP for industrial IoT applications are virtually endless. Here are some of the top SAP applications for industrial IoT solutions.

Greater personalization

SAP has already introduced a number of personalization features for online content management, which are available on Shopify and many other CMS and content providers. As valuable as those features are, SAP has not even begun to test the limits of personalization.

Personalization will be the backbone of manufacturing 4.0. Manufacturers will create custom products for individual customers. Advances in 3-D printing and other industrial technology have already made this possible. However, assessing the needs of those customers was not possible until the IoT became mainstream.

The industrial IoT enables companies to monitor customer behavior on a much less macroscopic level. Brands understand both the key interests of their users and their preferences for individual devices. They can aggregate user data with SAP to recommend custom solutions to these customers the next time they need to upgrade or replace their devices.

Streamline industrialization with predictive maintenance and other industrial IoT solutions

Industrial IoT doesn’t end with manufacturing. It is an end-to-end funnel that also encapsulates maintenance and ancillary service delivery. Predictive maintenance is a booming business model that is born by the intersection of IoT and SAP. We have previously written about the landscape of predictive maintenance in the past:
“Reduce maintenance cost, increase asset availability, improve customer satisfaction, generate new service revenue and change to a usage-based business model with the Internet of Things (IoT) and SAP Predictive Maintenance and Service. Powered by SAP HANA in-memory technology, the solution analyzes large volumes of sensor data (such as temperature, vibration, or rotation speed) and issues an alert long before a machine breaks down. Combine sensor data with business information in your CRM, ERP, and enterprise asset management (EAM) systems – and move from reactive to predictive maintenance and service.”

How do SAP and industrial IoT merge to make predictive maintenance viable? A number of elements come into play.

Brands will easily monitor all of their devices that are connected to the IoT network. They can gauge their expected lifetime by determining when they go permanently off-line or users file reports.

By assessing the average life expectancy of their devices, they can create a maintenance schedule for all of their customers. This predictive maintenance calendar can Factor for a variety of relevant variables, including:

  • The device models

  • Age of the device

  • Frequency of use

  • Operating conditions that may cause fatigue

Manufacturers will need to experiment to calibrate their predictive maintenance schedules. As the perfect their models, they will be able to deliver more reliable predictive maintenance schedules for their customers.

SAP will give brands a better global understanding of the industrial IoT

The IoT transcends international boundaries. However, manufacturers face and number of conundrums as they expand into new markets. There global marketing strategies are often based on faulty assumptions about customer behavior in different regions.

The IoT gives them more granular insights into the behavior of their customers in other markets. This helps them develop more appropriate products, tailor their predictive maintenance and build more valuable relationships with third-party providers.
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