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What happens when companies can seamlessly connect data from their physical equipment in the field, manufacturing facility – anywhere it might be – to enterprise systems so people can act faster and smarter? I found out the answer during a VIDEO interview at SAP TechEd Las Vegas. Mohammed Saif, IoT Developer at SAP, demonstrated the incredibly transformative power of the industrial internet of things (IIoT) using one of the most recognizable children’s toys, Lego.

The SAP Asset Intelligence Network that Saif showed in this demo reflects the central growth accelerator for IIoT, (or even IoT, for that matter), specifically the importance of using this technology for business value. This application allows people across the company to see in real-time what’s going on with equipment regardless of where it is, and work together to quickly head off and solve problems.

When I was onsite at SAP TechEd, Tom Kurtz, Vice President of IoT Business Innovation at SAP, told me the biggest difference between this and last year’s event was that people are far readier to move forward. “The conversations I’ve had reflect the maturity that IoT has gone through in the past year,” he said. “Granted it’s still early days and many companies haven’t made final decisions on their investments. But what has changed are the many uses cases I’m seeing from companies that are starting to explore opportunities like managing assets or moving from a reactive to more predictive maintenance program. All of these innovations will have bottom line impact on the business.”

The demo at SAP TechEd may have used Legos, but IIoT is not child’s play. In late spring, industry analysts at IDC Directions 2016 predicted the number of connected devices will triple by 2020 to reach 30 billion as sensor costs drop and ideas take shape. This advanced technology represents the building blocks of every industry’s future.

Follow me @smgaler

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