SAP Looks to Make Building IoT Applications Simpler

Mike Vizard
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Creating an App-Centric Network for the Internet of Things

Recognizing that applications that leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) might be challenging for most organizations to build, SAP is developing an IoT application services layer that promises to abstract away much of the underlying complexity associated with building these applications.

Speaking at an SAP Executive Summit; Internet of Things event this week, Tanja Rueckert, executive vice president for Internet of Things and customer innovation at SAP, says that as SAP began to build out its framework for IoT applications, it became apparent that both SAP and its customers needed a way to build these applications that masked much of the underlying complexity of SAP platforms that are used to enable them. As a result, Rueckert says, SAP is developing an applications services layer for IoT that SAP, its partners and customers will all use to more easily create IoT applications that will span a broad range of vertical industries.

Rueckert says SAP envisions customers and partners will build complementary applications that focus on micro segments of the major vertical industries that SAP serves. For example, Rueckert says, SAP will later this month deliver an Asset Intelligence Network application that Rueckert describes as a “Facebook” for machines through which various IoT devices will be able to more easily discover what functions and actions another machine can perform.


In general, Rueckert notes, it’s imperative that organizations embracing IoT understand what classes of data need to be accessible in various formats at any given time. While Hadoop and Apache Spark frameworks provide a mechanism for processing massive amounts of data, Rueckert says the operational data that organizations need to make business decisions in real time is better served by the SAP HANA platform.

In effect, organizations need to not only understand the volume, velocity and variety of the data types that need to be managed, they also need to understand where best to store the aggregate analytics of all that data based on how hot, warm or cold it may be from the operational perspective of the business.

In the meantime, rather than trying to boil the IoT ocean, Rueckert says most organizations would be well advised to start with a relatively small project that proves the value of IoT investments to the business today. Once an organization has a few of those projects under its belt, that organization will be in a better position to address all the technical and cultural issues that arise from building, deploying and managing IoT applications at scale.

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