Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

SAP brings big data and analytics to logistics

Steve Rogerson
July 18, 2017
Enterprise application software company SAP launched several IoT products aimed at the logistics and asset tracking market at last week’s SAP Leonardo Live global summit in Frankfurt.
Part of the SAP Leonardo digital innovation system, these IoT products take advantage of advances in big data and analytics, the ability to connect people, things and business with SAP’s cloud platform, and technologies such as machine learning to enable IoT and Industry 4.0 strategies across digital logistics, manufacturing and asset management.
The offerings include:

  • Leonardo IoT bridge: a configurable role-based digital command centre giving operations managers visibility and ability to act in real time;
  • Global track and trace: a cloud-based offering for unified, end-to-end tracking, monitoring and reporting of objects and business processes across supply chain networks;
  • Leonardo IoT edge software: software to bring compute, storage and business semantics via the cloud to where intelligent devices reside outside of the data centre, for near real-time and deterministic performance of business processes;
  • Digital manufacturing insights: centralised, cloud-based manufacturing performance management that provides visibility into manufacturing for process optimisation; and
  • Asset manager: a cloud-based mobile app for managing asset health, inventory, maintenance and safety.
"Less than one year ago, we announced our commitment to invest and grow our IoT business," said Tanja Rueckert, president for IoT and digital supply chain at SAP. "With SAP Leonardo as our digital innovation system, our new solutions and the many customers and partners demonstrating real-life use cases with us at SAP Leonardo Live, we are defining the path to digital transformation with innovation that can scale across the entire organisation."
The Leonardo IoT bridge is a live operations centre that converges, correlates and contextualises IoT sensor data with business processes and structured and unstructured data. Global track and trace provides modelling of tracked business processes, is designed to share data among the partners in the supply network, and is built on a big data architecture for high volume and throughput.
Together, they are intended to integrate with SAP's portfolio to enable scenarios such as outbound logistics. Using delivery, shipment, handling unit and vehicle number unit data from global track and trace, combined with information from SAP’s connected goods software such as pallet and container sensor data, information on transport location from the vehicle insights application, and purchase order data from SAP’s S/4Hana software in core enterprise systems, the IoT bridge can provide cross-process, cross-system visibility enterprise-wide so that command centre and operations leads can know exactly where a shipment is in transit, what is in the shipment, and the condition and performance of the vehicle.
Bosch and SAP are collaborating on delivery track and trace, exploring cloud-to-cloud integration with Bosch’s IoT cloud.
"By using sensors, we digitalise logistics," said Matthias Huelsmann, vice president of connected logistics at Bosch. "In particular, we provide data services based on real-time location, auto-ID and condition data such as temperature and shock. This creates more transparency and new value-added services. In doing so jointly with SAP, we help transform our customers' supply chains even faster."
Using the container infrastructure of SAP’s cloud platform IoT services, Leonardo IoT edge is intended to work seamlessly with other line-of-business offerings such as digital manufacturing insights. Providing cloud-based, multitier analytics for full visibility into manufacturing on multiple levels, the insights are seamlessly and securely connected to the shop floor. This provides high-fidelity information overlaid with business data to enable decision making. Together, digital manufacturing and IoT offerings from SAP enable cohesive management of operations and Industry 4.0 strategies.
A result of SAP's partnership with Apple, the asset manager supports skilled professionals by mobilising key asset management processes. The enterprise-grade mobile app provides the ease of use of consumer apps and a user experience available through the SAP Fiori for iOS design language.