SAP is adding some new capabilities to its Leonardo digital platform to give customers more visibility and control and also to capture more IoT data at the edge to enable real-time processing. The company announced these new services earlier this week at its Leonardo Live event in Frankfurt, Germany.
Leonardo Bridge is described as a type of “command center” for users that will connect IoT data with business data that the company is already collecting, often by using other SAP products. For example, by using Leonardo Bridge, a retail store manager could monitor consumption patterns of perishable items in the coolers. If sales of a certain product decline, the retailer could create online offers to encourage sales. Or they can review incoming orders for these items and adjust them.
According to Stacy Crook, research director of IoT at IDC, Leonardo Bridge is part of SAP’s strategy to bring IoT data together with information that companies are already collecting using existing systems “Now you are connecting IoT with what is going on in real-time with systems that you already have in place,” Crook said. “You are now getting better insight into your processes and improving efficiencies.”
The company also introduced SAP Edge Services, which promises to expand capabilities at the network edge by adding contextual data and intelligence. For example, by using Edge Services, a warehouse that uses conveyors to fulfill orders could now determine in real-time how much capacity a conveyor is using as well as whether the conveyor is completing orders using certain precise specifications.
Crook noted that expanding data capabilities at the edge will allow for different use cases. She added that for some manufacturers, latency is a huge issue. “For some, a millisecond of a delay can screw up a lot,” she said. And that leads to additional costs.
But she adds that it really depends upon the use case. For some manufacturers latency is an issue, for others they want the data at the edge for security reasons.
SAP refers to Leonardo as its digital innovation platform, and markets it to customers as a way to evolve their business and take advantage of innovation. Leonardo is a collection of software and services that embrace technologies like big data, analytics, blockchain, and machine learning.
IDC recently released a study that evaluated 12 global IoT platforms. SAP’s Leonardo was included in that study, which also included other firms like GE Digital, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, and Amazon Web Services.