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Ian Thain's Blog

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In my latest SAP CodeTalk I spoke to Rüdiger Müller - Director Product Management for SAP Jam. During the interview Rüdiger describes SAP JAM, why it is of interest to developers and more!

If you are attending SAP TechEd && d-code 2014 in Berlin, make sure you speak to the SAP JAM Team.

Please follow me on Twitter @ithain

For this year the InnoJam, which feeds into the SAP TechEd &&d-code DemoJam, took place at SAP Campus in Palo Alto, CA and this team was the winner picked by all the attendees of InnoJam, who went forward to the DemoJam in Las Vegas! The guys from California State University, Chico really threw themselves into the InnoJam experience and this nearly paid off, with them as they came second in DemoJam!

A solution for weed control using sprayers and an autonomous vehicle (e.g. parrot mini-drone jumping sumo) to go through the orchards to identify weed and control it. The solution uses SAP HANA to collect and store data from the field, identify the type of weed, and transfer back the appropriate solution mix to control the weed.

The next InnoJam is November 9-10 at TechEd && d-code in Berlin and it will be interesting to see what will be created there!

Please follow me on Twitter @ithain

For this year the InnoJam, which feeds into the SAP TechEd &&d-code DemoJam, took place at SAP Campus in Palo Alto, CA and this team was the winner of the SAP employees group... two teams SAP Employees and 4 teams non-SAP.

This solution looks at 'cow wear' or items that cows can wear that provide information about location, heartbeat, nutrition, etc. for each cow. For example, farmers can collect information about cow nutrition so they can mix the appropriate types of nutrients for each cow so they can produce better milk. This solution uses SAP HANA and SAP Lumira.

I will have another interview tomorrow

Please follow me on Twitter @ithain

For this year the InnoJam, which feeds into the SAP TechEd &&d-code DemoJam, took place at SAP Campus in Palo Alto, CA. This solution is meant for farmers who have a large investment in equipment. It uses the IoT (Internet of Things) to monitor equipment and provide predictive analysis on when equipment is about to fail.

The solutions uses SAP HANA to connect to the cloud and store the data collected from different sensors/devices. It also uses the SAP UI5 framework to build a mobile app, and SAP Lumira to visualize the final end solution

I will have another interview next week

Please follow me on Twitter @ithain

For this year the InnoJam, which feeds into the SAP TechEd &&d-code DemoJam, took place at SAP Campus in Palo Alto, CA. The theme of the InnoJam this year was IoT (Internet of Things) in Agriculture, inspired by only the lack of water in CA and today's interview is with one of the Teams that put together something that could address this problem head-on.

This solution uses sensors so that each farm can get real-time data in SAP HANA. Farmers can then predict how much water to use in their fields thus conserving water. The solution uses SAP UI5, SAP HANA as the backend and SAP HANA Cloud to connect to the SAP HANA database.

I will have another interview tomorrow

Please follow me on Twitter @ithain

Last week in Las Vegas was a great success, especially for a new area at SAP TechEd && d-code 2014 - The Hackers Lounge, but what is it all about?


NOTE you have another chance to experience it in Berlin!


The Hacker Lounge is a space where you the developer can come and check out things related to a specific subject... and this year we have chosen IoT or Internet of Things. IoT is going to be big and SAP will enable this to seamlessly become part of the Enterprise.


On the showfloor in Las Vegas, we had a number of demo pods such as Water Pump, Augmented Reality (Google Glass, Vuzix etc), Smart Retail, Crane Avoidance. Some of these you will also see in Berlin, but we will have some others.


In Las Vegas & in Berlin we have the IoT Lab and is definitely a place you will not want to miss out on. It is the place where you will find IoT developers from SAP building a solution with not only our software but hardware such as Arduino, Beagle Bone Black & various sensors. In Las Vegas the guys built a IoT Scarecrow that moved and sensed various external conditions. I'm not going to say what the guys are going to build in Berlin, you will have to come by and talk to them.




Next to the Iot Lab is an area where you can sit down and try some Hands-on IoT Development yourself... How do you wire up a temperature sensor & get that data back into HCP?  The guys showed you in Las Vegas and it will happen again in Berlin. This was one of our popular areas within the Hackers Lounge!!!


We also had an Open Source Bar, where you could meet & talk to some of our Open Source Partners, such as GitHub, RedHat etc


The Hub.jpeg


If that is not enough we have a space called The Hub, where we will be presenting every hour, so check out the agenda (to be published) on SCN as well as on a monitor in the area.


Please come along to The Hackers Lounge in Berlin and follow me on Twitter @ithain

Ian Thain

SAP InnoJam 2014 - Smart Pot

Posted by Ian Thain Oct 30, 2014

For this year the InnoJam, which feeds into the SAP TechEd &&d-code DemoJam, took place at SAP Campus in Palo Alto, CA. It was in fact my first exposure to a 24-hour hack and I have got to say, it was an awesome eye opener and Smart Pot was a cool idea.

The smart pot was a solution built with tagging information and sensors. It uses the sensors to gather and send information on the plant to SAP HANA to prepare a consolidated plant care schedule for you. No longer is it guess work how to look after your plants!.

I will have another interview tomorrow.

Please follow me on Twitter @ithain

I wanted to share an SAP TechEd && d-code Live interview between Marlo Simon of SAP and myself from Las Vegas. Amongst other things in this discussion I find out how Marlo has successfully interacted with the wider Developer community and what this entails.


I hope Marlo's story will encourage you all to do the same and if you do, please let @SAPDevs know and we will see what we can do to help!



Please follow me on Twitter @ithain

Ian Thain

SAP InnoJam 2014 - Palo Alto

Posted by Ian Thain Oct 29, 2014

For this year the InnoJam, which feeds into the SAP TechEd &&d-code DemoJam, took place at SAP Campus in Palo Alto, CA. It was in fact my first exposure to a 24-hour hack and I have got to say, it was an awesome eye opener!


The theme of the InnoJam this year was IoT (Internet of Things) in Agriculture, inspired by not only the lack of water in CA, but the ever changing climate conditions around the world and the growth of population. So, setting an initial scenario that the attendees could think about was pretty simple, see here. What I was astounded by straight away was the breadth of ideas that were created!


I was able to catch up with each of the six teams in turn and interview them, the first is below with Chris Rae @chris_rae01 who spoke about the InnoJam project that he took part in... Precision Agriculture



I will have another interview tomorrow.


Please follow me on Twitter @ithain

Ian Thain

IoT@Scale prep time

Posted by Ian Thain Oct 16, 2014

So today is the first day of the IoT@Scale two day event, here in SAP Labs, Palo Alto, where we are playing host to RedMonk


We have some great demos... Crane (collision avoidance), Water Pump, Connected Garden & Connected Car.





See how the Crane was built in a 30sec time-lapse video



Please follow me on Twitter @ithain

If you have been following me on Twitter (and why wouldn't you ;-)) or on my blogs here at SCN, you would probably have notices that us guys in the Developer Relations Team at SAP are putting on an IoT based InnoJam at the SAP Campus in Palo Alto, CA. This will take place the weekend before we move onto SAP TechEd && d-code in Las Vegas, so Saturday & Sunday October 18-19 (InnoJam, Palo Alto, CA).


NOTE If you want to know more, be sure to check out my CodeTalks on the SCN YouTube Channel here.


So today I thought I would share one scenario, that I would like you attendees that are registering to contemplate as something you could work on...



In the current drought situation it is essential to lessen the environmental impacts of farming, due to better water consumption, reducing soil erosion & degradation, taking into account, crop specification, local climate (light & wind etc) & predicted weather conditions. This could possibly be extended all the way through to harvesting, transport & shipping (Field to Port) lessening infrastructure challenges, but thats another story!


A solution could be engineered with SAP technology, such as SQL Anywhere running on a Raspberry Pi. This same R-Pi would be connected to wind, moisture and sunlight sensors to gather and store those metrics, that could be synchronised either directly back to HCP or in batch at certain times of the day.


In turn the HCP could be getting data from weather forecasts to make predictions on how much water should be used, with those factors (wind, moisture, sunlight) in mind, combined with the forecast. For example if there is rain forecast, calculate how much less water can be used. Then the amount of water calculated and time of dispensing should be sent back to R-Pi, which could actuate a control valve, to dispense the amount of water used.



I'm sure there will be other scenarios and you could also decide on one yourself. 



Please follow me on Twitter @ithain

In the public arena it's probably the most misunderstood & wrongly used term... Hacker! For the majority of folks in the outside world it conjures up, the thoughts of personal information theft and major fraud, even Mathew Broderick in WarGames (see I'm showing my age). The problem is, that's Cracking!


All of us guys in the developer world & tech know the Hacker as someone, knowledgable in Code As a Craft... creating cool apps that can really make a difference! An awesome Software Engineer!


So these cool guys will be heading towards SAP TechEd && d-code in both Las Vegas & Berlin over the next few months & we at Developer Relations have put together a Hacker Lounge for you to come, hang out, listen & watch lots of cool stuff in the Internet of Things.


Check out my two latest CodeTalks with Craig & Aaron below to find out more




Please follow me on Twitter @ithain

In the next few weeks the SAP InnoJam in North America will take place just before TechEd && d-code, at the SAP Campus in Palo Alto, CA. So I thought that I would interview two folks connected with it. Firstly my collegue in Developer Relations Craig Cmehil and secondly one of the guys who will be at the event to show what we are doing in the IoT space & help the attendees build their own hacks, Aaron Williams.




The registration page is available here on Eventbrite


Please follow me on Twitter @ithain

Many years ago I took the leap from Desktop based GUI apps to Mobile. In one fail swoop I had to rewire my development and design brain to take on a smaller paradigm, not only in processing power and storage but data, graphical design and especially user interaction. It sounds hard, but never loosing sight of the users needs and experience with mobile devices, became second nature. The key was synchronising and presenting the data that was needed by the mobile user, to perform the tasks required.


Now with wearable technology coming main stream, with the Apple Watch, it is probably the final UX frontier that will need to be crossed. Let us face it, shrinking down an app from a screen the size of the current iPhone to an Apple Watch is going to be impossible for some mobile apps. Currently Apple have announced that the screens for Apple Watch will come in two sizes, 38mm & 42mm and obviously the smaller one will have less ‘face’ real-estate (not screen) than the other and even the larger one will be about a third than that of an iPhone 4S or less.


*On iOS devices developers have always been advised to use ‘Hit Targets’ of about 44x44 pixels for UI elements, that interact with touch and I can assume that this would be no different for the Apple Watch… remember you will be still using the same input device… your fingertip!


This is why Apple have a number of ways to interact with Apps on the iPhone via the Apple Watch. One of which is something that I think will be the way ahead for most… ‘Glances’ I just love ‘glance technology’ and I have experienced it for a year now using the Metawatch Strata, which I invested in via KickStarter. Take it from me, the ability to leave your iPhone in your pocket, bag or close around you and still view your apps data, on your wrist, is cool! For the Apple Watch, Glances allows a summarization of your apps data in one concise face. The next way to interact is Actionable Notifications, from your app on your iPhone to your Apple Watch, which will be pretty simple for some apps. The last and hardest interaction, will be apps built to extend to Apple Watch with WatchKit, as this framework will supply a limited number of controls and application interactions unique to Apple Watch, on top of and taking into account the limited face size on the watch itself.


So going forward into this brave new Apple Watch World of Apps, I think there are a number of apps that will be suited to take advantage of this newest personal and wearable devices... Outside of ‘Glances’ themselves, which present a view of key app information, the lowest hanging fruit would be… the apps with Notifications. Those are the ones that receive push notifications or create local notifications on the iPhone, that can just propagate them to the Apple Watch with Actionable Notiifcations. The next would be apps that request a simple answer or interaction, such as a Vacation or PO approval app and finally and probably the hardest to get a great user experience, will be apps that take simple inputs of approximately 6 ‘Hit Targets’ or less with simple inputs selectable from data driven controls. I say 6 ‘Hit Targets’ or less, due to the what I mentioned above *. (I am imagining that in a maximum 2 x 3 matrix).


I believe the Final UX frontier will be creating an experience for inputting on such a device as an Apple Watch. An experience that will have to be slick, easy, fast and unobtrousive, else you might as well get the iPhone from your pocket and go a little up scale with more screen real-estate etc. Saying that, this may even be a real life scenario using Apple’s ‘Handoff’ technology, where apps that have initial interaction started on the Apple Watch will hand-off seamlessly to the app on the iPhone.. Cool!


I can't wait to see what the developers create!


Please follow me on Twitter @ithain

Apple Watch that is!!!... Sorry but as a Mobile Pundit in the Developer Relations Team, I have to put fingers to keyboard today.


Would you believe it, I kept myself away form most of the announcement until this morning, after a late work call & the unusually indifferent streaming experience from the Apple Event in Cupertino (well at least when I tried 40 mins into Tim Cook). My wife and children seemed oddly happy that, after a few minutes I retired the Apple TV to sleep mode and announced my download plans for today... can't guess why ;-)


On a hardware front, I was really pleased with what they had to announce, though I’m not a 100% fan of the larger iPhone 6 Plus… too big IMHO, but hey it will have a definite space etc. Nice also to hear that iOS 8 will be with us pretty soon!


My assumptions so far...


Apple Watch will...

  • Connect to iPhone via BlueTooth (also iPad, but with limited functionality?).
  • Companion apps will be extended via WatchKit to Apple Watch.
  • Standard Apple Apps & Phone functionality will be made available to Apple Watch bidirectionally, via the same route.

I was in fact tweeting this before in April & blogging on SCN in February here… So a little smug (for once ;-)Of course at this early stage there will be folks that think its a total fad, but I believe that once the iOS Developer Community get hold of it, we will be in awe with what they produce! And wearable tech is the future... this is from a guy that has a Jawbone UP and a Metawatch Strata for a year+, and will probably be retiring these two into the new year, into the one device.



Any advances?




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