Last week I told you about my vision of the future where alarm clocks and calendars and coffee machines all talk to each other. It’s a future where the Internet of Things (IoTs) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) conversations are the “social network of machine and man”, making our lives enormously easier and more productive. I received many e-mail follow-ups about your own IoT scenarios. From iRobots that intelligently clean your house and notify you on your smartphone before you get home for a party you’re hosting, to practical examples in healthcare like low battery alerts for pacemakers or life-saving notifications to an elderly person’s smartphone and their doctor.
(By the way, I am a keynote speaker at the CTIA Conference in San Diego, on Oct 10, 2012 where I will be discussing my vision of the future. I’ll post a link to details for those who can’t attend).
How mobile solutions help shape the IoTs/M2M vision
Today’s market of Mobile Security players have been tactically focused on a market called Mobile Device Management (MDM). While an important market, we see the MDM market as rapidly commoditizing, with the real distinguishing characteristics being the ability to handle potentially billions of devices that need to be managed. The only effective way to solve this is in the Cloud.
Most MDM solutions today don’t scale and are not built to take advantage of the Cloud, to note just two limitations. These are precisely the areas where we are investing heavily in our MDM solutions, and we’re making big strides in the market. We will be showcasing our MDM product, SAP Afaria, running on HANA (our BigData In-Memory Database), all in the Cloud, at SAPPHIRE NOW from Madrid in November.
Beyond MDM, market research shows that every mobile device has an average of 40 business or productivity applications on them. If these applications are being administered by a company, they need to be managed, hence the growing area called Mobile Application Management. Then, the devices in the enterprise will likely have 100+ documents that need to be accessed, and whether it is DropBox / Box.net, or an inside the firewall document sharing location, enterprises will need a Secure Content Management story to their Mobility Security solutions.
The billions of devices in people’s hands today will also be supplemented by trillions of “things” in your life that are on the Internet that not only need to be securely provisioned, but also monitored for data. Think about your smart car, your smart refrigerator, your smart thermostat – the smart vending machine, the smart tractor, the smart logistics hub, the smart city and much more. This continuum is depicted in the chart below which outlines SAPs vision for Mobile Management on axes of Richness and Reach – stretching from millions of devices to billions of Apps / Docs to trillions of “things”. We are working actively with marquee customers to make this happen.
Supplementing this Mobility management, SAP HANA provides a big data infrastructure to handle large volumes of data that are streamed from “things” so as to make intelligent choices through the use of analytics. This enables smart vending machines to decide when to alert the “supply chain” as to when they need to be replenished, even correlating the analytics with third-party data, like weather information, so as to anticipate a hot day, leading to more profitable sales!
There is a lot more I will write in future blogs about the details of what we have planned in the Internet of Things and Machine-to-Machine (M2M). We have a research team that is building really cool technology in the M2M area based on real customer scenarios, and we will soon be appointing a leader for the initiative that will help us take the solutions we develop with customers to the market on a broader scale. We are also identifying a set of close partners who will bring critical elements of the technology stack needed for M2M solutions. So don’t expect SAP to go it alone – there will be a combination of select software companies, system integrators, Telcos and Infrastructure players we are actively engaging with to help bring the solution and vision to market.
Stay tuned. This is an exciting area of innovation for SAP.