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Enterprise gets Intelligence

A new range of services launched by SAP brings advanced technologies to the enterprise.

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At the Sapphire Now conference in Orlando last week, SAP announced new products and partnerships to enable enterprises to become more intelligent, with expanded capabilities from advanced technologies like conversational artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and analytics. SAP also announced that SAP Cloud Platform is now available on all major cloud infrastructure providers.

The Internet of Things platform launched a year ago, Has also extended its technical capabilities for customers to embed cutting-edge technologies into their processes to improve workflows and make enterprises more efficient.

The new products and services include the following. Information as upplied by SAP:

·         SAP Conversational AI enables companies to develop intelligent chatbots. The service includes a powerful end-to-end toolkit for training, building and monitoring chatbots. These chatbots can be integrated with SAP and non-SAP systems and are available as preconfigured industry-specific bots. So far, users have built 60,000 SAP Conversational AI chatbots. France’s railway company SNCF and telecommunications provider SFR already are using SAP Conversational AI to improve customer service and target younger audiences.

·         SAP Leonardo Machine Learning capabilities are now embedded in applications across the SAP portfolio, including SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP C/4HANA and SAP Ariba solutions.

·         SAP Leonardo Machine Learning Foundation, which allows customers to develop individual applications, has five new services, including object detection, text recognition in images and text classification, which analyzes and automatically categorizes text documents. It now supports the software library scikit-learn, in addition to TensorFlow.

·         SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain is a new blockchain as a service enabling enterprises to easily build and extend business solutions with blockchain technologies, such as Hyperledger Fabric and MultiChain. About 65 companies participate in the SAP blockchain co-innovation initiative to help customers use manufacturing and supply-chain products augmented by blockchain to enhance transparency, safety and collaboration in industries such as transportation, food, and pharmaceuticals. To ensure quality, U.S. sausage maker Johnsonville LLC is using blockchain to trace the origin of products across the supply chain.

To expand and accelerate global adoption and best practices of blockchain in the transportation industry, SAP has started a global blockchain consortium with seven founding members, including Intel Corp., Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (HPE) and A3 by Airbus SE.

To help customers easily embed advanced technologies into their solutions, SAP released SAP Leonardo-based innovation kits for specific industries, including retail, life sciences, manufacturing and automotive. SAP also launched the SAP Leonardo Partner Medallion Initiative, an SAP partner service that has more than doubled the number of SAP Leonardo embedded industry solutions.

SAP Cloud Platform Takes Multicloud to New Dimensions

SAP continues to expand and enhance its multicloud strategy with the general availability of SAP Cloud Platform on Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure. With these additions, along with Amazon Web Services (AWS), SAP Cloud Platform is now available on all major hyperscale cloud infrastructure providers. Only SAP delivers this single enterprise platform as a service (PaaS) with such flexibility, openness and choice.

SAP also intends to release SAP Cloud Platform, private edition, on IBM Cloud as a private cloud deployment. The joint solution will allow clients in regulated industries such as banking, healthcare and transportation, as well as those managing sensitive data, to have the flexibility, speed and agility to innovate without jeopardizing security and control.

Delivering on its promise to offer customers choice in mobile app deployments, SAP is also releasing the SAP Cloud Platform software development kit (SDK) for Android. It allows customers to access sophisticated workflows through any Android or Chrome OS device, bringing a familiar, easy-to-use mobile experience across iOS and Android apps.

SAP Analytics Cloud Innovations Enable the Intelligent Enterprise

The expanded capabilities of SAP Analytics Cloud are now directly embedded within SAP S/4HANA Cloud to ensure organizations can plan, execute and analyze in one system, breaking free from spreadsheet proliferation or stand-alone tools. Customers include leading recycled paper and packing company Pratt Industries, aerospace and defense company L3 Technologies and Daimler AG. Additionally, SAP Analytics Cloud now delivers contextual news feeds.

SAP Analytics Cloud extends access to over 150 cloud data sources, so customers can easily access, blend and gain insight from their data, no matter where it resides. The combination of machine learning and natural language query (NLQ) technology augments human intelligence, leading to faster, more accurate results and greater business agility. The new feature “search to insight” uses conversational AI to quickly provide insights into data by answering ad hoc questions in natural language on any device.

Other enhancements to SAP Analytics Cloud include prebuilt content and business logic for more than 20 SAP products, including SAP SuccessFactors®, SAP Ariba and SAP Hybris solutions and SAP S/4HANA, to embed analytics where users work. These capabilities in SAP Analytics Cloud can be embedded into SAP line-of-business applications to power the intelligent enterprise.

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The future of the book… and of reading

Many fear that the days of the printed book are numbered. In truth, it is not so much the book that is evolving, but the very act of reading, argues ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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Let’s talk about a revolutionary technology. One that has already changed the course of civilisation. It is also a dangerous technology, one that is spreading previously hidden knowledge among people who may misuse and abuse the technology in ways we cannot imagine.

Every one reading this is a link in a chain of this dangerous and subversive technology.

I’m talking, of course, about the printed book.

To understand how the book has changed society, though, we must also understand how the book has changed reading. That, in turn, will help us understand the future of the book.

Because the future of the book is in fact the future of reading.

Let’s go back to a time some may remember as their carefree youth. The year 400. 

(Go back in history with the links below.)

Next page:

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Wearables enter enterprise

Regardless of whether wearables lack the mobility or security capabilities to fully support the ways in which we now work – organisations remain keen and willing to unlock the potential such devices have, says RONALD RAVEL, Director B2B South Africa, Toshiba South Africa.

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The idea of integrating wearable technology into enterprise IT infrastructure is one which, while being mooted for several years now, has yet to take-off in earnest. The reasons behind previous false dawns vary. However, what is evident is that – regardless of whether wearables to date have lacked the mobility or security capabilities to fully support the ways in which we now work – organisations remain keen and willing to unlock the potential such devices have. According to ABI Research, global wearable device shipments will reach 154 million by 2021 – a significant jump from approximately 34 million in 2016.

This projected increase demonstrates a confidence amongst CIOs which perhaps betrays the lack of success in the market to date, but at the same time reflects a ripening of conditions which could make 2018 the year in which wearables finally take off in the enterprise. A maturing IoT market, advances in the development of Augmented Reality (AR), and the impending arrival of 5G – which is estimated to have a subscription base of half a billion by 2022 – are contributing factors which will drive the capabilities of wearable devices.

Perhaps the most significant catalyst behind wearables is the rise of Edge Computing. As the IoT market continues to thrive, so too must IT managers be able to securely and efficiently address the vast amounts of data generated by it. Edge Computing helps organisations to resolve this challenge, while at the same time enabling new methods of gathering, analysing and redistributing data and derived intelligence. Processing data at the edge reduces strain on the cloud so users can be more selective of the data they send to the network core. Such an approach also makes it easier for cyber-attacks to be identified at an early stage and restricted to a device at the edge. Data can then be scanned and encrypted before it is sent to the core.

As more and more wearable devices and applications are developed with business efficiency and enablement in mind, Edge Computing’s role will become increasingly valuable – helping organisations to achieve $2 trillion in extra benefits over the next five years, according to Equinix and IDC research.

Photo by Kathryn Bacher.

Where will wearables have an impact?

At the same time as these technological developments are aiding the rise of wearables, so too are CIOs across various sectors recognising how they can best use these devices to enhance mobile productivity within their organisation – another factor which is helping to solidify the market. In particular it is industries with a heavy reliance on frontline and field workers – such as logistics, manufacturing, warehousing and healthcare – which are adopting solutions like AR smart glasses. The use case for each is specific to the sector, or even the organisation itself, but this flexibility is often what makes such devices so appealing. While wearables for the more traditional office worker may offer a different but no more efficient way for workers to conduct every day tasks such as checking emails and answering phone calls, for frontline and field workers they are being tailored to meet their unique demands and enhance their ability to perform specific tasks.

Take for example boiler engineers conducting an annual service, who could potentially use AR smart glasses to overlay the schematics of the boiler to enable a hands-free view of service procedures – meaning that when a fault becomes a barrier to repair, the engineer is able to use collaboration software to call for assistance from a remote expert. Elsewhere, in the healthcare sector smart eyewear may support clinicians with hands-free identification of patient records, medical procedures and information on medicines and results.

Such examples demonstrate the immediate and diverse potential of wearables across different verticals. With enterprise IT infrastructure now in the position to embrace such technologies, it is this ability to deliver bespoke functionality to mobile workers which will be the catalyst for continued uptake throughout 2018 and beyond.

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