SAP Leonardo, IoT, and Industry 4.0
In this article, we'll take a look at the definition of Industry 4.0 and the role of IoT within it. Then we'll discuss the adoption of IoT in SAP and its role.
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In this article, we'll take a look at the definition of Industry 4.0 and the role of IoT within it. Then we'll discuss the adoption of IoT in SAP and how it plays an important role. Finally, we will briefly discuss automatic inventory replenishment using SAP IoT.
Industrial Revolutions 1.0 to 4.0
The picture below describes how the industries transformed from mechanical power to the Internet of Things.
- Introduction of machinery powered by water and stream that helped to farm etc.,
- The introduction of electricity leads to mass production
- The Introduction of electronics and IT further automated the production process.
- Driven by connected devices/machines that exchange the information.
Fundamentals of IoT
Let’s start with the definition from Wikipedia. "The Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals, or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction."
IoT is systematized with three important components. Let’s deep dive into each of the components before we get into real-life examples.
- Edge services
A sensor is a small device that detects the state of physical devices and transmits the information as digital signals to an edge or cloud solution that ingests and analyzes the data. Physical devices cannot sense their status without sensors. IoT enables Machines or devices can communicate with each other with the help of sensors.
- Thermostats that measure humidity, temperature
- Apple watch which detects motion and noise
- Health fitness devices that detect movement and position
- Chemical sensors, which measure contamination levels
- Vision sensors recognizing light, colors, and even complex patterns like defects in materials.
The need for edge computing established due to the exponential growth of IoT devices. Edge computing receives the information from IoT devices and transfers data to the cloud.
The billions of devices generating data every day and data are growing exponentially. Edge network reduces the load on the cloud by managing data locally and avoids transmitting all the raw data from a local source to the cloud. This is why edge processing and the pre-processing of sensor data play such an important role in IoT today.
Some of the best examples: Transmitting big data from vessels on the high seas, the challenge is often about bandwidth. Likewise with offshore oil rigs, retail stores.
In manufacturing, shop floors are equipped with many, many sensors monitoring and controlling the production process.
It’s a technology world of the cloud. Almost everyone aware of the cloud functionality. Cloud computing simply means providing on-demand storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and an intelligence network of remote servers.
Intelligent Enterprise with SAP IoT
Traditionally, IoT is seen as a network of physical devices and the focus is set very much on how they connect and exchange data. But at SAP, we see much more in it.
We see IoT as a key enabler of the Intelligent Enterprise where data enables intelligence and feeds process automation and innovation. Most enterprises have systems that capture operational data about customer transactions, procurement, vendor contracts, manufacturing and spending, and human resource management.
Reports and dashboards provide insights and help to predict what will happen next. But in order to influence what happens next, companies need more insights into interactions that people have with their products, their employees, their business, and their brand
In order to connect the dots and understand the interdependencies, businesses need an experience platform that captures it all in one place. SAP Intelligent Enterprises collect insights from customers, employees, products, and brands at every touchpoint.
Qualtrics is SAP's solution to optimize customer, employee, product, and brand experience. The SAP intelligent suite provides a suite of applications to run day-to-day business operations like manufacturing, supply chain, finance, logistics, etc.
The SAP intelligent technologies platform includes data-driven insights, intelligent robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, and IoT cloud and edge.
Automatic Inventory Replenishment
Let’s take a look at the example of how SAP can be integrated with IoT sensors and deliver the auto-replenishment in Silo.
- Sensors attached to receptacles measure real-time fill-level, material consumption rate, temperature.
- Fill-level sensors in silos usually measure the distance from the sensor to the surface of the material inside the silo to determine the reorder level.
- Sensors send the fill level, temperature, and also humidity information to SAP Leonardo IoT.
- In SAP Leonardo IoT, the sensor data is then enriched with business context from the ERP system, such as the material type, the respective plant, and the storage location.
- An automated integration from SAP Leonardo IoT to the ERP system triggers the automatic purchase requisition to the relevant supplier based on the business rules defined in the SAP ERP application.
- Business rules in Leonardo IoT send alerts and notifications if any critical situation occurs. So, for example, a low fill level, a high temperature, or the humidity being too high, which could spoil the material.
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