By Dr. John Bates, CEO of Plat.One
We’re delighted to have announced that Plat.One is now part of SAP. As many of you might know, Plat.One is a leader in the IoT Application Enablement Platform space. We make it easy to rapidly build IoT-enabled apps and we provide powerful run-time services to manage and scale those apps. We’re headquartered in the SF Bay Area, with our R&D center in Genoa, Italy. Plat.One had a number of customers in the Smart City space, the connected products space, the smart logistics space and the connected farming space.
Now what, you might ask, could a 77,000 person software goliath want with a small IoT startup? Well it just so happens that our technology is pretty good and our team, staffed by IoT technology experts and thought leaders, is not bad either. SAP, very smartly, are always looking for ways to accelerate their roadmap to get new technologies in the hands of customers as quickly as possible. And Bjoern Goerke and his team want SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) to be the leader in enabling the rapid development and support of IoT-enabled apps. So SAP did an exhaustive search of the market, decided Plat.One was the company of choice, wooed us and we fell in love. But we’re really at the beginning of the story – and it’s a story with much exciting potential.
So what is it that SAP likes about Plat.One? Well some of the characteristics of Plat.One that will help accelerate the HCP roadmap are:
- It’s a Babel Fish for Machines – Plat.One has the ability to talk to a wide variety of machines – from factory floors, to smart cities, to connected products. This is possible through our support for 40+ machine protocols and the ability to learn new ones rapidly.
- It’s Edgy – Plat.One has an architecture that works cooperatively across the Edge and the Cloud backend. Of course the cloud is a given with HCP, but managing devices in certain environments also often requires edge services working hand-in-hand with cloud services. The “Edge“ means running close to devices – on routers or gateways for example – to be able to connect and manage IoT devices locally. At the Edge it may be necessary to run disconnected from the cloud for a period (e.g. a mining truck with patchy connectivity) or perform local analytics and filtering before sending data to the cloud (e.g. when sending data over a low power SIGFOX or LoRa network). Plat.One Cloud and Edge services are implemented in a micro-services based container architecture that allows intelligent placement of capabilities at the edge and/or in the cloud depending on application requirements.
- It can Futureproof your Apps – A rich semantic data model supports virtualizing “Things” as business objects. This enabes apps to be “futureproofed“ because they are not hard-wired to specific protocols and device details. The platform manages the underlying complexity of this device virtualization.
- Easy Authoring – Plat.One has a graphical plug-and-play development environment for IoT apps – which radically simplifies the process of building apps
But for us from Plat.One, the prospect that really excites us is the opportunity that SAP has in the market. And we want to be part of the mission to be the leader in IoT. There are several opportunities in which we believe SAP is incredibly well placed, including:
- Thingalytics – This is the name of my book published last year, which talks about the need to converge IoT with Big Data Analytics to deliver smart environments, whether they be cities, logistics operations, retailers or factories. It’s critical that IoT data is analyzed in real-time with streaming analytics to spot anomalies and opportunities. It’s critical predictive analytics and machine learning is used to learn about how IoT systems usually work and then identify when things are not as they should be. And it’s critical to be able to capture, visualize and investigate IoT data. SAP has all these capabilities with streaming data services, predictive analytics, SAP HANA and much, much more. The fact these will all be seamlessly integrated with IoT capabilities in HCP, enables SAP to truly deliver on the Thingalytics vision.
- Linking Apps to Assets – Consider the existing SAP applications in the market – such as Enterprise Management, Financial Management and Supply Chain Management. All of these applications are based on models of what is happening in the real world. Now we can link those models to the real world assets they describe. For example, imagine modeling depreciation in a financial model. Now we can understand and value assets based on how they are used – rather than theory. This saves money, reduces risk and increases accuracy in business management. But for SAP it is a revolutionary new capability in the market that can be applied to 320,000 application customers.
- Thinganomics – This is the term I coined from Things + Economics – to discuss the economic benefits of IoT. One of the biggest reasons that companies are resistant to starting IoT projects is that they don’t understand the economic benefits – in terms of new revenue opportunities, disrupting competitors, optimizing operations or saving money. It’s critical to understand what kinds of Thinganomic benefits a project can generate. And who better than SAP to lead the way in describing, measuring and proving Thinganomic benefits to our customer.
Plat.One is a small, yet important, piece in accelerating SAP’s roadmap. The big picture looks very promising. Uniquely in the market, SAP can win a whole new range of customers and partners and supercharge the apps of existing customers and partners – to link to assets, deliver Thingalytics and produce Thinganomic benefits. Bring it on! Plat.One is reporting for duty!