Smart IOT London

15 - 16 MARCH 2017 EXCEL, LONDON

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Industry News

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Constellation Research

  • By Chris Kanaracus

    Constellation Insights
    The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has slapped D-Link, maker of IP cameras, routers and smart home equipment with a lawsuit, sayng the company's products were insecure and put customers' privacy at risk. 

    Similar cases were brought by the agency against PC and tablet maker ASUS and TRENDnet. The latter sells video cameras. Such products provide a tempting attack surface for hackers and need to be secured, an FTC official said in a statement:

    “Hackers are increasingly targeting consumer routers and IP cameras -- and the consequences for consumers can include device compromise and exposure of their sensitive personal information,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “When manufacturers tell consumers that their equipment is secure, it’s critical that they take the necessary steps to make sure that’s true.”          

    D-Link touted that its routers were "easy to secure" and had "advanced network security," but in fact had common security flaws, such as hard-coded login credentials with simple constructs, such as "guest" for both username and  password. Other alleged holes included command injection, wherein a hacker can send a device nefarious commands over the Internet; and the exposure of users' login credentials. 

    The security flaws in D-Link's products could be used by hackers to steal sensitive personal information or control other devices on the user's local area network, according to the FTC's complaint, the full version of which is available at this link.

    Analysis: The FTC's actions could move the needle on the IoT security debate

    Constellation has written much about the lack of strong and cohesive IoT security standards and enforcement amid a time when the number of connected devices is exploding due to consumer interest and a Gold Rush mentality among manufacturers. The FTC's lawsuits against device makers could help force the issue in a positive way, says Constellation Research VP and principal analyst Steve Wilson.

    "The US has a mixed reputation worldwide for its light-touch security regulations and its unusual lack of general data privacy law," Wilson says. "But what the US does have is strictly enforced consumer protection statutes. If a company makes a promise to its customers, and then breaks that promise, then the FTC has the power and the inclination to come down hard."

    On privacy matters, the FTC has taken strong actions against Facebook and the privacy seal provider Truste for failing to live up to their own standards, Wilson notes" "Now the FTC is looking closely at what businesses mean when they say their products are 'secure.' This could get very interesting."

    "In my view, the entire security industry has cheapened the word secure," Wilson adds. "When a business claims to comply with security standards, it means they've been audited against their own IT policy, which can be a dense and arbitrary list of procedures.  ecurity-compliant products and businesses still get breached. In fact, security professionals will tell you that breaches are inevitable."

    The last point may serve as interesting fodder for the FTC's enforcement efforts around IoT security. "What does 'secure" mean if a breach is actually inevitable? Where does that leave consumers?" Wilson says. "If your bank said 'it's inevitable actually that we will be robbed' then no way could they use the word 'secure.' If a toy manufacturer said 'the paint on this doll's house might actually be toxic' then no way could they call it 'safe.'"

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  • By Andy Mulholland

    2016 has seen IoT make most of its Business impact as either extensions of existing IT based cost reduction moves, or extending the experience of Industrial Automation deployment. These early IoT adopters all use sensors and sensing to boost their existing operational management capabilities because they can recognize value in this context. But how will the IoT market develop in 2017?

    The level of interest in IoT is high with a great deal of events and online content devoted to the topic, but even so levels of recognition and understanding remain very low. Much of what is presented is fragmented around a particular product set, rather than a Business requirement, preventing CxO level management from acquiring a strategic view of the role of IoT in the Digital Services economy.

    Perhaps even worse it seems as potential buyers are being deterred by the lack of recognizable uniformity in the approach to the same given Business requirement. The diagram below represents the most commonly held understanding by Constellation clients of the various Technology vendors positioning. Black text indicate areas where it was felt IoT business solutions were easier to understand, against purple text indicating a technology that needed to be integrated into a solution.

    Widespread Business Adoption requires recognizable Business and Technology models that support clear value at low strategic risk combined with an ongoing incremental adoption path delivering an upward curve of increasing value. Where ever these basic conditions are met then adoption flourishes and the IoT market exhibits this just as much as any other technology market.

    Currently Business and Management Consultants identify the future state of Business whilst Technology vendors present the elements, with little to connect the two. Hybrid Management to address the three principle questions is, from either side, in very short supply. The result is that it still early days in the growth curve with the Internet of Things Institute reporting that 19% of Business Professionals had still not heard the term in mid 2016.

    In 2014 87% of consumers hadn’t heard of IoT, yet consumer adoption for Smart Homes has been a success story. Almost certainly the answer is products on offer delivered both recognizable ‘value’ propositions as well as integrated low risk home wide extensions.  There was no sale of IoT technology, but there was and is some immediately recognizable consumer attractions. So what’s the problem in defining good IoT Business propositions?

    The Business adoption curve of IoT has striking differences, plus one point of similarity, with the previous Internet and Technology waves. The similarity is that consumer take-up around Smart Homes has occurred earlier and faster than Business take-up; think Smart Phones, Web, even the Internet itself. The manner of Technology adoption is usually explained by reference to the classic Crossing the Chasm model to define the stages of adoption by Business.

    The initial stage of ‘Innovators’ sets the stage for all later success as enthusiastic start-ups collaborate with technology enthusiastic buyers to establish what works, and how that creates real Business value. The ‘Innovators’ stage ends when consensus has been formed on how to use the new technology for business competitive advantage and the identification of the leading products/startups. This critical stage prepares the adoption case for ‘Early Adopters’, those Enterprises whose culture and business model is driven by gaining ‘first mover’ advantage.

    The ‘Chasm is Crossed’ at the stage when the market has become recognized and is growing at increasing speed, usually with one, possibly two, of the initial startups recognized as the low risk vendors. By this point established Technology venders will be starting to enter the market with their versions of the new product, sometimes based on acquiring startups with good technology that have failed for commercial reasons. 

    The large established IT vendors with their need to train sales and support staff on a global basis need the new market with its business benefits to be clearly defined in order to operate successfully.

    IoT simply doesn’t seem to have followed this curve, as the established IT vendors seem to have entered the market at the Innovators stage before the market became clearly defined. Sophisticated products that require large investments are being offered before the Business case is widely understood, and low risk approaches are clear. As the sums involved are larger than innovative Startup projects would have required Early Adopter buyers are wary!

    The book ‘Crossing the Chasm’ has much more to offer than its well known Technology Adoption bell curve being a concise handbook on marketing and selling high tech solutions. One of its messages states; “there must be a group of aligned, mutually supportive, technology subsets and products that together constitute the ability to create solutions”. This condition is certainly met, as the first diagram above proves, but the critical point also being made is that the solutions required must have been defined. This is all too often conspicuously absence due to the by passing on the usual ‘Innovators’ phase.

    It may be that the sheer size and scale of IoT with its countless ways of impacting business to create value is simply too big to follow a single recognizable adoption path. Certainly there is no doubt that a number of sub markets can be identified and in each there is a dominant player with a recognized value proposition. Does that clarify adoption rates, not always as the following example illustrates.

    In the Smart Cities and associated Utilities sub category, Libelium an early innovator in IoT Sensors and Sensing who are now a recognized leader with a global ecosystem of partners and developers. Libelium is a perfect example of a ‘Crossing the Chasm’ startup in the Smart City market that has become a dominant Global player in what is now an early adopter Smart City market. As such it has a fully developed set of solution offerings, even low cost pilot ‘Innovators’ kits.

    Some of the Libelium solutions, such as Parking Utilization Management, are now well recognized for their benefits, so mainstream IT players are also offering the same solution as a part of their Smart City transformation. Each vendor suggests that how it is deployed is a consideration of an entire Smart City strategy, and each vendor approaches the key principles of a Smart City in a different technology model.

    Consider the offerings of IBM Smart City Solutions majoring on Watson based advanced analytics, Cisco Networking the Smart City, and SAP making Smart Cities Smarter. In each link the technology vendor references Parking Management as a case study, but careful reading indicates that what each believes is the core technology required is, not unexpectedly, different with alignment to their current technology leadership.

    All the solutions undoubtedly work well, and have case studies to prove their capabilities. (Interestingly none of the IT technology vendors actually provides the important element of the actual sensors and sensing). The effect on a potential buyer is the confusion of four, (including Libelium), completely different approaches to providing an answer to their apparently straightforward requirement to improve parking space utilization in their Smart City strategy. 

    Crossing the Chasm takes care to identify this problem confronting buyers and markets stating; "the notion that part of what defines a high-tech market is the tendency of its members to reference each other when making buying decisions-- is absolutely key to successful high-tech marketing."

    It is hard not to believe that many potential buyers of Smart City Parking solutions are deterred by the multiplicity of the solutions on offer. Especially when at this early adopter stage of the market there is no general understanding of the technology involved, and the abilities to write a requirement definition are less then fully developed.

    Directly similar scenarios can be identified in other sub markets, and in some markets there are additional Technology vendors not coming from the IT market, but from the actual industry sectors. Their proposition is direct and frankly appealing; Trust us as we really understand this Business and our solutions are based directly on experience.

    2017 looks to be the start of a new phase in the IoT market as the Industrial Technology vendors start to pit their Business Knowledge solutions against the IT vendors Technology knowledge. Expect to see the new IoT vendors from Industrial Technology making use of their installed customer bases, extensive sales, support and financial capabilities to redefine the Business case for IoT, and very possibly various sub sector market places too.

    Perhaps the actions of SAP in announcing a new round of new IT and Industrial Technology vendors partnerships , and GE in signing IT System Integrators to deliver its Industrial Technology are both illustrations of how the IoT market in 2017 will develop!


  • By Chris Kanaracus

    Constellation Insights
    While Microsoft has been in the enterprise application space for many years with its Dynamics product family, one significant hole has been on the HCM (human capital management) side of the house. Its $26.2 billion purchase of LinkedIn helped changed that substantially and now it has emerged that Microsoft is working on a number of new HCM applications. Here are the key details from ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley:

    The Operations module in Dynamics 365 currently includes some HR functionality carried over from Microsoft's Dynamics AX ERP. But it seems Microsoft has plans to go beyond this and build HCM specific apps, based on a January 5 job posting for a software engineer from the company's career site.

    From that posting:

    "Dynamics 365 is all about reinventing business processes ( We are delivering purpose built SaaS apps to quickly disrupt and transform business applications. Our specific team charter is to create the next generation of Talent Engagement applications which help businesses to manage their most important asset - People. We are building apps to address the whole gamut of needs from hire to retire. We are looking for talented web & full stack developers to realize our vision. Our apps provide a rich experience for tightly focused scenarios across the web and mobile."

    Microsoft already has a jumping off point for building out an HCM portfolio in the form of LinkedIn Recruiter, as well as LinkedIn's learning and development applications. LinkedIn's Talent Solutions portfolio provides the majority of its overall income. In fact, LinkedIn is likely the second or third-largest HCM vendor by revenue, and just with talent management revenue, says Constellation Research VP and principal analyst Holger Mueller. 

    "It's good to see Microsoft closing its biggest gap in the Dynamics portfolio," Mueller says. "People are the biggest expense for most enterprises and not offering a way to empower and enable people has been something Microsoft needed to do for a long time."

    Microsoft hasn't confirmed publicly any timelines or road maps for its HCM strategy, but safe money says that new talent management products will be in market by the time its major Ignite conference rolls around in September.

    Finally, Microsoft's initial focus on talent management within HCM seems like an obvious one, given the head start LinkedIn's assets give Microsoft and the fact that it's years away from building out a full HCM suite. (Underscoring this point, Microsoft selected SAP's SuccessFactors HCM Suite in November for its 114,000 full-time employees.)

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  • By Chris Kanaracus

    SAP is always keen to highlight the latest adoption figures for its S/4HANA software suite, as well as HANA Cloud Platform, its entry into the PaaS (platform as a service) market. But raw numbers for new product sales don't always tell the full story about customer attitudes and awareness. 

    Hence, newly released surveys from the Americas' SAP Users' Group on both S/4HANA and HCP are of particular interest. (Disclosure: Prior to my role at Constellation Research, I worked for ASUG in a research and writing capacity.) 


    While SAP has pledged to deliver mainstream maintenance for Business Suite 7—the version run by the bulk of its large enterprise customers—until the end of 2025, it's made it abundantly clear that S/4HANA is the path forward and the target for new innovations. 

    In its Q3 earnings release, SAP said more than 4,100 customers had purchased S/4HANA and more than 350 were live. 

    ASUG's survey drew 749 respondents in total consisting mostly of ASUG members in various IT-related roles. Some 557 responded a question asking whether they had purchased S/4HANA, with 33 percent saying they had. But only 8 percent of that total said their company was live on the suite. Twenty-eight percent said a purchase is planned between now and the end of 2018, while 20 percent didn't know and another 19 percent said they have no intentions of buying S/4HANA anytime soon.

    SAP officials have already said publicly that most initial S/4HANA deployments are occurring on-premises, and the survey validates that, with 38 percent of 563 respondents naming it as their preferred option. Only 2 percent preferred a public cloud option, with private and hybrid cloud coming in at 9 and 10 percent, respectively. Thirty-three percent weren't sure.

    Meanwhile, SAP's decision to strongly identify S/4HANA as the future seems to be resonating. Asked to name their top driver for adopting S/4HANA, 28 percent of 571 respondents cited a sense that "S/4HANA is where SAP is making primary investments and innovation." Respondents chose a number of other reasons in single and low double-digit percentages, and there's a good point to be drawn from that, as ASUG states:

    We would note that in two areas, our survey respondents had no clear consensus answer—to a question asking for the number-one driver to adopt S/4HANA and to a question asking for the number-one obstacle to embracing the suite. We’re curious if that diversity of opinion speaks well to S/4HANA being multi-faceted, or is it more that customers are still struggling with constructing a clear business case.

    HANA Cloud Platform

    SAP has said about 4,000 customers and 500 partners are using HCP to build applications, extend existing ones and integrate others. That is a small percentage of SAP's more than 300,000 customers and it's not clear how many of the 4,000 are even SAP shops (although the likelihood is high).

    Simply put, HCP seems to have an awareness problem. 

    ASUG's survey results for HANA Cloud Platform suggest that SAP needs to do a better job of explaining HCP and why it's relevant to customers. Only 33 percent of 534 respondents said they were "completely clear on what HCP is and why my organization might need it." Twenty-nine percent had "no idea" what HCP is, and another 33 percent said they need more information. Survey results also showed a general lack of awareness for SAP's App Center for HCP-built apps. 

    HCP has existed in some form since 2012, with SAP greatly expanding its capabilities over the past five years. But SAP might be better served by focusing on evangelizing HCP in 2017, as ASUG notes:

    There’s a definite hunger for more information about what HCP offers in terms of functionality and how the platform compares with other, more established enterprise platforms. Customers need to hear what their peers are creating using HCP and how these development projects are benefiting those organizations. 

    The Bottom Line

    You can bet that SAP is taking the results of both ASUG surveys seriously. ASUG members run the gamut from CIOs to IT application managers to power users, who live and breathe SAP in their professional lives. 

    If SAP is having trouble articulating strong business cases for S/4HANA and raising awareness of HCP among this audience, it's got work to do in 2017—both for its own benefit and customers. 

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  • By Steve Wilson

    A few days ago, it was reported that Julian Assange "read out a bitcoin block hash to prove he was alive". This was in response to rumours that he had died. It was a neat demonstration not only that he was not dead, but also of a couple of limits to the blockchain that are still not widely appreciated. It showed that blockchain on its own provides little value beyond cryptocurrency; in particular, on its own, blockchain doesn't 'prove existence'. And further, we can see that when blockchain is hybridised with other security processes, it is no longer terribly unique.

    What Assange did was broadcast himself reading out the hexadecimal letters and numbers of the most recent block hash at the time, namely January 10th. Because the hash value is unique to the transaction history of the blockchain and cannot be predicted, quoting the hash value on January 10th proves that the broadcast was not made earlier than that day. It's equivalent to holding up a copy of a newspaper to show that a video has to be contemporary.

    With regards to proof of existence, the evidence on the blockchain comes from the digital signatures created by account holders' private keys. A blockchain entry certainly proves that a certain private key existed at the time of the entry, but on its own, blockchain doesn't prove who controls the key. A major objective of blockchain as a crypto-currency engine was indeed to remove any central oversight of keys and account holders.

    Quoting the blockchain hash value from January 10th doesn't prove Assange was alive that day. It is the combination of the broadcast and the blockchain that tells us he was alive.

    If this is an example of blockchain providing proof-of-existence (or "proof of life" according to some reports) then the video is like a key management layer: it augments the blockchain by binding the physical person to the data structure. Yet the combination of a video and the blockchain doesn't provide any unique advantages over, for example, a video plus the day's newspaper, or a video plus a snapshot of the day's stock market ticker tape or lotto numbers.

    The pure blockchain was designed to manage decentralised electronic cash and it does that with great distinction. But blockchain needs to be combined with other processes to achieve the many other non-cryptocurrency use cases, and those combinations erode its value. If you need to wrap blockchain with other security mechanisms to achieve some outcome, you will find that the consensus algorithm becomes redundant, and that simpler systems can get the job done.

  • By Dr. Natalie Petouhoff

    Alexa Voice Service (AVS) is the software that allows owners to control compatible devices with their voice. From the various  reports it was estimated there were 700–1,100 Alexa-controllable products at CES. And the Amazon / Alexa logo was everywhere at CES.

    Is the Age of George Jetson here? In a smart home, everything from the the HVAC to the TV to window shades can be controlled. However it’s not easy to really have a whole house of Artificial Intelligence (AI) controlled devices. Why? Many of the IoT-enabled devices don’t talk to other devices if they are made by different manufacturers. Opps! The IoT world awaits THE killer app, like Apple Homekit or Google Home. We are still waiting for them to provide all encompassing, unified smart “home.”

    The Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker controlled with your voice. It connects to the Alexa Voice Service to provide information, news, play music, report on sports scores, deliver weather reports… The uses for AVS and Alexa are limited only by your imagination.

    When something is connected to Alexa, the device instantly becomes pseudo-interoperable. Interoperable technology is not an evolutionarily stable strategy for most IoT manufacturers. Interoperability is the ability of different information technology systems and software applications to communicate, exchange data, and use the information that has been exchanged to do something.

    What CES showed us is that voice control seems to be the unifying app for IoT. And Alexa is the biggest name in voice control. Smart devices are generally controlled with apps. If there is an app to control the smart device, the app allows AVS to directly control the smart device. So you could say, “Alexa, tell Crestron I’d like to turn the lights on in the bedroom” (for your Crestron) or “Alexa, I would like to turn the heat on the downstairs thermostat to 70 degrees” (for your Iris Smart Home System). It’s easy to see the value of voice control in so many ordinary situations. What’s interesting about AVS is that even though Crestron and Iris have nothing to do with one another, you can control them both with your voice.

    Alexa has finely tuned automatic speech recognition (ASR) and natural language understanding (NLU) engines that recognize and respond to voice requests instantly. Alexa is always getting smarter with new capabilities and services through machine learning, regular API updates, feature launches, and custom skills from the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK.) The AVS API  is a programming language agnostic service that makes it easy to integrate Alexa into your devices, services, and applications. And it’s free.

    Create meaningful user experiences for an endless variety of use cases with Alexa Voice Service (AVS), Amazon’s intelligent voice recognition and natural language understanding service. AVS includes a full range of features, including smart home control, streaming music content, news, timers, and more, and can be added to any connected device that has a microphone and speaker.

    But while Alexa has a head start, Google Home, an Echo competitor, is very likely to quickly catch up. Google Home though, works with a completely different set of protocols and has different “awake” words. Command words that make it pay attention and carry out the request. It seems that we may need to learn to speak to different systems in different ways – perhaps we’ll need lessons in Alexa speak and Google speak as well as and Siri and Cortana speak!

    So is the Age of George Jetson here yet? Sort of. What will be interesting is to see if there is a start-up that will pull all of this together so that us regular humans are needing to become AI experts to use the technology and / or connect it!

    Dr. Natalie Petouhoff, VP and Principal Analyst, Constellation Research

    Covering customer-facing applications



  • By Holger Mueller
    SAP bundled its IoT offerings under the umbrella name of Leonardo – combined with programs and tools to make it easier for enterprise to uptake its IoT portfolio.


    Definitively news worth dissecting in our customary style – the press release can be found here:
    WALLDORF — SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) today announced a jump-start enablement program for its Internet of Things (IoT) innovation portfolio. The program is intended to help customers connect the emerging world of intelligent devices with people and processes to achieve tangible business outcomes.

    MyPOV – States well what the news is about. IoT is probably the most complex next generation application scenario we are tracking, given data volume, costs, connectivity and sheer number of things.
    Following through on SAP’s recently announced commitment to invest €2 billion in IoT over five years, the IoT portfolio combines adaptive applications, Big Data applications and connectivity in packaged solutions across line-of-business and industry use cases ranging from connected products, assets and infrastructure to vehicle fleets, markets and people.

    MyPOV - Good reminder on the 2B Euro investment commitment (announced back at the IoT event in Naples / Rome – see here). Good to encompass the integration aspect into the SAP enterprise applications.

    Named SAP Leonardo, SAP’s IoT portfolio takes its name from a figure known for ushering in a groundbreaking era of science and discovery. For more on the SAP Leonardo brand, please see here.
    MyPOV – Good to see a ‘timeless’ and neutral portfolio branding name. Leonard (da Vinci) is certainly a good name giver. At the link, we can see the encompassing marketecture of Leonardo:
    SAP IoT Holger Mueller Constellation Research Leonardo
    SAP Leonardo Marketecture
    “Moving from things to outcomes is about new business processes such as Industry 4.0, new business models and new ways for people to live and work,” said Dr. Tanja Rueckert, executive vice president, Digital Assets and IoT, SAP. “With SAP Leonardo, we connect ‘things’ with business processes that are instantaneous and proactive, and with people who can manage more effectively with augmented intelligence and autonomous systems. Our SAP Leonardo IoT portfolio delivers on SAP’s commitment to produce superior business value through enterprise IoT innovation.”
    MyPOV – Good quote by Rueckert – emphasizing the bottom line for enterprise application vendors like SAP – connecting the Things with the People. Not to forget that the IoT applications by themselves must be at least good enough to get enterprises to adopt them.

    Easier IoT Adoption: Jump-Start Pilot Program and Introductory Pricing
    SAP is introducing a jump-start program to help organizations identify and validate IoT pilots and use cases. A consultative service staffed by SAP line-of-business and industry experts, the jump-start program is a multiphase engagement featuring design thinking to match IoT innovations with customer strategies and objectives in achievable pilots with a clear path to business value. Available worldwide, the jump-start program is intended to ease the first steps of the IoT journey, producing pilots that define business cases for full-scale IoT strategies and further deployment.
    MyPOV – Always good to see when vendors help enterprises adopt new technology. Design Thinking has proven itself as a powerful methodology to have enterprises create the new best practices needed in IoT deployment scenarios. It speaks of SAP’s scale that it has a worldwide focus from the get go. And as with all break through innovations that effect business best practices – it is important to conclude this phase with working, minimum viable pilots – so enterprises and CxOs can see the impact, applicability and feasibility of the follow up projects.

    SAP is also introducing promotional pricing for the IoT jump-start program featuring a simple, fixed cost for software and services to cover the pilot and first year of usage for SAP Leonardo IoT solutions including SAP Connected Goods, SAP Vehicle Insights, SAP Predictive Maintenance and Service and SAP Asset Intelligence Network. By setting a defined price for services and key solutions in the SAP Leonardo IoT portfolio, the introductory offer provides transparency and eliminates budget uncertainty, enabling customers to establish IoT pilots with clear scope, length and pricing. More information on the jump-start program and pricing offer can be found here.
    MyPOV – Good to see SAP bringing together the sprawling IoT portfolio with Leonardo. Cross IoT solutions integration needs will be expected to be addressed – so this is an area to watch. And well done by SAP to reduce the commercial uncertainty of early versions and pilots.

    A Unique Ability to Connect People, Things and Businesses
    SAP Leonardo reaffirms an innovative value proposition, extending from SAP’s enterprise core into automation and intelligence at the edges where IoT data is created. With SAP HANA Cloud Platform, SAP Leonardo offers intelligent IoT applications, business services for development, technical services for processing high-velocity data and an intelligent edge to process information at the device level. SAP Leonardo combines SAP’s unique strengths, including 45 years of business process knowledge across 25 industries and leadership in Big Data management, in end-to-end offerings addressing the following areas:
    MyPOV – Good to see SAP mentioning the integration scenario, which matters for most existing customers. Ultimately IoT automation affects humans, needs to be serviced and sold by humans, it is the interface between the things and humans which are a substantial use case for IoT that SAP is addressing here.

    Connected products for new insights into lifecycle management, sourcing, response and supply, and digital supply networks; and the design, manufacturing and delivery of smart, connected products across all industries
    Connected assets to track, monitor and analyze fixed assets, including manufacturing and maintenance business processes, to reduce costs and increase equipment uptime
    Connected fleet to enable businesses and public service organizations owning moving assets (such as vehicles, robots, fork lifts and autonomous vehicles) to improve services and safety, visibility to logistics and service quality
    Connected infrastructure for new digital operational intelligence from physical-infrastructure systems, construction and energy grids enabling improved service, efficient operations and compliance and risk mitigation
    Connected markets to enable new production, and business models of local relevance and at the right timing for customer and marketing insights, digital agribusiness, smart ports and smart cities
    Connected people for more insightful, collaborative work roles, health management and smart home environments connecting people and communities and providing better, more personalized lifestyle experiences
    MyPOV – Good to see SAP offering the ‘Connected’ product / services family to integrate IoT solutions with its enterprise applications. This business area alone will be substantial business for SAP and significant piece of mind for SAP customers… assuming SAP build, prices and delivers these offerings successfully. 

    SAP Leonardo Event
    SAP also announced plans for its first global SAP Leonardo event. Bringing together SAP customers, partners and IoT experts, the event will showcase the latest in IoT innovations and effective business strategies. The event will take place from July 11–12, 2017, in Frankfurt, Germany, at the KAP EUROPA. More information about the event, including the agenda and registration details, will be disclosed in the coming weeks.
    MyPOV – New products need new events, good to see for SAP to have a separate event for IoT, still spaced away enough from Sapphire, in the heartland of most IoT interest, in Germany. Picking KAP EUROPA, the first congress center to be awarded the platinum certificate by the German Sustainable Building Council, makes appetite for a great event. SAP has big shoes to fill as it had a great, smaller scale IoT launch event in fall 2016 in Italy together with Vehicle Management customer Treni Italia (read here).


    Overall MyPOV

    Good to see SAP packaging up its IoT products and offerings under an umbrella brand, Leonardo seems to be a good choice. More importantly helping customers to come to terms with IoT with the help of Design Thinking lead workshops is key to help enterprises get up to speed and live with IoT projects. Equally good to see SAP thinking about the pricing challenges that are important to address commercial viability of IoT projects… as well as the connectivity between the existing enterprise applications and IoT projects. And lastly it is positive to see SAP announcing a dedicated IoT event – at a IoT rich location with KAP EUROPA in Frankfurt.

    On the concern side, SAP needs to find ways to scale and grow its IoT portfolio which has done well in 2016 and now needs to be taken to the next level. SAP’s salesforce is kicking off the sales year as you read this, and we expect SAP to spend ample room on pushing SAP IoT. It is crucial to get create additional value from the traditional SAP manufacturing install base, often around the Industrie 4.0 moniker. To be fair SAP has positioned the IoT offering well, last but not least with this announcement, now it must execute in 2017.

    What’s your take on SAP IoT? Please share, we will be watching.
    Check out my colleagues Chris Canarakus and Andy Mulholland here.
  • By Holger Mueller
    The iPhone just turned 10 years, time for a musing on a piece of hardware that has probably transformed the way we work the most since … the PC. Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone at MacWorld 2007 as (notice the sequence) a “wide screen iPod with touch controls, as a revolutionary mobile phone and a breakthrough internet communications device”.

    So, let’s look what the iPhone ‘parents’ got right, and what concerns me for its next decade:

    What Apple Got Right

    Smartphones are Status Symbols – If there was one thing Steve Jobs got right, it was realizing that smartphones had the potential to be status symbols. For most of the life of the iPhone – first having an iPhone and then having the latest versions was a huge status symbol. Transferring the mobile phone / smartphone from a work utility (that was the then dominant Blackberry) to a status symbol that was new and innovative – is still fueling the Apple iPhone business today.

    People wanted a full browser – Remember the ‘mobile web sites’? People never like them and another thing that Jobs got right was to realize that users wanted to have a full-fledged browser, with the same user experience like on a PC. Didn’t matter that the Telcos did not allow for that, Jobs and Apple managed to ‘break the rules’ with Cingular. And users did not mind the slow speed of Edge originally. They still flocked to the full website, preferring those to the mobile optimized ones.

    Touch beat the keyboard – Jobs also bet on touch and allowing a larger screen, better form factor than the keyboard based competition of the time. And while it certainly provided a very appealing design – it cratered productivity. Doing email – once a key driver for a smartphone, took a back seat. Even on the Apple 10 year press release, Apple SVP of Worldwide Marketing cites 11 capabilities … before email (and then mentions 8 more) (see here). Millions of “Crackberry” users with a “Blackberry thumb” became “lurkers” on their email (glance on mobile device, answer later PC), creating a texting boom as an informal outlet for previously working email communication.

    Almost a PC replacement – And the iPhone almost became the PC replacement. Many users stating that the iPhone is the new PC. Apple tried to address form fact concerns with the iPad. But only ‘almost’ – as the Microsoft Surface has shown – most people still need a keyboard to function at work and at home – even if their smartphone / iPhone doesn’t have one.

    It’s a camera, a media player, a game console ... and then a phone – Apple got (and probably still gets) the camera right, pushing resolution and capabilities of the camera. It never hurt the iPhone that for the longest time it could not take pictures in the dark. The form factor also makes for a great display for consuming video and playing games… basic phone functions taking a back seat. But that was the key secret about the iPhone – it is / was so much more than a mobile phone.

    Innovation & Convenience are a powerful combo – The final gamble that Apple and Jobs took was that while being very innovative in the first half of the iPhone’s life – it needed a convenience factor, effectively creating the walled garden. And for the most of it, users have been happy. But it is easier to be happy when your smartphone is the object of envy with your friends and colleagues, then when it lacks behind in regards of what we think today are critical capabilities (e.g. speech). To some iPhone users the walled garden looks now less than a garden, but a closed encampment, if not worse. But creating the stickiness will keep iPhone users on the platform longer. Longer than e.g. Blackberry had the luxury to keep users because of e.g. media stickiness. 
    Holger Mueller Apple Constellation Research iPhone SmartPhone
    10 years of iPhones (from here)

    Concerns for the next 10 years

    Here is what worries me for the next decade of the iPhone, looking at what the parent (Apple) can or cannot do for the next 10 years.

    Voice is the new UI – As much as Jobs / Apple got it right that users will take a keyboard free phone, as much they missed the trend to voice. And to a certain point it is tragic – as Apple lead the space of voice recognition with Siri. But then Siri lost out to pretty much all other players, lacking extensibility (released last) and most importantly, neural network power to understand users. Probably closes related to the next worry.

    The parent has no cloud – It is possible that Apple will go down in the history books as the most profitable, most cash rich firm that missed the all transforming trend of cloud infrastructure. It equals to a parent in real life that severely limits the further development of the child at age 10. Reckless abandonment comes to mind. Buying cloud capacity (as we learnt this year) from AWS and GCP is not a solution. But a modern, efficient cloud infrastructure is needed to run several modern services efficiently – e.g. voice recognition, AI etc.

    The parent is behind on AI – Along the same lines as cloud, Google is behind in AI. Yes, a first paper has been published – but compare that to e.g. IBM and Google and you know the iPhone is in trouble because the parents missed an important, maybe game changing moment. No surprise – you need a cloud infrastructure to really run this efficiently. Apple makes the point that it can do things locally – but that has a direct cost and will be subpar to a cloud based AI offer.

    The parent is behind on AR / VR – It’s like a parent who doesn’t have Internet at home but wants their kid to do well in school… not sure how Apple missed the trend, given the strength in display, owning the whole stack from the CPU upwards … should have been a home run. And the space is important as next are holographic interfaces, that make the small smartphone screen a shared experience. Content / platforms build today by ‘parents’ in the industry put their ‘kids’ on a spot for … high school and college.

    The parent struggles with the enterprise – If the iPhone would not have seen success in the enterprise, it is doubtful it would have had the impact that it had. Consumerization of IT became a trend that is real in many other areas of IT. But today it looks like the one time shot that Apple had in the enterprise. iPads started strong but have since then started to fizzle. MacBooks never appealed to most enterprises. So, for the parent to remain relevant – it needs another enterprise success.

    Unlimited plans change the handset spec – The rise of unlimited data plans, with all you can eat video, have changed the way what amounts of data can be consumed on mobile devices. Video calling, messaging, real time broadcasting all are setup for faster and continuous connectivity. All areas that a high price handset may not be required for, assuming improvements in compression algorithms. But probably the lowest concern for the iPhone parents at the moment.

    The parent has run out of ideas – This one is the biggest concern. The Watch has underdelivered. Rumors of new goggles have spread – but others have tired (and so far, failed), I don’t’ see what Apple may do radically different. As a daily glasses wearer, I see the value add must be substantial for a non-glasses wearer (most of us) to adopt glasses. The bar can’t be much higher than sun glasses. For a 10 year, old that is … the parents have tried to get the kid motivated – but to no luck, and the world around them thinks they have given up.

    Software beats beautiful hardware design – Andreesen said it – Software eats the world. When other vendor’s software gets too superior (think voice, AI, AR / VR etc.) a beautiful designed iPhone may no longer make the cut. Software trumps hardware design. Apple must ramp up its software skills and delivery results, as well as it quality efforts. Think for a historic perspective the Apple Maps false start, for recent the defect in Safari uncovered by the Consumer Reports (which basically is sloppy QA).



    The iPhone is one of the most fundamental pieces of hardware and software that we have seen in our lifetime. Most readers won’t remember the time before PCs. The iPhone has made the smartphone as we know it popular – with great resolution, great camera, good media play, but bad battery life and mostly worse phone qualities than its predecessors.

    The forces that worked for the rise of the iPhone are not as powerful as they used to be. Disruptors lurk, e.g. with voice. Apple’s stand on privacy is heroic, but I cannot help that it’s also a position out of weakness: That Apple has not been able to create its own cloud infrastructure. This may hurt Apple not only for AI, AR & VR, Cars and speech – but even more beyond.

    The kid had a great 10 years, but the next 10 years don’t look so promising. Time for the grandparents (the Apple Board), the god parent (friends of Apple) to take the parents on the side, who are certainly trying hard to make the 10-year-old future look good, but don’t have a good track record for the last few years. And for now – from what we know – don’t seem to have an inspirational plan for the next 10 years. Let’s start with the next 2-3 years. Rome wasn’t built in one day either, and only what has not happened, can still happen. We will be watching.

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