Tag: sap

Internet of Things, renewables and storage – a perfect storm for utilities’ digital transformation

Without doubt it is a time of great turbulence in the electric utilities space.

In most regions globally, wind and solar are now our cheapest sources of electricity generation, even without subsidies.

As a consequence of this, wind has overtaken nuclear, hydro and coal to become the second largest source of electricity generation in EU in 2016 [PDF]. And at the same time in the US, the solar market is smashing records and grew 95% in 2016 alone.

Then there is storage. Costs here have been tumbling too. So much so that Morgan Stanley predicts the storage market to grow from the roughly $400m in 2016, to a market size of $2-4bn by 2020. This will have big implications for utilities’ ability to add more variable generators (renewables) to their mix without destabilising the grid.

Speaking of grid stabilisation, the refrain up until now has been that for every MW of renewables built, a MW of gas had to also be built as a backstop (for days with no wind, or overcast days, or nights). However, this too has changed. Last August First Solar ran a tests with CAISO (the California grid operator) to test a solar farm’s ability to smooth out grid fluctuations. The results of the test demonstrated that solar farms are able to meet, and sometimes exceed, the frequency regulation response usually provided by natural-gas-fired peaker plants.

Things are changing on the consumption side of the house too.

solarinstall2016

Source: GTM Research / SEIA U.S. Solar Market Insight report

As can be seen from the chart above, installations of residential PV are rising, as is home storage, and another form of potential consumption and storage (v2g), the electric car, saw sales rise by 37% in the US in 2016.

Then there is the whole digitisation of the grid. Now all new equipment is being built with inbuilt ‘smarts’ and connectivity, and even older infrastructure can be retrofitted, so with the advent of the smart grid, we will finally have the possibility of the Electricity 2.0 vision I was talking up back in 2008/09. This is a smart grid where appliances in the commercial or residential worlds can ‘listen’ for pricing signals from the grid, and adjust their behaviour accordingly, taking in electricity when it is plentiful, and switching to alternative sources/lowering consumption when electricity is in high demand.

With the cost of generation dropping, with no end in sight, the cost of storage similarly falling, as I have posited previously, there is a strong possibility that utilities will have to switch to broadband-like ‘all-you-can-eat’ business models with the utilities differentiating, and making their revenue on added services.

Everything is changing for the electric utility industry – and so, against that backdrop, and the fact that I will be presenting on IoT and Utilities at the upcoming International SAP for Utilities Conference in Lisbon, I decided to have a chat with IDC Research Director Marcus Torchia, about the implications for utilities of these huge changes.

We had a great discussion, and many of the themes we touched on, I will be talking about at the Utilities event in Lisbon.

You can check out our chat in the video above, play it in the audio below, or listen to it on the IoT Heroes podcast site.

IoT, and the transition to the digital services economy discussion with Constellation’s Andy Mulholland

Over on the IoT Heroes podcast I recently had a chat with Constellation Research analyst Andy Mulholland. Before coming out of retirement to head up IoT research for Constellation, Andy was Global CTO for Cap Gemini, and so he knows a thing or two about IT!

Andy publishes extremely insightful articles on the Internet of Things regularly over on his blog, so I was keen to have him come on the show.

In the podcast we had a wide-ranging discussion on the implications for (primarily) manufacturing organisations of the Internet of things, the transition to the as-a-service economy, and how people can get up-to-speed on happenings in the IoT space.

If you have any interest at all in the Internet of Things, and how it will effect our society, you should check out this episode of the show – you can subscribe to the RSS feed, subscribe on iTunes, or simply click Play on the player below to hear our discussion

 

Photo credit Toyota UK

Free, open online course about the Internet of Things

SAP have just announced Imagine IoT – a free course on openSAP, SAP’s Enterprise MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) learning platform.

Why is this important?

The Internet of Things is an incredibly nascent area. Today. But it is going to explode. Slowly at first, and then all at once, such that some day soon everything will be smart and connected.

Think back to the state of the Internet in 1994. Almost no-one had a website, or their own domain even. Most companies didn’t even have a company email address, never mind one per employee. That’s where the Internet of Things is today. Most devices, are dumb and not connected, but soon all devices will be connected, the same way everybody has an email address, and when they all start talking to one another, it will transform the world as we know it even more than the Internet has to-date.

Now you see why the Internet of Things is important. It is globally transformative. Now, if you want to learn a little about the technologies underpinning the IoT, this course could well be for you.

The course is open to all comers and in the course

you will learn the fundamentals of the Internet of Things (e.g., sensors, the cloud, and more) and be introduced to new interaction paradigms (augmented reality, wearables, and more) that are changing how we interact with the world around us. You will also learn how to design and create your own IoT prototype

At the end of the course there is a “prototyping challenge” where you submit the prototype you have designed and completed during the course for feedback from your peers. The prototypes will be voted on and the winning prototypes will be showcased, and get to choose how SAP donates $50,000 to charity.

The course consists of 3 weeks of lectures commencing on September 28th, followed by four weeks of the prototyping phase.

The course curriculum looks like this:

  • Week 1: Get to Know the Internet of Things
  • Week 2: Go Deeper into IoT with SAP
  • Week 3: Create Your First IoT Prototype
  • Week 4: Submit Your IoT Prototype
  • Week 5: Evaluate IoT Prototypes of Your Peers
  • Week 6: View Results of Your IoT Prototype
  • Week 7: Winners Announced

And the course doesn’t require any previous knowledge of coding (though, it probably wouldn’t hurt!).

I signed up for the course, and I’m looking forward to trying out some of the technologies that will be showcased.

Full disclosure – I work for SAP but I’d have blogged about a worthwhile initiative like this regardless given how important and pervasive the Internet of Things is going to become. Knowing how to work with IoT will be a hugely important skill.

Global Internet of Things Evangelist for SAP

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My SAP phone on my SAP laptop

I have been recruited into SAP in the role of Global Internet of Things Evangelist starting this month.

When I left RedMonk earlier this year, I mentioned that I was talking to a couple of people, but that there was still a window of opportunity for other companies to get in touch about my working for them. SAP, and a number of others, saw the post and got in touch.

It has been an exciting few months in the meantime. I’ve had fascinating discussions with lots of companies (including the CEO of a US electric car company who wanted me to move to Palo Alto to work for his organisation).

After weighing the various options though, I decided to accept SAP’s generous offer, for a number of reasons:

  • The Internet of Things is at its very inception – it is now where the Internet was in 1994 – back when organisations didn’t have websites or a company email address even. So there are going to be seismic changes in the workings of the IoT over the next few years. This ever changing landscape, and the incredible outcomes which will accrue, are what makes this topic fascinating for me.
    Also, when I worked on cleantech, it was an area which was very broad and cut across many verticals. IoT similarly crosses many verticals, so it maps very closely with what I’ve already been doing.
  • Then there is SAP – SAP is a large enterprise software company. SAP has in the region of 77k employees, and reported revenues in excess of €20bn in 2015. By any measure SAP is an enormous organisation. And I have only ever worked for very small companies, so why go for SAP?
    Well, that’s the point, isn’t it? Working for a small company it is very hard to make an impact, but when you are working for a company with hundreds of thousands of customers, if you make even a small difference, it can have really significant outcomes.
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    And then there’s the fact that we live in the city of Seville. It is a beautiful city, and my family and I love living here. SAP had no problem with me living in Seville and didn’t even think of asking me to move to Germany, to Palo Alto, or even require me to work out of the SAP Madrid office. This was a big factor inthe decision too.

So now that I have started, I am looking forward to getting to know all my SAP colleagues, helping craft SAP’s Internet of Things strategies, and showcasing all the seriously impressive IoT solutions that are possible with SAP’s software.

If you want to get in touch to know more, feel free to leave a comment here, DM me on Twitter, email me at tom.raftery at sap.com, or get me on my mobile +34 608 252 871

DLD Conference Highlights

I spent the early part of this week in Munich for the DLD Conference in Munich. It was an amazing experience.

The conference itself is a free invite-only event. The speaker list is unbelievable. The speakers included politicians, business people and convicted criminals!

Apart from the usual tech rock stars (Clay Shirky, Marissa Mayer, Matt Cohler, Jimmy Wales, etc.) there were people from the world of biology (Richard Dawkins, J. Craig Venter), literature (Paulo Coelho), extreme sports (Karina Hollekim), politics (Paul Kagame, Viviane Reding), and unclassifiables like Naomi Campbell (super-model and business woman) and David Silverman (the original animator and director of the Simpsons!).

One of the most impressive talks was also one of the shortest. It was the talk given by Shai Agassi, the onetime next CEO at SAP! In this presentation he explains how he is going to get Israel off oil in 10 years. What is most impressive about this plan is that it is completely reproducible for other countries!

Don’t believe me? See it for yourself below:

Link: sevenload.com

Any questions for Jeff Nolan?

Jeff Nolan is a former executive at SAP (Jeff led the Apollo Strategy Group for SAP – aka the Oracle Attack group) and recently joined a silicon valley startup called Teqlo.

I will be interviewing Jeff tomorrow for the IT@Cork pre-conference podcast series.

If you have any questions you would like me to put to him, feel free to leave them in the comments.

UPDATE – this interview has been postponed until Tuesday Oct. 10th so you still have time to get your questions in!

Oh no! Scoble Show launched

Robert Scoble’s video show was launched this morning. The delay in the launch was due to the PodTech.net site’s re-design apparantly.

The Scoble Show

There are some fascinating interviews there. One of the videos is of a photo walk with Thomas Hawk. Thomas is a photographer in San Francisco and works with photo sharing site Zooomr.

I did a podcast on PodLeaders with Thomas a couple of months back and it was an engrossing interview but Robert vastly improves on my podcast by interweaving photos Thomas was taking as they were walking along by the Golden Gate bridge (and by being a far better interviewer!).

The interview with Sun CEO Jonathon Schwartz was a compelling insight into why Sun still matters!

And I love the wide screen format of the video.

I can’t wait to see the JotSpot video and the Shai Agassi interview – jeez, now I’m never going to get any work done!

[Update] I see Robert has blogged about it too