Simple IT, agile business, and fresh possibilities were the major themes for this year’s SAP TechEd, which took place in Las Vegas on October 19-23. Red Hat participated in the conference by holding talks on integrating SAP HANA® data across the enterprise and why the operating system matters for an SAP HANA deployment. SAP HANA helps to accelerate the pace of innovation, enabling more simplified IT landscapes, faster business processes, and smarter business innovations.
We took the theme of fresh possibilities literally and showed some of our recent work with SAP HANA. Specifically, we spotlighted the use of SAP HANA and SAP HANA Cloud Platform in an Internet-of-Things (IoT) retail use case with Red Hat technologies.
SAP HANA, Red Hat, and the Internet of Things
Retail is one of the industries that can stand to benefit the most from the age of digital transformation. Ahead of many other enterprises, some retail business have already completed the first phase of digitizing many of its information assets, including transaction data, inventory and supply chain management, customer relations, and videos of customer behavior and store dynamics. This brings us to the store and its role as the new site where the next phases of digital transformation can play out: real-time information gathering facilitated by the Internet of Things and integration of that data to help drive new short-term and long-term opportunities.
Taking full advantage of the information potential of the retail store requires a solution that can capture that data and turn it into meaningful information in real time. That’s where the Internet of Things comes in, where devices are collecting data that can drive customer interactions, be they digital or personal.
SAP and Red Hat have worked together to demonstrate a solution at SAP TechEd that takes in data from various in-store collection points, and uses it to trigger rules-based interactions with digital signage, customer mobile devices, kiosk interactions, or point-of-sale cross-sell or loyalty offers. At the same time, that in-store real-time data is being integrated with operational systems for deeper analysis that can help drive long-term process improvements.
Why would a retail business be interested in this type of scenario? This type of system can allow the retail personnel to go beyond the typical post sale/consumer analytics, and move into the realm of real-time behavior recognition, assistance, and modification (consumer incentives).
From a business perspective, this solution can help allow the retail business to:
Identify high-value customers in the store
Influence customer response in real time with incentives, directly to consumer or associate mobile device
Use real-time data combined with historical customer data as a tool to help increase revenue/margin from high-value customers
Access value insight and decisions even when running in disconnected mode
Maintain video low-cost software-defined storage at the store
In addition to the business benefits, the retail organization can potentially realize many technical benefits of this solution:
Local gateway can reduce latency and enable real-time data processing and actions through the business rules engine at the edge.
Data sub-setting can enable synchronizing with a data platform hosted in the cloud or the data center.
Gateway servers can shield enterprise data assets by providing additional validation and security.
Minimizing data transport can reduce exposure to threat.
Communications costs can be minimized, as only relevant data set moves up to data center.
The live architecture that SAP and Red Hat demonstrated at SAP TechEd showed how data flows from a sensor to an in-store gateway and a business rules engine based on Red Hat BRMS, where it is acted upon and then captured by SAP SQL Anywhere. The SAP SQL Anywhere database synchronizes with SAP HANA Cloud Platform for later analysis and integration. At the same time, applications can access that real-time data. Data is routed appropriately, and transformation services are provided by Red Hat Fuse.
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