The ECM industry is facing new challenges. The reason is that the number of applications which produce data and content is steadily growing. According to an IDC study, the volume of data generated globally will grow ten-fold by 2025 – note that this is on the part of companies, not private users. A case for the ECM business? Definitely. What can we expect, where are things headed, and where do all the data come from?
Service apps and enterprise content management
The ECM business has been enriched by service apps for some time. On the client side, robust software development kits (SDKs) make the development of such service apps possible. Even more so if they are able to communicate with ERP systems of choice in the Cloud via an adapter. Stable interfaces – on the clients and in the Cloud – facilitate the development and implementation of so-called service apps in next to no time. So far, so good.
Up to this point, we are well positioned with our products. Many customers have already gained advantages from the technological innovations of recent years. Consider just two examples: the cloud-based Field Service app and Content Services via apps. Today, the most visible innovation involves service technicians heading off to work with a smartphone, tablet, or other handheld device. More data for the ECM systems are definitely coming.
The next step: Internet of Things
But the next step is now beginning to emerge. Today, IoT devices are already communicating with their environment: wearables, LEDs, thermostats, and much more. From this perspective, the speculation by the IDC that, by 2025, every person with Internet access will interact with networked devices an average of 4800 times per day does not seem improbable. Technologies involving the protocol suites Bluetooth, Zigbee, Z-Wave, 6LowPan, etc. are becoming increasingly important, particularly for companies – the focus here is on wireless communication.
IoT examples from the consumer viewpoint
Two examples at this point from the consumer view: Everyone is familiar with large supermarkets with a full range of products. Imagine that I put together my shopping list on the appropriate app, and the next time I go to the supermarket the app shows me the way to the items on my list – the navigation operates via Bluetooth beacons. Searching is a thing of the past. Another example: I want to visit a place, but don’t know if it will be too crowded –a bar perhaps, or a fitness studio. The app tells me; the data are derived from the number of visitors with activated Bluetooth.
IoT examples from the company view
Of course, documents are not the only thing that can be processed with the above-mentioned service apps. The hardware can handle standard IoT protocol suites for wireless communications – and so it’s no wonder that this represents an already widespread practice today. Again, two examples: Reading the status of networked machines via Bluetooth is not a problem today. Service technicians are thus able to call up all the data collected by sensors. Once again, the options are boundless. Whether the service technician reads the health status of the machine or just looks to see how often a door has been opened – there are sensors for every possible instance. One concrete example is the documentation of harvest and transportation routes via Bluetooth beacons. And there is good reason that SAP has an eye on the world of the IoT with the product SAP Leonardo. More data for the ECM systems are definitely coming.
The number of sources which generate data is growing tremendously. With EASY SPIRIT and the EASY CLOUD PLATFORM, we have future-oriented tools for mastering such data. The fast and flexible development of an app with connection to ERP business logic is possible – no matter what the source of the data may be.