Perpetuating Sustainability through IoT

By Gil Perez, SVP, Digital Assets & IoT, SAP

Gil Perez, SVP, Digital Assets & IoT, SAP

If you want to make an impact, you need to put your heart into it and go big. Not only is this my life motto, but it is something that I am able to work to achieve every day in my role at SAP.

At SAP, we strive to run with purpose in everything we do. When I look at digital assets and IoT, I see a unique opportunity for us to collaborate like never before and impact the world for generations to come. This is an area however that I feel we, as a society, could be doing better in. There is enough technology that exists today for us to change the world, yet many have such a siloed approach that they are missing the opportunity, and if we do not act now it may be too late.

Therefore, technology leaders must operate with a profound sense of purpose. This purpose must go beyond addressing an immediate need, but also take into account the needs of future generations. No matter what our specific role within an organization is, we must all make a shift and begin operating with the mindset of someone with the title of chief sustainability officer. Consequently, this type of operational mindset will also set high-performers apart from the competition, as customers are increasing by looking to invest in companies that are focused on sustainable initiatives.

"There is enough technology that exists today for us to change the world, yet many have such a siloed approach"

One of the keys for achieving this is increased collaboration and cooperation across the entire enterprise, particularly amongst members of the c-suite. What is truly inspiring is that we can also use technology, and specifically IoT to fuel this type of alliance. I see the role of the CIO and fellow technology focused executives, evolving to be the key collaboration drivers and enabling new business models. They need to lead the charge in implementing connected devices that facilitate efficient communication, increase productivity, and streamline processes to not only align employees with each other, but further, align employees with the company’s greater sustainability strategy and business objectives. In addition, they need to take a more comprehensive approach with their decision-making, using IoT and sustainability to enable new business models and revenues streams.

For example, by looking at the larger picture and examining where we could not only help improve peoples’ lives but also impact on the environment, we developed the SAP Connected Vehicle suite of solutions, with Connected Parking being our latest product in that overall solution suite. It is a solution I am very proud of, especially as inefficiency in parking is globally unaddressed problem, which we at SAP decided to tackle and try to resolve. Every day millions of people drive in our urban cities searching for parking, releasing increased emissions into the air and feeling frustrated and stressed during the process. Our goal is to make everything more efficient and provide commercial benefits to the citizen, commercial enterprises, and the municipalities by, improving the vitality of the city, reducing CO2 emissions and enabling new business models and services to flourish.

With this solution, we also focused on logistics and long haul transportation networks and not only on the urban cities parking challenge. Long haul truckers face similar challenges with finding parking. In the U.S. and in most countries truckers are regulated on the number of hours they are allowed to drive continuously. At the time, a driver is required to rest, if there is not an open parking spot; truckers are left with two bad options: (a) park illegally (b)continue driving illegally to the next truck stop, with the risk of being cited for exceeding the time limit they are allowed to drive.

In looking at the parking industry, we saw that it lacked a system that could keep track of inventory and reservations in real-time. This idea is not new, in fact, many other industries already have these types of solutions in place–think about hotel rooms or airline tickets, which utilize technology to keep track of inventory and enable customers to make reservations ahead of time based on that inventory. This is what we were hoping to bring to parking.

The parking industry has traditionally operated with what we call P.A.R.C–Parking Access Revenue Control, an ERP for parking locations. However, P.A.R.C originated with hardware, and while the system has gradually evolved, we saw that it is still outdated and not set up to be part of today’s digital age and the IoT landscape. SAP’s Connected Parking is an OEM solution, which enables P.A.R.C. solution providers to accelerate their time to market and provides a native IoT parking solution to parking operators globally. This enables parking operators, trucking companies, truckers, cities and drivers to have a delightful, efficient and seamless parking experience using a modern cloud based parking system provided by SAP.

With the goal of significantly lowering maintenance costs and minimizing operational complexity, we focused on facilitating a paperless and cashless approach when digitizing the solution. Eliminating paper innately reduces costs associated with refilling rolls and helps decrease the chance of a breakdown. Meanwhile, removing the exchange of cash boosts efficiency, robustness (e.g. no moving part is equal to less support) and lowers the costs of the solution (e.g. less hardware and lower cost of ownership). Ultimately, what we have done is implement an IoT solution to accelerate the digitization of the parking industry, providing a modern solution for parking structures to update their facilities to the IoT era.

It is this kind of seamless, integrated, and delightful experience that consumers are interested in. In this case, it is about how efficiently they can get to their destination and park their vehicle. However, it is a prime example of what can be achieved when you focus on the bigger picture-improving the lives of people for years to come. Our transformational, yet sustainable approach to industries is just one of the things that separate SAP from the competition. From our most senior leaders all the way down, everyone stands behind a common goal, allowing us to more easily bring ideas to reality, and help the world run better.