Middle East businesses are no longer overwhelmed by the big data challenge and are increasingly turning to cutting-edge solutions to achieve previously unattainable value, experts and business-leaders agree.
Speaking at an SAP-hosted round-table event in Dubai today, anti-collision software pioneers SK Solutions delivered a vivid use-case scenario for how the mining and analysis of big data can make an unprecedented impact.
Dr. Séverin Kezeu, CEO, SK Solutions, cited his company’s co-innovation with SAP to enhance worker safety, reduce costs and improve productivity on Dubai construction sites. The project uses sensor-based data fed through a system using a portfolio of SAP technologies, including in-memory computing platform SAP HANA, to prevent cranes and construction vehicles from colliding.
“Modern cranes are immense, able to lift loads of more than 19 tons to heights more than 80 meters, and crane operations can result in a range of dangerous situations,” explained Dr. Kezeu.
“Our solution entails deploying sensors on cranes and construction vehicles to pull actionable data such as 3-D motion control via inertial motion unit, location via GPS and load weight, equipment usage and wind speed and direction. This information is then extracted to help keep personnel safe and enhance utilization of construction equipment, which helps improve productivity and ensure projects meet key milestones.”
“As the global leader in anti-collision systems, we understand the value of real-time information for saving lives,” Dr. Kezeu added.
“Our collaboration with SAP illustrates how information technology and operational technology are converging.”
SK Solutions’ big data offering comes as analysts IDC predicts the business intelligence software market in the UAE alone is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.6%, and surpass $55 million by 2017.
IDC also states that over 40% of CIOs in the Middle East are currently considering investments in analytics and big data technologies. In the UAE, IDC found that 58% of CIOs cited governance, regulation and compliance requirements, transparency, and reporting as key reasons for investing in big data and analytics technologies.
Worldwide, IDC estimates that spending on Big Data technology and services will likely grow from $3.2 billion in 2010 to $16.9 billion in 2015, representing a CAGR of 40%, or about seven times that of the overall ICT market. Last year, the Harvard Business Review proclaimed the role of Data Scientist as the “sexiest job of the 21st century.”
In another recent survey among IT decision-makers in the UAE, EMC research found that found that 87% of respondents thought decision making within their company could be improved through better use of data, with 67% saying that senior managers trust the insights such analysis provides when making important business decisions.
“Big data and analytics awareness is rising in the market, and you see a greater interest in business intelligence tools amongst leading organizations in the region. Sectors that will primarily be focused on business intelligence include governments, banking, retail, energy, transport and communication,” said Megha Kumar, Research Manager – Software, IDC MEA.
“Increasingly, the decision to use Big Data within organizations will not arise from CIOs and IT managers, but from CxOsor heads of Lines of Business (LoB). We can also already see certain sectors such as telecommunication and retail consider technologies like “in-memory” computing to gain real time analytics or better insights into predictive and sentiment analytics. This allows for new improvements in decision-making and service levels.”
Big Data’s vast potential is one of the main driving forces behind the growing popularity of SAP HANA, anin-memory platform that combines transactional and analytical processing in one system, simplifying customer’s IT landscape and providing rapid transaction processing with real-time analytics and an advanced development environment for SAP and custom built applications. SAP HANA provides a single platform for advanced real-time analytics, data warehousing, visualization and reporting and enterprise applications. The platform – which offers a choice of deployment models and partners, providing lower cost and faster innovation from an open ecosystem – has enabled companies to run processes up to 100,000 times faster than before.
In 2013 alone, MENA sales for SAP HANA grew 255% year on year.
“SAP HANA is the perfect platform for running large-scale industrial business analytics, supporting over 2,200 enterprises and over 1,000 start-ups,” said Christian Rodatus, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Analytics, SAP.
“Databases, data processing, and applications are converged in-memory to create a high-performance, integrated system for sharing value rich information in real-time.”
To optimise HANA innovation, SAP recently launched the SAP Startup Focus program, which is initiated to drive adoption of the SAP HANA platform and foster innovation outside of the traditional SAP ecosystem. The program serves as an accelerator for big data, predictive and real-time analytics startups, and has more than 1,200 members. Use-cases range from gaming and retail to finance and manufacturing.
“We are in the midst of major technological, social and economic changes in the Middle East, represented by the shift from the information age into the intelligent age,” said Paul Devlin, Director, SAP Platform Solutions, SAP MENA.
“With the fast rise of social media, the proliferation of mobile and smart devices, as well as ever increasing demands from consumers, businesses must not only to keep up to stay relevant, but also stay ahead in order to be successful. As we’re seeing with companies like SK Solutions, business leaders in the region are no longer intimidated by notion of Big Data, but are instead becoming inspired and are delivering previously impossible solutions.”
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