Coffee Machines Brew Industry Disruption: Digital Twins Emerge In 2017

How fast can your coffee machine accelerate business growth? Of all the demos I saw at SAP TechEd Barcelona, digital twins was among the most fascinating.

Opportunities explode and industries implode when everyday items like coffee machines power a direct conversation between customers, companies and suppliers, not only crunching high-volume, actionable data in real time, but also looking into the future.

It’s not surprising that digital twins made it into Gartner Research’s top 10 trends for 2017. Those analysts predict hundreds of millions of things will be represented by digital twins within three to five years.

Above, Thomas Kaiser, senior vice president of IoT at SAP, talked with me about how the smartest companies are using digital twin technology to shake up the status quo. Featured is a clip of Ian Kimball of SAP demonstrating the amazing power of digital twins using a connected coffee machine at SAP TechEd Barcelona.

How digital twins disrupt

A digital twin is a virtual representation of a process, product, or service. While companies have been using digital twins for years, it’s only with the Internet of Things (IoT) that they’ve become cost-effective.

Using software on a cloud-based platform, digital twins pull together and analyze data companies can use to monitor and head off repairs and other problems before they occur. They can look into the future, simulating scenarios to uncover new opportunities for delighting customers. The data is deep and broad, encompassing business content like the customer’s name, exact street location of their coffee machines, and service level agreements. Information is also contextual and, of course, from sensors. The digital twin replicates everything about the machine’s operation history, from how many cups and what type of coffee people are drinking, to the precise temperature of the milk and amount of steam pressure used to brew each pour.

Think of digital twins as a combination of your smartest product technician coupled with advanced machine monitoring capabilities plus predictive and preemptive analytics. The measurable gains for companies are astounding. By 2018, IDC predicts companies investing in IoT-based operational sensing and cognitive-based situational awareness will see 30 percent improvements in the cycle times of impacted critical processes.

Four steps to get started

When I talked with SAP’s Thomas Kaiser, senior vice president of IoT, at SAP TechEd, he told me about the hottest industries using digital twins, and what companies can realistically expect. After the event, he added these thoughts to what we covered in my video interview.

“Digital twins are becoming a business imperative, covering the entire life cycle of an asset or process and forming the foundation for connected products and services,” said Kaiser. “Companies that fail to respond will be left behind. Those that embrace digital twins have the opportunity to better understand customer needs, continuously improve their products and services, and even identify new business models that give them competitive advantage.”

Digital twins are becoming a business imperative, forming the foundation for connected products and services.

Kaiser recommended four steps to get started with digital twins, noting that while these steps are easy to list, they can require significant effort to achieve. First, integrate smart components into new or existing products. Second, connect the products/services to a central (cloud-based) location with streaming, Big Data, in-memory, and analytics capabilities to capture sensor data and enrich it with business and contextual data. Third, constantly analyze the data to identify areas for improvements, new products or even new business models. Fourth, use digital insights to create new services that transform the company — disrupt before your business is disrupted.

The coffee machine on stage at SAP TechEd may have looked like every other one, but quietly brewing behind it is a world of innovative difference. As for that question about how fast your coffee machines can fuel growth, using digital twin technology, it’s a potent brew of fresh insights fueling innovation with tremendous business outcomes.

For more on digital twin technology, see Leveraging Digital Twins To Breathe New Life Into Your Products And Services.

Follow me @smgaler

Images via SAP

Internet of Things – Digitalist Magazine

Security Industry Association supports reintroduction of DIGIT Act


The Security Industry Association (SIA) has announced that it will continue to show its support for the bipartisan Developing and Growing the Internet of Things (DIGIT) Act.

The DIGIT Act would organise a working group of federal entities that would consult with private sector stakeholders to provide recommendations to the Congress. These recommendations would work on the planning and growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the United States.

The DIGIT Act would provide input from private sector experts and prevent potential problems, such as regulatory silos. The bill also directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to initiate a proceeding assessing the spectrum needs required for IoT support.

The DIGIT Act was reintroduced in the Senate by the Internet of Things working group consisting Senator Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). Senator Fischer is the chief sponsor of the Bill who again recognized SIA as a key supporting organisation in a press release.

Don Erickson, CEO of SIA, said: “SIA is encouraged by the reintroduction of this important legislation, which would deal with a wide range of IoT issues. Congress can do a lot of good by acting to ensure privacy and security in the face of rapidly expanding IoT technologies. In the private sector, the security industry should have a seat at the table as federal agencies devise strategies for protecting users of IoT devices.”

Studies have shown that the IoT has the potential to economically contribute up to $ 11 trillion every year by 2025, globally. Latest from the homepage

Rethinking Retail: An Industry at the Disruptive Edge

Intel IoT's Rachel Mushahwar speals at Manhattan Momentum in 2016.

Our Intel IoT team excitedly championed everything from collaboration to pushing the boundaries of retail experiences at Manhattan Momentum. As Intel IoT’s Rachel Mushahwar told a roomful of attendees, enabling amazing experiences is at the heart of everything we do. We thrive on enabling the creation of experiences that help shoppers dream, explore, and connect best with brands and retailers. From operations, to inventory management, to workforce efficiencies, to new consumer experiences, Intel IoT technology enables opportunities for retailers to increase sales and reduce costs, helping them deliver the personalized engagements that today’s shoppers crave.

It’s truly amazing to see how the Internet of Things (IoT) is reinventing the traditional shopping experience. As stores become more connected through intelligent systems and devices, an unprecedented amount of data and customer insight is being generated. Through technology solutions that capture, analyze, and translate data into meaningful insights and optimal responses, Intel IoT technology enables the responsive store, where retailers use business intelligence to anticipate and respond to shoppers’ needs.


The Intel Retail Sensor Platform

Intel Retail Sensor Platform infographic.

We were thrilled to hear Rachel explain how, behind the scenes, the supply chain is playing a larger role in how customers experience retail. With the latest in sensor technology from Intel IoT and software from Manhattan Associates, retailers can track inventory with pinpoint accuracy, extending supply chain visibility all the way to the store shelf. Now it’s possible to see how customers interact with products as they shop, create incredibly personalized experiences, and get the right product into a customer’s hands as soon as it’s wanted.

Manhattan Store Solutions is further reimagining retail with innovative software for point of sale, inventory management, fulfillment, and clienteling. When retailers use Manhattan’s industry-leading platform in conjunction with Intel Retail Sensor Platform sensor technology, the result is near-real-time inventory data that reveals valuable business insights. This powerful combination of hardware and software is transforming retail and creating amazing new experiences—from customized omni-channel personalization and inventory visibility to operational efficiency and retail forecasting.


Customizing Omni-channel Retail Experiences

A shopper is pleased that her local store uses the Intel Retail Sensor Platform for inventory tracking. As a result, she just scored the best bag ever.

I’m happy to see that the era of personalized shopping experiences is here. With the Intel Retail Sensor Platform and Manhattan Store Solutions, retailers can track which products a customer has handled, as well as product movements around the store. The actionable data produced enables the creation of relevant promotional codes while the customer is shopping. Meanwhile, aggregate data across multiple brands and stores enables a customized customer experience.


Tracking Inventory with Pinpoint Accuracy

Levi Strauss & Co. uses the Intel Retail Sensor Platform to track the location of jeans in their stores.

Retailers are also enabled to go beyond traditional supply chain visibility to track products all the way from the warehouse to the shelf. It is now possible to see exactly where an item is once it’s inside the store to make sure it gets to the right place—whether that’s on the shelf or in a customer’s hands.


Restocking Items before the Shelf is Empty

A girl in a grocery store fills her arms with all the yogurt she can carry. She knows that high protein foods will give her the energy she needs to score in tomorrow's big software game, and she's in it to win it.

When retailers are able to anticipate and stock the exact items that customers are looking for it’s a win all around. With up-to-the-minute inventory visibility at the store level, retailers can now avoid running out of the items that are selling the most, increasing operational efficiency.


Retail Inventory Visibility

A mobile knowledge worker uses an Intel RealSense technology solution to help a customer find the perfect shoe.

The era of frictionless transition from digital channels to brick-and-mortar shopping is also here. Now associates can quickly find the right item to fulfill an online order, or help a customer find a product from a retailer’s website.


Maximizing Store Layout

A man in a wine shop reaches for a perfecly aged Oregon Pinot Noir.

Then there’s the success that comes from savvy traffic flow. Retailers now have the tools to make store space and layouts smarter to save associates time, prioritize high-demand items, and avoid overstocks.

That’s a wrap from Manhattan Momentum 2016. Read more about the Retail Sensor Platform in our blog post from NRF 2016. To learn more about Intel IoT retail innovations, visit To stay up-to-date with Intel IoT developments, keep your eyes on this  blog,, and Twitter.

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