Age of Information

Age of Information

 

Technology is advancing at an incredible pace. Fifty years ago, we started with small steps with the internet. Today it is available to almost everyone. With increasing acclimatization to the age of information, user requirements are growing as well. Music used to be shared via Bluetooth or IrDA. Today it is streamed over the internet. Users are increasingly demanding that nearby devices be connected to the network and interconnected between them. The age of IoT has come. Companies producing equipment of all kinds are facing a challenge they have to combat.  

How to connect your devices to the internet?  How will the communication with the usertake place? How to ensure data security and secure communication? How to deal with the management of such devices on a large scale? What other possibilities do they have thanks to the internet? What pitfalls are there still hidden in the course of implementation? 

Many companies started from scratch and struggled with every problem. Unfortunately, it often happened that end users had to suffer every inconvenience. The solution has often been inefficient and highly costly.

Could it be done differently?

Know-how

Imagine a company that makes home appliances. For example, refrigerators. Until recently, the refrigerator needed to perform two, maybe three, functions. Cool at constant temperature and freeze in a separate section. The users have requested more. And so they enriched the functionality with a group of sensors that monitor humidity, icing, temperature, door opening and much more. But the competition went even further and provided its customers with a mobile application that allowed them to control the refrigerator and monitor its activity. Our company could therefore hire an "army" of programmers, designers and managers to create a solution similar to the competition. But again, they will have to go through experiments on customers who do not have to tolerate it. The delivery time of the solution will be long and may eventually be obsolete. Convincing customers about this choice will be difficult, especially when there is competition that has already gone through the process.

They also have another option. They can use the know-how of another company to help them implement the connection of the device to their customers.

Such a company will already know well what to do. They will already be aware of every pitfall and challenge and be able to offer an effective tailor-made solution.

And that's exactly our story. We help the customer create a unique product that will help other companies cope with connecting to the world of the Internet of Things. This cloud solution will provide device connectivity to millions of users.

How We Do It

 

The solution consists of three parts. Cloud, Firmware, Clients.

Cloud

The role of the Cloud is to enable the communication between users. Whether it's mobile devices like Android and iOS, or voice assistants like Google Home and Alexa. In addition to communication, the Cloud also provides user and device management, device registration by the manufacturer, device assignment to users, and more.

From a technical point of view, Cloud is built on a multiservice architecture using Microsoft Azure technology. Services communicate with each other using the Azure ServiceBus messaging provider. Communication directly with the device is secured using Azure IoTHub and it is possible to communicate with clients using the REST protocol or using WebSocket communication via SignalR.

 

Firmware

It consists of a wifi chip, which manufacturers must incorporate into the production process of the device and the firmware itself, which opens up the possibility of controlling the device via the Internet. The manufacturer will not have to deal with its operation in the background, everything will be communicated directly to the manufacturer.

If new functionality is made available, the firmware supports OTA update, thanks to which it is possible to update the firmware on the device via the Cloud.

 

Clients

Mobile applications and voice assistants are considered clients. A customized mobile application will be created for each manufacturer, adhering to UX principles and a UI design that matches the manufacturer's design. The application is created in a multiplatform using React.Native, which rapidly speeds up development and thus reduces costs.

With Rest communication, devices can also be controlled using voice assistants, opening the door to millions of active users for each manufacturer.

The entire solution is based on security, scalability and expandability. Each section contains shared functionality or a core that is optimized and reusable with each new application for a new manufacturer.

 

                       

Connection of Producer Devices to Millions of Users

 

 

The solution relieves manufacturers from embarking on something they do not primarily focus on, leaving this issue to experts in the field. At the same time, space if being created for them to develop things that they really understand.

Thanks to this unique solution, manufacturers will no longer have to rediscover the wheel, but get on the train already in motion towards the world of the Internet of Things.

RPA – trend, s ktorým sa (u nás) určite stretnete

RPA - A trend that you will definitely encounter (with us)

Automation and robotisation have recently become more and more common. This is most true for repetitive, time-consuming business processes. An effective answer to these routine computer activities is RPA (Robotic Process Automation) - automation of processes through software robots. These virtual employees are able to relieve people from repetitive tasks that do not require specific knowledge. These activities account for approximately 10 to 30% of employees' daily work responsibilities, mainly in the areas of finance, human resources and public administration.

Solution is suitable for any company

Currently, large companies and corporations reach for RPA, but this solution is suitable for any company. It is also irrelevant whether it is necessary to automate only one report or process, or all company departments. The necessary tasks can be performed once or regularly, on a daily, weekly, monthly or even quarterly basis, such as the mentioned creation of reports. Automation has a wide application, from processing invoices in an accounting firm, checking received forms by the local government or flipping data between systems in a manufacturing company.

It saves time and costs

The great advantage of RPA automation is that it eliminates the human error rate that could occur with these repetitive tasks. An equally interesting benefit is the significant savings in time, financial costs and relatively easy use, as it includes an intuitive graphical user interface. RPA is able to work with all types of applications and systems, but as all automation takes place at the presentation layer (OSI model), the company's infrastructure and security measures remain intact.

RPA is usually always associated with the automation program itself, and there are currently several RPA software providers. The best known are BluePrism, UiPath, Automation Anywhere or akaBot, which is developed by our company FPT Software..

The coronavirus pandemic did not change the fulfillment of the RPA potential, on the contrary. According to Gartner analysts, by 2022 RPA will be used in some form by up to 85% of large companies.

What is Fiori elements?

What is Fiori elements?

SAP Fiori probably doesn't need to be introduced to anyone working on the new SAP system. Fiori brings an interface that is more user-friendly, easier and intuitive than classic SAP programs. It can also be run via mobile phones or tablets. However, its component – Fiori elements - is less known.

SAP Fiori elements are basically templates of the most common types of Fiori business applications. They facilitate the creation of applications, even with no or minimal knowledge of programming. Fiori elements are available through the SAP Web IDE Full-Stack or through the new SAP Business Application Studio.

How does it work?
When creating a new application, the user chooses one of the standard templates. He then specifies the data source (OData, API) and reads or creates annotations. Subsequently, the Fiori application is automatically generated. The application can then be modified according to your own needs through the so-called app extensions. Extensions do exactly what you might expect from their name - visually modifying the application page, or adding functionality that is not directly available in the standard Fiori elements template. For example, in tables, you can add additional columns, adjusted filters, or your own actions.

SAP offers 5 standard types of Fiori elements applications

Overview page
Displays the most important information for a specific user on one page. It often serves as an entry point from where you can click through to other applications. The site consists of the so-called cards. Each card contains lists, tables, graphs, alerts, or other important information for the user.

List Report and Object Page
These two types are usually used together. While the List Report is basically a table of all items (list of orders, products, suppliers, ...), the Object Page contains information about one specific item (eg order detail).

 

Analytical List Page
The page displays key information and visualizes it in graphs. It is used to analyze data from various aspects.

 

Worklist Page
Displays a list of items that the user needs to process in some way. The user goes through the individual items and performs the necessary actions over them (approving the request, checking the failed transaction, ...), or delegates another user to complete the action.

 

Annotations
Annotations are the basis of how Fiori elements work. We can load them directly from the source system (they are part of metadata.xml), upload them from a special external file, or create them locally directly in the application. Annotations determine what information is to be filled in individual elements of the application. However, they do not relate to a specific element on the page, but to an entity set.

As an example, I give the annotation for the entities set "Suppliers":

 

The header will be named "Suppliers" ("Supplier" if it contains only one record). If there is a table for this data in the application, the records will be arranged according to the "Name" field and only the "Id", "Name" (as hyperlink) and "Phone" fields will be displayed. A List Report application type would look like this with this annotation:

 

Future of Fiori elements
Can I use Fiori elements to create an application in a few clicks? Yes! If the annotations for your entity sets are set correctly, Fiori elements will clearly make your work easier and automatically generate some frequently recurring tasks (data table, master-detail navigation, data editability, ...).

If your source system does not have annotations, you must create them locally for each application separately. Here, the simplicity of Fiori elements disappears. Despite the available editors (annotation modeler), the creation of local annotations is not intuitive and requires a certain degree of experience.

Another problem is adapting the standard types of applications to your own requirements. Extensions allow you to add the necessary elements to the application, but only in a certain way and in certain places (extension points). It is not always possible to achieve the desired application design through extensions. In such cases, it is necessary to replace Fiori elements with standard programming (freestyle development) in SAPUI5. Standard programming would be a faster and easier choice even if the application should contain too many extensions.

source: https://blogs.sap.com/2019/08/15/extending-sap-fiori-elements-apps/

Fiori elements do not have as much freedom in application design as standard programming. It is far from a universal tool for all cases, but many business applications will suffice with what it offers. And it is this target group that can benefit from the efficiency and speed that Fiori elements brings. After all, we can "click" the very basic application in just one minute.

SAP Fiori elements appeared on the market in 2015 within SAPUI 1.32 (as "Smart templates"), when the platform contained only three standard types. It has been enjoying greater interest only over the last two years. Based on feedback from users, SAP introduced SAP Fiori tools (available for SAP Business Application Studio and Visual Studio Code as a plugin) in June 2020. Fiori tools aims to make building applications even easier and faster. With Fiori elements, SAP keeps pace with the increasingly popular trend of low-code platforms - systems that allow the creation of applications "without programming" (such as Outsystems).

image source: https://experience.sap.com/fiori-design-web/smart-templates/

If you are interested in the topic of SAP, read also https://www.fpt.sk/buducnost-sap-bw/

If you want to work with us at SAP portfolio, see our open position https://www.fpt.sk/volne-pozicie/

 

 

How to live Smart #1

How to live Smart #1

We at Fpt Slovakia have been working in the area of smart home for several years. Now we have decided to present it from a different angle. Tomáš has prepared a series, in which he will be continuously introducing the secrets of an intelligent household to you. You will learn what smart means and we will also include the term Internet of Things and tell you where and how to start with solutions for an efficient home.

#introduction

Surely many of you remember, or even still use landlines. At a time when almost every household had them, they were an inseparable friend. They connected us with the outside world, with family, acquaintances, authorities, customers. They carried out their mission bravely. We were able to hear and speak to the person on the other side of the line. And nothing more (Unless I also include playing Crash Bandicoot inMaxihra). 

If this fact is still not limiting enough for you, then may I remind you that during the phone call, we could not perform any other activity. Mainly due to the length of the cable and the need to hold the phone next to your ear. Later, with the arrival of dial-up up internet, we couldn't even make phone calls and surf the web at the same time!

With the arrival of mobile phones (although the first ones could even be used as a tool for self-defense), we added a new dimension to telephoning. We didn't have to be in one place on a given time and we could be reached everywhere provided that there was a mobile signal. However, the mobile phone continued to perform mainly its primary function, telephoning.  

#smart_phones

Nevertheless, we were not unhappy for very long, because with the arrival of the internet, the so-called smartphonesstarted to appear. Thanks to the possibility of connecting to the internet, they have opened the door for us to do everything that the phone actually "does not serve" 😊. We can read the news, check the weather forecast, share photos with friends and not to mention a million other things. 

#smart_home

It is important to realize that with the arrival of smartphones, we suddenly held the first piece of our smart home. That is, until the moment we realize that we will not actually do much smart at home with this clever piece of aluminum, plastic and glass. However, the concept is clear. We have a device that opens the door to possibilities by connecting to the internet. So why not do it with a refrigerator, for example?

#internet of_things

And so, after three lengthy paragraphs, we get to the heart of the matter, a smart home. By deducing from the example of the telephone, it is already clear to us that by adding an internet connection to a device, we can use it much better, more diversely and more efficiently. It doesn't matter if it's a washing machine, refrigerator, toaster or rice cooker. In fact, the term partnership home is a subset of the increasingly well-known term Internet of Things. It describes a network of physical devices (things) that, thanks to sensors, software and other technologies, can connect and exchange data with other devices via the internet. 

In 2018, there were an estimated 10 billion "connected devices",connected devices" in the world, i.e. devices connected to the internet. This number is expected to exceed 64 billion in 2025. What devices are involved? These are mainly partnership light bulbs, thermostats, security systems (cameras, various sensors and alarms), and large appliances such as washing machines and refrigerators. Last but not least, assistants also belong to this group. Namely Alexa, Siri or "Hey Google", which in most households connect these devices under one roof in the form of an application such as Apple HomeKit. Interestingly enough, last year these technology giants (Apple, Google, Amazon) formed partnership for a mutual communication of the individual smart home products. 

Smart home, or smart home devices can make our lives a lot easier. Illuminate the corridor with a dim light, but also save money, for example by timing the air conditioning or heating correctly so that energy is not wasted.

#stay_tuned

After such a surge of information, only one question remains - how to start? You’ll find the answer for this question in the next article of this series. 

The Future of SAP BW

The Future of SAP BW

SAP Business Warehouse (BW) was first introduced in 1998. Since then, it has not undergone such a significant change as now - the transition to SAP HANA . Most companies already operate at BW on HANA or BW / 4HANA. What is the difference between them?

BW on HANA versus BW/4HANA
SAP BW powered by SAP HANA (or abbreviated as ‘BW on HANA’) uses old BW software already connected to the new HANA architecture (possible from BW version 7.4). The customer thus uses the old BW environment, but gains the benefits of a powerful column-oriented HANA database. That is significantly faster because it is located in the server's operating memory and not on disk. However, BW on HANA is not fully integrated with HANA at the application level and cannot use full potential of the new technology.

BW/4HANA 4HANA is a completely redesigned BW platform that operates above the HANA database. In addition to higher performance, the BW/4HANA also offers simplicity, flexibility in development and a number of functionalitiesthat are not available on the BW on HANA. Of course,it also includes a modern user interface.

MIGRATION
BW / 4HANA was introduced in 2016. Despite the many benefits, many companies are hesitant regarding the migration or they migrate only part of theirs systems. In order for the customer to get the most benefits from the new system, the migration to BW / 4HANA requires a complete remodeling of BW, which can be costly.

Support for SAP BW 7.5 (as well as support for the entire SAP Business Suite 7) ends in 2027. At the end of 2020, however, SAP postponed the support provision date due to slow customer migration (for the third time in total). Lately, support will be provided until 2030, but only for individual applicants. At the same time, however, it calls for them not to delay migration, as this is a time-consuming process.

THE END OF BW?
With the arrival of S/4HANA, opinions often emerge about the end of the BW module as such. The reason is that the number of operations that have been performed in BW so far can be processed and analyzed by S / 4HANA in real time directly in the transactions themselves due to its extreme performance. The presence of a BW module may therefore seem unnecessary at first sight. However, most companies still cannot do without BW. These are, for example, cases where a company draws data from several sources, whether internal or external. This data then needs to be cleansed, consolidated, harmonized and ensured that there is a 'single version of truth' – one correct data version.

The question isn’t therefore whether BW yes or no, but how to effectively use the functionality of the BW module together with the benefits that S/4HANA brings.

We have our own IoT solution to measure temperature.

We have our own IoT solution to measure temperature.

We have developed our own, affordable solution for automated human temperature measurement. Thanks to special sensors and an advanced measurement algorithm, which takes into account the distance of a person and the temperature in the room, it is possible to reconstruct the obtained data into the so-called heatmap and create an image well known from "thermal cameras".

The big advantage is that the device does not use a real camera that would capture the face. Thanks to that, it is secured personal data protection at high level. You will find this device at the entrance to the Fpt Slovakia building. The IoT solution was developed within two weeks by one of our colleagues, an IoT specialist – Tomáš Lörinc.

temperature Tomáš had the idea to create an automated temperature measuring device in his head right at the beginning of the pandemic. However, he decided to implement it only after the April company meeting, at the initiative of colleagues. This is not Tomáš's first IoT project, he has been working in this area for a long time. He worked on this particular one for about 2 weeks. A second prototype is currently being deployed, which was the logical outcome of the internal PoC project.

"Since my area of interest is mainly IoT, connectivity and HW, I would welcome advice from colleagues who are experts in another field. Rado Bálint helped me choose a suitable solution for data visualization."

Of course, there are also ready-made solutions in the form of thermal cameras. However, these are very expensive and their primary purpose is not to measure a person's temperature at the reception. Our solution is more than 10 times cheaper and at the same time tailor-made directly for our needs. The device is connected to the Internet and is able to communicate using the MQTT (SSL) protocol, making it one of the most versatile devices for automated temperature measurement. Last but not least, we care about the protection of personal data, which we thus control Of course, our device can be expanded at the customer's request with a camera with high resolution and face recognition, or a card reader and thus ensure that the temperature is assigned to a specific person,“ Tomáš adds.

We are constantly working to improve the device as well as its detection algorithm. Thanks to OTA updates, we are able to update FW devices even remotely. Tomáš sees other possibilities of use in the area of monitoring desk occupancy, which is currently a very popular segment. Thanks to a sufficient viewing angle, one sensor would be able to replace several motion sensors currently used for this purpose. Another possible area of use is the monitoring of premises with the remaining demand for personal data protection. For example, some airlines have a problem with the on-board toilet being used by more than one person at a time, the so-called Mile High Club. Such a sensor can unambiguously determine the number of people without invading privacy and notify on-board personnel.

Our company has been working on innovative projects for a long time and supports creative people, said Jozef Vojtko, Vice Director of Fpt Slovakia. And stated further that the crisis gave way to new technologies, innovative ideas, and at the same time accelerated their implementation in practice.

It doesn't always have to be big international things. Our colleagues proved it on several examples, either by automating internal processes or by automated temperature measurement. Tomas is an excellent example of this.

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