The event opened with a partnership announcement by longtime partner Siemens. The technology company committed to over $1 million in in-kind hardware, software, and expertise to build out capabilities to the UCF Smart Infrastructure Data Analytics Lab and will incorporate the existing Siemens’ Digital Grid Lab.
“There’s a definite synergy between buildings and the grid, as seen with energy becoming more decentralized and buildings assuming more of a prosumer role,” said Mike Carlson, President of Siemens Digital Grid – North America. “The opportunity to take what we are already doing with UCF related to grid digitalization and combine supply and demand in coordination with technology for building automation will make this a benchmark program for Siemens.”
Through the Smart Infrastructure Data Analytics Lab, Siemens will leverage data through machine learning, real-time analytics and artificial intelligence to help automate certain processes to be initiated by building systems whenever possible.
The UCF students and faculty will have the opportunity to experiment with various aspects of smart building infrastructure with real-world implications. For Siemens, the benefits are abundant in research, application, and ready-made talent pools.
UCF is known for its partnerships with industry. The relationship with Siemens goes back three decades, and has been a successful partnership resulting in Orlando’s national reputation as a leader in sustainability.
In the fall of 2017, Siemens provided UCF with an in-kind grant of product lifecycle management software with a commercial value of $68 million, one of the the largest grants in university history.
I posted recently on my Facebook page that I was actually looking forward to attending SAPPHIRE this year. One of my Council members questioned the wisdom of that desire. SAPPHIRE is SAP’s annual bash where SAP customers come out in droves to hear what the enterprise software company is planning for the next 12 months. As a member of the highly influential Enterprise blogger troupe, the Enterprise Irregulars, I get the privilege of attending the conference as a blogger/industry influencer and receive great access to SAP execs to question them directly about SAP’s short and long-term plans.
Of course, SAPPHIRE is a world-class vendor event, filling up restaurants, taxi cabs, and hotels all around Orlando’s massive convention center (as well as much of the convention center’s real estate). Anyone with a vested interest in SAP makes the pilgrimage every year.
For me, SAPPHIRE presents a unique opportunity to re-calibrate and diffuse the hype chamber that self-perpetuates around the 2.0 phenomenon. SAPPHIRE is the 2.0 Rehab that I voluntarily commit myself to every year for one week. Only at SAPPHIRE do I get an opportunity to see the world the way my Council members do– that the 2.0/social business hoopla is enjoyed and shared by a small minority of corporate professionals. Through the eyes of SAP customers and the SAP eco-system, I gain unique insight into the tremendous task ahead which involves a host of issues, not the least of which is tying 2.0 transformation to the enterprise business processes that run the world’s most successful businesses. Every year, I see small improvements, but this rational level-setting is essential to keep perspective about where Enterprise 2.0 fits in the broader Enterprise landscape.
The good news is there are SAP executives that welcome this crusade and are making strides to bring the benefits of social collaboration to business decision-making and business process. I expect to hear a lot more “transparency” and “collaboration” themes in executive keynotes this year.
This year’s SAPPHIRE is particularly crucial for SAP, as outlined by my friend and EI compadre, Josh Greenbaum. But for me, I will quietly go about my business, taking inventory of the progress year-over-year in embracing 2.0. And even though I may leave Orlando, defeated and despondent (once again), I will be looking forward to next month’s Enterprise 2.0 conference which will re-energize my passion and commitment to this growing industry sector. Until then, I’m here to take my medicine and attend group therapy. I hope to emerge smarter, more sober, and more determined than ever.