Blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) are responsible for some of the biggest market growth numbers. IDC predicts that worldwide investments in IoT will reach $1.14 trillion in 2023.
Gartner predicts that by 2023 blockchain will support the global movement and tracking of $2 trillion in goods and services annually. The business challenge is bringing all that data together in a meaningful way. For example, the promise of electric cars is real, but only if companies can connect intelligent data among vehicles, charging stations, and utility providers in real time. This was the premise of a video demonstration I saw at the recent SAP TechEd event in Las Vegas.
Real-Time Data is the Star of the Show
On the show floor, sensor-based toy cars traveled around a miniature gameboard that represented a map of Las Vegas. The large screen displayed information from the respective cars as the two drivers zoomed between garages and electrical stations – stopping to park and recharge. SAP Subscription Billing, running with Hyperledger Fabric service on SAP Cloud Platform, used blockchain to capture IoT-based usage data from each car and charging station.
“This is how companies can use multiple SAP solutions to support complex business models with real-time data,” said Dr. Oliver Gass, product manager for SAP S/4HANA Cloud Integration. “Every industry has similar end-to-end scenarios where integrated data from many devices needs to come together for daily efficiencies, powering new experiences leading to business model transformation”.
According to IDC, the top sectors for the highest IoT adoption include not only transportation, but also manufacturing, utilities, state and local government, and healthcare. The opportunities came alive in the model I saw for consumption-based billing for parking and charging electric cars.
“Using SAP C/4HANA for subscription billing, garage owners could create personalized pricing models by driver, depending on parameters such as peak or off-peak hours to ease traffic congestion – encouraging usage when the garage is less full,” said Gass. “Then they’d use SAP S/4HANA Cloud for seamless invoicing, accounting, and controlling”.
Solid Business Case for Blockchain and SAP Subscription Billing
In another IDC survey, more than 50 percent of companies across industries said that blockchain already is, or will be, a key part of their digital transformation in the near future. Blockchain helps companies share trusted data in an immutable ledger, making it ideal for the many participants involved in business scenarios like driving, fueling, and garaging electric cars.
“SAP Subscription Billing could constantly monitor the blockchain for real-time data based on actual parking usage,” Gass explained. “It picks up the data on the chain and adds it to the parking or energy bill of the drivers, which is then shared with the garages and utility companies for billing and invoicing. With near-real-time information on a mobile device, drivers could see their parking costs and energy consumption – monitoring costs easily”.
Blockchain also decouples garages and other groups involved in charging infrastructure from utilities. Those companies could offer usage-based services, such as parking and charging drivers, without being dependent on any particular utility provider. It can also verify cars and drivers by securely identifying vehicles and people cleared to validly park in specific garages and use designated charging stations.
It is perfectly okay to get excited about huge market forecasts. Intelligently connecting all the data from blockchain, IoT, and other innovations will make those predictions come true.