SAP, Esri Step Up Geospatial Analysis

SAP Hana, SAP BusinessObjects and SAP Mobile gain links to Esri's ArcGIS platform for mapping, geospatial analysis and budding industrial Internet apps.
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SAP had a geospatial deal here with Google and a deal there with Tomtom and Nokia. But where enterprise-grade geographic information systems (GIS) are concerned, Esri is the blue-chip provider of location analytics and geo-enablement. Thus on Tuesday SAP announced it will partner with Esri to integrate its ArcGIS platform with the Hana database, BusinessObjects analytics and the SAP Mobile platform.

The deal was sparked both by the popularity of Esri's technology and by SAP's expectation that geospatial analysis will be increasingly relevant, according to David Jonker, head of big data marketing at SAP.

"With mobile-to-mobile activity growing and companies collecting sensor information and considering the Internet of things, location information will be critical," Jonker told InformationWeek.

SAP's Hana in-memory database recently gained libraries for handling spatial data and analysis functions with a service pack upgrade released in May. With the new partnership, Esri is building a database driver, due in the third quarter, that will make ArcGIS queries run on Hana. That means SAP customers won't have to extract and move data sets from Hana to ArcGIS servers to perform geospatial analyses.

[ Want more on emerging location-driven analyses? Read Big Data Analysis Drives Revolution In Travel. ]

The new Esri integrations with SAP BusinessObjects analytics are all about geospatial charting and graphing. Support for ArcGIS maps and geospatial analysis will arrive with version 4.1 of business intelligence package BusinessObjects, and Lumira service pack releases expected in the third quarter. Lumira is SAP's data visualization software.

The Esri partnership will add to the two mapping options that were already available. SAP has a partnership with Tomtom and Nokia and in 2011 it struck a deal with Google whereby customers can visualize geographic information on Google Maps using SAP BusinessObjects BI tools. Esri goes beyond mapping to support a battery of GIS analysis functions.

Geospatial enablement is an obvious need where mobile apps are concerned, so Esri ArcGIS is being integrated with the SAP Mobile Platform 3.0 expected in the third quarter. First up will be services-oriented Work Manager and CRM Service Manager apps, which will gain the ability to display and search Esri maps. Users also will be able to click on map locations to start work orders and sync geospatial data back to SAP Business Suite applications and Hana. Support will extend to Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Windows devices.

In a case of location information growing to big-data scale, Jonker cited the example of tire manufacturer and SAP customer Pirelli. The company is embedding sensors in truck tires to support predictive and preventative fleet maintenance aimed at avoiding accidents and roadside repairs.

"We're talking about hundreds of thousands of commercial vehicles, each with multiple tires and each tire having a sensor," Jonker explained, noting the need to quickly analyze tire conditions, truck locations and proximity to service locations. "Pirelli is dealing with massive data sets of location-stamped information, and we think these types of applications are going to become commonplace."

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