- Virginia Backaitis
We’ve all heard it said the data is the new oil. But what if it’s the new soil instead—the raw material from which new ideas can grow into products and services that we haven’t seen before and might not even have begun to imagine.
With the onslaught of Cloud, mobile, social, big data, and the Internet of Things (IoT) we can not only gather and crunch more, and more kinds of data, than ever before, but we can also extract new insights from it.
And while we often say knowledge is power, when rightly applied, knowledge is service, so said Maria Luisa Silva, Director, Market Enablement for EMEA & MEE, SAP Startups at SAP.
At Sapphire Now, SAP’s annual user conference we spoke to, or watched pitches from more than a dozen startups that have built, or are building new, innovative solutions on the SAP Hana platform. These innovators crunch big data sets and leverage predictive analytics in entirely new ways to create unique products.
No one, said Gabriel Gross, founder of Meteo Protect, a French startup that designs financial solutions based on scientific and big data innovations to help companies handle the short and medium term challenges that climate change creates.
Take farmers whose wheat yields are diminished when temperatures are too high over the summer or manufacturers who sell spare parts for heaters whose sales drop dramatically when winters aren’t cold—this is a big deal. Consider that in the latter case a Japanese manufacturer had to lay off 208 workers because there was no product demand. Having insurance against the weather is vital.
Mateo Protect offers a platform that insurers and reinsurers use to hedge their bets, in real time, using data collected from weather stations all over the world over a ten-year period. That’s a whole lot of data to crunch and algorithms to design. But if Meteo Protect can help price the risk then people who work in weather-affected businesses can sleep, at least a little better.
Why did Gross choose to build on an SAP Hana platform rather than cobble together a number of open source alternatives, we had to ask. Gross said that they tried the open source initially but ran into scaling issues as well as customers and regulators who wanted to be assured that the technology their platform was built on was solid.