SAP shapes the future of work with Unity

Learn how SAP is bringing business data beyond computer screens with the help of Unity. The enterprise software giant sees augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) as the next UX frontier to reinvent how businesses are run. 

With 200 million users worldwide, SAP helps companies everywhere become a “best-run business.” Since 2016, the company has invested in mixed reality to help its customers accelerate time to insight and enhance the way SAP data is visualized and understood.

Introducing a new way to bring SAP data into Unity 

For years, enterprise resource planning (ERP) from SAP has been conducted on computers and mobile devices. That’s changing with the SAP Extended Reality Cloud (XR Cloud), which is based on Unity’s platform and enables the development of mixed reality applications. To make it easier for Unity developers to integrate SAP data into Unity, SAP recently launched the Unity Integration Toolkit.

But why bring this data into mixed reality in the first place? Doesn’t a computer do the job just fine? 

In most instances, yes. But SAP’s Extended Reality Venture team has identified two areas to start where mixed reality can add significant value to its customers:

Business process modeling and training in VR for IT professionals Augmented and mixed reality for service, maintenance, and quality inspections of assets for field and factory operators 

“With Unity and mixed reality, business data from SAP is no longer bound to a computer screen,” said Michael Speiss, Extended Reality Venture Lead at SAP. “Our customers can become best-run businesses by taking advantage of all mixed reality has to offer, from more effective training teams in virtual environments to driving operational efficiencies by augmenting digital twin information directly to physical equipment.”

Use of SAP Smart Assets in Oculus Quest (Copyright: SAP SE)

Speiss shares that the technology concept of “smart assets” is key to making mixed reality valuable for SAP’s customers. These smart assets are 3D (e.g., complex CAD drawings) or 2D objects (e.g., barcode labels, documents) stored in an SAP system. The smarts come from the scripting logic contained within them, which unlock possibilities to interact with other smart assets or to retrieve and exchange data in real-time to SAP systems.

What does that look like in practice? 

Check out this video where Speiss uses the XR Cloud app to visualize augmented digital twin and Internet of Things (IoT) data on an Evomixx machine.

Coming soon: SAP’s first mixed reality application

XR Cloud is just the tip of the iceberg at SAP. Its Mixed Reality Solutions team, led by Denis Schleier, formed in 2016 and is currently working on SAP’s first mixed reality application.

Schleier and his team have spent years researching and showcasing potential applications of mixed reality with SAP’s software. He believes AR will eventually become another standard way of working, much like smartphones today. His team is preparing for this future by reimagining how knowledge workers will interact with SAP software in the workplace.

Watch this video featuring Alexander Lingg, Head of SAP User Experience, and Schleier to learn more about SAP’s work with next-gen computing platforms.

As you can see in the video, the team is seeing strong interest from manufacturing customers across a wide range of use cases, from transportation management to work

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