BlackBerry to run 'SAP lite'
RIM Global Alliances vice president Jeff McDowell said that the mobile broadband specialist was also exploring partnerships with SAP's rivals including its major competitor Oracle.
"SAP is the biggest, the most innovative and the most interesting of the two companies. If other companies pick-up what we've done with this platform and go and do it themselves they're more than welcome to," Mr McDowell said.
Both companies have invited customers to test a version of SAP's customer relationship management software designed for BlackBerrys. SAP said it was also working on business software for other enterprise software platforms including ERP and human resources.
However, the two companies would not reveal details plans to share revenue from the new product.
Mr McDowell confirmed that the product would be sold by SAP but declined to reveal details of how RIM would generate income from the arrangement.
It's also not clear who would bear responsibility for corporate losses in the event of network outages that have struck RIM's mobile email service in recent years.
Mr McDowell said the move into the corporate applications arena was not an acknowledgement that the company stood to lose share in the mobile email market. He said growing availability of email over mobile broadband had not affected demand for RIM's BlackBerry service.
"It's certainly not a defensive strategy because we think we're losing market share in other areas. It's purely an expansion strategy into new things that compliment email.
"We understand that email is not the only thing that people want to do in this market and now we're at a point where we can actually do something about it because companies like SAP understand the power of accessing this data in a mobile context."
Beyond Limits: Cognitive AI in APAC
Courtesy of current estimates, it looks like Asia-Pacific AI will be worth US$136bn by 2025. Its governments and corporations invest more money than the rest of the world in AI tech, the data of its citizens is considered fair game, and its pilots are small-scale and, as a result, ruthlessly effective. This is why, according to Jeff Olson, Cognizant’s Associate Vice President for Projects, AI and Analytics, Digital Business and Technology, the APAC region ‘is right on the edge of an AI explosion’.
Now, startup Beyond Limits is pushing the boundaries of what AI can do, mirroring humans in its ability to find solutions with even limited information. As of this July, it’s partnered up with Mitsui, a global trading and investment company, to expand its impact in APAC.
How Does Beyond Limits Work?
Most AI companies claim that they can help businesses make better decisions. But many need astoundingly large stores of data to feed their information-hungry algorithms. Beyond Limits, in contrast, takes a different tack. Perfect data, after all, is largely a pipe dream kept alive by PhD students. In reality, systems must often make decisions from small, incomplete sets of intel.
But Beyond Limits’ AI is no black box. ‘When little to no data is available, Beyond Limits symbolic technologies rely on deductive, inductive, and abductive reasoning capabilities’, explained Clare Walker, Industry Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. While making these leaps in logic, however, the system also keeps track, ensuring that humans can review the AI’s ‘thought process’.
Why Partner With Mitsui?
Beyond Limits is built for specific applications such as energy, utilities, and healthcare—but lacks the extensive industry network of Mitsui. Partnering allows Beyond Limits to access a portfolio of firms specialising in minerals and metals, energy, infrastructure, and chemicals. ‘We’ve been working on this deal for several years’, said Mitsui’s Deputy General Manager Hiroki Tanabe. ‘Mitsui’s global portfolio and Beyond Limits’ AI technology will...deliver impact’.
In the first test of that dramatic statement, Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) will soon deploy Beyond Limits’ new system. If everything goes according to plan, LNG will optimise how it extracts and refines energy, making money for both itself and investors—including Mitsui. This, in fact, is Mitsui’s strategy: go digital and don’t look back.
Why Does This Matter?
Forty-five percent of Asia-Pacific companies surveyed in Cognizant’s thought leadership ebook consider themselves AI leaders. Positivity bias, that oh-so-common tendency of humans to position themselves as above average as compared to others, strikes again. (Most small companies fail to launch successful AI projects on their own.) And partly, this is because firms fail to integrate AI with industry expertise.
‘A large part of the focus on talent for AI today has been getting the people who are strong in mathematics, AI, and technologies’, said Olson. ‘But where you make your money out of AI projects is when you apply them to your business’. In short: APAC nations looking for ways to bridge the gap might follow Beyond Limits and Mitsui’s playbook—coupling startup AI with a corporate network.