Continuing with the blog series on “Turning digital aspirations into reality with SAP Leonardo and Capgemini,” we will be looking at the new user interface for the enterprise—“voice”—and how various technologies can be brought together, making organizations efficient, productive, safer, and for all-ability employees.
The enterprise is playing catch up with the consumer at home. In one of my blogs, “Making Enterprise exciting again,” I leveraged SAP’s Leonardo cloud platform and Kore Bot platform to explore the art of the possible in building a digital enterprise. The initial focus was on IoT, Machine Learning, and bots (conversational UIs) working with the SAP Leonardo cloud platform and leading to an intelligent business platform. However, that scenario uses a UI device—a mobile/tablet/PC. The new UI is that there is “no UI”—no screen at all. Voice is the new UI and the future.
This brings a virtual personal assistant into the picture. All big players have their offerings—Apple has Siri, Google has Assistant, Microsoft has Cortana, and Amazon has Alexa. Voice interaction with Artificial Intelligence is the way we would interact with computers. The dream of bridging the gap between man and machine with natural spoken words is turning into reality. Amazon voice is ahead of the competition, but others are catching up. For now, I’ll stick to the Amazon ecosystem.
Amazon Echo is a hands-free, voice-controlled device that uses the personal assistant Alexa to carry out tasks such as music playback, shopping lists, placing orders, setting alarms, providing weather reports, traffic, and other real-time information, etc. Voice-activated AI provides a natural means to communicate with “things” to go about their day-to-day lives. Imagine asking Alexa to make the morning coffee—that’s the power of the voice with IoT!
All these tasks are good for the consumer at home. But what about the enterprise?
- Can a CxO get sales/financial data by just asking Amazon Echo, without having to login to their system/device?
- Can a shop floor manager get product stock information or updates on how machines in the plant are performing?
- Can a person with disability carry out their work by using voice commands?
- Can a SAP Basis consultant install a SAP instance based on a voice command?
- Can a chef order low-on-stock material from their kitchen?
- How about a voice-based digital board or Fiori app, integrated with SAP’s Digital Assistant—SAP co-pilot?
- How about Conversational Commerce?
The answer is: yes. Using Amazon Echo, Amazon Web Services, voice-activation services, WiFi, and the underlying SAP Leonardo platform, this is possible. All you need to do is “Ask Alexa.”
Continuing with the prototype using the IoT device (sensors hooked to Raspberry Pi), sending data to the SAP Leonardo cloud platform, and triggering priority-based work orders within SAP on threshold breach. Earlier, I had to log into my machine or via Bot, get information on the latest temperature, number of open work orders, machine performance, etc. Now I just ask Alexa.
“Alexa, what is the status of the machine” or “Alexa, tell me about employee 123.”
- This invocation makes Echo change state (blue ring appears) and upload the utterance to the Alexa Voice Services AWS cloud capability.
- In the process, it uses Automated Speech Recognition and Natural Language Processing and other modules to convert between text and speech.
- The speech is routed to the correct lambda/intent. AWS Lambda service is where the source code can be written in various languages e.g. C#, Node.js, Python, etc. I used Node.js for my scenario.
- The incoming request JSON intent calls the backend SAP API to get the relevant information and returns speech text in a JSON response.
- The Alexa service routes the response and utters the response to the user.
Similarly, for business scenarios identified above, whether to get information from the backend application or to instruct the system to do a particular task, Amazon skills are created. Just by calling out a material number by the chef, a sales order is created in SAP ERP. Sales figures, volumes, stock information, etc. can easily be accessed without logging into the ERP system with the power of the voice. APIs are key to this, as they provide the functionality that is executed in the business systems.
In this blog, I have attempted to bring Amazon Web Services, voice services, and the SAP Leonardo platform and business application together. These use cases were presented at the Leonardo Live events in Frankfurt and Chicago last year.
Voice-activated Artificial Intelligence is becoming a reality and coming to the enterprise, making it exciting again. It is still early days for “voice.” These assistants need refinement; voice recognition needs improvement and security needs to be further addressed. But the potential is immense. This is likely to change the way we do business, the way enterprises are run.
Capgemini can help you innovate with SAP Leonardo, Amazon, and other technologies by identifying use cases and applying design thinking in developing innovative solutions for your business. Find more on the Capgemini Leonardo Services website.
This is part of the blog series entitled “Capgemini’s Fast Digital with SAP Leonardo.” Other blogs are: