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Robots, VR-enabled drones and AI for beer: Here’s the coolest tech we found at SAP

The tech giant wants you to know it's much more than enterprise software and it's going on a North American tour to prove it.

Pepper the robot will dance for you and pose for selfies. (Courtesy photo)
Which tech company around Philly do you know with 3,000 employees in its headquarters? Hint: It ain’t Comcast.

SAP, the German makers of some of the most recognized enterprise software suites in the business world, has its North America headquarters in a sprawling campus in Delaware County’s Newtown Square.

And though some 345,000 customers in 190 countries will happily vouch for the company’s spread of business tools, the latest push from SAP aims to show its customers that it’s way more than enterprise tech: the Business Reimagined tour is taking the German company’s flashiest tech offerings like machine learning, artificial intelligence, robotics and virtual reality out on the road.

“We’re a victim of our own success,” said SVP of Marketing Dave Hutchison. “We’re very well known for having a terrific enterprise resource planning (ERP) software but we want them know us for where we want to go, not where we’ve been.”

The invite-only tour, currently posted up at the tech giant’s headquarters, will visit 150 enterprise customers in the U.S. and Canada over the course of the next year. Next stop: Florida.

And just what technologies is the company showcasing? Here’s the rundown of what we found.

First off, a dancing robot to catch your eye (complete with SAP-made apps):

Next up, the company’s digital boardroom software, which uses artificial intelligence to compile and visualize multiple streams of data. This tech can be found at boardrooms in publicly traded companies like Eastman.

Here’s one offering for retailers: an artificial intelligence system that lets consumers be paired with their ideal beer match (this reporter does indeed enjoy a lighter, more refreshing kind of brew).

The company’s internet-of-things offering was certainly one of the tour’s highlights. Sensors inside facilities like power substations can detect when something is overheating, for example. Then, instead of deploying a team to inspect a high-voltage line (with the perils that entails) a virtual-reality-enabled drone (!) can travel to the scene, with technicians evaluating the situation safely through a VR headset.

Companies: SAP

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