Q&A With Cogniac | SAP.iO Interview Series

Rheaply’s VP of External Affairs, Tom Fecarotta, met with Vahan Tchakerian of Cogniac to discuss their organization’s mission and involvement in the SAP.iO Foundry Cohort.

This is Part 1 of 3 in Rheaply’s discussions with other SAP.iO cohort members. Stay tuned for future Q&A’s with Wise Systems and Ivaldi.

Cogniac Q&A

Tom: I’m going to steal this first question from an investor who asked us this. Give me the high school version of the boilerplate and the version for a college student who maybe knows a little bit about AI.

Vahan: I always try to simplify things down. So we know our business, right, but when we introduce it to a new set of people, it’s always like, “what is AI?” Because AI is so universally used — everything is about AI today. For our purposes, we offer an AI platform — a software platform — where we’re working with a combination of neural networks and a deep learning component to automate visual inspection tasks. So anybody doing any sort of inspection is a candidate to use our solution. What’s really beneficial about what we do and how we do it is we’re offering a superhuman level of accuracy in work. In today’s world, inspections and products are super complex — at this rate, humans are missing stuff. We’re not only able to catch these things but catch them quickly, so we are really preventing any sort of downstream failures, etc. — that’s one of the benefits, along with more efficiency.

Tom: James, anything to add to that?

James: No, as Vahan mentioned, it’s going above and beyond what a human is currently capable of — that superhuman aspect is one that we tend to focus on. It’s a game-changer in the visual inspection world because it’s doing so much more at such a high level and operating at such a high degree of accuracy that it’s going to fundamentally change visual inspection and the AI industry within the manufacturing verticals we work in.

Tom: Yeah, that’s really interesting. Talk to me a little more about the application itself. Walk me through the use case for an end user and what that experience looks like.
Vahan: Sure. What we’ve tried to do is make the engagement super simple, to the point that there are no data scientists required — it’s literally technician-level work. Let’s say I’m talking to a potential customer — they have a subject matter expert on a given use case, and what the subject matter expert would need to do is label a few images. In traditional machine vision, somebody would be required to label tens of thousands of images, if not hundreds of thousands; in our case, it’s a few hundred images in what we call established ground truth. Everything we do is teaching with examples, right, in the simplest form. 

Let’s say we’re looking at a cast part — there’s a good part and a bad part. We have to have enough examples of a good part and a few more of a bad part to establish the ground truth of what that looks like. Then we upload that in our platform and the platform starts to make predictions against that data. So consistent labeling is key, and also key is having enough of a dataset of images where you establish ground truth to get the engine running through what we call AI creating AI. So then we look at these predictions, and the subject matter expert says, “You know what, this is kind of close, this is not close,” and so forth. Then there’s some fine-tuning back and forth between the subject matter expert and our platform, and within a couple weeks you’re looking at 95, 98, 100% model accuracy. So that’s the benefit of getting there really quickly, and if you’ve gone down the wrong path, it’s really easy to re-establish yourself and how you do your labeling.

Tom: Is this set into a maintenance system or some kind of internal system that can tell users about the health of item within a warehouse? What does the integration set look like?

Vahan: When we find something that is outside of the norm or there’s an issue, we would send an alert in any way the customer would want to see. Our platform is cloud-based or can be on-prem. Most of our customers are in the cloud. With a cloud solution in a manufacturing environment where someone needs super fast response, alerts — under a second, for example — then you would incorporate what we call an edge appliance. This edge appliance is basically doing the processing of the application at the edge — and if it finds something that’s outside the norm, it can send an alert to any user in any form that’s needed.

Tom: Wow, that’s really cool. I think we’re similar in the respect of wanting to make the process of finding things and understanding their utility easier, and in your case, you’re also working to determine what is potentially needed to improve a particular asset for people. And I think that’s really interesting.

This is a perfect segue into sustainability. Read More….

Increasing Team Effectiveness with SAP.iO Startup Cloverleaf

Team effectiveness helps employees integrate, increases employee satisfaction, and improves productivity. Cloverleaf, a startup in the Future of Work cohort at the SAP.iO Foundry San Francisco, helps to build great teams and improve employee engagement using existing employee data and assessments to provide insight into increased team effectiveness. We sat down with Cloverleaf Co-Founder Darrin Murriner to better understand the imperative for building great teams.

Q: What does Cloverleaf do?

A: Cloverleaf helps build great teams and improve employee engagement using existing employee data and assessments to provide insight into increased team effectiveness. From teams at small businesses to large enterprises, we equip employers and empower employees to give the greatest contribution to their organization and have the most fulfilling opportunity in their role. Cloverleaf gives users intelligent nudges and reminders before and after meetings to improve their team behavior.

Q: Why is team effectiveness so important?

A: Thriving teams have higher levels of productivity and higher levels of employee engagement. Creating strong teams is important because decreased levels of employee engagement lead to higher absenteeism, more errors, accidents and defects, lower productivity, lower profitability, and lower job growth.

Q: How has the pandemic impacted the need for Cloverleaf’s solution?

A: With many employees now working remotely, teams need to learn how to add value to their organization in a new environment. By providing team-based coaching in the flow of work, we give leaders the tools and insights they need to be effective leaders with remote and cross-functional teams. The goal of our product is to increase transparency and trust in a way that leaves everyone feeling a stronger sense of belonging and purpose. As a result, we have inclusive team environments that improve productivity.

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SAP Startup Spotlight: EasySend

SAP invests in a lot of promising startups, and it’s sometimes hard to keep track of all of them. E-3 Magazine has selected the most interesting companies to showcase in our SAP Startup Spotlight Series. In this article, we will take a look at EasySend.

E-3 Magazine talked to Tal Daskal, CEO and co-founder of EasySend, about what his solution has to offer and what is next for the company.

Why did you start EasySend to begin with?

Daskal: We – meaning EasySend’s founders, Omer Shirazi, Eran Shirazi, and me – worked at one of the largest insurance companies in Israel and saw first-hand the extent of the problem that paperwork and manual processes create in insurance. We understood the internal pain of employees – the amount of paper and PDF forms that needed to be filled out just didn’t make sense. And that’s how the idea for EasySend was born – eliminating manual processes and replacing them with digital journeys.

How could your solution potentially help customers navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and the different challenges of reopening?

Daskal: The COVID-19 pandemic made it clear to us and to our prospective customers that digital transformation is no longer optional. No matter the industry, enterprises are moving towards a more digital future. EasySend helps organizations achieve just that, creating a digital culture at scale in record time and at a fraction of the cost. We raised the funding amidst the Coronavirus pandemic within just two months after starting the fundraising process – which just goes to show the current demand for secure, efficient and easy-to-use digital processes.  

How are you connected to SAP? Can your solution be integrated in SAP systems?

Daskal: EasySend is an SAP Partner Edge Integrate partner. EasySend’s solution allows SAP’s current and future customers in the finance and insurance industries to digitize critical customer-facing processes, ultimately increasing conversion rates and improving user experience. Through the partnership with SAP, EasySend is able to create holistic solutions for potential customers by leveraging its unique proposition coupled with SAP’s technological capabilities and market share. EasySend’s intelligent eForms easily integrate with any legacy and core banking system and third-party service, including out-of-the-box integration with leading CRM and ERP systems, including SAP. EasySend is continuing to work with SAP in order to bring the solution to SAP’s customer base. We also joined the SAP.io program to build a solution together.

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In the panel on accelerators and startups, Alexa Gorman, head of sap.io, tells: “Once you are in a large organization like SAP, there is not that sense of urgency that you have when you are a startup and you basically have to pay your employees and you need to close the deals to be able to have cash in the till”, she says. Working with startups therefore creates great opportunities: “We were able to create a win-win-win situation.”

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How AI And “Gaze Control” Will Help Businesses Reopen Safely

Recent projections by the US federal government estimate that there will be 200,000 new coronavirus cases in the US  by June 1. At the same time, governments around the world are grappling with the complexities of safely reopening businesses, schools and other public institutions.

Technology companies are rushing into that gap with software aimed at keeping people safe, while citizens navigate a patchwork approach to easing shelter-in-place orders. One well-known approach is the use of contact-tracing apps on smart phones created by tech and telecom companies. These apps alert people if they’ve been in close proximity to an infected person.

But other technologies can help. When businesses and other institutions open up, they will need to do a lot of things differently. A new technology called “gaze control” allows people to avoid touching surfaces, like ATM display screens or subway-fare vending machine, that may be potentially contaminated with the virus. Stephan Odörfer is founder and managing director of Munich-based 4tiitoo (pronounced “42”), a startup that creates gaze control technology. Put simply, this technology lets people use their eyes to interact with computers, replacing the need to touch a keyboard, mouse or screen.

Moreover, 4tiitoo has combined gaze control with AI to analyze patterns in users’ eye movement and predict what people want to do next within a particular computer screen or application. “Gaze control allows you to do two things. It controls the computer and we can use it to get an understanding of what the user actually wants to do, “said Odörfer. “By understanding intention, we can proactively support him.”

Read More…

SAP In Focus: Tech That Will Help Us Reopen Video

Startup CEO and SAP expert say “gaze control” and AI will help people get back to work, play and life more safely. Stephan Odörfer, founder of 4tiitoo, explains how touchless computing will protect workers. Meanwhile, David Judge, SAP’s Vice President for Intelligent Enterprise Solutions, believes the pandemic will accelerate adoption of technologies like machine learning, blockchain and IoT. Learn how these technologies will help us recover, while protecting our data privacy.

Watch Interview Here…

Vanessa Liu of SAP.iO Shares Global Wisdom

Vanessa Liu is a builder. She is a builder of businesses, concepts, networks and connections.

Vanessa presently leads SAP.iO Foundries in North America, which are SAP’s accelerators for B2B enterprise startups. She has earned degrees in neuroscience and law.

Early in her career, Vanessa worked in the business consulting world with McKinsey Company, which took her around the world to posts in Amsterdam, London and New York, were she presently resides. Along her dynamic career path, Vanessa developed a keen interest in media, and she has launched and invested in a number of successful media ventures, including Inside Hook and Fevo.

Vanessa is a champion for social justice and a tireless advocate for under-represented business start-ups, especially those led by women or diverse founders. With Vanessa’s diverse and fascinating background, it is no wonder she is one of the wisest people I know.

Settle in. Over the next nine minutes, you’ll discover what unique bit of wisdom Vanessa has chosen to share.

Listen Here…


Learn how to bring a new product or service to market in the age of Coronavirus with our guest today, Vanessa Liu. Vanessa graduated from both Harvard University and Harvard Law before going on to help launch multiple media and telecom startups as a consultant at McKinsey & Company. She then went on two four two more startups herself before taking on her current role running SAP.io’s Foundries program (www.SAP.io/Foundries), a no-equity accelerator for startups with a current or planned integration with SAP, 40% or more of which have female or under-represented founders.

In this episode, we cover how still-growing organizations should pivot their product, service, and/or messaging to focus on potential clients’ pain-points, and not on simply how great their product is.

SAP.iO: Treiber von Veränderung

Miroslav Dimitrov Head der Berliner Foundry von SAP:iO

Herr Dimitrov, mit welcher Intention fördert SAP.iO Startups?
Mit der klaren Mission, die nächste Generation von Ökosystemen aktiv mitzugestalten. Wir wollen Treiber von Veränderung sein, nicht Getriebene. Und dafür suchen wir über Beteiligungen und das Accelarator-Programm jene vielversprechenden Startups, die unsere Geschäftssoftware sinnvoll ergänzen.

Das heißt, Sie konzentrieren sich als Accelerator auf B2B-Lösungen, die bestehende SAP-Systeme ergänzen?
Wir setzen in jeder neuen Runde auf unterschiedliche Themen, immer aber mit Fokus auf B2B und SaaS. Bei den FinTechs sehen wir aktuell in den Bereichen „Customer Experience“, „Big Data and Analytics“, „Peer-to-Peer Finance“ und „Identity“ großes Potenzial.

Was sind das für Startups, die Sie unterstützen?
PXL Vision aus der Schweiz ist ein Beispiel aus dem Bereich „Identity“, die auf Basis von maschinellem Sehen und Deep Learning das Kunden-Onboarding deutlich verschlanken wollen – für Finanzdienstleister und Kunden gleichermaßen. Ein anderes Beispiel ist troy GmbH aus dem nordrhein-westfälischen Lippstadt. Dort hat man es sich zum Ziel gemacht, die Customer Experience beim Inkasso zu verbessern. Denn ein wesentlicher Teil der Kunden zahlt unverschuldet oder versehentlich nicht.

Auf welchen Wegen kommen Sie mit solch spannenden neuen Unternehmern zusammen?
Unser Netzwerk und unsere Kunden spielen hierfür natürlich eine wichtige Rolle. Denn am Ende des Tages, wollen wir für sie der Partner der Wahl sein und passende Lösungen bieten. Ein Großteil des Prozesses findet aber auch intern über die Frage statt, in welchen Bereichen wir nach vielversprechenden Partnern Ausschau halten wollen. Und dann gibt es natürlich auch die Startups, die uns finden. Für diejenigen der Hinweis: Die nächste Runde unseres Accelerator-Programms ist in Planung und wir freuen uns bereits jetzt über einen regen Austausch und Kontakt.

Et si l’Europe revenait dans la course à la technologie ?

Qu’il semble loin, le temps où Alcatel, Nokia ou Ericsson faisaient partie des entreprises parmi les plus puissantes du secteur des technologies. Place aujourd’hui aux GAFAM, à Alibaba, Huawei ou Tencent, une course sino-américaine dont l’Europe semble aujourd’hui exclue.

La compétitivité technologique est pourtant une nécessité, à en croire les deux intervenants présents lors de la table ronde “Wargames” de la Maddy Keynote du 31 janvier : Sébastien Gibier, Directeur de SAP.iO Foundry Paris, et Tristan Nitot, Président de Qwant

La course technologique

Ce dernier lance d’emblée un message d’espoir « Je ressens un profondément sentiment d’urgence à accélérer sur le secteur technologique en Europe. Ce n’est pas trop tard, mais il faut agir vite ». Mais d’ailleurs, pourquoi agir ? Pourquoi l’Europe doit-elle reprendre sa marche en avant dans la course à la technologie ? 

D’abord parce que son retard est réel. À titre d’exemple, en 2019, l’ensemble des licornes (entreprises non côtées valorisées à plus d’un milliard de dollars) américaines étaient valorisées à plus de 1600 milliards de dollars, leurs homologues asiatiques à plus de 900 milliards de dollars, et les européennes a à peine plus de 300 milliards.

Ensuite  parce que l’Union Européenne a les moyens de cette ambition. Fort d’un marché porteur, deuxième PIB à parité du pouvoir d’achat mondial derrière la Chine mais devant les Etats-Unis, l’Europe est un terrain fertile quant à l’essor des nouvelles technologies. Ce que résume ainsi Tristan Nitot : “L’Europe présente le double avantage d’avoir une population relativement riche en Europe de l’ouest, et un marché très prometteur en Europe de l’est”.

Enfin, le risque est grand d’aboutir à une situation de trop forte dépendance vis-à-vis des modèles chinois ou américains, comme le précise Sébastien Gibier : « Tant pour l’emploi que pour la protection des données, notamment en matière de sécurité ou de santé, il est nécessaire d’avoir une Europe forte et dynamique sur les marchés de la nouvelle économie ». Sur des sujets aussi sensibles, on ne peut que comprendre la crainte émise par le Directeur de SAP.IO Foundry Paris. Les récents scandales, notamment celui de Cambridge Analytica, rajoutent s’il en était besoin la question de l’éthique et du traitement des données personnelles à cette préoccupante équation. 

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Les nouvelles technologies au service du développement durable

Ce samedi 7 décembre 2019, Olivier Gambari, président d’iNex circular, Fabrice Bonnifet, directeur du développement durable du groupe Bouygues, et Catherine Garcera, directrice innovation et transformation chez SAP, se sont penchés sur les nouvelles technologies qui se mettent au service du développement durable dans l’émission Hors-Série Les Dossiers BFM Business présentée par Frédéric Simottel.

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