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Future Scope

 

Future Scope – One Backend for All Platforms

By Christina Heutgens, SAP AG – March 15, 2004

Discovering new ways to think about and approach SAP's own product development, as well as stimulating discussion and the active exchange of innovative ideas. These are the goals of a new SAP-internal lecture series called "Future Scope." This event series is a mix of presentations, demonstrations, and workshops designed to give SAP employees the opportunity to experience the compelling technology and business innovations currently being developed by prestigious global research institutes – and discover what these new ideas could mean for SAP, its product portfolio, and software tools of tomorrow.

Professor Alexander Schill, University of Technology in Dresden, was the speaker at the first Future Scope lecture in 2004. He discussed context-sensitive business applications for mobile and heterogeneous environments.

Professor José L. Encarnação

Figure 1: Professor Alexander Schill

People are on the move, and business applications have to keep up. Businesses are using with laptops, PDAs, and cell phones more than ever before. As a result, technical demands are being placed on business applications, for example they must support network connectivity. The difficulties include balancing memory requirements and limitations, and providing an appropriate user interface for every device. Business applications have to support new technologies, and continue to change as new mobile devices become available.

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Figure 2: Audience

The Adaptation Framework that Professor Schill and his colleagues have developed enables business application to move with users and their devices without modification. Yet, the researcher's do not just consider the syntactic and semantic changes that the devices require, but also the user's requirements. Instead of manually modifying applications to enable them to work on mobile devices, the adaptive solutions should adapt to whatever the user's requirements are, without having to create a special version of the software. In the model, a Dialog Description Language defines the algorithms and parameters required for the individual functions and the complex menu descriptions.

For example, when an application is used on a PDA, the data entry fields for an application have to be shorter, but this should happen automatically, that is, without requiring a change in the program. When a voice-controlled application is being used on a manufacturing floor, the error tolerance level has to be higher due to the background noise.

Whether these Adaptation Framework can be used with SAP solutions is being examined, but Professor Schill and SAP Global Research are jointly working on a research project; one area of the project is activity recording.

See also: Future Scope – The Post-PC Era

 

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