SAP announced yesterday two initiatives that will aim to use Big Data to help better understand the planet’s diversity and food safety. The announcement, which was made during the SAP Big Data for Industry Influencer Event, said that the initiatives would involve the use of SAP HANA to collect and analyse data to help crowdsource the identification and analysis of species globally as well as identify fraud in the global food supply.

Understanding the Planet’s Diversity 

In an effort to understand the planet’s diversity better, SAP is working with The International Barcode of Life (iBOL) to collect and analyze data that can contribute to iBOL’s existing database of more than 400,000 species. The iBOL project is an ambitious programme that aims to identify all the species on the planet – estimated to be anywhere between 10 million to 100 million species – and has called upon SAP to expand its research. The urgency of the task, the company said, is clear “as species are disappearing from the planet at an alarming rate.”

To tackle the problem, SAP have built an applications with iBOL called LifeScanner to crowdsource the collection and analysis of all this information. The application allows anyone using an iPhone to collect a tissue sample or whole organism, send it off for analysis and get species identification using DNA barcodes from anywhere on the globe. The published DNA barcode is then made available to researchers and students for analysis using SAP HANA, SAP Lumira software as well as other third-party analytics tools.

“Whether it’s better understanding the human species, or any other animal or planet species, there is no doubt that Big Data gives us the opportunity to better understand life all around us,” said Irfan Khan, senior vice president and general manager, Database & Technology, SAP. “The volumes and sources of data continue to grow rapidly and using this information intelligently can help prevent the extinction of species, promote new life science discoveries and improve the health of life on our planet. The SAP HANA platform helps organizations better process Big Data so they can acquire, analyze and act on insights in real time.”

Combatting Identity Fraud in the Food Supply Chain

As SAP explained, traceability of food sources and confirmation of food product authenticity is a difficult and time-consuming challenge.

“Most global supply chain visibility solutions in the food industry ensure strict processes and track packaging, but knowing what species are inside the package is challenging because many species can be hard to identify after processing,” the company said in a press release.

To combat the problem of identify fraud in the food supply chain, SAP is working with Tru-ID to integrate DNA-based verification testing into the supply chain and help companies identify the “source of adulteration among their suppliers.” By usining SAP HANA Cloud Platform, organisations can ask suppliers to share independently audited tests.

The company said in a statement,

“Customers are envisioned to be able to integrate these test results into supply chain visibility solutions from SAP, so they can address problems that may arise from food-quality problems such as determining the quality of the foods supplied by certain suppliers, initiating product recalls when food contamination or substitution is detected and identifying risk exposure by supplier and product.”

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(Image Credit: Ali Samieivafa)

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