Recap VOTUM Code Week 2017 – Our team spent a week experimenting
The best way to develop is to take on challenges and try out new approaches. This motif is the core of our VOTUM Code Week that took place in our office in Berlin Kreuzberg from May 29th to June 2nd, 2017. After this event had its successful premiere in 2016, colleagues from all divisions gathered again to build project teams and work on their ideas. Most of our projects started with a practical problem and evolved into a technical solution. Read our recap to find out what we’ve been working on this year.
Here’s the overview of our projects, you can find a description of every experiment below.
- Hangar aka „Die Borg“
- Muzak Vue
- The Ghost of Sergey & Project Alexa
- Chique or Kick
- Impulse Shopping
- Lizards & Pumpkins
Hangar aka „Die Borg“
The idea behind “Hangar” aka “Die Borg” is that not everyone needs everything all the time, so why not share it in the meantime? That is why one team created an online platform where different departments of VOTUM can lend and reserve various items online, from power drills to textbooks.
If you need something, you can check on the platform Hangar whether it is available or not. If it is loanable then go and grab it. If you have something lying around that might be of use for others, put it in the database. All items are stored in a collective shelf in one of the offices that can be accessed by every colleague. Just log in and start sharing!
Connected to several APIs of services such as Discogs, lastFM, etc. via GraphQL, Muzak Vue collects and displays various info on music artists, tracks, releases as well as Youtube videos.
The Ghost of Sergey & Project Alexa
The VOTUM soda machine called “Sergey” was again at the center of two projects of this year’s Code Week. After it ruined two Raspberry Pi devices in the past, the experiment on how to get drinks out of the machine via different tech solutions continued in 2017. Apart from using a smartphone app in order to choose and receive a specific beverage, two approaches were pursued.
One team focused on EEG waves as a tool to choose between two kinds of drinks. If the carrier of the EEG sensor was relaxed, his measured brain waves prompted the soda machine to give out a bottle of Mate while an agitated state of mind generated the delivery of a bottle of beer.
The other group of coders configured Amazon’s Alexa device to sync up with the machine via API so that a simple voice order resulted in the machine to give out a drink. Alexa was also equipped with a text it had to read out loud and basically command itself to order the beverage.
Chique or Kick
If you’re puzzled in the morning about what outfit you should wear for the day, the “Chique or Kick” team may have a solution. The basic idea is an app where you can upload pictures of you in different clothes and let the community decide what looks best on you today.
A helpful app feature is that you can write a description of the occasion that your peers need to consider when choosing an outfit. They can click on a “thumbs-up” or “thumbs-down” symbol to tell you what they think. Furthermore, a chat option is also available if you two want to have a deeper conversation about fashion or other topics.
Inspired by Amazon’s “Dash Button”, the team behind “Impulse Shopping” toyed with the idea of designing a similar concept for other online shops. By using a physical button device that is connected to the shop’s software, a customer could order a product he wants to buy simply with the push of a button. This would be especially convenient for items that you need on a regular basis, such as a detergent for a washing machine or a frequently consumed drink.
Lizards & Pumpkins
Using two separate applications for a shopping website is an approach that can help to increase the speed of the shop system. While one application retrieves the frontend contents (such as the catalogue) very fast, another one can concentrate on the checkout and other internal processes in the backend.
Lizards & Pumpkins is such a frontend-focused app that is set before the actual shop system. A team of our coders got to know the architecture of Lizards & Pumpkins and used it together with OXID. They also extended the OXID connector of ScaleCommerce and began with the templating.
After all teams presented their results on Friday afternoon, lots of applause filled the auditorium. Some great new ideas combining fantasy and technical knowledge were developed in a short amount of time. The core intention of the Code Week is to challenge our inventive talents and that concept worked out great once again. We’re looking forward to next year and the things that will evolve during our Code Week 2018.
16. Juni 2017