Victory to “Be My Eyes”

Team Work at Arla Food

I took part of this year’s Appy Days, which is an event bringing together companies and developers, with the shared purpose of developing a mobile App!

The event started on a Mondays morning in the idyllic Danish town of Silkeborg, with some interesting speakers speaking a language that only nerds understand. First speaker was Frank Allan Hansen from the Alexandra Institute. He gave a great overview of the development within applications for cell phone devices and summed up the different development platforms and their market share. Frank was followed by Martin Esmann from Microsoft, who gave a quick introduction to the Windows Phone Platform and why it belonged in the marketplace. Furthermore, was given a quick introduction to app development on the Windows Phone platform, which surprisingly seemed fairly easy to work on. That was also one of Martins primary sales arguments for the Windows Phone oppose to IOS or Android. According to Microsoft the cost of app development on the Windows platform was up to 50% cheaper than Apple IOS.

“Lunch also very much appreciated”

The presentations were all very technical, and it required full attention to keep track of the details. Therefore, was lunch also very much appreciated and some great networking took place.

After lunch the companies pitched their ideas to the forum of developers, graphics people and people like me called project managers. Some very interesting ideas were presented and after the pitch it was time to find the perfect match between developers and companies. I choose to join Arla Foods and immediately after the team had been settled, the discussions about features and functions began.

For the next two days our team of 5 would be working hard on saving time for families with kids, planning their weekly meals. The solution would be an app working across Iphone, Ipad and Web, all synchronised with the Arla’s Database supplying more than 4000 professionally tested recipes.

“You might think we were guinea pigs”

The two days at Arla HQ was a great experience and included a lot great snacks supplied by the wonderful ladies from “Karolines Køkken” (the kitchen where all recipes are developed.) You might think we were guinea pigs, but I like to think of us as the luckiest individuals at work. Thanks a lot to Arla for great treatment.

The final day of Appy Days was the day of the grand finale, where every team presented their app prototype. There was even a team that had a fully functioning app operating and ready to be place in the app store, which must be considered a great achievement for 72 hours of work. However, this app was not the winner of the completion. Instead the concept from “Be My Eyes” took victory for their solution to connect blind people with a community of volunteers ready to help out via a video conference call.

The concept of Appy Days was great, and my impression was that both developers and companies made good use of each other and that connections was made.

FoodPharmaTech 10 innovative discovery!

Food Pharma Tech 2010

Wednesday I visited MCH (Messecenter Herning) for the FoodPharmaTech 10 trade-fair. You might wonder why FoodPharmaTech, but it is like a tradition and I have been attending for several years.

Trade-fairs are a dying race cause to the evolvement of the internet, and there is hardly anything you can see on a trade-fair that you cannot find on the web. It is a shame though. Let me tell you why. Walking up and down the corridors, you often experience something catching your attention which you usually would not have found elsewhere. Being there in real life also offers your other opportunities such as feeling, smelling a tasting, which you at the moment will not be able to on the web. However trade-fairs are dying simply because it is too expensive and the businesses displaying their products cannot defend their presence.

Even though the trade-fairs are dying it is an enjoyable experience and I also did a discovery. Maybe not new but at least interesting and I got my hands on an innovative product that I had only heard about, but not before tried out.

The product concerns the category of handling milk, and other dairy products, and could be defined as a carton, however it is not. We are talking about an innovative bag that has some absolute cool features.

The concept of the back is that you cut a hole for the dairy product to float out of. As seen on the picture there is an air bobble working as a handle which gives the bag the function of a jug. The bottom of the bag is flat, so even though the bag is made from flexible plastic, it stands upright on the table or in the refrigerator. Another interesting feature of the dairy bag is the automatic closing system. As you stop purring, the bag will automatically close and prevent bacteria’s and dust to get in touch with the product.

Food Pharma Tech Carton 2010
Food Pharma Tech Carton 2010

Last but not least the bag has some logistic advantages. Today when dairy products in cartons are transported to the stores they come in boxes made of hard plastic. These boxes are cleaned and send back to the dairy manufacture empty, where again new cartons of dairy products are packed in them. This is however very costly as the transportation from store to the manufacture is approximately 90% air. With the plastic bag there is no need of hard plastic boxes and the bags can just be packed in cardboard boxes which can be reused for other purposes by the store. The truck does then have the opportunity to transport something else instead of the empty boxes.

So the conclusion must be that it is a win, win situation. The consumer gets a well-functioning product with great abilities. It doesn’t require that much space in the stores. The transportation company can be more efficient. The manufacture can save money on the transportation cost. And the environment will benefit from less carbon dioxide emissions.

Because the trade-fairs are dying grip the opportunity before it is too late. The FoodPharmaTech 10 was free to enter and so are many other trade-fairs today. If you are being open-minded you might end up getting inspired for the next big venture, even though it is in a branch you usually would not find interesting.

Alfotech

Alfotech

I have been working for Alfotech since 2006 in a part time job next to my study. I have been around in the company and have visited foreign suppliers, been advising regarding IT-investments and phone-communication setups, attended trade fairs.

Alfotech is a Danish supplier of technical components and solutions to the Food-, Pharmaceutical-, and Chemical industry. Find out more www.alfotech.dk