Pentalog’s Chisinau delivery center has recently organized a SmartOffice Hackathon that challenged our employees to come up with ideas for improving life at the office by technical means such as building web / mobile applications or inventing automated processes, robots, sensors or other kinds of artificial intelligence.
After a three-week process, the designated jury decided to reward the team who came up with the idea of implementing a quick and easy system for reserving a meeting room for a short while. This was a great opportunity to remember that urgent needs appear often and there’s no time to make an appointment in due time, as company rules state. Thus, in order for people to be able to have a decent talk in one of the company’s meeting rooms in such situations, our colleagues in Chisinau proposed to scan the badge (which is a RFID card that all employees have) with a scanner situated near the meeting room. The system will automatically make a reservation of the related meeting room for 30 minutes with the badge holder’s name in title.
Since the idea scored highest in both popular and judge voting, Pentalog’s Chisinau delivery center is going to implement the system, so the team’s work will continue.
Ideas for a smarter life at the office
Picking only one winning team on this specific event wasn’t easy, since there were plenty of interesting projects ready to spring out an idea on how to improve life at the office. Shortly after we announced the hackathon, 14 ideas had already been signed up on our internal communication platform and were subjected to popular voting. All are wonderful ideas! Here are some of them:
- Penta Calendar – a visual representation of all the events planned inside the agency for each month or, as the initiator explained, “a calendar with CRUD operations for events and a display informational tooltip in hover”.
- Smart Mirror – an old but still a very interesting idea is to install mirrors inside the office (toilets, elevators or hallways) where one could see, besides one’s reflection, specific information such as: outside/inside temperature, time and date, the forecast, etc.
- An application that would keep count of the number of cars in the company’s parking lot, so as the employee who would want to pick a spot, to know for sure if there is any available before entering.
- Automated setting of the interior blinds – with the help of light sensors, blinds would automatically open or shut inside an office, so there would be no need for human intervention.
- Today Wall – installing screens in the relaxing rooms and kitchen to show employees different types of information: upcoming events, new blog posts, new books in library, current week birthdays and work anniversaries, real-time tweets, meeting-rooms availability for today, etc.
With the help of an in-house jury (7 colleagues who are part of CODIRAG, Pentalog’s Chisinau Directing Council, and 2 technical experts, also mentors in the hackaton), 5 ideas with the most potential for being implemented were selected. The jury’s decision to pick only a winner is based on specific evaluation criteria such as: soft/hardware UI, software/hardware complexity, experience gained by the team, solution price, level of safety, etc. Nevertheless, for us, all the teams are winners, because the purpose of our internal event was to learn from one another and have fun creating new things for improving office life, which we did!
Knowledge sharing is Pentalog’s running engine
Our colleagues worked together, in their spare time, to design the applications they imagined to have an impact on people’s lives at the office. One could often see – in different places inside the agency (relaxing rooms, kitchen, and hallways) – groups of enthusiastic people debating ideas during lunch breaks, after work and even during weekends. This says a lot about their dedication!
First, Pentaguys love hackathons! It’s not the first time that we have announced an internal hackathon event when people rush to contribute with ideas or support the teams. Second, Pentaguys love challenges! People like coming together in order to develop something meaningful for the community. Sometimes, it’s about the IT field, other times it’s about helping the local community – the academic environment or specific social causes. As you probably already know, Pentalog supports, initiates or organizes events such as PentaBike, PentaStagiu, PentaBAR, Penta911 and many more. This is our way of putting our values into practice and contributing to a sustainable IT development everywhere we operate.
We also like to constantly learn new things; therefore these hackathons represent a good opportunity to share knowledge in order to become better and smarter. As far as reward is concerned, those who win our internal competitions receive support for implementing their ideas and encouragement to expand their expertise in any area they might be interested in. Pentalog Evolution Program offers professional training to all employees in order to keep up-to-date with new technologies, management and leadership best practices.
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