Hackdays or hackathons, a portmanteau of hack and marathon, are a collaborative software development event. The Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) challenge related to printing processes attracted the highest level of interest from the very beginning, with 300 applicants whittled down to 30 top talents. With 13 of 16 nations, Heidelberg had the teams with the widest international representation and an above-average percentage of women at 40 percent. The participants included students and young professionals.
Heidelberg and its teams participated in Hackdays Rhein-Neckar, held in Mannheim, from 14-17 February. Using the Heidelberg Cloud, the 30 top talents solved the challenge of improving customer productivity in agile teams of six participants each.
The hackdays kicked off on 14 February in Heidelberg’s Print Media Center Commercial. There, the 30 participants were shown the workflows involved in a print production run and told about the challenge. The actual hack sessions then took place over a 48-hour period from Friday morning to Sunday. Three teams put on an outstanding performance. The ‘Customer Centricity’ prize went to a solution that proposes concrete training courses to the customer on the basis of operator data.
The ‘Best Data Science’ prize went to an enhancement of the tool for comparing the performance of Heidelberg sheetfed offset presses. The top prize of about R19,500 (EUR 1200) went to a concept that helps to further increase customer productivity through process optimisations. In technical terms, the intensive hackathon meant more than 10,000 hours of CPU performance for over 32,000 database inquiries on 20 TB of data for the Heidelberg Cloud.
The first hackathon in the Rhein-Neckar region was supported by eight companies. Alongside Heidelberg were SAP, BASF, Bilfinger-Berger, Pepperl+Fuchs, Rhein-Neckar Löwen, John Deere, and Mannheimer Morgen.
‘The hackdays were a groundbreaking format for Heidelberg and the great interest in us is a confirmation of our digital potential and our industry,’ explained Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hermann, member of the management board responsible for Lifecycle Solutions and chief digital officer at Heidelberg. ‘The central element of our digitisation strategy is the development of data-based services and business models. To this end, the hackathon provided us with many new ideas and views.’
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