inovex Review 2018
We look back on a successful 2018 as we thank our customers, partners, and friends - and last but not least, our employees - for the excellent cooperation and the great joint projects. We’re already looking forward to the coming year!
We reached some real milestones in the past year – here’s a little look back, combined with warm Christmas greetings from the entire inovex Team. We wish you all a Merry Christmas, peaceful holidays, and a Happy New Year 2019!
In early December we published our Case Study Platform Search and Automatic Content Linking for the H-Hotels Group, in which we report how we supported the H-Hotels Group in making existing website content automatically searchable with the latest search technologies, in order to further improve the usability of the platform for customers.
The participants* in our Lego4Scrum Meetups in Hamburg and Munich were able to see for themselves that Lego toys are a very good hands-on tool for learning how agile works and what advantages it offers. Since everyone was very enthusiastic and appreciative, we have planned a repeat presentation in Cologne for 17 January 2019.
The fact that the satisfaction of our employees* is close to our hearts, and that we do our utmost to ensure that it stays that way, is repeatedly confirmed by our positive kununu evaluations . But that we were once again voted one of the best employers in the German SME sector and even reached 3rd place in the IT industry – naturally, that made us especially happy in November!
In October we moved into our new offices in the Technology Park. Our new (and second) Karlsruhe location is in the Technology Park at Im Vogelsand 4, 76131 Karlsruhe.
Another highlight was being voted the most family-friendly employer for the third time in a row. And we were equally proud when inovex’s Dominik, Head of Machine Learning Engineering, was presented with the SWSA Ten-Year Award at the International Semantic Web Conference in Monterey, California. Many other inovex employees, as well, write respected professional articles and presentations, which are not only published, but often quoted and given awards. We want to say “Thanks” for this commitment, and we are proud of it!
As usual, the starting signal came again in September for many autumn conferences. During the event Big Data Analysis for SMEs at Industry 4.0, for example, Stefan Kirner spoke on the subject of Headphones Production 4.0 – A cloud-based Industry IoT solution for quality improvement, reporting on his Project Experiences with beyerdynamic. And at the conference AWS Community Days in Frankfurt, Alexander Köhler gave his presentation Pursuit of Stability – Growing AWS ECS in Production.
In September we also blogged four new articles, each of which went deep into a particular topic. We developed the open source tool trovilo for the Kubernetes configuration. We demonstrated how easy it is to replace Java with Kotlin in apps. And we predicted the future (or at least a small part of it) with Machine Learning, and published the basic ideas of a new Master’s Thesis on neuroevolution, which was written under our auspices.
We didn’t really have a “summer slump” in August, because we used the time to put together a whole series of blog articles on subjects such as “State of the Web 2018”. And we had a “meetup” on the subject of MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport) at our Karlsruhe location. Regarding MQTT, inovex employees Gerrit and Arnold spoke at the building IoT event on “Connected Cooking powered by MQTT” and “MQTT in the Enterprise – How to successfully run an MQTT Message Broker”.
In recent months we have intensively supported the company Exaring with their streaming platform “waipu.tv”. What kind of agile setup we used, how we implemented the mobile front-ends for the platform, and why the back-end for waipu.tv consists of microservices: all of that was recorded during the course of the year in our three case studies.
In July we made a donation of used network hardware in support of the Nikolauspflege Foundation of the Berufsbildungswerk Stuttgart vocational training program. The Nikolauspflege trains visually impaired, visually disabled and blind young people to work as IT specialists*in app development, in system integration and as IT management assistants. The donation was initiated by Maximilian von Wissel, who himself attended the Nikolauspflege’s Tilly Lahnstein School before successfully completing his training at inovex as an IT specialist.
In July we were represented by Florian Wilhelm at the PyData and – in cooperation with our customer mobile.de – gave our visitors a look at how large amounts of data are controlled with PySpark.
In June, our “Pepper expert” Silvia presented her paper “Affective Robots: Evaluation of Automatic Emotion Recognition Approaches on a Humanoid Robot towards Emotionally Intelligent Machines” at the 20th International Conference on Social Robotics, and received the “Best Paper Award” for doing so.
Shortly before the summer break, our “Meetup Calendar” was crammed full of appointments. For June and July we had organized 5 more meetups in Karlsruhe and in Cologne, before a subsequent small August “time window” window with no meetup conferences was to follow. These meetups involved such varied technological areas as Java 9, Spring Boot 2 and Kotlin, Python, Natural Language Processing and UX Research. In the coming year, as well, the meetup list is already impressive. It will include such matters as learning Scrum with Legos and carrying out complete projects remotely, as well as security in IT Systems. To visit our complete Event List, which is regularly updated, click here.
In May we dealt extensively with Kubernetes and dedicated an entire page on inovex.de to this standard tool for the orchestration of containers. At the same time we also published 4 videos, in which colleagues from our IT Engineering & Operations unit explained what they do, why, and how.
In May our blog outdid itself with three new articles about very different building blocks of digital transformation: our Sales Team explained in its contribution how it optimizes its strategy with agile methods. In the second article we reported on how we have outperformed Google Cloud Vision in “Textspotting” with “Generative Adversarial Networks”. And in the third contribution we explained why component libraries are advantageous in the development of large web apps.
While European companies spent April preparing for the implementation of the data protection law DSGVO, we were supporting persons who have not yet grown into the digital world: through a donation, we made possible the execution of an initiative by fischertechnik AG at the Wasserturm Karlsruhe elementary school. The money was used to finance the creation of fischertechnik construction kits within the framework of the Karlsruhe Technology Initiative.
In April we attended the ContainerDays event, where our container expert Johannes Scheuermann delivered his presentation “Manage Your Bare-Metal Infrastructure with a CI/CD-Driven Approach”. Other challenges we addressed in daily project work, and some special requirements from China which kept us on the go, were introduced by Timo Heinrichs and Arnold Bechtold in their video.
Following our blog article in February, we returned to the topic of Voice Assistants in March – this time in our podcast. In a further podcast, inovex employees addressed the question: how do digital products actually emerge, how do software development and “User Experience Design” interact, and how does one critique in an international context?
Humanoid robots such as Pepper and other applications of artificial intelligence are capable of transforming many industries permanently. That is why we address intensively the practical application scenarios of robots and the technologies behind the Use Cases. inovex’s own Pepper is used in research and development (e.g., in the inovex Lab) and is repeatedly programmed individually by inovex for various applications.
February was again packed with events and many exciting lectures were held, such as “Kotlin: Fun with Functions”, “Let’s talk about Computer Vision!” and “New Dream Team Azure Data Factory v2 and SSIS”.
The Voice Assistants from Google, Amazon & Co. support the digital lifestyle solely through their extensive out-of-the-box functions. By developing one's own apps, the range of functions can be significantly expanded. We have already developed individual solutions for Voice Assistants for some customers. In our tutorial, which we published in February, we explain from our own experience how to implement your own “action” for the Actions-on-Google platform, and what possibilities and limitations still exist.
2018 began with immediate turbulence in the IT scene. The security gaps Spectre and Meltdown found in a large number of widespread modern processors dominated the technical press. Vulnerabilities like these can have serious consequences. This is why, in our projects, we always take care of the security of your IT systems right from the start,
In January we added a new training course for software developers to our training portfolio. The “Cloud Development Training” course uses numerous exercises to introduce participants to the development of software for the Cloud, using the Amazon Web Services platform (AWS) as an example. The training session was well attended last year, and there is already a date set for it in 2019, in the Content Pool. C