inovex annual review 2019
We can look back on a successful 2019 and would like to thank our customers, partners, friends and, not least, our employees for the great cooperation and excellent shared projects that we enjoyed. We’re looking forward to the year ahead!
The year 2019 was a special one for inovex, because we celebrated our company’s 20th anniversary. But we didn’t eat our birthday cake until November, because there was a lot to get done first.
For example, inspiring more people to try agile working, efforts that were very well received on three occasions (Cologne in January, Karlsruhe in May, Hamburg in September) at our Lego4Scrum meetups.
We then launched a series of blog articles about the mobile trend technology Flutter and got the year underway in typical inovex style with a leap into the deep technological waters.
The water was not quite so cold at another January highlight: We gave a talk at the Annual Conference on Innovative Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Honolulu – 2019 could have started a lot worse... ;-)
In recent years, we have developed into experts in video streaming platforms (among other things) through various major projects. A significant part of that was (and is) down to our customer waipu.tv, where (and with whom) we jointly held a meetup about technologies that can play a major role in streaming on the client side: Kotlin and Spring Boot 2.
(With similar content, but an even nicer title, the speakers were also guests in Hamburg in August.)
The Pitch Club Hamburg, where we presented ourselves as an employer, had a very different purpose. The format is highly informative and entertaining for developers and thus always receives such rave reviews that we were very happy to pitch again in Cologne in April and in Munich in October.
In March, we also had the opportunity to prove our qualities as an employer. In this case, however, it was from a longer-term perspective, as on the occasion of our Girls’ Day we welcomed 15 girls to our Karlsruhe location for a day of interactive insights into the field of IT.
In that context, we also hosted the first meeting of the Cologne School of AI and held talks about deep learning and recommender systems there.
And in a series of meetups entitled Predicting the Unpredictable, which also started in Cologne (with additional events in Munich and Karlsruhe), we explained what feature learning can do and what contribution AI makes to human–machine interaction today, in particular to communication with chatbots and other digital assistants.
Sticking with the subject of artificial intelligence: At Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, we helped students of the new specialisation Machine Learning in the AI Lab get to grips in theory and practice with the technological foundations of AI.
Passing on that knowledge and expertise is so much fun that we will again be represented with lecturers in the AI Lab in the coming year.
But it is not only the highly visionary things that have made us happy, but also contemporary innovations: The reporting solution Power BI from Microsoft is already impressing so many users that our Power BI Training became a real bestseller in 2019.
Speaking of training, the fact that we have been able to continue to expand our expertise in streaming solutions in many projects was already mentioned in February. In this context, we put our faith in software architectures that are largely interwoven with cloud resources.
As the development of such platforms brings particular challenges, we have featured Cloud Development Training in the programme of the inovex Academy since May. The participants learn a lot about the cloud using the example of AWS, and about DevOps, ECS, containers, Terraform and the development of cloud-ready services.
Learning is also the aim of the Devoxx4Kids series of events, intended to allow children ‘more creative interaction with computers and to teach them to have fun with programming’. As we absolutely share those goals, we supported the Karlsruhe event in May and the Munich version in November.
And because the weather is sometimes quite lovely in May, we held our inovex Friends & Family Day at all locations, as an open day in the afternoon and evening.
After so much technology, tech events and tech education, in June it was time to focus on something completely different that many people at inovex are enthusiastic about: exercising together.
With that in mind, we once again mastered the challenge of Tough Mudder with a big team in June, and also took our now traditional inovex Bike Ride in the Black Forest.
Our Hamburg team already completed the first B2Run of the season in May, followed by the Karlsruhe staff in July and the Cologne group in September.
And then there are the many sporting activities that we do all year round, such as bouldering (in Karlsruhe, Munich and Cologne) and badminton (in Karlsruhe and Munich).
Before the supposed summer slump, which doesn’t really exist in IT, we set the seal on our partnership with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, which, among other things, deals with Kubernetes. Within this partnership, we offer Kubernetes training, both for administrators and for developers. In this way, we are underlining our expertise as a Kubernetes Certified Service Provider, which we have gained in several exciting cloud projects.
We not only have the skills for streaming platforms, but also for collaborative smart contracting platforms for digital value creation networks. That is what the KOSMoS project, which we started in July with several well-known collaboration partners, is about.
We further proved our expertise as an event organiser for the tech community by transferring our popular meetup format to the lunch break – we call it TechLunch. This innovation was so well received that we held another such lunch right away in August.
Two internal highlights from July: we were able to celebrate our annual ‘SummerPlenum’ (where all employees meet for an internal conference) together with our summer party in bright sunshine. And in Karlsruhe, we moved into an additional floor at our Park Plaza location, having renovated, furnished and equipped it in inovex style beforehand.
And then there was the takeover of our Instagram account by our Finance team … summer slump? What summer slump?
There was a lot written about Kubernetes this year. As with all buzzwords, the decisive point is what you actually do with it. For and with 1&1 Mail & Media GmbH, in just six months we built a georedundant Kubernetes hardware cluster in an infrastructure that had grown outdated, and we are very proud of it.
We are hoping for similar success to that which we have achieved with the Kubernetes partnership from a new partnership we agreed in August: namely, databricks, a modern, cloud-optimised analysis platform that is based on Apache Spark and combines data science, data engineering and business intelligence applications in a single solution. Let’s see how our customers can benefit from it.
After the summer break that wasn’t (as July and August showed), we again asked ourselves: what is the Web up to? And how is it doing it, from a technological point of view? We summarised the very diverse answers in a series of blog posts entitled State of the Web.
At the renowned Strata Data Conference in New York, we came across a lot of exciting information, on the one hand, and, on the other, clearly impressed a lot of people with our talk on the sales forecasts for REWE, as it seems many companies are yet to find a good solution of their own for this central supply chain topic.
Also together with REWE, we held ‘TechTogether’ in Cologne in September, the agenda for which included talks and lots of discussion with interested customers about data science and artificial intelligence.
Don’t forget, the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology has decided which initiatives for the innovative use of artificial intelligence are particularly worthy of funding. The aim of the successful suggestion Service-Meister, which we are helping with, is a digital service ecosystem. Our internal IT department is itself a different kind of service ecosystem, which ensures that everything users need works at all locations.
In order to find out what is still wanted, the IT Team followed the best agile methods and held a Lean Coffee with users on-site in Hamburg, then got straight to work on implementing the new ideas. And as it worked so well, the Munich location enjoyed the same treatment in November. Great job!
We are closely connected to the academic community. Two examples in October showed how lively those networks are: together with Engineers Without Borders, we held a meetup in Karlsruhe on the topic of voluntary software projects for charitable causes.
The inovex project Coding for Charity created software for the coordination of the emergency personnel of the German Red Cross at major events.
‘Coding for Karma’ from the ‘Engineers’ is designed to give people taking care of schoolchildren the opportunity to manage the work data that they had, up to now, saved in local Word and Excel files together on a modern, centralised platform.
At the Cologne location, we then had the opportunity to welcome the participants in the 11th Knowledge Forum from the KIT LEAN student group as our guests. The keynote speech from our CEO Stephan Müller, entitled ‘Transformation is the only constant’, made for lively discussion about the inovex culture before the guests went to their Lean talks.
We are not only closely connected to the academic world through meetups and conferences, but also through visionary joint projects. One such project is an expert system for quality assessment and evaluation of three-dimensional mass spectroscopy data, which we implemented together with Mannheim University of Applied Sciences. It generated a scalable data analysis platform and a lot of knowledge that we will use for similar platform projects in the area of machine learning and data science.
The Global Day of Coderetreat is a celebration for friends of software development that has already taken place for the tenth time and – as the name suggests – is celebrated around the world. We held a corresponding event at our Cologne location, where participants could spend a whole day fully concentrated on coding and testing – as the organisers, we took care of everything else.
And we all ate birthday cake at the same time at every location... :-)
As always, 2019 in IT was a year filled with exciting topics, trends and technologies. One topic that repeatedly came into focus in recent months was the security of IT systems.
IT security is also a focal point at inovex, as well as in project work and among young researchers. Through training, workshops and hackathons, we raise awareness of its importance and share our knowledge at conferences run by initiatives such as the Open Web Application Security Community, which just so happened to take place in Karlsruhe.
Another topic from this year that, just like security, will also be very important in 2020 is the megatrend of the ‘(Industrial) Internet of Things’. The broader the field, the more important the tools. We took a closer look at the topic of ‘smart building’ from the point of view of product discovery and recorded our findings in the blog.
As happens every year, all our employees met up for a second time for the ‘WinterPlenum’ internal conference and the subsequent Christmas party, at which we are gradually moving towards a total of 500 guests, including partners. We wish you and your families a peaceful festive season, a happy New Year and a successful 2020!