A red-eyed glimpse of the future

A red-eyed glimpse of the future

More than 100 employees in 29 teams stayed up for 24 hours in the 2018 Scania Hack. “Many here have interesting ideas that potentially can be incorporated into our business,” says Göran Henrixon, the event’s organiser.

The theme for this year’s hack was industrial IoT and cloud solutions. It attracted not only those in Scania directly working with IT but also researchers from R&D and Connected Services and Solutions. “The ideas generated don’t necessarily have to be directly connected to work,” explains Göran Henrixon. “But many here have interesting ideas that potentially can be incorporated into our business. However, most don’t have the time to explore these ideas during work and this gives them the chance to pursue them out of hours.”

Dad’s idea is a hit with his kids

Scania employee Caspar Behrendt’s young children are eager to listen to Spotify but irritatingly for dad, they require new tunes alarmingly often, forcing him to accommodate their repeated wishes and fish out his phone. Being a computer programmer, he thought about a means of automating song selection for youngsters.

He was able to bring his brilliant idea to fruition during the Scania Hack. Soldering, drilling, sawing and glueing through the night, he designed what he calls a “general purpose interface board”. Pushing a magnetic radio frequency identity (RFID) tag for a tune to the centre of the board will activate the song. “This could well be applied to the likes of a smart home,” he says. “Each tag could then be used to activate lights, lock doors and carry out other household functions.”

Technology to make work easier

Certain groups took the chance to examine how their normal work assignments could be enhanced through new technology. “We normally work with driver evaluation and here we wished to experiment with using a radio-controlled truck to see if this approach could be gainfully used in assessing driver behaviour,” says Magnus Eriksson.

By contrast, Johan Eriksson, who normally works with Scania Maintenance with Flexible Plans, decided to venture far from home and together with teammates designed a facial recognition programme to gauge team members’ moods. “On the way to a meeting, they can see if the mood in the team is upbeat or downtrodden. This is mostly for fun, but it could have a practical application.”

As a newcomer to Scania, Kathrin Bort encountered difficulties in being invited to meetings at areas she was unfamiliar with in the vast Scania complex in Södertälje. Working with her team she designed auto-generated messages attached to all invitations that explain location and means of transport.

Exploring latent potential

These are just of few of the useful – and in some cases less so! – creative ideas developed during the hack. “We want to bring all our creative staff out of their cramped offices and demonstrate the latent potential,” says Henrixon. “And, who knows, several of these ideas may in future enhance our products and services in ways previously unknown.”