In May, leading industrial automation supplier Fastems hosted a hackathon event at their factory in Lahdesjärvi, Finland.
Altogether nine teams of developers with varying backgrounds were brought to the factory by IndustryHack, a start-up bringing the hackathon idea to the manufacturing industry.
They were greeted with open doors and access to Fastems’ system, wired with sensors and APIs to access information. The aim of the event was to allow the “hackers” to come up with and develop new Industrial Internet solutions for Fastems.
“We wanted people that don’t know our factory or our system to pay a visit,” says Fastems CEO Tomas Hedenborg. “Such people are not bound by existing norms and ways of thinking inside the company. Instead, they can more freely question the way we do things around here, and then come up with fresh ideas.”
As many as nine concrete ideas were conceived during the event. Hedenborg says that even if only one of those ideas will eventually be commercialized, the hackathon was easily more than worth the investment.
“The ideas are all related to themes already present in our R&D programs,” Hedenborg states. “However, this event gave us interesting, fresh angles.”
Another thing Fastems wanted to achieve with the hackathon was to further improve its positive image as an employer.
“An event like this definitely helps attract young talent to work with us,” Hedenborg says. “Not that we’ve ever had difficulties with recruiting talented people, on the contrary. But now that our business is about to step into new territories, we don’t always have the relevant contact networks.”
Among those already working for Fastems, the hackathon was a welcome breath of fresh air: for many, it was the best weekend they have ever had at work. Also, it is now clear to everybody that Fastems is going to take the rise of Industrial Internet very seriously.
During this year, IndustryHack has organized three hackathons, and seven more are in the pipeline. Fastems was so pleased with the results that it is planning to host another event in the near future, possibly in Germany where it has a subsidiary.
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