Marco Zgraggen, Geschäftsführer, Sisag AG, Daniel Pfiffner, Geschäftsführer, ProSim GmbH Date of presentation: 16.03.21
Die Firmen Sisag AG, Remec AG und ProSim GmbH haben einen Bergbahnsimulator entwickelt, der es ermöglicht, Alpine Destinationen wie beispielsweise Skigebiete mit ihrer Infrastruktur in kurzer Zeit digital abzubilden und Entwicklungsmöglichkeiten zu testen und auszuwerten. Dabei geht es vor allem um Kapazität, Kosten des Betriebs und Verhalten der verschiedenen Gäste im Skigebiet.
Der Simulator hat dabei zwei Anwendungsgebiete. Einerseits ist dies die strategische Entwicklung der Bergbahngebiete. Dabei kann die Frage sein, was die ideale Dimensionierung eines zu ersetzenden Liftes ist und was die Auswirkungen der Dimensionierung auf das restliche Gebiet sind. Ebenso können neue Pistenführungen oder neue Anlagen und ihre Auswirkungen im Gebiet im Voraus getestet werden. Andererseits dient der Zwilling der operativen Entscheidungsunterstützung. Beispielsweise was passiert, wenn ich heute unter einer gewissen Anzahl Gäste eine weitere Piste öffne oder einen Lift schliesse, oder wie viele Kassen muss ich öffnen, damit die Wartezeit an der Talstation nicht zu gross wird.
1. What was the Challenge?
Es gab mehrere anspruchsvolle Entwicklungsschritte. Einerseits war es sicher die Zieldefinition des Projektes. Was sind die Fragestellungen, welche die Bergbahngebiete wirklich beschäftigen. Am Anfang wurde vor allem in Richtung Kapazitätsplanung entwickelt. Im Laufe des Projektes hat man festgestellt, dass die Kostenberechnungen ein ebenso wichtiger Teil für den Nutzen der Software ist.
Ein weiterer anspruchsvoller Schritt war, das Personenverhalten von verschiedenen Personengruppen im Gebiet abzubilden. Diese konnten durch agentenbasierte Simulation gut und generisch abgebildet werden.
2. By which Service-oriented Approach did we Solve it?
Der digitale Zwilling wird für jede Alpine Destination individuell gebaut und parametrisiert. Durch die vorgängige Entwicklung einer Bibliothek für Alpine Destinationen kann dies in kürzester Zeit realisiert werden. Die Software wird dem Betreiber anschliessend auf einer Plattform zur Verfügung gestellt.
3. What are our learnings?
Dies ist eine Umsetzung eines Digitalen Zwillings. Es wurde von der Zieldefinierung, über die Umsetzung, bis hin zu den Weiterentwicklungsmöglichkeiten und nächsten Schritten berichtet.
Am ersten Juli 2020 fiel der Start zur Sommerolympiade service excellence for you. Am Jahresanlass des Schweizer Service Verband SKDV wurden die Teilnehmer dazu eingeladen, sich folgender Frage zu stellen:
«Welches Unternehmen hat den Besten Kundendienst, sind sie bereit für die Herausforderung?»
Kurt Ulmann (Vize-Präsident SKDV) hatte die Idee, über den Verband die Prägung zum Thema Service Excellence in den Unternehmen zu testen und zugleich das Wissen bei den Mitarbeitenden zu vertiefen. Gemeinsam mit der Lern/Game Plattform von Quizmax und dem Know-How von der Service Manufacture entstand das Quiz service excellence for you, welches Themen wie:
Excellence @ work
Mindset für Service Excellence
Service Excellence Wissen
«Nur wer selbst brennt, kann Feuer in anderen entfachen» Augustinus Hippo
Das Game kann via APP auf dem Handy sowie auf dem Desktop gespielt werden. Die Spieler quizzen in den Unternehmen gegeneinander, oder gegen den Computer. Dabei sehen sie ihren Wissenstand und können verschiedene Wissensstufen erreichen. Ausgewertet wird am Ende der durchschnittliche Erfolg, welcher mit den anderen Unternehmen verglichen wird. Daraus entsteht eine dynamische Rangliste der mitspielenden Firmen.
Das Game ist auch ohne Olympiade jederzeit verfügbar:
Der SKDV stellt das service excellence for you quiz seinen Mitgliedern sowie den Mitgliedern der Technischen Kundendienst Kammer TKK kostenfrei zur Verfügung
Jedes Unternehmen, das seine Mitarbeiter im technischen Kundendienst weiterentwickeln möchte, kann sich für einen eigenen Zugang registrieren.
Mehrere Unternehmen rangen um den Sieg und den begehrten Titel «Bestes Serviceunternehmen 2020»
And The Winner is:
Hörmann Schweiz AG, unter der Leitung von Patrik Hostettler, Leiter Technischer Kundendienst.
Gemäss Herrn Hostettler wird das Thema Kundenbegeisterung bei Hörmann grossgeschrieben, was der Gewinn an dieser Olympiade unterstreicht. Er werde im Frühjahr einen Mitarbeiteranlass organisieren und den Gewinn, «Ambassador Kart» eine begeisterte Fahrt mit dem Elektrokart von der Firma Service Manufacture, einlösen. Dabei wird er seine Servicehelden gebührend feiern.
Could you shortly tell who Data Ahead Analytics is and what you do?
Data Ahead Analytics is a Zurich based tech company. We enable our customers to get the carbon footprints of their value chains at a very granular level. We help them calculate the impacts and seize opportunities in their journey towards decarbonization.
What is Data Ahead Analytics background story?
Christian Spindler, CEO of Data Ahead Analytics, has a passion for bringing long-term sustainability dimensions to the business side of companies.
“When you look back at how sustainability was originally defined, there was a balance between the ecological, social and economic aspects of well-being: one aspect should not compromise the other aspects. In order to ensure overall sustainability, we should bring all these three elements together, in order to have thriving businesses that are ecologically and socially sustainable.”
Christian has a background in physics and was engaging in data science, already before the word “data science” had been coined. During his PhD he started to combine climate research with data-driven modelling. He specifically worked on the statistical analysis of aerosol measurements, one of the contributors to climate change that still has many open questions. He enjoyed bringing together data science on the one side and sustainability measures on the other. Christian then developed his professional career in large corporations, such as ABB and in the large consultancies Deloitte and PwC. At the end of 2018 he decided to engage full-time in the environmental fintech start-up, Data Ahead Analytics.
The idea of Data Ahead Analytics started back in 2015 around the COP21 (Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)) that took place in Paris in November 2015. The conference achieved a breakthrough in international climate negotiations and, consequently, in international climate economics. All the participating nations committed to intensifying their actions and investments to achieve a sustainable, low carbon future. Still five years later, the Paris agreement is considered very successful, because it was the very first time that all nations agreed to undertake such ambitious efforts to combat climate change. The idea of Data Ahead Analytics was developed around this momentum. We thought that when something with this magnitude happens, the entire accounting system and the way we measure sustainability impacts and sustainability related risks, will have to change – over the globe and for every company. We saw this as our opportunity to make a difference. We wanted to bring the carbon disclosure and the carbon risk measurements that were then used to a much deeper and more detailed level. This proved to be very valuable, because there are many companies that want to become carbon neutral by 2030 but lack the means to achieve it. We help them on their journey by providing the means to count in detail, where in their processes carbon is emitted and navigate them through the current uncertainty of the decarbonization ahead. And, of course, identifying business opportunities found in decarbonization of a company is very exiting!
Now Data Ahead Analytics is run by three co-founders working with four students. We are also looking for more software developers.
Why is it important that Data Ahead Analytics exists?
It is important because on the long term we will be forced to build up the same kinds of accounting mechanisms for carbon neutralization that we currently have in the financial world, for example the IFRS standards (International Financial Reporting Standards). In the future, we will also have to take other externalized impacts into account, such as biodiversity degradation, waste, or air-pollution. But for now, we focus on carbon. This means that we hope to see a world where we count each and every molecule of carbon in the same way we count every dollar and cent in the financial books of organizations. We are on the forefront in shaping holistic carbon accounting. We also work on incorporating all the mechanisms available in the financial industry, for example risk analysis, into the world of sustainability.
Who can profit from your services?
We have two major customer segments that profit from our services: financial services and non-financial companies. On the financial side, we are screening climate risks for both real-estate investors, and for corporate loan books of banks. On the non-financial side, we provide dynamic product carbon footprints that go deep down to a single process level and analyse granular emissions at each step in a certain process path, identify decarbonization potential and map emissions to future financial costs from a sustainability perspective. Our customers are individual businesses with all the services and products they offer.
It is exciting to see the different fields enforcing each other: pressure from the financial sector on corporates forces the companies to evaluate their sustainability processes. Then the large companies will push this need up their value chains, and this way sustainability accounting expands to smaller companies, who may not necessarily have as much knowledge of or experience in ESG.
How do your customers find you?
Through feedback from our previous or current customers. Our customers specifically appreciate the collaborative philosophy of our work. And the field of sustainability analytics is still young and not very standardized, so many customers need upskilling and are happy if we can help bringing them to the next level in this exciting field.
Can you give some concrete examples?
An example from the finance field is a real-estate investment firm, who are looking into sustainability risks in objects on the market. We are developing an API (Application Programming Interface) based solution, where few basic input data points of properties are sufficient for a thorough analysis of the sustainability risks, particularly climate risks, of a specific asset.
On the corporate side we recently concluded a very innovative project with the multinational company Siemens in Germany, where we went down to the granular production processes of a single product. We designed and implemented carbon foot printing for each individual product that run through the line. We are currently industrializing the solution to deliver continuous, automated, and verifiable product carbon footprints. This demonstrates that we can go to new levels of depths with our technology.
What are your biggest challenges?
Our biggest challenge is that we have more possibilities to add value than we can thoroughly deliver. This is why it is especially important to focus on the relevant issues that we know we can deliver well. But this is not always easy, with all the different areas that simultaneously move forward fast today. We are unfortunately often forced to say “No” in order to keep on the relevant track in serving our customers.
How do you see the future of Data Ahead Analytics and what is your long-term goal?
Our vision is to run companies with a fully developed sustainability accounting system – catering the same kind of regulations and following the same kind of standardization that we currently have in financial accounting. Today we are in a situation where we can build sustainability accounting from the green field software development – doing things the right way digitally, end to end.
For businesses we are developing a Software as a Service product that allows companies from the financial and non-financial sector to acquire ESG data and run impact, risk, and opportunity analyses.
We want to keep being an innovative leader in this young field.
Is there anything else that you want to add?
We are looking out for software developers, please feel free to drop Christian a note if you are interested to learn more!
Since December 2018, the Expert Group for Data Ethics within the Swiss Alliance for Data-Intensive Services has been working hard to create a comprehensive Code of Ethics for data-based businesses. Now the long work has borne fruit and on 10. December 2020 the Code of Ethics was published and presented at an online press conference. The Code is a tangible contribution from our Alliance to help companies make data-based business compatible with the core values of our society, and in avoiding damage to reputation. It is a contribution to ensure the social acceptance and sustainability of data-based value creation in our country.
In recent years the availability of data has increased enormously which has led to a profound economic change. In many sectors, SMEs and large companies are considering how to develop new products and services by collecting, buying, storing and analysing data. This process of data-based value creation is accompanied by regular reports on unethical behaviour such as the violation of customer privacy, the use of “unfair” algorithms or unintended social effects of new data services. These incidents undermine consumer confidence and are partly responsible for the fact that even carefully designed apps such as the SwissCovid app are met with scepticism by quite a few people.
Trust in data-based value creation does not only depend on compliance with data protection law. In contrast to various comparable documents, the code addresses concrete problems of data management in a practice-oriented manner. It not only explains the basic ethical issues, but also provides concrete recommendations. Furthermore, it addresses the question of how the code of ethics can be integrated into the concrete business processes of companies. The code is therefore a comprehensive guideline for responsible action. The code is intended to help companies and institutions to boost the confidence of consumers and politicians in the value-added use of data.
The code of ethics comprehensively addresses all relevant issues related to the data lifecycle and aims to help both SMEs and large companies to achieve ethical data value creation.
It consists of the following documents: 1) Overview 2) Basics 3) Recommendations 4) Implementation 5) Context.
The code was developed by experts from the Swiss Alliance for Data-Intensive Services. In particular, representatives of the “Digital Ethics Lab” of the Digital Society Initiative of the University of Zurich, technical experts from Zurich and Valais Universities of Applied Sciences and representatives of companies were involved.
The Code of Ethics is available on the Alliance’s website in German, English, French and Italian.
Sedimentum is a healthcare and technology start-up that has developed a technological protection tool that ensures the physical safety of, for example, people in nursing homes, when they are on their own. This solution aims to support and relieve the burden of nursing staff in psychiatric clinics and in nursing homes for the elderly, as well as for relatives of the elderly. The caregivers are informed in real time about any unusual occurrences (e.g. falls), enabling them to take the necessary measures to protect the people living alone in a timely manner.
We develop the first contactless solution for fall and emergency detection in healthcare without compromising privacy.
What is Sedimentum’s background story?
Before co-founding Sedimentum, Sandro Cilurzo, CEO, worked in a Swiss psychiatric clinic as an information security officer. He was also a member of a think tank for management members and experts from medical and nursing fields. There he was responsible for contributing technological expertise. The representatives from the medical and nursing sector discussed problems and challenges in their day to day work and he proposed new technological solutions to these “real-world” problems. It was precisely after a meeting with the think tank that he had a sudden insight. Sedimentum is the outcome of this eureka moment:
One of the main challenges of any psychiatric institution is to ensure the physical safety of their patients 24/7. There are always periods of time when the patients are on their own, but especially at night they must get along without any caregiver for an exceptionally long time. During the night shift the available nursing staff is very limited – often there is just one single caregiver. Therefore, it is impossible for the nursing staff on duty always to be in the right place at the right time.
Additionally, the privacy and data protection requirements are extremely high in the healthcare sector. Camera-, and microphone-based systems are an absolute no-go. Besides that, already existing solutions such as wearables and watches, don’t work well enough in “real world” conditions. This is why Sedimentum developed the first contactless fall and emergency detection solution in healthcare, which processes fully anonymized data whilst protecting privacy.
Sandro Cilurzo, CEO
Why is it important that Sedimentum exists?
In Switzerland alone, 80,000 elderly people fall in their homes every year. Around 1400 of those affected die as a result of the fall. It is not only the people over 80 who are considered particularly at risk of falling. People with epilepsy, patients in stationary or ambulatory psychiatric clinics, younger seniors or even small children are affected. Many people are in need of protection, but as of yet no smart solutions exist to fulfil that need. Seamless support from third parties is resource-intensive and therefore costly, and in most cases not possible. The physical safety of vulnerable people who live alone cannot be guaranteed 24 hours per day. This problem exists in private homes and retirement homes, nursing and care institutions, psychiatric institutions and other healthcare organizations alike.
Sedimentum technological solution will make the lives of thousands of people safer and more independent in the future – and all of this in a completely automated way.
Who can profit from your services?
Initially, we focus on business customers. Our primary target groups are psychiatric clinics, nursing homes, ambulatory care organizations and institutions for assisted living.
You recently announced and exciting partnership with HOPR (a blockchain based data protection start-up), could you tell us more about this and how it came about?
The HOPR protocol ensures that everyone in a communications network has control over their privacy. HOPR and Sedimentum share the same values and we have been in contact with the HOPR team from the beginning. HOPR has developed a groundbreaking open source technology to be used by privacy-aware developers all over the world. Their protocol is integrated in our cutting-edge privacy-preserving technology to save lives without compromising privacy.
Can you give some further examples of your success stories?
We are a fast-growing startup with 7 full-time employees and are constantly pushing technological boundaries. In January this year (2020), we successfully closed a pre-seed financing round that enabled us to reach our set milestones. One of the most important milestones so far was to launch a proof-of-concept with a leading Swiss psychiatric clinic. Also, other proof-of-concepts with nursing homes and ambulatory care units are starting this fall and winter.
On the first of November 2020 Sandro Cilurzo got listed in the Forbes 30 under 30 list. We are very proud and happy for this recognition!
Also, in November we got the “Zuger JungUnternehmer Preis 2020 “, (the Zuger price for a young company).
What are your biggest challenges?
High regulatory requirements and different technical uncertainties. Our amazing and competent team finds solutions to these technical difficulties. We have massively improved our solution over the last couple of months. All this added value highly improves the customer experience.
The regulatory requirements have been challenging as well. We had to put a lot of effort into solving them. Meanwhile we have developed a mature regulatory strategy that is appropriate to our needs. Our main learning is: question everything (even experts) and above all, remain calm – there is always a solution!
How do you see the future of Sedimentum and what is your long-term goal?
We will officially enter the DACH market next spring. Our vision is to make living safe, especially for vulnerable people. We want to become the leading contactless and privacy preserving fall and emergency detection provider for healthcare worldwide.
The National Research Program, NRP embraces research projects that contribute to solving key issues of today. The Federal Council makes the final selection of topics, which it then refers to the Swiss National Science Foundation, SNSF, to address within the scope of an NRP. NFP 75 provides foundations for the effective and appropriate use of big data. The projects focus on computing and information technology but also deal with the effects on society as well as on big data applications in various areas of society.
In its aim to help companies develop new products and services the Swiss Alliance for Data-Intensive Services is also looking for joint workshops and conferences with partners who are active in similar areas. This is how the collaboration with the National Research Programme NRP 75 “Big Data” came about.
On 10 November 2020 a first match-making event took place. Short pitches of ten projects in two blocks focused on technology transfer and were followed by breakout sessions to answer questions, make contacts, and exchange ideas. Originally planned as physical events at three different locations in Switzerland, the series had to be moved into a virtual space due to the current Covid-19 situation.
Beatrice Huber, head of knowledge and technology transfer at NRP 75, opened the event: “We believe that we are doing excellent research in our NRP. But that is not enough. Research must also be useful for the society, for the industry. That is why technology transfer is important and that is why NRP 75 looked for partners to promote it. Swiss Alliance for Data-Intensive Services was the ideal partner to this end.”
Gundula Heinatz, Managing Director of the alliance then welcomed the participants and speakers and introduced the alliance “We are an innovation network with members from Academia and Industry. Our mission is to provide a significant contribution for data-driven value creation. With events like these we create an inspiring ecosystem, even during special times like today. It is a pleasure to know that some of our academic members are presenters and some industrial members are participants today. Take this opportunity to exchange and discuss collaborations”.
Cedric Huwyler from FHNW held the first talk “Automatic analysis of solar eruptions” about the impact of solar flares and the huge amount of data that it produces when it’s being recorded.
Then Antoinette Weibel, from the University of St Gallen, talked about “Big Brother in Swiss companies? Trust, data and personal privacy of employees”. More and more spying software is bought by companies. Weibel talked about the ethical handling of this and how the software is used in Switzerland.
Michael Lechner, from the University of St Gallen, talked about the “Causal Analysis with Big data.”
Kristen Schmidt, Attorney-at-Law, talked about “Who owns data”. Personal data is key since it is useful for personalisation in sales.
Joseph Molloy from ETH talked about “Using data traces to improve transport systems”. He talked about mobility behaviour on the large scale for tourism, retail, marketing and public health (covid). For example, to understand travel patterns during the lockdown.
Thomas Brunschwiler, IBM Research, talked about “ICU cockpit: computer assistance for intensive and emergency medicine”. There are a lot of alerts in the ICU that are sent from many different devices. They want to use all the signals and sources of data to reduce the amounts of false alerts.
David Bresch, from ETH, talked about “Combining theory with big data? The case of uncertainty in prediction of trends in extreme weather and impacts.”
Helmut Harbrecht, University of Basel, talked about “Big data for computational chemistry: Unified machine learning and sparse grid combination technique for quantum based molecular design.”
Then Mira Burri, from the University of Luzern talked about “The Governance of Big Data in Trade Agreements”. She talked about the largely ignored link between international trade law and the regulation of data.
Finally Zalan Borsos, ETH, talked about “Scaling Up by Scaling Down: Big ML via Small Core sets”.
The event on 10 November was only the first of three match-making events as NRP 75 has many more projects. Two more events will therefore take place: one on Thursday 19 November and the other one on Tuesday 24 November.
At our latest online edition of the Use-Case Talks, held on November 2, 2020, industry, academic and individual members of the Swiss Alliance for Data-Intensive Services joined us to discuss data-driven innovation, confidential computing, and natural language processing for analytics.
The first speaker of the evening, Dr. David Sturzenegger, Head of Product at Decentriq, talked about how to enable secure data ecosystems with confidential computing. David explained how Decentriq’s cloud-based platform always protects data during the process.
Then our second speaker, João Pedro Monteiro, Co-Founder and CTO of Veezoo, gave his talk with the intriguing title “From Questions to Answers”. João Pedro gave an introduction to Veezoo, that uses the natural language of analytics and how it works.
These two interesting Use-Case talks sparked a lively and interesting discussion, where the participants could ask their questions and give their points of view. In the Q&A session we exchanged ideas, challenges and information among the industry and academic experts.
This was the second online Use-Case Talk this year – special times call for creative measures – however, we hope that we in the next ones again will be able to meet in person at Aspaara’s venue in Technopark Zurich, to have fruitful and to have a fruitful in person networking session.
The Use-Case Talks are part of a series organized three times a year. If you are interested in sharing your AI stories and discussing them with other industry members, you are warmly welcome to join us for our next Use-Case Talks taking place on March 15, 2021. If you are interested in presenting a Use-Case, please contact us by e-mail (email@example.com).
About the Use-Case Talks
The Use-Case Talk Series allows participants to enjoy in-depth technical discussions and exchange information about interesting technical challenges amongst experts. Two to three industry experts and numerous participants takes part in the Use-Case Talk to share stories and insights about frameworks, best practices and tools in data science.
The Use-Case Talk Series are organized by Aspaara Algorithmic Solutions AG on behalf of Swiss Alliance for Data-Intensive Services.
About 20 guests attended the online Service Lunch organized by the Smart Services Expert Group on September 22, 2020. Fabien Olivier (KWe Consulting GmbH) presented key success factors for a transformation journey to smart products.
Here are some highlights from Fabian’s presentation:
What are the challenges?
Market prices are going down as a result of product commoditization and a lack of differentiation. How do we gain market shares and how do we grow revenues in a highly competitive and saturated market?
Solution: create differentiation and a sustainable competitive advantage through technological innovation.
How to use IOT as a key differentiator? With the illustration of a real case study from “Transformation Journey to Smart Products” that shows:
Which data to collect
Who is responsible for data management
How to be compliant to the data privacy regulations
Who to partner with
How to translate data into information: the role of a dashboard
What is the business case
What is the best approach to build a business case
A new revenue opportunity: pay per use
How to move from a product to a knowledge organization
How to build a digital DNA
With which Service-oriented Approach did we Solve it?
The real case study explains how the IOT value proposition has evolved over time through the transformation journey to become a key Value-Added Service to improve profitability (internal transparency), customer satisfaction (external transparency) and cross-selling.
What are the learnings?
Digital Transformation is a journey that requires exploring the digital opportunity on a trial and error basis with a good dose of faith and perseverance.
Digital Transformation is Change Management.
If you have any questions concerning this event, please contact Jürg Meierhofer or Rainer Fuchs.
What are the likes and dislikes of robots and what makes them act? On October 15, 2020 F&P Robotics, together with the Swiss Alliance for Data Intensive Services, organized an interactive Robotics workshop. F&P Robotics introduced their products and solutions in the field of professional personal robotics. Their applications can be used in healthcare; for example mobile assistants for elderly care, persons with disabilities and for people in rehabilitation centers. They also create gastronomy robots, i.e bar robotics
The workshop was made up of four interactive talks, where the participants got to know the robots on a first-name basis. We made our acquaintance with the autonomous assistant robot, Lio, and shook hands with his collaborative robot arm, P-Rob. At the end of the day Barney, the robot bar, made us some drinks.
Dr. Hansruedi Früh, Managing Director of F&P Robotics, opened the workshop and gave an introduction to cooperative and care robotics. The Care Robot Lio is not a medical device but aims at helping people with special needs while at the same time leaving space for autonomy. Its collaborative robot arm P-Rob can be used for a variety of tasks, for example in the kitchen: you teach him by moving him in accordance to your needs.
After our first introduction to Lio and his P-Rob arm, Rastislav Marko, working with Software and Lio System Development at F&P Robotics, introduced us to the integrated Python scripting language and we got to do some programming exercises via myPⓇ’s browser interface: a web interface that controls Lio. Like all of us, Lio has a calendar when he works, to remind himself of his daily tasks. Lio can recognize people and has a good memory, this means that he can remember that he has seen someone and report this. Lio then proudly demonstrated his skills, singing a song and giving us a quote of the week.
But can a Robot choose how to act? Frederik Zwilling, working with Software Development and Lio Project Management at F&P Robotics, told us about the principles of autonomous behaviour in a robot. They are programmed to make decisions through logical reasoning of knowledge-based systems and common-sense rules. For example, a robot knows that at night you should be silent and let us, the non-robots, sleep.
Dr. Justinas Miseikis, Head of AI at F&P Robotics, told us about the learning principles for voice and face detection. Robots detect faces, usually through pre trained neural networks that are then optimized further, if they are not performing well enough. Although Lio has some trouble understanding people with their face masks – Robots have their own challenges with covid-19!
At the end of the day we got to see demos of the robots. To round off the day, we moved to Baronics AG to have a drink at the Barney Robot Bar where we continued the discussions.
The Workshop was highly interactive and interesting, the participants got to try the coding and communicate with the robots, something most of us don’t get to do everyday. We got an understanding about how robots move and work and exist in the world. The participants agreed that it was a very exceptional opportunity.
Could you shortly tell us what Rockstar Recruiting does?
Rockstar Recruiting is a personal recruiting platform that connects strong IT and technology experts with ambitious tech companies. We are not a typical recruiting company in that we primarily focus on the candidates, with whom we establish contact first. We are not big fans of using the classical, and in our view impersonal, methods of approaching candidates (for example via LinkedIn). Instead we focus on being present and active in the community. We organize events – such as hackathons – and contribute to tech events, giving presentations about relevant topics, for example tech recruiting. We are also members of the Swiss Data and Service Alliance, thus placing ourselves in the ecosystem, allowing us to grow our network organically with people who are passionate about what they do. This has proven a successful approach; we have seen many success stories and received positive feedback from the community.
What is Rockstar Recruiting’s background story?
Rockstar Recruiting is the brainchild of founders Klaus Fuchs and Justus Spengler. Klaus did his PhD in Information Management at the ETH Zürich, in collaboration with the University of St. Gallen, and he is going to be associated with the newly founded ETH AI Center. Justus studied Psychology at the University of Zürich and has over seven years of experience in tech recruiting. They complement each other well and therefore Rockstar Recruiting can provide candidates and tech companies personal and competent support in tech recruiting.
Rockstar Recruiting is a University of Zürich spin-off, which means that we are endorsed by them and part of their start-up program. Already as a student, Justus worked in tech recruiting where he acquired a strong skillset in the field. However, he soon realized that when he met the candidates in person, he could establish a much better relationship with them and get a better understanding of their motivation – consequentially the potential for finding the right jobs increased. Justus sat down with Klaus, they brought their ideas together, and Rockstar Recruiting was born: a very personal service for both candidates and companies.
Since then, the company has grown into a team of 15 employees. We have eight in-house staff and the rest are external employees servicing our clients. Every internal consultant at Rockstar has learnt some data science and tech basics and is able to interact on the necessary level with our candidates – some of the smartest people around.
Why is it important that Rockstar Recruiting exists?
We help create the perfect match for both candidates and tech companies. For candidates, it’s important to find the right next challenge. It’s not difficult for them to find a job – au contraire – they have too many options to choose from! What is more challenging is to find the right companies. We understand their motivation, skillset and – at times – their frustrations, and we then connect them with the companies that could be a good fit. We have direct contacts in many companies that the candidates may not have heard of and in many cases our placements go to positions that were never advertised. We help the candidates access the “hidden market”, so to speak. This is good for both sides as the companies are saving a lot of time when we send them good candidates before they have advertised the position. Recruitment processes are often so long that by the time they’ve run their course the best candidates may no longer be available. The recruitment market is competitive and fast-moving, which means that momentum plays an important role.
Can you give some examples of your success stories?
Three years ago, we were referred to the Hiring Manager of a big American tech company. They had access to some of the best data scientists on a global scale but lacked contacts in the Swiss talent pool and therefore asked for our help. Through our close ties to the ETH we helped them tap into the Swiss market. We made quite a good first impression with the hiring manager; after one interview he said that he never interviewed a stronger candidate – and he has experience from Silicon Valley and Seattle where he has met very impressive minds. In general, he said that the candidates from ETH were fantastic. It was great for us, a small company, to get appreciation from such a big American company and to be reminded that ETH really is a leader in European higher education.
Another success story, also in the field of data science and data engineering, was a project for an International online gaming company who asked for our help with their key hires as they were building up a team of data scientists and engineers in Switzerland. Once again, we got this opportunity through recommendations and we were positively surprised to have gained this kind of recognition outside of Switzerland.
Of course, we have some great domestic success stories too. We partnered with a Swiss start-up that had just received a sizable funding round and had ambitions to grow their data science and engineering team. We helped the start-up find amazing people that worked for established and reputable international companies and helped the candidates relocate to Switzerland.
How do your clients find you?
A nice side-effect of our personal approach is that clients and candidates appreciate it so much that they recommend us and give referrals. Instead of us constantly trying to acquire new business, we invest a lot of time into the personal relationship with our existing candidates and clients – which leads to referrals.
What are your biggest challenges?
We could always meet more candidates. This is the biggest challenge as we work with personnel. Another challenge is that our personal approach makes it difficult to expand the candidate base exponentially and to keep up with client demands. We address this by teaming up with other companies and expanding to other locations, such as London.
Additionally, we are working on a collaboration with a company that is based in Berlin – the partnership will soon be official. They are building their network there, and some of their candidates are interested in exploring options on the Swiss market. We will be able to leverage their network and help their candidates come to Switzerland.
Finally, we are working on the digitization of our internal workflows because we realize that our personal approach benefits from technological innovation. We are investing money and time in developing a newer, more comprehensive and inclusive approach internally. Important to mention is that we recently received the label “swiss made software”, because we appreciate the skills of our local network of outstanding developers.
How do you see the future of Rockstar Recruiting and what is your long-term goal?
From the perspective of our candidates we see potential in enlarging our network with high-growth technology companies in Switzerland. From the client perspective we will be able to cater even better to their high demand through our onsite consultants and partners that are screening the local market in Switzerland, London and Berlin – we anticipate that further destinations will follow. As a result, we will be able to connect not only single candidates with companies, but to search for entire teams as well.
Mid to long-term we see us growing with our candidates and will provide services in the field of executive search in addition to the professional and expert level of today.
Throughout our journey it was and will remain important for us to respect our values and ethical standards that we internally describe as “sustainable recruiting”. Business growth has been just one of its many positive effects.
At the end of the day we enjoy what we do and how we do it – especially the strong connection to the tech community plays a big role in this. So, we are curious to see where this path will lead us, as Switzerland is gaining more and more attraction as a global technology hub.