VINCI Energies opens in Frankfurt its “Digitalschmiede”, a digital lab, with an international Hackathon

The “Digitalschmiede” of VINCI Energies in Germany and its network brands Actemium, Axians, Omexom, VINCI Facilities and Fire Protection Solutions will be officially launched on the 6th of April. This space is part of VINCI Energies’ international “Factory” network. After Paris and Frankfurt, other sites will be opened in Europe and the rest of the world. In addition to an opening ceremony for partners, customers and employees, VINCI Energies will organise its international Hackathon “Human Beyond Digital – 48 hours of human-machine interaction”.

The “Digitalschmiede” combines a creative working environment with a demo room for digital prototypes. On an area of more than 300 square metres, experts from the German VINCI Energies ecosystem will make the digitization of industry, energy infrastructures, buildings and cities accessible and tangible, giving a number of specific examples. In this innovative environment business units and startups will receive impetus for their own digital projects. Later on they will further develop their ideas with the help of VINCI Energies experts in various workshops.

The Digitalschmiede exhibition displays the latest prototypes for solutions in the digitization fields of Smart Industry, Smart Energy, Smart Building and Smart City. Here, visitors can see for themselves the innovation potential of a digital data platform for cities or an interlinked sprinkler system by Fire Protection Solutions. Moreover, the VINCI Energies network brands initially present in Germany the following showcases – amongst other things – that are being continuously expanded by further exhibits and demonstrate today's great possibilities of digital approaches:

• Smart Industry: IIoT platform for robotic automation of Actemium and Axians in cooperation with Kuka and the startup Connyun

• Smart Building: Digital twin of interiors for value-added services in facility management by VINCI Facilities together with the startup Navvis

• Smart Maintenance: Solution by Actemium and Augmensys

• Smart City & Smart Energy: Digital construction manager solution, Smart City App and Energy transition diorama by Omexom

Prior to the opening VINCI Energies succeeded in recruiting partners for the Digitalschmiede and building a digital ecosystem: Augmensys, Cisco, Connyun, Dell EMC, IBM, Kuka, Microsoft, NavVis and others will be involved.

Tailored to the individual requirements and starting points of startups, VINCI Energies offers various workshops within its digital lab – starting from the Discovery Workshop for the development of digitization ideas to the validation of digital use cases and the development of digital solutions prototypes. Furthermore, business units may use this place for their own workshops and events.

“With our Digitalschmiede, we are establishing a concept that is so far unique in Germany and enables our customers to rapidly develop digital innovations. This involves much more than having a trendy workplace. What we offer to customers is a professional, highly inspirational environment, in which digitalisation can both be experienced and shaped. Unlike the common ‘one-size-fits-all approach’ we support the individual requirements of companies or business units,” says Bernhard Kirchmair, Chief Digital Officer at VINCI Energies in Germany. “We provide holistic support – from brainstorming to the implementation of specific prototypes, thereby combining the digital world with the physical world. The concept has been well received: prior to the opening we had already received 35 project enquiries and believe that, by the end of the year, we shall receive more than 100 events and projects.”

Competition over creative digital solutions for real-life challenges

The highlight of the Digitalschmiede opening will be the international Hackathon under the motto “Human Beyond Digital – 48 hours of human-machine interaction” – aiming at the development of practical prototypes. VINCI Energies startups and employees have submitted applications and try to solve problems in the field of human-machine interaction, so-called challenges.

Each challenges of the VINCI Energies Hackathon 2018 will be concrete applications of the digitization field of the Digitalschmiede:

  • Smart City : Behaviour Detection thanks to video analytics
  • Smart Industry : 3d Vizualization of IoT data
  • Smart Energy: Datascience and machine learning for detection of frauds for electrical network

In each challenge, at least three teams will be facing each other, trying to solve the assigned task within 48 hours. The winners will receive professional consulting and financial support by the VINCI Energies innovation team, thus enabling them to further develop their prototypes up to marketability. In addition, universities and research partners will assess the market potential of all ideas submitted. This ensures that the creative ideas generated in the Digitalschmiede will be applied in practice.

“In our ecosystem and our employees lies a huge amount of creativity. Events, such as a Hackathon, get to activate these creative energies and transform them into innovative digital solutions. Many successful young companies originate from similar events. We therefore pay close attention to supporting and scaling projects even beyond the Hackathon,” comments Bernhard Kirchmair.

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