A 40-hour developer marathon for the kiosk of tomorrow

01.10.2015 / 08:30 /

The Valora Group will be the only company from the retail industry to sponsor a workshop at this year's HackZurich event, which will be held at the Technopark in Zurich from October 2 to October 4, 2015. The event centres around a hackathon, which provides a unique platform for developers, start-up companies and international firms to link up with each other and work on solving real-life problems arising in a variety of fields of industry. More than 1,200 individual applications were received for this year's HackZurich, the largest hackathon to be held in continental Europe, with 580 candidates ultimately being selected to participate. For those lucky enough to have been chosen, the next few days will be characterised by minimal sleep, thousands of lines of code and a unique opportunity of giving free rein to their creative impulses.

Working with the Aduno Group and the Auto-ID Lab jointly operated by the ETH Zurich and the University of St Gallen, Valora will provide the participants with technologies, interfaces and data sets from the retail and payment-processing industries. The participants' objective will be to develop functioning mobile-app prototypes designed to revolutionise the kiosk shopping experience. Programmers, data specialists and application designers will work non-stop for 40 hours in teams of between two and four. They will also have the opportunity of testing their new apps on site in a real kiosk environment. The focus will be on applications for use in the fields of digital couponing, digital shopping baskets and payment solutions.

For Valora, HackZurich provides an excellent opportunity for linking new products and services to its existing retail network in order to develop its online market presence. It is also an ideal way for Valora to showcase itself as an attractive employer to international IT talent. As Hilmar Scheel, who manages the Valora Lab, explains, "Our goal is to use the HackZurich platform to show its talented international participants just how customer-oriented and innovation-focused Valora really is. As our customers' requirements for digitalised offerings increase, we want to attract motivated staff to join our newly created Valora Lab and develop new digital products and applications”.

The Aduno Group also sees this upcoming hackathon as an efficient way of accessing innovation and networking with skilled IT professionals. As Tony Weber, Head of Innovation and Technology Management at Aduno, puts it, “Our aim is to create powerful and useful links between exciting content, enriching personalities and ground-breaking technologies. HackZurich is where these elements all come together. We are looking forward to the creative processes this event will unleash, and we are sure that it will deliver some highly creative new solutions”.

This year's event, the second in the series, is being run by a team of students from the ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich. As Klaus Fuchs, a senior researcher at the ETH, explains, “Our experience from last year's HackZurich confirmed that these events have what it takes to unleash enormous creative potential. That is what makes HackZurich so exciting and enriching for all its participants, be they seasoned IT cracks, sponsoring companies or organisers.”