Happy Geek Pride Day!

Heart health
May 24, 2018

Are you clued in to everything to do with new technology? Have you dabbled in a bit of programming before? Or, quite simply, are you the person your family always turns to for help with using computers? If so, then rejoice: You are a geek and on 25 May this year, it’s your special day.,

What is a geek? According to the dictionary, it’s a person who is into computers, science fiction, or video games—and always on the lookout for innovations and improvements to digital technologies. For a long time, this term had a pejorative connotation: geeks were seen as socially inept individuals, obsessed by screens, and possibly grubby and malnourished—a definition that is slowly being shaken off. Today, the geek is seen in a much better light, and initiatives such as Geek Pride Day are certainly part of the reason for this.

According to Wikipedia, May 25 is a date that has special significance, as it marks three events:

  • The first screening of Star Wars in 1977
  • Towel Day, celebrating the work of Douglas Adams, who wrote The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • The Glorious 25th of May, from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series

It goes without saying that here at Nokia Health, being a geek is in our DNA, from Human Resources to Customer Services. And every year, we celebrate our geekiness at an annual event: the hackathon.

A hackawhat?

A hackathon is an event where a group of people come together to create a joint project. It involves programming, but also a fair amount of creativity: the results of the hackathon often turn out to be the preliminary ideas for new developments or new products. But don’t be misled by the fun side of this event: each hackathon is a unique opportunity to develop innovation within the company.

This year’s theme was appropriation: present a viable product prototype or service, based on one or more products from Nokia’s ecosystem of connected devices. The winning project had to have an appealing concept as well as a reasonable potential for making a profit (and so a connection with Nokia’s existing range), and of course, it needed to function. We can’t share all the projects that were presented with you here, but let’s take a look at the winner.

“The initial idea was that we wanted to enable the various teams to get to know each other better.” Céline, a member of Customer Services, was part of the team leading this project. Working alongside her was a diverse team of people, including a developer, a big data expert, and a marketing manager. The small group developed a variant of the game Killer, with a specific version of the Health Mate and Steel HR application. “Each day, you have a target,” explained Céline. “You don’t know who it is, but using clues provided when registering, you can try to guess. When you are close to your target, Steel HR vibrates. You can then press the button to ‘kill’ them, and win a point.”
When the game was released, people were wandering down the corridors looking for their targets which helped them to meet colleagues they didn’t know and to do more steps than usual. In short, not great for productivity…but a real success for sociability and health!

The editorial team would like to point out, though, that this function isn’t envisaged for the general public, at least not for the time being.

Transformers IRL

Another tradition is the Robotic Challenge. Each year, students from CentraleSupelec and ENSAM are invited into the offices to present their creations: autonomous robots capable of wiping out their enemies at the French Robotics Cup. This event is sort of a dress rehearsal for these teams, giving them the chance to demonstrate the technological capabilities of their machines.
This year, the theme was more peaceful. Robots will soon be building our towns and cities: with this in mind, they need to know how to build in an environmentally friendly way and using available resources. Supplying the town with drinking water and constructing buildings, as well as foraging to ensure pollination, assessing the performance of machinery…these are all challenges that will have to be met one day.
The final, which was held from May 10–12 in La Roche-Sur-Yon and brought together 200 teams, saw the Robotech Legends crowned winners.

See you next year for the new edition of the hackathon, with even crazier projects. Until then, make the most of your special day!