One of the most modern office environments within the Bechtle Group can be found in Sankt Augustin. “Where?” I hear you ask. The picturesque town is a stone’s throw from Bonn and is home to the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University attracting IT students from the region and beyond. Close by, Bechtle Cologne/Bonn opened its 80-strong A/V Software Solutions 360° Competence Centre in the spring of 2020 Since then, developers beaver away at 28 workstations on the software solutions of tomorrow and are living the workplace of the future.
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details. When he as head of the A/V Software Solutions 360° Competence Centre, or his colleagues enter the building, they confirm their identities by either fingerprint or voice recognition. The office building has a total of 1,000 m2 distributed over two floors, which can be used as both offices and event rooms. It’s easy when the desks are on wheels, the chairs can be stacked and there’s a sound system with 25 Wi-Fi speakers ready to go and the push of a button. Nobody has a fixed workstation here, so a Clean Desk policy is enforced. This means that the colleagues —or talents as Christian Rupert Maierhofer likes to call them—leave their desks as if they had never been used. What should lead to better productivity, organisation and data protection makes particular sense in times of a global pandemic. An app and reservation software are used to plan which employee is in the office or working from home on any given day and allocates desks. Developed in-house, the algorithm takes into account criteria such as technical equipment, the need for peace and quiet or communication and also ongoing projects.
All of the building’s technology runs automatically or can be operated using voice control—lighting, heating, windows, ventilation and blinds. Nothing strange there. But there’s more. An air analysis system with corona risk indicator lets the staff know when it’s time to crack open the windows. The autonomous vacuum cleaner sets off as soon as something drops on the floor. 4K cameras are installed on every ceiling and detect when a clean-up is due, sending a signal down to the robots. The dishwasher and washing machine start as soon as they are full without someone having to press the start button. There are no drawers or cabinets at the desks. The offices have lockers secured with RFID for personal possessions, so there’s no need to worry about losing a key. The absolute highlight, however, is the in-house artificial intelligence. A high-performance computer equipped with four NVIDIA Tesla V100 cards that can calculate 200x faster than a standard PC, appropriately displayed under a futuristic glass dome. This is where developments are tested and processes optimised. This hotbed of innovation has a portfolio that covers everything from software solutions for Enterprise Asset Management, CRM, AI and robotic process automation to Enterprise Architecture Management.
Our solutions are opening the door to the future for our customers and we are always on the look-out for new ideas on how we can usher in a new world for ourselves. By doing so, we have an good standing in the IT market and are an employer that inspires young talents.
Christian Rupert Maierhofer, Head of Bechtle Competence Centre AV Software Solutions 360°
“Our solutions are opening the door to the future for our customers and we are always on the look-out for new ideas on how we can usher in a new world for ourselves. By doing so, we have an good standing in the IT market and are an employer that inspires young talents”, says Christian Rupert Maierhofer. The concept has been christened “Cultivation 720” as it applies the 360° view the Competence Centre offers its customers in software development to the working environment as well, and 360 x 2 = 720.
This concept also includes a modern way of collaborating. Employees don’t work in fixed teams, but in ones with flat-hierarchies that they have organised themselves according to the “Viable System Model”, which sees an organisation as a living being that can adapt to its surroundings. In practice this means fast decision-making, knowledge being shared and open communication. And the language? English. The perfect choice when the employees come from 21 different countries.
Waldemar Zgrzebski, Managing Director, Bechtle Cologne/Bonn, views the location as test site for digitalisation. “We want to become a company that learns from trying out new things. Only this way can we create benefits and work with our customers to shape the future.”
With this in mind, the search for new ideas for the (working) world of tomorrow will never cease. The next purchases for this playground of modern working are already in the pipeline—a fleet of e-scooters so the students can easily whizz between university and work; a virtual reality world to demonstrate the technology’s practical uses; and a 360° projector that will allow customers to take part in Cultivation 720°events via live stream. The latter, of course, comes with an 8K resolution, because every little detail counts.
We want to become a company that learns from trying out new things. Only this way can we create benefits and work with our customers to shape the future.
Waldemar Zgrzebski, Managing Director, Bechtle Cologne/Bonn
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This post was published on Jan 13, 2021.