Archives for March 2019

- Comments Off on Meet Barri – Your digital barista

Meet Barri – Your digital barista

Learnings from the making of our first Messenger chatbot.

At MotionWise Solutions, one of the hDock42's running projects, we strive to connect consumers in a specific location, with the businesses and services nearby, allowing them to find, order and pay for services instantly while consumption happens “on-the-go”. By now, we have developed two use cases. Although they both use our very same LDS-platform in the backend, they offer a completely different user experience.

The first of the is OpenToll - an integrated app for cars that improves user experience when paying for highway tolls, registering for congestion charges, or paying for parking. You can find more on OpenToll in one of our previous journals. Today we are here to talk about Barri. His mission is to cashlessly serve you your favourite cup of coffee in a nearby café, saving you the valuable queuing time . And he does that in the way which is so familiar to the majority of consumers - as a Messenger chatbot.

Meet Barri

Barri has proved himself as a perfect use case for our LDS-platform. Not only because of his good looks, but mostly because he is so intuitive to use. The initial camaraderie with Barri starts with you either liking our Barri Facebook page, or simply scanning the promotional QR code, which brings you directly to our landing page where the digital barista himself, flashes out. Once you start chatting with him, he automatically checks if one of the contracted partner coffee shop is in your area (for this use case, we have chosen partner coffee shops in Berlin and Prague). The finalization of the order is then just a matter of few taps.

In order to make Barri as user-friendly as possible, we have invited potential users to join a focus group that would test the process flow and the intuitiveness of use. Initially, we have used "Talk to Barri" as a call to action. Unexpectedly for us, 80% of the people simply decided to vocally trigger the bot, talking at the mobile screen, awaiting for Barri to be activated on the spot and getting on with their coffee case. Judging by the amount of our users look, portraying a semi-persistence facial expression of them, taking the correct action, we had to gently step in.

Our lesson learned, when pre-ordering a coffee and the instruction says ‘talk’ then the outcome of the user action is talking. Perhaps, this particular testing helped us to be informed of the trend that goes far beyond texting, and should have a future adjustment. The voice over function embedded in. So who knows, maybe the already existing Alexa could get a new buddy very soon, your voice-called to action digital barista - Barri.

Wanna check out Barri? Visit his homepage at Barri.io. For a short explanation of our LDS-platform see this video.

PS: Please note that Barri currently works in beta-mode only in limited area in Berlin (Germany), which was a perfect testing ground due to large number of privately owned coffee shops and very deep running roots of coffee shop culture. Follow Barri on Facebook in order to be informed about his next steps.


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- Comments Off on Is UK still the top European country for start-ups?

Is UK still the top European country for start-ups?

The accessibility of public funding and the amount of country’s investments in innovations and research can be important factors when deciding where to base your future start-up company. Moreover, they somehow indicate the overall attitude of the government towards the entrepreneurs. It is not easy to find some summarizing information on this topic and that’s why we at hDock42 did a little research.

Our expectation was that the UK, being the major hub for tech start-ups in Europe, should be one of the top countries in R&D investments spending. The assumption proved to be wrong  - at least according to the latest news release of the Eurostat on the R&D expenditures in the EU (see table below).¹

The message is clear: Countries like Sweden, Denmark, Germany or Austria are trying really hard to keep the pace in research & innovation, relatively to their GDP.

And what about start-up grants, specifically? If we take a closer look at the available public grants and governmental programmes for micro-enterprises, the numbers are suddenly much lower. In the table below, you can see that countries like Germany and Austria still seem to be having an edge on the UK. These countries have recently started several business funding initiatives² ³ and are trying their best to promote them anywhere it is possible. Press releases are being published and foreign founders are being lured to base their companies here.

Sources:1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11

Sure, in the UK there are organizations like Innovate UK, the British Business Bank with their Start Up Loans program, or the SBRI which supports the development of new medical technologies, but obviously it is not public funding what really makes the United Kingdom stand out in the statistics.

What we at hDock42 value about the UK is especially the relatively low bureaucracy, the presence of venture capital funds and the lively start-up scene in London. However, we have to emphasise that we hope that whole Brexit situation will be solved quickly and the British government will start concentrating on other things again. And one of them should be how to make the Great Britain stand out again among its European competitors as the best location to start a business.

We think that the UK is still a great place for start-ups. We are just not sure if we will be able to say the same, let’s say in one year, too. Do you agree with us? Or do you think that we may have omitted some important figures? Let us know in the discussion!


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