Archives for April 2019

- Comments Off on Insights from the Czech-German Innovation Festival 2019

Insights from the Czech-German Innovation Festival 2019

Organized by the Czech Centre and Czech Embassy in Berlin, supported among others by CzechInvest and Bitkom, the German-Czech Innovation Festival (CGIF) presents innovations, science, new technologies and startups from Czechia and offers a Czech-German platform for innovative business and academic cooperation. The team of SpaceLabEU, a part of the hDock42 launchpad, has had the opportunity to present their project at this year's edition on 9th of April in Berlin.

CGIF banner

The day was filled with panel discussions and workshops, many of them aimed at the main topic of the festival - Space & Aerospace Business in Czech Republic. The keynote Karel Havlicek, Vice-Chair at the Council for Research of the Czech Government, in his speech pointed out the importance of data being the most valuable asset. He also announced a government plan to reduce taxes for companies investing in research & development. A hot topic in the subsequent panel discussion was Industry 4.0. Collaboration of companies with universities has never been as important as now. It is also hard to predict the future of jobs in professions that are going to get disrupted by industry 4.0. Therefore, the educational system must be transformed so that people are able to flexibly learn new professions faster and more easily during their lifetime.

The next panel discussion was about the development of aerospace and space-tech companies in Czechia. Currently, there are more than 40 active companies working in the field of space technology in Czechia. Space technologies are already omnipresent in our lives - we use so many without even realizing it (keyword navigation). Therefore, it is just logical, that this topic is gaining prominence not only in the USA and western Europe.

In the subsequent workshops, companies operating in both Germany and Czech republic, like E-on or Ackee, have shared their insights and experience in business development in both countries. All of them agreed, that outside of Berlin, proper communication in German language is usually quite crucial for success. The importance of references, having a local business entity and a well-localized website should not be underestimated, too.

The highlight of the day was the Czech Startup pitch. SpaceLabEU was present with a team of four people, with Petr Palan, Member of the Board, presenting our project in front of the international jury. We made it to the top three finalists of public vote which was a huge satisfaction for us, keeping in mind that our ion propulsion engine is still in a very early phase of development.

SpaceLabEU pitch

SpaceLabEU pitch (photo by Karolína Vacková)

At this point, we would like to thank the organizers and all participants from both countries for this perfectly organized event. Quality discussions and workshops on current topics and also a nice opportunity for networking - that is the CGIF. We are already looking forward to the future, when we will be able to showcase our project in a more advanced stage of development. But now it's time to get back to hard work - see you some next time in Berlin!

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- Comments Off on Impressions from 2019 – the innovators’ stomping ground

Impressions from 2019 – the innovators’ stomping ground

In the past week, we at MotionPass, a part of the hDock42 launchpad, had the opportunity to join one of the largest business & tech conferences in Germany - the This conference gathers key players of leading industries, politics and entrepreneurs in a unique environment of the Station Berlin event space to discuss, shape and experience the digital transformation.


Looking back at the event, the prevailing impression is the overwhelming amount of motivation and inspiration. Thanks to the great mixture of participants including 1,000 startups, c-level executives of large corporates, public institutions, scientists and even artists the chance you will talk to an inspirational person is very high. We used this opportunity and talked about our current and emerging projects to many of the participants, giving us a valuable feedback from people from various industries.

This year's main topics were AI and Big Data, Digital Transformation, Education & Innovation, Fintech, Mobility and of course, Blockchain. It was quite hard to choose from the over 350 presentations and workshops. We sum up three of them that we found most inspiring:

Jack Ramsay, Accenture: Be Digital or be dead?

One of the many interesting thoughts in this presentation was that we now live in a world, where computers know us better than our closest family. E.g. the chance that Amazon chooses the right Christmas present for me is much higher than my partner. Why is it so? Because computers still listen to us. The disruption is now happening in our homes and the next industry to be disrupted is the transport industry. Speaking of transport: By the amount of people employed, transport is now the number 1 industry in the world. But this is definitely going to change. The jobs of the future are those in social intelligence & services, creativity, and craftsmanship.

Dagmar Schuller, audEERING: Listening Between the Lines: Emotional Intelligence Based on Audio

AudEERING applies AI to analyse the human emotion and acoustic context in voice recognition. Simply said, even though the standard audio recognition programs are aimed at the recognition of words, the AI allows also to analyse what is between the lines. And its not only the emotions like irritation or happiness, but also the physical state like fatigue, approximation of age or drunkenness. Currently they can distinguish between 50 different emotions and a variety of others based just on the analysis of human voice. One of the projects they currently work on is remote monitoring of the development of Parkinson's disease.

Ansgar Schneider, PAYBACK: Direct Marketing Propelled by Big Data & Machine Learning at PAYBACK

Nine years since the launch of their mobile app, PAYBACK now has more than 7 million active mobile users in Germany, with the average usage of their app 10 times a month. Using their loyalty program some ten years ago, was quite far from a fun experience. There was a necessity the carry around the card and if one was lucky, one of the many linear regression models in the background has suggested some relevant offers at the participating partners in the area.

Since the very launch of their app, PAYBACK has worked on making the experience as much fun for the customer as possible. Nowadays, users can receive personalized offers from the shops in which they find themselves at the very moment. They can even pay with the app, using a QR-code solution that saves the merchants card payment fees.

This was just a fraction of information presented at the event. On the top of that are discussions with qualified experts from various disciplines and the opportunity to present ourselves in the Startups Meet Corporate Speed Dating event. And not to mention the great party after the first conference day! Thank you,!

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- Comments Off on How to trigger motivation to use greener transport?

How to trigger motivation to use greener transport?

At hDock42, we love to think about possible solutions to current world problems. And in the past several months, we have been intensively playing with ideas on possible solutions to make the European transport greener. We see that governments' incentives have often only a very limited impact.

See, for example, the subsidies for electric cars. In May 2010, the German government started its National Program for Electric Mobility with the goal to bring 1 million electric vehicles on the German streets by 2020.¹ Now its clear, this goal will not be achieved. Aren't there less costly and more efficient ways how to trigger positive motivation for greener mobility?

Luckily, we are not the only ones that are concerned by this questions. EPOMM is the European Platform on Mobility Management, a network of governments in European countries that are engaged in mobility management.² Already in 2017, they published a study on how rewards can trigger motivation with regard to people's transport choices. According to the study, monetary rewards can be a powerful tool to drive short-term behaviour change. However, rewards that create a positive attitude with a certain behaviour and celebrate each small step in the behaviour change process can significantly raise the chance of achieving a more permanent behaviour change. These rewards have to be relevant to the person’s desires. If they are, then they can reinforce his or her sense of self-esteem and intrinsic motivation.³

Keeping the EPOMM's study in mind, we have done a research about the current options in several European markets. There are already quite a few solutions that use various approaches. We have recognized the following patterns:

1. Gamification apps

These apps are in heart aiming at people's attitude to accept challenges. For example, the German app Changers. Their USP is that they cooperate with various large employers around Europe that want to support the change in behaviour of their employees. This does not only include commuting, but also sport activities or medical prevention.

2. Reward schemes of transport companies

Not only airlines, also some of the railway companies, like German DB, or Czech ČD and Leo Express offer bonus schemes for their frequent customers. The benefits of such loyalty programs are starting to be recognized also by large international players, like Uber that has recently started its own loyalty program in the USA. No doubt that switching from own car to train or a shared mobility has a positive impact on the CO₂-balance. Still, these solutions are only aimed at the customers of those specific companies.

3. Cross-company loyalty cards

These loyalty schemes, like German Payback, Swiss Wee or British Nectar, were in the beginning specialized only on retail. Later they started spreading to other categories like travel and transport. Their advantage is that they offer an all-in-one solution with no need to have various loyalty cards for different providers. Their USP is in their large network of partners that allows for advanced market research activities, using the customers' data.

4. Mobility-as-a-service solutions

What do the companies like the British Citymapper, the Finnish Mass.Global, and Austrian Upstream Mobility have in common? They create the infrastructure that aims to make transport choices more transparent and to integrate all the transport providers in their service. According to the motto "Integration means more effectiveness", they can offer their customer better prices for using their service, as if they had to book at several transport services separately.

5. Other emerging solutions

Recently, new approaches towards green mobility started popping up. With the emerging blockchain technology on the rise, companies like DOVU or VMC are trying to revolutionize the way people use and pay for mobility services. Their solutions are now in testing phases, and we are very curious about how they will develop. A completely different approach is the one that chose the team around the German app Rydes. In this case, the user scans the transportation tickets in order to receive points that he can redeem for various rewards.

As you can see, there are several large and many emerging players on the market that are trying to motivate commuters to change their transport behaviour. Which one will become the most successful one? Which one is your favourite? Is there any space for new ideas and loyalty programs? Let us know of your opinion!

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