The year 2020 is coming to an end - and what an unusual year it was!
While January was still going along its usual course, the corona pandemic brought changes with it from February onwards, which were noticeable in all life areas. In professional terms, this meant above all: hardly any or no on-site appointments – and certainly no trade fairs –, online meetings, and often hurdles caused by the lack of digitization. "Can you hear me?" and "Can you see my screen?" were constant companions through the new working day, which now often took place within the private four walls. But an end is in sight with the first possible vaccinations. The future will show how everyday working life may have changed permanently over the past year.
But enough about Corona. We would like to take the pre-Christmas period as an opportunity to take you on a journey through our year. Despite some limitations, many options, possibilities, and new partnerships have arisen for our young company, which have shaped our year. Follow me through a condensed chronology – you can find further information in the linked news articles.
When everything was still normal: Our trade fair winter with distinction
FFor us, the year began with a move to the Paderborn Technology Park – the headquarters of many important and emerging technology companies in the area. But there was not much time to catch our breath because, on January 20th, our first significant appearance of the year was on the agenda with the U-Start competition of Thüga, Veolia, and BS|Energy. Here, a jury was looking for the best solutions to digitize the processes of municipal network operators. Less than two months later, on March 5th, we got our award as winners at the closing event. Joint project discussions followed this.
Parallel to this great success, we also visited several trade fairs. Max could report from Vaira as a co-exhibitor at the InfraTech 2020. In mid-February, we exhibited simultaneously at the E-world 2020 and as co-exhibitor at the IRO 2020. At the beginning of March, we exhibited at the Esri Conference 2020, already anticipating that this trade fair year would not be typical.
In spring, we sowed the seeds
It was unusual neither to go to trade fairs nor to arrange quick on-site appointments with interested parties and customers. Understandably, companies were busy with themselves first – the home or mobile office brought new ways of working and unique requirements. The demand for digitalization increased dramatically. Simultaneously, however, the hasty changeover of own processes to the current situation was also a hindrance to orderly digitization. With our campaign in May, we therefore further substantiated the advantages of digitization with Vaira. An article in Business Geomatics in June put further emphasis on our platform. Both of these publications noticeably increased interest in Vaira and showed us that we were and are definitely on the right track.
In the background, a few strands were converging more and more. Projects, partnerships, and cooperations became increasingly concrete. At the same time, a significant development project for our platform was also running in the background.
The summer brought us a rich harvest
The summer brought us several big news. From our victory in the U-Start competition in winter, a project partnership had developed over the spring, which we could now officially announce. Since then, we have been working on a project with Thüga, Veolia, and the Görlitz municipal utilities to develop Vaira further. In September, EWE AG acquired a stake in Vaira, which brought a significant network operator to our side. Just one day later, we were also able to announce our new partnership with Georg Fischer, the global fittings and piping expert.
We also adapted to the situation and replaced trade fair appearances with our elaborate digital event: the Vaira web seminar took place for the first time in July and gathered numerous interested parties live in front of the screen. Here Max explained the complete Vaira package within one hour.
In autumn leaves with Vaira Basic
After about 1.5 years of development, we were able to release the first basic version of Vaira at the end of the summer. Vaira Basic includes the essential functions for network operators, public utilities, and construction service providers to measure and document simple house connections from order creation to billing. Many interested parties have already chosen this version as their entry point to test Vaira, and productive uses are already in the pipeline.
While Vaira Office is continuously being developed further, Vaira Basic is the first version of the Android app that is ready for the time being and will not be changed. Instead, we have been working on a major upgrade for some time now, which will be made available to all users automatically – in line with the Software-as-a-Service principle – as soon as it is fully developed. Max told more about this in our second Vaira web seminar, which focused specifically on our apps and the surveying component.
Between the seasons
Besides all these big news, we also tried to give more in-depth insights into Vaira. Through our feature focus stories, we have brought individual components to the fore. In addition to a look at measurement in augmented reality, we have also dedicated articles to digital forms and the platform’s approach.
We also followed with great interest the LiDAR sensor’s announcements in the new iPad and the new iPhone 12. The addition of a laser distance sensor opens up completely new technical possibilities for Vaira, which will play an even more significant role next year.
Vaira und das Jahr 2021
The year 2020 started with us attracting some attention through trade fairs and competitions. In the summer, we converted this attention into concrete projects, partnerships, and participation. The first finished version of Vaira marked the autumn. And now?
By May, we are confident that the pandemic’s situation will have calmed down enough to take our trade fair booth at E-world 2021. Here we would be pleased if we could perhaps even welcome you personally. We will be sticking to our web seminars, which have received a lot of positive feedback. If you are interested in these events, please register in our pre-registration form – here, you will receive all announcements about future web seminars.
The development of Vaira will, of course, continue. On the one hand, there is a big upgrade, which will also bring the Vaira apps to the process platform’s logic. This development will be supported by officially running, currently still unofficial or soon to be started projects. The existing partnerships will accompany us throughout the year, and new partnerships with interested companies will be a goal.
Finally, we are confident about the already planned test installations and productive use of Vaira. The feedback from these will further help us optimize Vaira and make it an indispensable tool for network operators, public utilities, and construction service providers - whether in the office or on the construction site. A tool that is functional and understandable and allows for a pleasant digitalization of their processes.
A big thanks to anyone who accompanied us this year. Every click, every mail, and every viewer at our web seminars shows us that Vaira has enormous potential, and we are very excited about what the new year will bring. We wish you and your loved ones – despite all adversities – a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Your Vaira Team