During one of the lectures of Open and User Innovation we had a guest lecturer. The guest lecturer was Thomas Tydal and he is a train driver and software developer. He developed the application Railit Tracker. This is an application for train drivers and other railway personnel. In this application the train drivers can see where they are, where other trains are, how fast they are going and if this is the right speed, and when they will arrive among other things. This application has solved the main problem of data being unavailable to the train drivers, and also it prevents drivers from going too fast and thus reduces the amount of energy used. Thomas’ presentation was very inspiring and I learned a lot from it about how the subjects we discuss during this course are applied in real life. It was a great addition to the course. The website for this application is

After Thomas told his story, one of the students asked about the future of trains when it comes to automisation and if his business was threatened by possible automised trains. To this he said that trains are not the same as, for example, trucks. During a train ride often systems in the trains breakdown, but passengers do not notice all these failures because the train driver repairs these malfunctions. This comparison to trucks and the fact that his application saves energy made me think of a company I came across during one of my previous projects called Peloton.

Peloton is an automated vehicle technology company. They try to solve the two major problems in the trucking industry: crashes and fuel use. Peloton develops trucks that have advanced software and radars that allows them to keep track of each other and other traffic on the road. Each truck has multiple types of sensors that register data and they can share this information with other trucks on the road. Peloton software alerts the drivers if there are other drivers nearby and available for a “platoon”. When a platoon is formed two trucks are linked together when driving behind each other. With vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V), the acceleration and breaking systems of the two trucks are connected. This way, if the driver of the first truck breaks the second truck will automatically break too. Also, the drag between the two trucks is diminished so the first truck no longer suffers from this. By forming a platoon the fuel use of the first truck is reduced by 4.5% and the second truck by 10%, leaving an overall fuel saving of 7%. The platoons are only made when it is safe and every platoon has to be accepted by the Operations Center and they can change the platoon parameters to the situation of the trucks. Also, the drivers always have primary control over their truck, they can stop the platoon at anytime and can still use the brakes and acceleration themselves when necessary.

The V2V communication made me think of the subjects discussed during Open and User Innovation. The trucks all register data and share this openly to other trucks, creating a sort of open data community for trucks and their drivers. They help each other navigate and warn each other for upcoming traffic and dangerous situations. Also, by platooning they work together to reduce fuel use. I thought this was an interesting form of open data and communities.


//Lynn Reichenfeld

I retrieved the information about Peloton from their website: , if you’re interested to get more information be sure to check out the website!





During one of the lectures of Open and User Innovation, a group of students gave a presentation about competition. The competition here were competitions held by firms in order to find an innovative solution to a problem. I always thought these competitions were purely beneficial to the firm and were not something that had to put that much effort into. During the presentation I found out I was very wrong.

Holding a competition requires a firm to take many measures into account and several sorts of costs need to be incurred. Examples of costs that need to be incurred are: the cost of releasing data, the cost of the resources that need to be provided to the contestants, the cost of testing the hundreds of solutions provided by the participants, the risk of rivals gaining an advantage based on the information you share with the participants and costs incurred by controlling the entire competition.

In order to clarify just how much effort goes into hosting a competition, our teacher Serdar Temiz gave an interesting example that I wanted to share here. This was based on an example the presenting group of students gave during their presentation. The example he gave was a sort of competition through crowdsourcing. This form of crowdsourcing was used a long time ago. The competition I am talking about here takes place in the Wild Wild West, and the competition is the search for bad guys through WANTED posters. In this case, the sheriff would ask the crowd to find a person, rendering it a form of crowdsourcing. Since a reward is offered to the person who first finds them, it can also be considered a competition. The following factors were named for the sheriff to take into account when holding this competition:

  • Price setting: is the offered reward high enough in the eyes of the people to participate in the search?
  • Price justification: is the offered reward accurate for the crimes this person committed? Do you charge the same for someone who robbed a bank as for someone who robbed a grocery store?
  • Awareness: the sheriff needs to find a way to spread the word about the competition, for example, the posters, then these need to be hung up in the correct places.
  • Boundary: how far does the sheriff need to put up the posters? What regions could the bad guy be in and what is too far
  • Registration: there need to be people answering the phone about the enquiries made by people stating they found the bad guy.
  • Analysis: the sheriff needs to consider whether he has the right systems to analyse all the enquiries. He cannot simply send his men to wherever a call comes from, then there will be no resources left.
  • Description: how specific does the sheriff need to be in the description? If he simply offers 1000 dollars for a thief, then people will bring by their neighbour’s kid who once stole an egg from them and demand they get the reward.
  • Information leakage: what if they are too specific? And a neighbouring county sheriff wants to catch this bad guy themselves in order to get a good reputation. But if you give too little information, the people might not be able to identify the bad guy.

For me this example was a nice, simple way to discuss the problem. I had never thought about a competition in this way, nor did I realise that there were so many factors to consider when hosting one. It really clarified the factors that need to be taken into account, and I hope it can do the same for other people reading this!

//Lynn Reichenfeld