successful challenge

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With the support of IBM France (Watson Cloud Platform), Haulotte organized a Hackaton on the 28th and 29th of November 2019, with students from Lyon and Saint-Etienne engineering schools (ISTP, EPITECH, EPSI and UCLY).


48 hours of collaborative creation and thinking, 40 students (developers, coders, designers…) split into 6 teams, each one coached by a Haulotte partner, with the technical support of 4 IBM France coaches.

The aim was to work on innovative digital initiatives on the basis of 3 major themes:

  • Promoting services, rental and sales activity of Haulotte products
  • Boosting and improving the Human/Machine interaction and associated services
  • Excelling at making our products safer to use

At the end of these two days, all the teams had to present an experimental demo of their project.

« The idea of this hackathon has grown last year, thanks to the contacts and discussions we had with IBM France. We wanted to mobilize a community of future developers to take a new perspective and generate valuable innovative digital suggestions and ideas for our ecosystem. IBM suggested we organize a hackathon. This initiative is totally in keeping with the innovation culture that drives us. It is actually a perfect variation/adaptation OU the perfect paradigm of our ‘Let’s dare together’ approach. » reminded Haulotte Innovation Manager Philippe Luminet.

“IBM teams are experts in this field. We thought that this event could really have added value for Haulotte”. Eric Roussillon, Watson Cloud Platform Business Unit IBM.

After a few months of preparation, the project was initiated and the first contacts with schools were made. They were able to see all the potential benefits of such a project for their students and encouraged them to take part in this first edition.

On November 14th, Haulotte and IBM held a “Kick-off Hackathon. Participants were briefed and got to discover a machine and talk about the innovations and services provided by Haulotte Group with some of the coaches.

As part of this kick-off event, 2 training webinars led by IBM coaches and dedicated to the various technological solutions and tools allowed students to lay the foundation of their future project during the Hackathon.

On November 28th and 29th, 6 team projects carried out by the participating schools “confronted” each other:

Team 1, coached by Xavier Macé (Data Manager Haulotte) came up with a textual and vocal ChatBot prototype that could help professionals when choosing a machine. This new multimodal assistant allows each operator to find the right machine according to a significant number of criteria and restrictions: a key issue in terms of efficiency for every professional.

Team 2, coached by Mathieu Parent (Digital Service manager/supervisor Haulotte) laid the foundation for a new customized interface regarding first use of the machine. The targeted aim was to discover in an instructive and intuitive way the functionalities, features, options and specificities of each machine so to use its full potential.

Team 3, supervised by Laurent Di Florio (Embedded System Manager Haulotte) introduced a technical diagnostic assistant.

This assistance app intended for on-site maintenance and service technicians allows for example to automate the supply of spare parts on the basis of the initial diagnostic and to optimize the intervention pathway depending on the travelling distance, the number or the planned duration of interventions, etc.

Team 4, coached by Ludovic Lemarchand (Innovation Project Manager Haulotte) designed a 3D digital interface embedded in the monitoring screen or panel of each machine. This new interface is equipped with sensors and allows operators to scan the real environment when using their machine and to preview all the maneuvers, operations angles and positions of the machine. The aim is to provide an accurate assessment of the work area of each machine in real environment, resulting in increased productivity and an optimal safety thanks to a better assimilation of the environment.

Team 5, coached by Thibault Chatard-Baptiste (IT&Solutions PMO Manager Haulotte) imagined a machine diagnostic app using the camera of and video recording features of a Smartphone. It consists in a visual recognition feature based on artificial intelligence. The goal is to be able to examine and assess the machine when operating it and to make the safety check-list easier anywhere and anytime, in a simple, reliable and assisted way, which provides additional protection in terms of efficiency and safety.

This app also allows accessing at any time the machine details on the Smartphone, such as battery life, technical condition but also the weather warnings, which can prove to be useful additional information and data.

As for the members of Team 6, coached by Philippe Gault (Customer Services Director Haulotte) they developed a Smartphone prototype app to manage and optimize the collective use of equipment fleet. This app draws its inspiration from the carsharing platforms, with a system based on machinery subletting and predetermined use.

Whether on a major construction site, at the rental company premises or even in shared use in a specific geographical area, this app can boost productivity.

Boris Khalkhal (Senior Architect, Cloud Developer Advocate IBM): “IBM teams are accustomed to organizing hundreds of events of various sizes and I can confirm that this first Haulotte hackathon was very ambitious in terms of both team diversity and food for thought. The results have gone way beyond our expectations.”

« The “out of the box” approach can sometimes prove to be confusing or disconcerting and yet the challenge of a Hackathon is to address the actual issues and stakes of the group in terms of innovation and elaboration of new digital services. “This hackathon was incredibly positive in terms of diversity and cooperation, with students from distinct and sometimes rival schools, various training and education background and ages. The 6 teams were in harmony with both Haulotte and IBM professionals.” confirmed Ludovic Lemarchand (Innovation Project Manager Haulotte)

“In the end, the 6 projects were very ambitious and yet realistic. Many suggested initiatives confirm what we have already initiated, and there were also ideas and aspects that we had not identified or at least not in the same way. The success of Hackathon also shows the presence of real digital challenges in our industrial sector, with a methodology and a structure similar to the sphere of startups” noted Philippe Luminet (Innovation Manager Haulotte).

Thibault Chatard-Baptiste, (IT&Solutions PMO Manager Haulotte): “two aspects held my interest.

Firstly, how quickly and easily the participants managed to handle Haulotte environment and innovation issues. Two weeks before, these students were not familiar with our sector, our brand or our digital ecosystem.

Secondly, the rhythm and pace of work, which alternated between phases of intense focus on the one hand and phases during which they slackened and took a step back, so to always open-up the scope of possibilities on the other end”.

Carine Ploton (Corporate Communication Manager Haulotte): “With this hackathon, we were able to make students aware of our activity and our business through the prism of innovation, which will perhaps stimulate career interests! It also allowed us to get more familiar with the way this new generation thinks and works, which often disrupts our own approach. Beyond these observations, these 48 hours were extremely intense and motivating for all of us”.

At the end of these two “marathon” days, each team has defended its project in front of an attentive jury composed of members of Haulotte Executive Committee  :

  • Stéphane HUBERT – CSO
  • Thomas CHEJFEC – CIO
  • Patrick MURRIS – Europe & Africa Zone Director
  • Patrice METAIRIE – COO Industry
  • Philippe NOBLET – Corporate Secretary

, its IBM partner : Jeroen VAN DER SCHOT – Sales engineering executive for Cloud at IBM

, and LOXAM Group : Thierry Lahuppe – Equipment Manager LOXAM

Interview of Thierry Lahuppe,

Equipment Manager LOXAM

You were a member of the jury for our first Hackathon. Why did you accept this invitation?

« We innovate and support any innovative approach, especially one that aims to offer ever more safety to equipment users. Haulotte is a long-time LOXAM partner. I was honoured by this invitation, curious and even eager to discover this initiative. It reflects Haulotte’s open-mindedness and humility. »

What struck you the most during these few hours?
« Speed and audacity! The speed with which these young engineering students have captured the challenges of our professions. The audacity they had to propose almost « disruptive » solutions, without complex, in a very short time. »

What do you learn from it?
« Let us remain optimistic, the human genius is not left behind with the younger generations. »

What if it had to be done again?
« Give me the date! »

Each team was rewarded, but in the end and as observed Stéphane Hubert (CSO Haulotte): “whether you received the first prize, the “jury’s favorite” prize, etc., all we know for certain is that all of you did a great job!

“These 48 hours turned out to be exhausting but also filled us with enthusiasm. This absolute breath of fresh air shows that we can change the way the work, leave our habits aside and, together, dare trying something different. Finally, we can claim that we can indeed always do things differently and that such an approach can sometimes even be more interesting”.  

student testimonials

This Hackathon was a very rewarding and positive first experience for Haulotte and its teams,

which suggests there will be future editions !!!

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