We’ve always taken pride in our approach to technology. We don’t do “tech for tech’s sake”; we don’t create a solution and then go looking for a problem. This approach underpins our company culture and forms the foundation of our technology development and the solutions we offer our clients. I set out to write an article about this, but then I realised there are more layers to this statement. There’s far more behind how we experiment with technology and how my geekiness and fascination with tech leads us to innovate and develop new products.
Our ScanPod device is one example of how my geekiness and our product development combine. These devices were conceived during the COVID-19 pandemic to address the challenges of socially distanced events. We wanted to create hardware that would reduce non-essential human interactions at events, from the initial registration process to badge scanning points in seminar theatres and other check points around an event.
The ScanPods undeniably met a real and urgent need, and even today they continue to play a crucial role in eliminating human contact, cutting down costs, and streamlining entry. However, the journey behind the technology that powers these ScanPods is far from a straightforward one. It didn’t emerge overnight, nor was it the result of focused research or a standing start development process.
Central to the ScanPods’ operation is the Raspberry Pi, a very low-cost, credit card-sized single board computer known for its versatility in controlling electronic components. The decision to incorporate the Raspberry Pi into our ScanPods was not a spur-of-the-moment choice; it came as the result of my own personal fascination with these tiny yet powerful devices, dating back to their release in 2015.
As a self-proclaimed tech geek, I’ve always had a keen curiosity for new technology. My journey with Raspberry Pi and microcontrollers started as a hobby, experimenting with it in my own home. From creating automatic lighting systems to various other DIY projects, I’ve taken a great deal of enjoyment from pushing the boundaries of what these compact computers can do and I have dozens around my home. My natural inclination to tinker and explore leads me to constantly seek out new technologies, experiment with them, and put them through their paces.
The majority of these tech experiments stay within my workshop, but sometimes they spark an idea that can be used in the systems and hardware we offer our clients. Or sometimes it works the other way round – when I’m thinking of ways to improve our kit I remember something I have tried at home and bring it to the office for further development.
So although our core philosophy revolves around using technology to solve tangible problems, it doesn’t mean we ever stop looking for ways to make our solutions even better. We’ll always stick to our mantra, but we will always be beavering about in the background, experimenting and playing to see what new tech can do; because while it is a lot of fun, it may, just may spark an idea that dramatically improves our clients’ events.
Simon Clayton, Chief Ideas Officer, RefTech