Monitoring of company processes using a smartwatch?https://cleverlance.com/en/blog/Pages/monitoring-of-company-processes.aspxMonitoring of company processes using a smartwatch?<p>​According to <em>Minnesota Reformer</em>, two large USA meat-processing companies – Tyson Foods and JBS – invested into a smartwatch app that provides real-time monitoring of production processing. </p><p>The aim of this technology is to increase the company’s efficiency while also ensuring the safety of employees. The risk of injury in the meat-processing industry is very high. Repetitive, fast and strenuous work makes meat processing plants some of the most dangerous workplaces. The U.S. Department of Labor has conducted repeated investigations of safety incidents in the industry in recent years. <br></p><p>The app is compatible with Samsung Watch 4, which continuously collects data from the production process during the work shift using its sensors – specifically the force, rotation, speed and direction of the worker's hand movement. This data is then interpreted by software with elements of artificial intelligence that determines whether the movements are safe and alerts workers if they exceed the safety limits for force or speed. It converts the acquired data into metrics displayed on the dashboard. This includes not only safety metrics, but also active productivity scores.<br></p><p><strong>What are the advantages for the company?</strong><br></p><p>Using a smartwatch as a tool to monitor manufacturing processes can bring a number of benefits.</p><p>The most important of these is an <strong>increase of productivity</strong>. Thanks to the monitoring of movement and performance of activities, it is possible to identify less productive work procedures and propose measures to increase the performance of individual activities. <br></p><p>Another advantage of using a smartwatch is <strong>increased employee safety</strong>. Smartwatch sensors can predict potential safety risks at the workplace. The watch is equipped with RTLS (real-time location system) technology, which allows the worker to easily call for assistance or help if necessary.<br></p><p>Using data on the current progress of individual activities in the production process, the software can also provide workers with immediate feedback to help them significantly facilitate their work or improve their performance.<br></p><p>The use of a smartwatch during an activity also makes it possible to easily collect anonymous data about movement around the company premises, which can be further analyzed and used to <strong>optimize work processes and use of resources</strong>. This information helps companies <strong>reduce costs and increase profitability</strong> while making the <strong>work of employees easier</strong>. In addition, optimizing work procedures from the point of view of their ergonomics helps <strong>prevent long-term health problems</strong>.<br></p><p>Last but not least, smartwatches can also help employers <strong>improve </strong><strong><strong>comm</strong>unication with employees</strong>. Thanks to the HMI (Human Machine Interface) technology, employees can better interact with different systems and machines in real time and easily adapt to different work tasks. <br></p><p>Overall, the use of smartwatches can help companies optimize workflows, reduce downtime, and thereby increase production process productivity and improve worker safety. From a marketing perspective, this can be a strong selling point for companies trying to improve their bottom line and differentiate themselves in a crowded market. The feedback from unions has shown (despite initial concerns) that workers see this innovation as a real benefit to their jobs.<br></p><p><strong>Protection of workers' privacy</strong><br></p><p>Privacy concerns of the employees are an important consideration when implementing any new monitoring system at the workplace. At Cleverlance, we also deal with the implementation of similar solutions using smartwatches. This is why we asked <strong>Mikuláš Müller</strong>, the head of the CleverIndustry unit which supplies systems for the digitization of industry and logistics, about how this issue is handled at Cleverlance:<br></p><p><em>"In the case of a smartwatch application that monitors activities in the production process, it is important to emphasize that we respect the GDPR and ensure the secure processing of personal data. All data is encrypted and stored on secure servers, where it is accessible only to authorized persons. </em><br></p><p><em>Each employee uses a different watch each time. Before each shift, employees randomly and anonymously select a watch from the shelf, so it is impossible to determine exactly which particular employee is or was in which place at a certain time. This should make employees feel safe and assure them that their privacy is not at risk. </em><br></p><p><em>It is also important to explain to the employees all aspects of the functioning of this system, and to convince them that the smartwatch will help them make their work easier and will not threaten their rights and privacy"</em>, emphasizes Mikuláš Müller.​<br></p>
Digitalization of roll containers using IoT sensors – a solution for logistics problems in the e-commerce erahttps://cleverlance.com/en/blog/Pages/digitalization-of-roll-containers.aspxDigitalization of roll containers using IoT sensors – a solution for logistics problems in the e-commerce era<p>​​​​​​​With the growth of e-commerce and changes in consumer behavior, efficient delivery of packages is more difficult than ever. As a result of the inefficiency of logistics processes, many carriers are having problems covering the ever-increasing number of shipments. An insufficient overview of the use and location of roll containers causes unnecessary complications and inefficiencies preventing their optimal use. The intensity of transport and costs due to the unused capacity of the transport space are increasing; these lead to negative environmental impacts and delayed deadlines for the delivery of shipments. Dissatisfied customers then loudly demand their undelivered shipments!<br></p><p>All these problems can be solved by tracking roll containers using Bluetooth. A good example is the Dutch postal service, which recently announced the digitization of 250,000 shipping roll cages using sensors from Kontakt.io. The postal service delivers around 1.1 million parcels and 8.1 million letters across the Benelux every day! In 2020, it delivered a record 337 million shipments during the coronavirus pandemic, which was almost 20% more than in 2019.</p><p>The technology chosen by the Dutch postal service to digitize its logistics process and track rolling cages containing parcels has brought many benefits – and these can also be used in a number of other industries.​<br></p><h3>Overview of the use of roll containers</h3><p>Tracking using IoT sensors allows the Dutch postal service to gain better insight into how the roll containers are being used. The sensors provide information about who is currently using the containers, how often they use them, and how many are currently available. Thanks to accurate monitoring, the postal service can identify unused or empty trolleys and thus minimize costs in the entire supply chain.​<br></p><h3>Optimization </h3><p>Detailed monitoring using Bluetooth sensors allows the postal service to position the trolleys so that they are used as efficiently as possible. It turned out that while in some shipping depots the trolleys are partially unused, in others they have been able to significantly increase the efficiency of transportation by adding more trolleys.​<br></p><h3>Identifying bottlenecks and problems in the logistics chain</h3><p>If there is a shortage of trolleys in one place, or if parcels are piling up somewhere, the postal service might not be able to process parcels. Thanks to Kontakt.io Bluetooth sensors tracking the position of roll containers, the Dutch postal service can anticipate problems and move staff or equipment in time to resolve the situation. This simple step solves problems even before they occur.​<br></p><h3>Localization of lost shipments</h3><p>The loss of a shipment or an entire roll container is a serious problem for any shipping service. Thanks to the sensors, the postal service can easily and quickly locate the trolleys without ever losing track of any of them. The sensors provide information about which roll container with a so-called roll cage the shipment was loaded on, and in which car or transshipment point the container is located. If the postal service needs to move a shipment to a correct location, it is easy to find out where exactly it is located.​<br></p><h3>Real-time information about roll container capacity</h3><p>Thanks to the digitization of logistics using tracking sensors, the Dutch postal service has an overview of the current capacity of individual roll containers – whether the cage is fully loaded or whether there is free space in it. A detailed overview of the container location, its contents and movements including any delays, makes it possible to increase the efficiency of processes and improve customer service.​<br></p><h3>Cost reductions</h3><p>Tracking the roll cages and their contents allows the identification of parts of the logistics chain where costs can be reduced. For example, sending fully loaded cages instead of half-empty ones, or making sure these units take the most direct route to their destination. ​<br></p><h3>Reducing the environmental footprint</h3><p>The quick identification of places where the containers can be best used not only brings greater cost efficiency, but also reduces the negative impact on the environment thanks to a smaller amount of unused space during transport.​<br></p><p>The technology for tracking roll containers using IoT sensors selected by the Dutch postal service can be a key solution for handling the ever-increasing volume of transported shipments. This technology makes it possible to get a better overview of the use of roll containers and minimize the cost of replacing equipment. Thanks to their monitoring, the containers can be placed so that they are used as efficiently as possible and bottlenecks in the logistics chain can be predicted. The technology helps solve problems before they arise and minimizes negative impacts on the environment. Companies and organizations in other industries can also take advantage of this technology to optimize their logistics processes and minimize costs.​​​<br></p>
How management buy-in affects Agile transformationhttps://cleverlance.com/en/blog/Pages/agile-transformation.aspxHow management buy-in affects Agile transformation<p>​​​​Agile transformation can be a powerful tool for businesses looking to improve efficiency, productivity, and flexibility. However, the success of an agile transformation is often tied to management buy-in. As I've written in my <a href="/en/blog/Pages/agile-tranformation-derail.aspx" target="_blank">previous post​</a>, in many cases, the motivation for an agile transformation comes from believing that the current organizational structure is misaligned and that agile will be a cure-all solution. Management may also have unrealistic expectations of the transformation process.​<br></p><p>In reality, management must play an active role in the transformation process, working collaboratively with teams to identify and solve problems. This requires a willingness to hear bad news, make difficult decisions, and address structural and systematic issues that may be inhibiting agility, such as overly complex organizational hierarchies, rigid technologies, and inflexible approval processes. Without this buy-in and active participation, agile transformations can become nothing more than a superficial change with little real impact on efficiency or productivity.​<br></p><h3>Definition of management and leadership</h3><p>There are multiple definitions of what management actually is. Let me cite the two classical ones:</p><p>Harold Koontz: Management is an art of getting things done through and with the people in formally organized groups. It is an art of creating an environment in which people can perform and individuals and can co-operate towards attainment of group goals.<br></p><p>F.W. Taylor: Management is an art of knowing what to do, when to do and see that it is done in the best and cheapest way.<br></p><p>So basically, when it comes to transitioning to an agile approach, there are two key takeaways managers need to keep in mind: first, they're responsible for creating an environment where people can be productive, and second, they need to figure out what to do when others are uncertain.<br></p><p>In addition, it is worth mentioning that although there is an overlap between the skills and qualities of a manager and a leader, they are not the same. A manager oversees and directs a team or organization to achieve its goals and objectives, while a leader inspires and motivates people to work towards a shared vision or goal. Although it is ideal for a manager to also possess strong leadership skills, it is not always necessary for a manager to be a leader as they can still effectively manage a team without necessarily inspiring or motivating them. However, in many cases, having strong leadership skills can enhance a manager's ability to manage their team effectively.<br></p><p>How does this apply in the context of an agile transformation?<br></p><h3>Top-down approach to agile transition<br></h3><p>From what I've seen, a few key attributes are critical for a successful top-down approach to agile transition. Managers must be willing to hear "bad news" and make active decisions in the business's best interests. The average employee in the company needs to be encouraged by managers to identify obstacles and suggest both workarounds and proper solutions.</p><p>To ensure smooth and effective work, managers must make their visions and expectations clear to team members. Although structural changes may hinder progress, it's important to recognize that some changes take time. A shared vision can motivate team members to find workarounds in the interim, while also fostering the belief that higher-level management is actively working towards a long-term solution.<br></p><p>Having clear orientation, vision, and understanding of context on a higher level can greatly improve motivation, productivity, and the relevance of solutions during an agile transformation. It can lead to more efficient and effective solutions as they are developed with the bigger picture in mind. A sense of direction and a clear vision can be a powerful motivator for people to persevere through challenging times. Like seeing the horizon during turbulent waters, it provides a sense of stability and purpose that can help individuals stay focused and productive. It's the leader's responsibility to ensure such a vision exists and is understood by others.<br></p><h3>Don't take it personally<br></h3><p>Managers who resist hearing strategic-level criticisms can hinder the progress of agile transformation. It's important not to take it personally. The broader the problem, the more difficult it is to resolve. Attempting to fix it carries both risk and reward, which is why the agile transformation was initiated in the first place.</p><p>When managers view criticism or obstacles as a cover for employee incompetence or failures, it can create a lack of trust that hinders effective management. This can lead to a tendency to micromanage and excessively monitor employees, which can ultimately undermine all the transformation efforts. Eventually, a lack of trust can lead employees to keep their ideas to themselves to avoid potential conflicts or arguments with their managers. This can hinder creativity and innovation and create a toxic work environment where open communication and collaboration are discouraged.<br></p><p>It's crucial for managers to actively participate and collaborate with their teams, facilitating problem-solving and decision-making instead of expecting the teams to sort everything out themselves. Some obstacles are outside the control of individual teams and require higher-level interventions or support from the organization.<br></p><h3>Make decisions - that's what leaders are supposed to do<br></h3><p>Decision-making in a business context involves a shared responsibility between managers and lower-level colleagues. Effective managers take responsibility for their decisions, even in the face of uncertainty. They actively seek out the information they need to make informed decisions and recognize that some situations may not have enough information, yet still require a decision. In contrast, some managers may try to shift responsibility elsewhere rather than taking ownership and accepting accountability for their decisions in such situations out of fear of failure. It is essential for managers to understand that managing uncertainty is a critical part of decision-making and to accept this responsibility. Lower-level colleagues play a crucial role in facilitating decisions by providing valid, precise, complete, and most importantly honest information.</p><p>To handle critical decisions, organizations can foster a culture of experimentation and testing or establish a structured approach to collect and analyze data for making informed decisions. By exploring various scenarios of potential outcomes, measuring their impacts, and proactively engaging with such models, organizations can break free from this pattern.<br></p><p>Effective managers approach decision-making with a healthy dose of skepticism, validating and cross-checking data before making any commitments. This also applies to creating plans and commitments during the sales process. It's important to note that the criticism and ideas for improvement from individual teams may not just involve structural and technical aspects but also target plans. A common pitfall is when experts are not involved in the sales and planning process, resulting in unrealistic plans. In such cases, the team should not be held accountable for being unable to adhere to an unrealistic plan. Creating such a plan is a decision that involves risk, which managers are responsible for evaluating, managing, and accepting. Agile transition might painfully expose such naive plans.<br></p><p>Delegating competence and responsibility is an essential aspect of effective management. However, it's important to note that managers should also be willing to accept the consequences of delegation.<br></p><h3>Overcoming fear and lack of trust<br></h3><p>The fear of change can often hinder the agile transformation process, and many managers may be hesitant to make changes due to various fears that are common to any human being. These fears include fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of losing control, fear of job security, fear of being exposed as incompetent, fear of losing status or power, fear of conflict or opposition, and fear of the extensive changes required by the agile transformation process. However, effective managers and organizations are able to recognize and manage these fears, while still moving forward with the necessary changes to improve outcomes. It is important not to take these fears personally, but instead to approach them with a solution-focused mindset - because paralysis may be the other option.</p><p>Fear and lack of trust can be significant barriers to organizational success, particularly during a transformation toward an agile culture. Although these feelings are valid and may have justifiable reasons, they can ultimately hinder progress. For an organization to move forward and become more effective, it is essential to foster trust, delegate competencies and responsibilities, and empower employees to make decisions. Most individuals are naturally motivated by changes that save time and effort, and a culture of trust and collaboration can facilitate this motivation toward achieving organizational goals.<br></p><p>By fostering a culture of trust and collaboration, organizations can overcome fears and barriers to agile transformation and empower employees to take actions that save time and effort.​​​​<br></p>
How flawed motivations can derail Agile transformationshttps://cleverlance.com/en/blog/Pages/agile-tranformation-derail.aspxHow flawed motivations can derail Agile transformations<p>​​​​​​​​​​Agile transformation has become a buzzword in the business world. Companies are eager to jump on the bandwagon and adopt Agile methodologies. The belief is that Agile transformation will increase productivity, efficiency, and speed, simplifying everything and making it faster. While this can be the case when done right, if the sole motivation for Agile transformation is focused on these outcomes and the company has a delusional idea about how difficult it will be to achieve them, things will go south. It's always a lot bumpier than anticipated.</p><p>​This post is part of a series about the most common Agile transformation pains, as I've witnessed them in the organizations around me. This series focuses on the top-down hindrances.</p><h3>Speed, efficiency, transparency</h3><p>What's incorrect about the motivation mentioned above? Don't efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, flexibility, and speed embody the characteristics that the Agile culture promises?</p><p>​In my view, the reason it falls short is that it lacks a crucial and integral aspect of Agile methodology, which is the concept of failing fast and promptly identifying and showcasing obstacles and challenges impeding progress. A true willingness to find problems sooner and improve collaboration must also be an integral and true part of the motivation.</p><p>The misconception I mentioned is problematic because it creates unrealistic expectations for what agile can achieve. Agile is not a quick fix for organizational problems. It's rather a fundamental shift in the way a company operates. It is a way of working that requires collaboration and a willingness to adapt. Everyone, including the senior management, must be willing to collaborate with teams to improve the environment for Agile work. The whole motivation stems from the belief that problems are caused by the disorganization of teams and wrong organizational structures.</p><h3>Transformation project - its end is just the beginning</h3><p>Regrettably, Agile transformation is often viewed by management teams as a silver bullet solution to a company's organizational issues. They mistakenly perceive it as a short, one-time investment that will provide immediate and long-lasting benefits. This misconception can lead to an overly simplified approach to Agile transformation, which does not consider the ongoing effort required to sustain it. Agile transformation requires continuous effort and commitment from both management and the teams involved.</p><p>​Many managers mistakenly believe that adopting Agile is as simple as calling it a transformation project, allocating a budget, giving the project a fancy name, hiring consultants, and conducting a bunch of trainings. They think that these actions alone will suffice to achieve the transformation and their job is done. People just pat themselves on the back for renaming project managers as scrum masters and officially closing the transformation project. And then they sit back while the teams self-organize and Scrum Masters magically remove all obstacles. But that's not how it works.</p><p>Organizations often face structural and systematic problems that impede their agility. Every company has some - just their depth varies. These issues can manifest in various ways, including overly complicated organizational and decision-making hierarchies, dependence on inflexible technologies, convoluted deployment procedures, and rigid approval processes, just to name a few typical ones.</p><p>For example, a company that releases software updates twice a year with numerous dependencies, code freezes, centralized testing, and lengthy development-testing-acceptance loops will likely encounter significant obstacles when adopting Agile methodologies. The legacy processes and technology stack may be quite incompatible with Agile workflows, making it a challenge to achieve the desired level of flexibility and speed.These inherent problems won't magically vanish during an Agile transformation - they'll just become painfully obvious and urgent. The good news is that teams will finally feel comfortable talking about them and trying to tackle them head-on. Problems will be found everywhere.</p><h3>​Beware of creating a Potemkin village</h3><p>The flipside is that if this is not expected to happen, the whole transformation won't work. One must be willing to hear the bad news and be ready to make proactive decisions.</p><p>After years of simply accepting the problems, teams will suddenly start shouting from the rooftops about these issues, and senior management needs to step up and work with them to make the workplace more agile-friendly. If they don't, teams will remain stuck in a rigid environment. Everyone will just call himself with a new title, such as product owner or Agile coach. This reorganization is likely to be seen as another waste of money and a failure, with many concluding that Agile doesn't work. A Potemkin village.</p><p>All levels of an organization need to be ready to face these challenges and work together to find solutions. A decision to adopt Agile is just the first step. Even the managers must be ready to roll up their sleeves and get involved in identifying and solving problems that arise during the transformation. It's a team effort, and everyone needs to play an active role. The more complex the business structure is, the longer the whole transformation will likely take. This is an ongoing process that is unlikely to ever come to a complete end. But the deciding factor is if there's actually a will to start and keep undergoing an uncomfortable change.</p><p>One surprising fact about Agile transformation is that it might lead to more bureaucracy if not implemented correctly. For example, suppose a company adopts Agile without addressing underlying issues such as convoluted decision-making processes or rigid approval procedures. In that case, it may inadvertently create more bureaucracy by adding more layers to the process. This is because Agile requires constant communication and collaboration, and if these processes are not streamlined, it can result in even more delays and inefficiencies.</p><h3>​​True motivation: A sense of security</h3><p>In my experience, failed attempts at agile transformation often stem from a common underlying issue: a lack of trust. This can manifest in various ways, such as a tendency to monitor and control teams closely. After one such transformation I've seen teams being required to share their sprint commitments, burn-down charts, and velocities, and then having to explain themselves when they don't meet those metrics. This happened at the senior management level.</p><p>Such reporting activity created a false sense of security by prioritizing the appearance of stunning charts and numbers on paper rather than the actual value of the work being done. The focus was on keeping commitments rather than questioning the sense of those commitments and the overall plans. Needless to say, what was missing was a critical examination of the actual business value of the effort invested and the value of the things developed. So it was quite obvious what the true initial motivation for Agile adoption had been.</p><h3>Do you really want to go Agile?</h3><p>​In conclusion, Agile transformation can be a powerful tool for organizations looking to improve their productivity, efficiency, and speed. However, it is essential to approach it with realistic expectations and a willingness to address underlying structural and cultural issues. Agile transformation is not a quick fix or a one-time investment but requires continuous effort and commitment from all levels of the organization. Managers must be ready to roll up their sleeves and work with their teams to identify and solve problems that arise during the transformation.</p><p>​​Furthermore, it is crucial to approach the transformation focusing on business value and not just metrics and appearance. So, before embarking on the journey of Agile transformation, think twice and ensure you are willing to fully commit to the process. Going Agile is about being able to react more fluidly to changing business circumstances, isn't it? If there's little willingness to address the underlying issues that hinder progress, what's the point of identifying them in the first place? That by definition hinders the fluidity from happening.</p><p>If fundamentally changing an organization, including its core cultural, technical, and process aspects for the better, isn't the honest motivation, then maybe it will be more comfortable to maintain the status quo and save the embarrassment that an attempt to perform an Agile transition would inevitably bring.​​<br></p><br>
Uncertain development of IT market in 2023https://cleverlance.com/en/blog/Pages/uncertain-development-2023.aspxUncertain development of IT market in 2023<p><strong>​​The economic situation in Europe and worldwide is currently facing many uncertainties. Globalization trends are in question after covid-19 pandemic and, more recently, also due to geopolitical risks. But as for our industry, IT custom software development stands on a stable foundation, has still a lot of potential for deeper international cooperation and a fatal recession is not imminent in our business.</strong><br></p><h3>​Economic uncertainty<br></h3><p>Many commentators predict a significant slowdown or even crisis within the European and global economies. The real situation is not, in my opinion, as bleak as many paint it. What I observe from market behaviour is more of uncertainty rather than crisis. Fortunately, inflation appears to be easing in key markets and unemployment is still at record lows, both across Europe and in the US. Moreover, most clients are not cutting back on orders, but are planning for shorter periods with monthly or quarterly budgets. <strong>The situation favours flexible players who listen to their clients and can respond flexibly to their needs.</strong></p><p><img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/inflation_trends_caloun.png" data-themekey="#" class="ms-rteImage-1" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:680px;height:419px;" />source: Eurostat, BLS<br></p><p><img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/unemployment_EU_caloun.png" data-themekey="#" class="ms-rteImage-1" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:680px;height:419px;" />source: Eurostat, BLS<br></p><h3>Strengthening position<br></h3><p>The continued attractivity of the IT sector is reflected by strong M&A activity. Major players in the IT business are on a shopping spree and the market is consolidating further. This consolidation is also in the interest of most clients, for whom IT and software are increasingly moving to the centre of their business. As a result, they need to entrust their contracts to reliable companies to manage risks involved, and can no more afford to work with smaller riskier suppliers for their core IT services. Clients are also interested in the quality and breadth of t​he offering, as suppliers with a broad portfolio of services and skills are gaining an advantage over smaller specialised entities. <strong>Companies in the IT sector are in high demand, and the idea of consolidation into larger units is supported by investors globally.​</strong><br></p><h3>Globalisation vs. geopolitics</h3><p>Globalization is not a new addition to the list of IT trends as interest among clients in near-shore or off-shore delivery has been growing for many years. While the covid-19 pandemic has severely crippled global supply chains and many manufacturers have begun to wonder whether they should move their global operations back closer to their home markets, in the IT world globalisation has continued mostly undisturbed. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, however, clearly showed the limits of globalization for the IT world as well, and reinforced the concept of friend-shoring. This concept still focuses on globalisation, but restricts it only to reliable and politically-allied countries. This puts Russia on the outside of this global economy, and also increasingly China and potentially other countries that are not politically aligning themselves with the Euro-Atlantic community. Therefore, in 2023 I expect to see further globalisation in IT services where language barriers allow, but now only within the circle of politically friendly and stable countries. <strong>Companies with linguistically equipped people in the right locations and a global sales network will still have a clear advantage and will be increasingly able to reach interesting clients from Silicon Valley to Singapore.</strong><br></p>
Animation plugins in Figmahttps://cleverlance.com/en/blog/Pages/animation-plugins-figma.aspxAnimation plugins in Figma<p><em>​​​​​​​​​Disclaimer: all tools mentioned in this article are under active development with frequent releases, so the version used when writing this article may already be older than yours. All animations referenced in the article can be found in this </em><a href="https://www.figma.com/file/rtjSqflfNWeaMPAjrQzhoM/Figma-Animations-overview-article---resources?node-id=0:1" target="_blank"><em>Figma file</em></a><em>.</em><br></p><p>When one says "animation tool", most people in the industry immediately think of Adobe Animate or After Effects. No wonder, it's the "industry standard" after all. But when you only animate every once in a while, need to make a nice loading screen, and you already have all the assets made in Figma, you don't want to deal with other tools. As you will see, there is no need to resort to such overkill solutions!<br></p><p>At an opportune moment, Figma plugins enter the scene, enriching its native shape compositing and prototyping functionality with exportable animation capabilities. In this article I will present a selection of the best ones. But first, a bit of terminology.<br></p><h3>Keyframe<br></h3><p>Represents the state of an attribute of a given layer at a given time.<em><img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/position_and_color_shift-2.gif" data-themekey="#" class="ms-rtePosition-4" alt="" style="margin:5px 200px;width:190px;height:190px;" /></em></p><p><em>The keyframe for attribute X at 0 seconds into the animation sets the switch position to the left, the next keyframe to the right. Two more keyframes change the color of the switch, the remaining two change the background color</em> (created with Motion).</p><h3>Ease<br></h3><p>Defines the acceleration and deceleration of the transition in time, whether it is faster at the beginning, at the end, or in the middle. This adds a sense of life to the animation - after all, few things in the world move uniformly (linearly), except perhaps gears.<em><img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/Ease-2.gif" data-themekey="#" alt="" style="margin:5px 200px;width:190px;" /></em></p><p><em>The light square moves with a linear ease setting, while the dark one moves with "Ease in and out" - it speeds up at the beginning and slows down at the end </em>(created with Motion).<br></p><h3>Object anchor </h3><p>A point that defines the position and anchor of the layer in space. The layer rotates around the <span style="color:#232323;font-size:16px;">anchor; it is used for all motion calculations.</span><br></p><br><p><img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/Anchor_center-2.gif" data-themekey="#" alt="" style="color:#696158;font-size:14px;margin:5px;width:190px;" /><img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/Anchor_top_left-2.gif" data-themekey="#" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:190px;" /><img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/Anchor_offcenter-2.gif" data-themekey="#" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:190px;height:190px;" /><br></p><p><em>Anchor in the center, top left corner, and at 50% of the X dimension and 75% of the Y dimension </em>(created via Motion).</p><h3>Formats<br></h3><p>in which motion graphics are commonly found on the web:​​​​​​​​<br></p><p><strong>MP4 and WEBM</strong></p><ul><li>Video formats<br></li><li>do not preserve quality when scaling<br></li></ul><p><strong>GIF</strong></p><ul><li>sequence of raster images<br></li><li>does not preserve quality when scaling<br></li><li>large volume<br></li></ul><p><strong>SVG</strong></p><ul><li>XML containing Javascript, CSS or SMIL code that defines individual shapes and their movement<br></li><li>scalable, easy to edit (if you can write the code)<br></li></ul><p>Bonus: <strong>Lottie</strong></p><ul><li>a new minimalist format based on JSON<br></li><li>shapes and their movement are defined using a maximum of two-letter attribute abbreviations<br></li></ul><p>Now let's get into the details of the individual animation plugins.</p><h3>Motion​<br></h3><p><img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/motion.png" data-themekey="#" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:658px;height:336px;" /><br></p><p><a href="https://motionplugin.com/#" target="_blank">Motion</a> is a plugin with wide animation possibilities, based on keyframes. It allows animating a wide range of attributes, changing anchors with great granularity and copying keyframes between layers with X and Y value recalculation for a simplified workflow. A rich library of preset animations, effects and motions is available so we don't have to set everything up manually.<br></p><p><img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/link_and_vector_path_shadow-2.gif" data-themekey="#" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:648px;height:402px;" /><br></p><p><em>A paper plane moves according to the drawn vector and the shadow follows it thanks to the dependency provided by the handy link function.</em><br></p><p>​The finished animation can be exported in many formats, including GIF, MP4/WEBM and SVG in beta. GIF and SVG also support layer transparency.<br></p><p><img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/figma1.png" data-themekey="#" alt="" style="margin:5px 230px;width:190px;height:411px;" /><br></p><p>Motion has four different licenses, with the free version limited to two-second animations and 30 FPS. The Professional license for 8 days per month is convenient for users who don't animate for a living.<br></p><p><img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/figma6.png" data-themekey="#" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:658px;" /><br></p><p><em>The 8-day Motion license costs $6.39 per month.</em></p><p>Overall, the Motion plugin is very pleasant to use, although I would appreciate the option of a separate window for multi-screen work.<br></p><h3>Figmotion<br></h3><p><a href="https://www.figma.com/community/plugin/733025261168520714/Figmotion" target="_blank">Figmotion</a> is a free plugin with a web interface that makes it ideal for multi-screen work. It is also based on the use of keyframes. Compared to Motion, it supports animation of individual rounded corners and stroke widths, on the other hand, copying keyframes is done without recalculation, which in combination with the need to click Save every time, considerably slows down the workflow.<br></p><p><img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/figmotion_corners-2.gif" data-themekey="#" alt="" style="margin:5px 200px;width:190px;height:190px;" /> </p><p><em>Rounding of individual corners and stroke width.</em><br></p><p>​Figmotion implements the dependency between layers using expressions, i.e. calculating values based on variables (time in milliseconds or progress as a decimal value between 0 and 1), or attributes of other layers. However, this functionality is not well documented and you need to know Javascript.<br></p><p>​​​​​The plugin has only four basic preset ease options and completely lacks a motion library, which means the users have to do everything manually. The anchor can be set to one of nine preselected positions. It supports export to MP4, WEBM and GIF up to 60 FPS, but without the option of transparent layers. Lottie format export was also recently launched in beta, and front-end developers will be interested in the new export for React's Framer Motion.<br></p><p><img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/figma2.png" data-themekey="#" alt="" style="margin:5px 230px;width:190px;height:325px;" /><br></p><p><em>Anchor settings are on top, keyframe settings in the center, and transition options on the bottom.</em></p><p>​​​Figmotion has a huge number of features, but many of them are unfinished, and frequent bugs and a cumbersome workflow take away from its usability. On the other hand, it has unlimited animation length, is free, and has the largest number of users in the Figma community.<br></p><h3>Bonus: Jitter.video<br></h3><p><img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/figma3.png" data-themekey="#" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:658px;height:399px;" /><br></p><p><a href="https://jitter.video/" target="_blank">​Jitter</a> is a web tool for creating animations from vector shapes which doesn't work directly in Figma, but you can import assets from Figma in a single click using their plugin. While it doesn't yet support all attributes (for example, individually rounded corners), it solves this relatively elegantly - it imports the unsupported layer as a PNG. Rather than keyframes, it focuses on the transition process. It provides a decent library of preset animations and a simplified view of individual attributes.<br></p><p><img src="/de/blog/PublishingImages/Articles/CreateIt/figma4.png" data-themekey="#" alt="" style="margin:5px 230px;width:190px;height:460px;" /><br></p><p><em>The user is shileded from individual attributes by user-friendly verbs.</em></p><p>Jitter in the free version does not allow transparent backgrounds and export to higher resolutions. In the case of the beta Lottie export, this limitation is quite easy to work around - you just need to know a bit about the Lottie format and set the transparency manually. The paid version costs $12/month.<br></p><h3>Conclusion<br></h3><p>As you can see, there are several ways to get otherwise static assets moving in Figma, it just depends on what one expects from the tool and whether one is willing to pay something for the extended possibilities to implement one's ideas. The fact that they compete with each other encourages dynamic development, which of course is not without bugs, but the developers of these tools are quick to respond and appreciate every bug reported (I've written about ten of them myself).</p><p>Would you like to learn how to use one of the plugins? You can look forward to a sequel in the form of a tutorial on Motion.​​<br></p>
Place yourself in the centre of your datahttps://cleverlance.com/en/blog/Pages/PST-interview.aspxPlace yourself in the centre of your data<p>​​In May 2022 Petr Štros gave ​an interview to <a href="https://www.cio.cz/clanky/postavte-se-do-stredu-svych-dat/">CIO​ Business World​</a> telling what's in the store at Cleverlance.  ​​​​​​</p><p> <strong>​​Since 2019, Cleverlance has been part of a group of technology companies united under the Aricoma brand. The original plans were that you would build a large international organization, ready for expansion into foreign markets. How is this vision being fulfilled?</strong></p><p>​This is a huge and key topic for us.<br>The goal of making the company a European technology supplier has not changed at all. We are standing on the threshold of great things, of which Cleverlance will be a significant part.<br><br><strong>What does building a European supplier mean to you?</strong><br><br>There are a lot of American and Asian providers on the market but really big European players are missing.<br><br><strong>Do you mean with the EU flag?</strong></p><p>​​​​​​​​​No, with the European flag. We want to have the flag of Europe, but to do business worldwide,  to be proud that we are from Europe. In the United States, for example, Europe is still considered a mark of quality, so why not take advantage of that? Today we are at the beginning of our European journey. There are currently around three and a half thousand of us in Aricoma, we want to grow at least threefold, only then will we be big enough to operate in the European context. For me personally, it is interesting to take part in it, to give meaning and contours to the expansion. The target customer is Europe, it is our home address, we certainly will not even resist exporting our services to other continents.<br></p><p> <strong>Why is it so important for the growth of a company to be part of a large international group?</strong></p><p>Our business is connected to digitization, which has two parts – customer and delivery. The delivery part is problematic all over the world due to the lack of people who would be able to deliver all the required services within the framework of digitization. It is no longer possible to do it with just one company from the Czech Republic and Slovakia.<br>That is why we are part of Aricoma and why we opened branches in Germany and Spain. We need to expand our options. But even there, of course, we have problems finding skilled people at a reasonable price who will fit into our company culture. And we need a lot of them.<br><br>Many of our potential customers in Europe and around the world are really large and as such expect their partners and suppliers to be large companies as well. Cleverlance, even though we are huge with a thousand employees, is not big enough for them. Big companies simply don't like small ones, so Aricoma's size, when it grows to the strength of at least ten thousand employees, will be a springboard for us to new large international customers.<br><br><strong>So you're finally delivering on the strategy </strong><a href="https://www.linkedin.com/company/cleverlance/"><strong>Cleverlance</strong></a><strong> was founded with? That it will be a company that will primarily serve the foreign market.</strong><br><br>Those were the original assumptions. But after the bursting of the dotcom bubble in 2000, we had to reorient ourselves to the Czech market. After a while Czech clients started asking us to go abroad with them on international projects. So we went beyond the borders again. We started to rebuild our positions on the German market. But nothing will ever change about the fact that the domestic market has become key for us and we'll never leave it, nor our Czech clients.<br><br><strong>Which foreign markets do you prefer?</strong><br><br>We are starting in Germany, we already have offices in Munich with salesmen and technicians, now we are trying Austria and eventually we will go to Switzerland. These countries suit us best with their mentality.<br></p><p> <strong>How does Spain, where you opened offices in April, fit into the expansion?</strong></p><p>Because we are looking for a solution to the critical talent shortage problem, and in addition to expanding our reach, we need English-speaking people. We looked around Europe and found an ideal place in Valencia that offers thousands of technically educated university students every year at a reasonable price, so it was an obvious choice for us. Let's hope it goes well. We want to have 20 people there within six months and 100 within a year, thereby starting a major expansion into Europe. Our goal is also tenders from the European Union.<br></p><p>But it is not easy to get such tenders. You have to go through a series of checks and tests, sign a framework contract with the European Union.<br><br>That's right, we've already gone through all that and we've been officially promised that we'll be one of the 8 companies that will sign such a contract with the European Commission. The contract will set barriers for the supply of services, people or technology for any European company that falls under the European Commission. The contract is for five years and the amount of money contracted is huge.<br><br>And this is also possible only because we are in <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/company/aricoma-group/">ARICOMA Group</a>, because one of the monitored elements was of course our size and stability, which Cleverlance alone would not be enough for, although our knowledge and capabilities are.<br><br><strong>So that contract gives you automatic access to European Commission contracts?</strong><br><br>No, it gives us the opportunity to participate in tenders for contracts from the European Commission, we will be able to apply for contracts in competition with the other seven companies that also have this framework contract. For the fact that we are actually only a Czech company in quotation marks, this is a phenomenal success.<br><br><strong>What are your expectations for the impact on </strong><a href="https://www.linkedin.com/company/cleverlance/"><strong>Cleverlance</strong></a><strong>?</strong></p><p>We expect our turnover to triple at least within those five years.<br>Of course, we would grow even without the contract with the European Commission, but not nearly as fast.<br></p><p> <img src="/en/blog/PublishingImages/Pages/PST-interview/Petr%20Stros-7945.jpg" alt="Petr Stros-7945.jpg" data-themekey="#" style="margin:5px;" /> <br></p><p> <strong>Cleverlance is establishing itself very much in the digital economy service. What do you think is the situation in this area?</strong><br><br>The world simply needs <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/feed/hashtag/?keywords=digitization&highlightedUpdateUrns=urn:li:activity:6975061770495266817">#digitization</a> or <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/feed/hashtag/?keywords=digitaltransformation&highlightedUpdateUrns=urn:li:activity:6975061770495266817">#digitaltransformation</a>, it doesn't matter what buzzword we call it. For now, as a world, we are only in the initial phase of the next act of the digital future.<br><br>Undoubtedly, we need tools to build a digital environment that allows us to acquire and use data, communicate with third parties, and then work with all that knowledge. But there are so many of them that it is simply not humanly possible to process them all. Therefore, tools are created to process them, which tell you what you should do on the basis of this data, how you should behave, what to buy, what to sell... But even with automatic data processing, you are soon overwhelmed by the reduced outputs. There's just too much.<br><br><strong>And what can be done about it?</strong></p><p>Change the approach completely. From an attitude of machines telling us what to do, you need to move to a system that offers advice on how to do better what you think is good for your business.<br><br>Therefore, you or your systems must learn to take only the one tiny particle that interests you from the processed <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/feed/hashtag/?keywords=data&highlightedUpdateUrns=urn:li:activity:6975061770495266817">#data</a> and continue to work with it. In a week you can take another part and alternate it as needed. As a customer, you have to put yourself at the center of your data and only get what you need and want, not be overwhelmed by the volume.<br><br>Today, however, it still essentially does not work that way. When that time comes, it will be very interesting. We want to be both a data platform supplier and a user when the system recognizes the customer's feelings in advance and offers him exactly what he needs.<br></p><p> <strong>What do you mean by that feeling? Do you mean his current business need?</strong></p><p>No, needs can already be found and satisfied by today's artificial intelligence or machine learning algorithms. But recognizing those feelings will be more girlish for the AI, we are only very slowly heading down a very difficult path there. No one even knows yet how to incorporate such an ability into algorithms. First, AI has to really be AI, and then all these things can be incorporated into it. The question is also whether AI will ever really reach a state where it will be intelligent.<br></p><p> <strong>What limits it today?</strong></p><p>Mainly hardware, when there are quantum computers, we will be in a different situation. Today we are really at the beginning of this journey.</p><p>And thanks to Aricoma, we can embark on that journey and work to create the future. Because the future of the digital economy does not end with building a platform for smart intelligence. An additional layer of blockchain will be needed on top of the AI layer.<br></p><p> <strong>How does blockchain fit into this?</strong></p><p>I'm not talking about cryptocurrencies, those are completely out of the question. I am referring to pure blockchain technology, which itself offers a safe, unassailable and trustworthy space. Trust is key in business, and so will blockchain in the future. And we are gradually trying to make these technologies available to our customers in the future.<br></p><p> <strong>How are you trying?</strong></p><p>We have our own blockchain research department where we test our stuff. It's really pure research, classic blockchain science. It is still early for practical use, it will take years. But without science, the future would not come. We are a technology company, and this is exactly the field for us.<br></p><p> <strong>When we talk about artificial intelligence, the European Union wants to regulate it in a fundamental way. How do you look at it?</strong></p><p>Now, if we set some frameworks for AI behavior, it's not entirely out of the question. I think that is correct, but it depends on the size of the playing field that the EU wants to define. It's a hard nut to crack, because we can't see into the future, it's hard to build future guardrails. If the playing field is too small, we won't be very competitive, if it's too big, there won't really be any regulation and it could happen that the whole thing gets over our heads.<br></p><p> <strong>Will Skynet or the Matrix come?</strong></p><p>I don't believe that AI will take over us, but it can go over our heads. We're not going to like that anymore, so we have to have some way to stop it. Let me give you an example for drivers - if you drive aggressively, such an overpowered AI will conclude<br>that you are dangerous to the environment and will stop you at every traffic light you meet on the road. Even if you calm down and drive sensibly, he will still run a red light just out of inertia, because you were simply a risky driver. You won't like that. Therefore, it is necessary to have the rules set in advance, and I note that I am not a fan of regulations. But in this area, you can't rely on everyone to self-regulate.<br></p><p> <strong>But won't such rules limit the competitiveness of European companies?</strong></p><p>I think the whole world will follow us in this, just like for example with GDPR. Everyone feared it as the scourge of mankind, and in the end nothing really happened.<br></p><p> </p><p> ​<br> </p>​<br>