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Young Blood!   28 February 2014, by Sue

We’re always pleased to see that it's not just our team that gets enthused for all things technical! Norbert, a college placement from St Helen's College, came to stay with us for work experience and to gain an insight into how programming and technology gets applied in the real world. He went away happy so we don’t think we put him off!!

Many thanks Norbert – good luck in your career and for your Diploma in Information Technology!


Village to sponsor MIAs return in 2014   27 November 2013, by Kat

"The awards recognise pioneering businesses across the county and seek to find services and products which will revolutionise industry and commerce." - InsiderMedia

This morning Insider Media announced the continuation of the Merseyside Innovation Awards (MIA) into its 19th year.

Village attended the MIA final this year, greatly admiring all skills and talents that Merseyside had put up on offer. The overall winner for MIA:2013 was Nanoflex, for its high-performance electrodes used in the electrochemical industry. We have joined the MIA team as sponsors for 2014 and we look forward to supporting innovation in Merseyside.

The winner of the 2014 awards will receive £10,000 cash and £4,000 of legal, business, PR, accounting or design consultancy as well as advice from leading business advisers.

To read the full article please visit Insidermedia.com

The aim is to help them with the process of turning great ideas into great businesses, and to contribute towards the economic development of Merseyside.

 

What are the the Merseyside Innovation Awards

Taken from Merseyside Innovation Awards Website

The Merseyside Innovation Awards recognise and reward companies and individuals in Merseyside who use innovation as a means of growth and profitability. The aim is to help them with the process of turning great ideas into great businesses, and to contribute towards the economic development of Merseyside.

Established since 1996 the awards have gone from strength to strength. They have been driven by a group of 12 locally based sponsoring organisations, which offer support to the entrants turning their ideas into growing businesses. It is estimated that over 500 companies have participated to date.

Pre-registration for MIA:2014 is open, you can sign up here


Shipping Evolution   2 October 2013, by Ste

Packman Cover Photo

We value our long-standing relationship with eCommerce partner SFXOnline very highly. In fact, German, our friend and contact at SFX, came to visit the Village just last month. German asks us to work on a piece of packing software known as Packman (not to be confused with the yellow ghost-eater), adding improvements, and compatibility with more foreign and domestic parcel couriers.

Packman has been used in the warehouses of Salon Skincare (SSC) for many years.

Pack and Track

Sync With Web

Applications which communicate with data on the web are a Village Software speciality. From our LabCom product to Packman, via Gas smart cards and transport solutions, we know our web APIs.

In Packman, we communicate with the dispatch server to synchronise consignment information, but that's the tip of iceberg. Many of the updates to parcel data are thanks to Packman's integration with external services, informing it about how a product will ship. SSC make use of various carriers, including Royal Mail, City Link, and Hermes; each have their own web service or server application which we talk to.

Do it all

The changes we make on Packman are a showcase of the disciplines in which Village excels. It enables eCommerce, integrates tactically with all sorts of other software, and provides the data needed for insight, feedback and tracking. We're confident that we can enhance any application in an equally valuable way.

Let's start something

We would love to get to know you, your business, and your needs. Having access to a highly available and flexible team who will invest in your project is one of the boons of working with Village. If you would like to know more about what we can do for you, please drop us a quick email; we're thinkingahead@villagesoftware.co.uk


Teacher Developer Robot Racing   9 July 2013, by Johnny Read

Robots Watched By Gary

The Education secretary Michael Gove's pronouncements are generally not greeted with cheer by the teaching profession. So Village Software’s MD Johnny Read was surprised to hear a local IT teacher explaining, "We are quite excited by the curriculum changes that have been proposed for Computing replacing ICT".

"We are quite excited by the curriculum changes that have been proposed for Computing replacing ICT"

Computing companies locally and nationally have been worried for some years about the decline of the quantity and quality of young people coming into computing roles. The change in the national curriculum is part of a raft of initiatives to stop Britain dropping out of the premier league of computing nations. With this in mind developers from established IT companies Village Software, Gardner Systems and New Mind met in a pilot attempt to engage with local teachers.

At Village we want to inspire the people who inspire the developers of tomorrow. Our contribution was to bring industry and teachers together for a robot race -- pitching three-person teams against each other to program a miniature robot around a race track.We are taking the initiative to engage with Liverpool Secondary teachers, using robot racing as a way to engage and build interaction between practicing developers and practicing teachers.

The robots are designed for line following; on this occasion, chasing around a track of electrical tape. Though each team had identical equipment, the winning time of less than 8 seconds was substantially faster than a lap time of 22 seconds from a more pedestrian team.

A photograph of the winning team pondering

The winning team shown here was maths teacher Steve Bodman from University Academy in Liverpool, Jim O'Neil of Gardner Systems and our own technical director Ian Bufton.

Engaging with physical robots might be an aside to what we do as a day job with Business Intelligence and various commercial development. But we want to think about getting your people programming, it mght be that a teenager finds squeezing speed out of a robot more exciting that squeezing speed out of an overnight Extract Transform Load operation in a Business Intelligence setup.

 

Discussions are ongoing with various enthusiastic teachers and there will probably be more Robot racing in the autumn. Contact us at thinkingahead@villagesoftware.co.uk to find out more.


Village Away Day   1 March 2013, by Ste

Every now and then, it's good to take a breath and think -- to analyse where you have been, and see clearly where you're going. Our thinking break started first thing, in a coffee shop on Bold street.

We looked at nurturing continuous improvement

After we had woken up (everybody knows that a techie is never truly "awake" until after the first coffee) we headed to the venue for Village Software's company away day; DoES Liverpool. After a tour of their warehouse-chic premises, we sat down to look at how we can make our internal development and admin processes more open to continuous improvement. After discussing the different arms of our company in groups, we presented our findings to one another. Some great ideas came out of it, and it felt like we zeroed-in on a common vision.

"Fun with data" came next, as the team sharpened their SQL skills and pulled out interesting morsels from our records. There's a great culture of information freedom here at VS, as we can all take a peek at the financial underbelly of our company. Margaret and I made a smashing graph (even if I say so myself).

An office of problem solvers is greater than the sum of its members

To top everything off was the robot race. Really. We've got these little robots which can sense a black line underneath them, which we programmed in order to review the kind of maze-solving algorithm many of us first visited a long time ago in Computer Science lectures (for some of us the memory is a little more recent ;) ). Although sadly short of time to write a comprehensive maze-solver, the winning team managed to put in a speed run of 23 seconds - pretty quick!

The theme of coming together to share what we've learned is descriptive of "how stuff works" here at Village. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and likewise, a room full of people who are accustomed to solving new problems every day has more to it than first appears.

We hope that Village sounds like the kind of organisation whom you would like to help your company expand and push onwards. We've got a passion for making things better, and making things happen, with useful, powerful software solutions.


Ste Joins Village   6 June 2012, by Johnny

We're happy to welcome a new Junior developer to the team today! Ste joins us and will be working part time, commuting from sunny(?) Southport while working on an Open University degree in Computer Science.

New brains in the office bring new ideas, and we're looking forward to working on exciting projects alongside the new youngest member of the Village family.


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