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25th anniversary of Decos closes with record profit

The 2012 annual accounts for Decos Beheer BV show that the Dutch Decos Technology Group posted a record net profit of 1.2 million euros, with Ernst & Young Accountants LLP providing an unqualified audit report. Last year, this IT company celebrated its 25th anniversary and, in spite of the economic recession, looks back on a very successful year.

Various business units of the Decos Technology Group in the Netherlands and India focused on the innovation of existing and new products during the anniversary year. An advanced tablet version, for example, was launched for the Decos Case System and the Client Contact System was expanded with highly innovative functionalities. Both innovations were received with much acclaim. In addition, the development of a number of business-to-business apps has put Decos firmly on the map in the Netherlands and Germany. Total sales amounted to 11.9 million euros.

The figures are the result of the IT organization’s distinctive long-term policy aimed at innovation, customer satisfaction and sustainability. CEO and Founder Paul Veger explains, “At Decos, innovation is extremely important, as the future is closer than you might think. We believe that information should be available always and everywhere for everyone. So we work continuously on new software solutions that connect people and information. And that yields results.”

Inspiring innovator

Decos is one of the few companies in the Netherlands to actively pursue a policy aimed at stimulating its clients and business partners to innovate, such as by asking them to achieve a fully paper-free state of operation. Paper mail is returned with the message that Decos only accepts digital communications. “Within 10 years, our society will look completely different than today, thanks to the endless possibilities offered by IT,” adds Veger. “We want to set a movement in motion to prepare people today for tomorrow’s possibilities.”

Thanks to the success of his IT organization, Veger is very confident about that future. “We have a tremendous number of ideas for new solutions. Our products are not only relevant, but fun to use and connect large groups of people. The world is becoming increasingly smaller, with close links between people and information. I believe strongly in the power of that connectivity and transparency. That is why Decos is continuing with complete confidence with the development of new concepts that bring together people and systems, anywhere and anytime!”

Decos turns driving into a game with Android app Flo

Dutch IT company Decos today launched the beta version of Flo, an Android app that's part game, part driving improvement utility. Flo's goal is to give drivers insight into their driving behaviors while offering eco-friendly, cost-saving ways to improve their habits. The beta version of Flo is now available at the Google Play Store.

“Flo is unique in the way it turns better driving into a game,” said Decos Managing Director Moniek Hop. “Flo turns every trip into a chance to build your skills behind the wheel and earn points toward personal goals. While driving, Flo gives you audio and video feedback, so you know which habits you need to improve."

She added: "The end result is motivation to become a better driver while reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. You'll not only save money on fuel costs but also treat your car better, which means it will last longer. Flo is an environmental and economic solution to the climate issues that confront everyone."

How does it work?

Flo is free at the Google Play Store. After installation, Flo automatically records every trip, based on GPS and motion sensors. Proper driving behaviors earn points while inefficient and aggressive tactics subtract points. Feedback is given through visual and audio signals after proper or poor driving behaviors. Drivers quickly learn what those signals mean, so they are able to adjust their driving while on the go. After every trip, Flo saves it and shows an overall score. Each trip can also be viewed on a 3D map, so it can be analyzed in detail. Travel times, routes, and kilometers driven are automatically saved too.

Features

  • Trip scores, so drivers can see how well they performed
  • Audio and video feedback while driving, so drivers immediately see where they can make improvements
  • Personal goals to be more eco-friendly and save on fuel
  • Trip reviews on a 3D map to analyze points for improvement
  • Automatic saving of all trips, including score, distance, travel time, and route

About Flo

Flo is an Android app that offers insight into driving behaviors and coaches drivers to improve their habits. It turns every trip into a chance to build drivers' skills behind the wheel and earn points toward personal goals. While driving, Flo gives drivers audio and video feedback, so they know which habits they need to improve. Trips are recorded and can be reviewed in 3D, allowing drivers to see what went well and which habits can be improved. Kilometers, travel times, and routes are automatically saved too.

Decos launches Preso.tv

Preso.tv is the innovative, hassle-free way to broadcast, present and simultaneously share retina-quality presentations on smartphones, tablets, and computers in real-time anywhere in the world. Backed by Decos Technology Group, Preso.tv is a free-to-use product that requires no account registration or subscription, and delivers retina-quality text and zoom without causing pixelation on viewers’ displays, making it easy to read even on small screens. Preso.tv can be used both for immediate or scheduled presentations.

"Preso.tv enables presentations to literally be up and running, shared with participants, and on their screens within seconds, and eliminates the need to deal with clunky projectors, cables, adapters, or other 20th century technologies," said Rutger Coolen, product director at Preso.tv.

"Most people have at least one Internet-enabled smart device with them all the time. We wanted to make Preso.tv as simple as saying to someone in the midst of conversation, ‘Hey, check out this presentation,’ and then quickly and easily showing it to them without requiring any cumbersome steps like a sign up or payment process."

How Preso.tv works

The meeting host simply points his or her browser to Preso.tv, drags and drops or uploads the Powerpoint, PDF or Word document they want to present, enters the email addresses of the presentation attendees they wish to share it with, and simply begins their presentation once all viewers have joined. The meeting host can also share the presentation link via Twitter, Facebook post, Google+, or copy and paste it anywhere else they choose. Recipients simply click a link in their email to view the presentation, which can also be scheduled to start at a later time. Preso.tv presentations can be viewed anywhere on any brand of tablet or smartphone, PC or Mac, and on any other smart device with an Internet connection and a Web browser.

Preso.tv benefits and features also include:

  • Smooth zoom and a focus tool, for bringing attention to a specific area of the document;
  • Support for multiple presenters, so the meeting presenter can easily give control of the presentation to someone else;
  • A viewer counter that helps ensure all remote attendees are online;
  • Full-screen viewing onto a projector screen if the presenter so chooses.

Preso.tv was developed not only for in-room presentations such as lectures and conferences, but also as the second screen for video conferences and live streamed events. Attendees can watch the presenter in real-time on their primary device, and simultaneously view the retina-quality slides on their tablet or smartphone. There are no limitations to the smart-device used by Preso.tv viewers, however presenters need to use a PC, Mac or Android® tablet device during the beta period. Preso.tv plans to introduce presenter support for iPhone® and iPad® later this year.

Follow Preso.tv on Twitter or learn more at Preso.tv

Preso.tv launches first real-time presentation app for Google Hangouts

Preso.tv, the fastest way to host and simultaneously share retina-quality presentations on smartphones, tablets, and computers in real-time anywhere in the world, today announced the world's first free-to-use, real-time digital presentation app for Google Hangouts. The Preso.tv app, powered by Decos, enables any Google Hangouts user to invite participants to join a video call in real-time and share a retina-quality digital presentation in PDF, Word or PowerPoint format with no subscription or account registration required.

Presentations can be shared within seconds in a Hangout and instantly viewed by all participants. The lack of a cumbersome sign-up or payment process, along with seamless Hangouts integration makes Preso.tv the fastest and easiest way to host and share broadcast presentations in a Google Hangout. The Preso.tv app for Google Hangouts is available now by clicking the green "Start a Hangout" button at http://preso.tv.

"Over 5 million businesses are using Google Apps with Hangouts as their internal video chat tool, but until today there has yet to be a hassle-free, real-time presentation application that seamlessly integrates the Google Hangouts desktop platform without the need for account registration," said Rutger Coolen, product director at Preso.tv. "There are multiple online tutorials on how to share a presentation while in a Google Hangout, however we believe Preso.tv solves the challenge in just a few clicks. It offers a much higher quality experience than screen sharing, and allows businesses to showcase themselves in the best light possible with a smooth running presentation."

Presenters who use Preso.tv in Google Hangouts can:

  • Initiate a Google Hangouts call directly from the Preso.tv home page;
  • Share a document in PDF, Word or PowerPoint in a Hangout video call with retina-quality using simple drag and drop functionality;
  • Invite participants to join the call and view the presentation in real-time;
  • Navigate the presentation without leaving or switching between browser windows, and stop the presentation anytime;
  • Zoom in or out on the presented document, pan, and highlight a specific part of the content;
  • Simultaneously share their presentations on an in-room projector or other smart devices.

Presenters can also effortlessly switch from an ongoing presentation started from the Preso.tv website directly into a Hangout call. This enables remote attendees to watch the entire session, including slides, video and audio through Google Hangouts, while local attendees can continue to view the slides on their smart devices. Hangout sessions started this way also allow support for multiple presenters, so the meeting presenter can easily give control of the presentation to someone else, or control the presentation with their smartphone or tablet. Presentations can be viewed anywhere by any Hangouts desktop user with an Internet connection and a Web browser.

About Preso.tv

Preso.tv is the hassle-free way to broadcast, present, and simultaneously share retina-quality presentations on smartphones, tablets, and computers in real-time, anywhere in the world. Free-to-use, Preso.tv requires no account registration or subscription and can be used both for immediate or scheduled presentations. Preso.tv was created by Decos and the team is based in The Netherlands and India. Follow Preso.tv on Twitter or learn more at http://preso.tv.

Paperless Decos now also has paperless toilets

On Monday, June 16, Decos installed a number of innovative toilets in its futuristic office in Noordwijk. And with that, the very last bit of paper has vanished from the organization, now the most paperless company in the Netherlands. CEO Paul Veger is pleased that toilet paper has also been banished from his building. Veger explains his pioneering decision, “We’re always joking that the only paper around here is toilet paper. But now we’ve banished that too, thanks to these two modern Geberit Aqua Clean toilets!”

Decos is a pioneer in digital – i.e. paperless – working. They use their own solutions like the Join online document management system and iPad app Minute for paperless meetings. “For many people, a completely paperless work environment is still something of the future, but completely normal for us. For years now, Decos has been working fully digital because it’s far more efficient, safer and cheaper,” says Veger about his policy. “It’s also a lot better for the environment, which is why our administrative work has been fully digitalized for years, including invoicing and all communication.”

The last bit of paper disappears

“Two years ago, we had already achieved 99% paperless business operations. Back then, we gave all our employees an iPad and banished post-its, wastepaper baskets, flip-overs, pens and notepads. Visitors to our building are always surprised by our vision on working and are always looking for that one little piece of paper that just has to be around here somewhere. The only place where paper was still used was in the bathroom. I think it’s fantastic that we now have these bidet-style toilets. The Geberit Aqua Clean cleans using a warm water spray and dryer, making it completely paperless. No doubt, this will lead to interesting conversations! Today, we’ve once again shown that it’s possible to change the world today – and in both a sustainable and hygienic manner.”

Discussion on impact ‘exponential technical world

More than 50 scientists, entrepreneurs and futurists engaged in discussion with one another on Monday, 9 September concerning ethics, values and norms in an exponential technical world. The setting of the event of Singularity NL was quite special and appropriate, namely the completely paperless offices of the IT-organization Decos Technology Group. Interested parties engaged in discussion on the implications of the rapid technological changes that will highly alter our world in the decade to come.

Philip Brey

Professor of Philosophy of Technology, Philip Brey, who is associated with the University of Twente and the Centre for Ethics and Technology, opened the meeting with a very interesting presentation. He spoke about the main ethical issues that will rise with technological progress, such as autonomy, privacy and responsibility. Futurist Yuri van Geest talked about the latest innovations of Silicon Valley, such as the Google Glass and a Virtual Reality glass, that give the user a fantastic experience. Following, the participants engaged in discussions during free breakout sessions about big data, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and robotics. To the participants, it was obvious that the impact of the changes will be revolutionary, and the discussions about the possible solutions were held until late in the evening.

A future full of possibilities

The Singularity is a concept which stands for a moment in time when exponential technologies in various fields – particularly IT, robotics, nanotechnology and the health sector – reach a turning point, resulting in a completely different society. What will it mean to mankind if, for example, it is possible to simply replace sick organs with new ones that have been cultivated, or if intelligent robots take over most of the work activities? But other aspects, such increasing computer power and new possibilities thanks to nano- and biotechnology, will also turn the world as we know it upside down.

yuri van geest

A single allied world

Decos-founder and CEO Paul Veger has a clear vision of the future and has contributed substantively to the discussion. “Within the foreseeable future, we will be living in a single globally united world in which everyone can always access the information that he/she needs,” Veger explains. “I am a firm believer in the power of connectivity, between people of course, but certainly between systems and information as well. In a mobile world in which transparency has become a right, people will connect to each other more easily. As an entrepreneur, I also contribute to these developments by, for example, offering our solutions in the cloud and on mobile platforms. I not only hope to facilitate others in this way, but also to inspire others to prepare themselves for a fantastic future!”

Paul Veger

Decos launches driving app Flo

Decos, innovative developer of sustainable software, today launched the driving app Flo. Flo gives drivers real-time feedback that helps them be safer drivers and save money on fuel and maintenance costs in the process. Safe drivers are also greener drivers who cut their CO2 emissions.

Android users can download Flo free at the Google Play Store. After installation, Flo automatically records all trips, based on GPS data and the device's motion sensors. During each time behind the wheel, Flo awards points for good driving, such as smooth acceleration and steady speed, and deducts points for poor driving, including hard braking and driving too fast around corners. As the driver learns Flo's feedback, they can adjust their driving immediately, seeing fuel and maintenance cost savings right away. They can also set personal goals and work toward them to save even more money.

A beta version of Flo was released in March this year. The version released today includes some additional features:

New Features:

  • Invite friends from Google+ or Facebook for an online competition
  • Get better feedback & points from our dramatically improved Flo-score algorithm
  • The possibility to add up to 6 cars to personalize your account
  • Improved battery-life

Existing Features:

  • Trip scoring so drivers can see how well they've performed
  • Audio and visual feedback while driving
  • Personal goal setting, for safer, sustainable, cost-conscious driving
  • Trip playback in beautiful 3D so drivers can see areas for improvement
  • Automatic trip recording, including: score, distance, travel time and route

Flo can be installed on Android smartphones running Android 4.1 and higher. The launch of an app for iPhone is planned in the first quarter of 2015.

About Flo

Flo is an Android app that provides insight into driving techniques and helps drivers get better, saving them money and contributing to a greener environment. The unique app gives real-time audio and visual feedback while driving, and every trip is automatically saved for later review in 3D, so the user can see what they did right and what needs improvement. Score, distance, travel time and route are saved for each trip.

For more info: www.driveflo.com.

Special dreams project between Northgo College and Indian school

In the week of November 30th, a group of 30 Northgo College students completed a very special international project. Two classes, one in India and one in the Netherlands, have worked for an entire week on visualizing their dreams for the future. They shared them with each other online and live via Skype connection. Decos, Jet-Net partner of Northgo College, initiated the project in the Netherlands and in India.

The project

Thirty students from 2 Mavo (Eighth grade) at the Northgo College worked in groups for an entire week on their dream for the future. They defined these dreams in detail with the aid of digital media: Prezi presentations, videos and SketchUp for 3D drawings. These young people focused on the ‘school of the future’: they presented their vision of what education would be like in 2035. The language of communication was English only and the children received support from their own teachers and a few Decos employees who taught a number of classes during the project.

On the other side of the globe, in Panchgani, India, 30 students of the Nachiketas High School were also working on the same project, at the same time, and with similar classes being given by guest instructors. A live connection was established between the schools in India and the Netherlands for the kick-off on Monday, November 30th, and during the conclusion on Friday, December 4th. The students introduced themselves to each other and could see the differences right away in their clothing and the classroom for instance. During the week the children communicated with each other via the Facebook page where the presentations can also be seen. The teachers also shared their experiences via a direct Skype connection.

Objective

The idea behind the project was to build a bridge between two cultures. Decos had a similar project 5 years ago in which students from a number of elementary schools in Noordwijk visualized their dreams for the future in a drawing, which they exchanged for drawings by Indian children. This time, the approach to the projects differed for each country, but that did not detract from the children’s learning experience. Northgo was interested in its students’ ideas about what the school of the future should be like. In India they chose to align the project with the broader movement that is now taking place throughout that country surrounding the theme ‘My Country’. This theme is related to all kinds of citizen initiatives to improve their own community, city or municipality. It then gave children the room to dream within a somewhat broader context.

Johan van der Plas, director of Northgo College, was particularly enthusiastic about the project: ‘There is a lot of collaboration with the business sector as part of futureproofing our education programs. The partnership with Decos is a perfect example of that type of commitment. By maintaining close relations with companies and institutes of higher education, we know what skills our students must possess when they leave our school with diploma in hand. This is why we emphasize creativity and (international) collaboration, and why we focus on having students organize, present and reflect on their work. These are the skills that will greatly benefit our students in their further careers. It was wonderful that the M2A students were able to practice these skills in the dreams project – and it turned out really well, as evidenced by the level of the final presentations. I am truly proud of what they have been able to accomplish during the past few days!'

Pictures, videos and presentations from the project can be found on https://www.facebook.com/ourdreams4thefuture/

Driving app Flo publishes worldwide driving behavior report

Did you know that Mexicans are way better drivers than Americans? Guess not. I bet you're curious about who are better drivers, men or women? Glad to let you know there's the Flo Score, and apps to gather all the info to be able to calculate it. We took a million trips we recorded, analyzed the data, and made this cool infographic with it.

The Flo Score is calculated using an app for smartphones. The Flo app automatically records trips and analyzes behavior on the spot. Flo has been working for years to create and improve the algorithm that does the magic. You can read more about how we measure and calculate the Flo Score in this blog post

Women vs. Men 

Although we have far more men in our user database than women (come on ladies!), with a million trips we can definitively say something about the difference in performance on the road. It's pretty safe to say that women drive better than men. Not a lot better, but significantly a bit better. So dear men, please, gently hit the road and try to outperform the ladies. 

Best & worst countries

About Mexico. We know the roads aren't the best in the world in Mexico, but there's also a lot of toll roads. This might have something to do with Mexicans scoring best in Flo. We were actually quite shocked by Americans having a very significant lower score than drivers in other countries. Maybe it's time to talk to the Mexicans? (Hello Donald!)

Best time of the day 

Rise and shine! Get out real early and hit the road around 5AM. Driving behavior around that time is the best of all day. On the other hand, evenings are not so good. The later it gets, the worse the Flo Scores get. Fatigue might explain it, or being in a hurry to get home. We encourage our users to only get behind the wheel when they're well rested and (of course) sober.

For more info: www.driveflo.com.

Decos strengthens Robotics team

Decos has added new members to its robotics team to give an extra impulse to the activities in this area. The new employees are working on improving the reception robot. Currently, the robot must open the door for visitors to the company located in Noordwijk and accompany them to the coffee machine. Decos is preparing plans for establishing a successful robotics division.

The new robotics team has added two new employees, Tiago Santos (23) and Roeland van Oers (34). Santos is a technical engineer and will be responsible for expanding the functionalities and activities of the reception robot. For instance, the robot will learn how to become increasingly more independent in navigating its way around and finding its charging station. Santos will also work on the robot’s capability to recognize and seek interaction with people. The goal is to give visitors a warm welcome.

Potential

Further, Decos has appointed Van Oers to the position of business development manager to study the market needs in-depth. The reception robot is not on the market yet, but Decos strongly believes in its potential. Robots can take over repetitive tasks from people so that they have more time to work on more important things. Exploratory talks with potential customers have shown that there is definitely an interest. What’s more, there are no clear competitors for the reception robot. Decos could be the first company in the Netherlands with this type of product.

AI

The investments in robotics have had a positive effect on the other Decos solutions as well. “The robot uses smart technologies and many of those technologies also find their way to our other services. Think about machine learning, advanced interaction with users and voice recognition. In this way, the investment in the robotics team benefits the whole company,” says Roel Noort, head of the innovation division.

70/20/10

The reception robot is one of the many innovative projects taking place at Decos. The company allocates its innovation budget based on a 70/20/10 model. 70 percent goes towards the further development of the core products, such as the JOIN suite for digitizing document and information flows. 20 percent goes towards product development of external and internal startups, such as Flo and Minute. And 10 percent goes towards ‘explore & learn’ innovation, whereby Decos wants to learn about technologies that could be revolutionary in the future, even before a full business case is ever created. The robotics projects are part of this last group.

Citizens and Hollands Kroon keep the municipality clean with the Fixi reporting app

The North Holland municipality of Hollands Kroon has a very unique approach to keeping its municipality clean and in good working order. Citizens can use the Fixi app to report any damage to the public space. The municipality will then come and resolve the problem as soon as possible. The results show that the reported issues are being resolved much more quickly thanks to Fixi.

Fixi was developed by Decos in Noordwijk and Hollands Kroon has been partnering with Decos for 4 years now. The app is used to report any deficiencies or damage in the public space to the municipality at any time and from anywhere. You simply take a picture of the problem and send it to the municipality through the Fixi app. The app contains a menu where the user indicates the type of report (public green space, roads and traffic, or sewerage system problems, etc.). The report is then sent directly to the service team in the field. The app also provides the user with status updates on the issue. Preliminary results show that reported issues are resolved much more quickly thanks to Fixi: the municipality of Hollands Kroon guarantees a response time of no more than five days.

“The Fixi app makes it much easier and more enjoyable for municipal workers to help the municipality’s citizens,” says Wanno Vink, field service team manager with the municipality of Hollands Kroon. “We hear about problems or inconveniences in the municipality right away. We can now pick up reported issues so much quicker. However, the most important thing of all is that this is a very convenient way for the citizens to report a problem. We even receive compliments via the app about how quickly we have been able to resolve problems. This serves as a great motivator for our employees.”

Fixi is available as a web app and as a mobile app for iOS and Android. The app works everywhere in the Netherlands. In Hollands Kroon Fixi is linked directly to the municipality’s back office systems, so that a case is created and a workflow is initiated automatically. The field service team uses the Fixi response app so that they can respond to a reported problem in the field right away. When reporting issues to municipalities that do not yet use Fixi, Fixi sends the message to that municipality’s general digital municipal service desk.

Driving app Flo now lets users compete with colleagues and friends

Today, Dutch driving app Flo launched Flo Groups. With Flo Groups, every user can create a leaderboard, invite his friends, family or colleagues and see who's the best driver!

Green driver challenge made fun

Organizations that have a goal to reduce CO2 emissions and aim to have their employees involved in less car accidents are going to love Flo's Group feature. Green driver challenges are usually done by installing costly GPS hardware in cars. Flo offers free apps, unlimited Group members and a cool interface. No more big brother control, but a fun and intuitive gamified competition aimed at improving driving behavior.

Making trip scores more meaningful

The Flo trip score is calculated using our app for iOS and Android. The Flo app automatically records trips and analyzes behavior on the spot. Flo has been working for years to create and improve the algorithm that does the magic. Being able to compare scores in time with friends, family or colleagues will make the Flo Score more meaningful for our users and encourage them in a fun way to show better driving behavior.

Free Flo Groups for all users

Everyone with a Flo account can create a group now and invite as many people (users and non-users) as they want. Making a group will create a leaderboard that shows all group members, ranked by their driving score. The leaderboards can be shared on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Groups are available on the Flo web app.

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