Big Data for Great Solutions

Oct 19, 2017

The winners of Bytes of Banking, a traditional Advanced Skills Workshop that was organised for the fourth consecutive year by Halcom, EESTEC (Electrical Engineering Students’ Association) and the Management Group, were announced on 29th September 2017. This year’s workshop, which was held between 24th and 29th September at Halcom's headquarters, ended with an awards ceremony hosted at the Innovative Entrepreneurship Centre of NLB, the general sponsor of the event. At the closing ceremony, the workshop participants were briefed by Mr Peter Pogačar, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Mr Marko Dolinar, Director of Sales and Marketing at Halcom, d.d., Ms Tanja Piškur, Head of Sales Development and Management at NLB d.d., and Ms Petra Tanković, President of EESTEC LC. 

Between 24th and 29th September the Halcom d.d. headquarters hosted the traditional international students’ workshop Bytes of Banking, which was organised by Halcom d.d., EESTEC (Electrical Engineering Students’ Association), the Management Group, and several other partners: NLB d.d., as the general sponsor of the event, Our Space Appliances, a provider of advanced system solutions for all aspects of data management in corporate systems; fintech company mBills, and the University of Ljubljana’s Faculty of Computer and Information Science and the Faculty of Economics. The topic of this year’s workshop - Big Data, Smart Banking - is definitely one of the most challenging and intriguing issues in the high-tech industry today.  Students of computer and information science and students of economics were divided into interdisciplinary teams. With the help of experts who specialise in banking or in the promising and quickly expanding fintech industry, the students designed innovative solutions to the presented Big Data challenges, thus co-creating trends in digital banking. The participating teams were asked to develop a technical approach (a working prototype) and business model for their idea on the topic of targeted marketing, cash flow forecasting, chatbot implementation and use, and effective personal financial management.
Winning solution announced at the awards ceremony
The commission that reviewed the final pitches of all the solutions at the awards ceremony and selected the winning team consisted of: Prof. Dr. Bojan Orel, Dean of the Faculty of Computer and Information Science, Prof. Dr. Metka Tekavčič, Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Tanja Piškur, Head of Sales Development and Management at NLB d. d., Jerica Urbančič, Head of Marketing at mBills, Dr. Rok Orel, Lead Data Analyst at Our Space Appliances, and Miha Vidmar, Director of Development at Halcom d. d.
The winning team of students, who went by the name of Data Divers, addressed a chatbot-related challenge raised by the event sponsor, NLB d.d. In line with the bank’s mission of customer focus, innovative services and efficiency, the team designed a chatbot which it named NLBotko. The chatbot is integrated into Facebook Messenger, which is one of the most popular communication channels and therefore easily accessible to targeted young users of the banks’ services. As an innovative and interactive solution, NLBotko presents banking services, supports them and establishes a positive relationship between the bank and its clients while also functioning as a client acquisition tool. In addition to winning the title, the team also received a paid two-month placement at Halcom and sponsored prizes.  
Marko Dolinar, Director of Sales and Marketing at Halcom d.d., said that the aim of the Bytes of Banking workshop was to recruit new students who bring fresh ideas and new knowledge to the company, and added that “in the last three years, since Halcom has been organising the workshop, we have welcomed six students into our team, provided them with further training, let them work on practical challenges and offered them full-time employment, which is particularly encouraging. Clearly, such projects are an opportunity for acquiring new knowledge and staff who will bring fresh ideas to further the development of digital banking.” 
Mateja Kalan, a member of the winning team Data Divers, said she had decided to take part in Bytes of Banking because she is "driven by new challenges and found the workshop particularly interesting because it brings together students from different fields, software programmers as well as economists, and encourages them to combine their knowledge to create something truly innovative." 
About the workshop
Bytes of Banking is a positive initiative that introduces a fresh approach to connecting young people with the economy. Co-operation in innovative activities enables young people and companies to exchange valuable knowledge that the Slovenian economy needs in order to create an unparalleled competitive advantage in the international market and jobs with higher added value. 
This year the workshop was held for the fourth consecutive year. Its past editions have attracted the attention of the media and the economy. In 2015 AmCham Slovenia awarded Halcom’s Advanced Skills Workshop with its Best of the Best Award in Innovation as a case of excellent business practice. 


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