Diatom’s 2017 Year in Review

Last year we started the wonderful tradition of summing up everything that happened during the whole year into one article. This is actually one of our favorite activities, because memories, words, sometimes even things done are forgotten and lost over time. However, that which is written with a pen – or in today’s world, with the keyboard – stays if not forever, at least for a long time.

The year of 2017 has been varied. It was full of exciting and bright opportunities, and included searches for complex technology solutions and innovation challenges, increasing the work level as a result of extraordinary circumstances. New employees now make up 13% of our staff, and a quarter of them had the opportunity to go on business trips this year. Moreover, Diatom has expanded our client list this year in such countries as Finland, the United States, Malta and Sweden.

The year started with some exciting activities. Our director and founder, Denis Gorshkov, and senior lead developer, Pavel Petrov, were invited to the local Latvian TV program ‘Life Today,’ to introduce our team member, the Robot Pepper, and to talk about the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence in our current and future life.Pavel Petrov (first on the left) and Denis Gorshkov (next to Pavel) in the studio

Pavel Petrov (first on the left) and Denis Gorshkov (next to Pavel) in the studio

As Pavel and Denis said, it was a curious experience to come to the TV show in the company of a ‘young’ robot, and it was interesting to share the technology experience with people who do not usually face similar issues in their daily lives.

Every year the importance of our own activity in the digital environment is rapidly growing. Keeping pace with time, we decided to try something new. This year we had the opportunity to improve our vlogging skills. We decided to use our Diatom Enterprises YouTube channel to document our Robot Pepper’s adventures. As a result, we already have four episodes about Pepper’s arrival, how he is getting around in the office, how he is learning to be a part of the team, and his participation in an exhibition.

The Robot Pepper vlog
The Robot Pepper vlogging process

With this idea, our team had the opportunity to create fascinating videos about Pepper and learn new things; for example, video editing and mounting, and training the vlog’s scenario writing skills. We are now in the process of creating our fifth episode, so stay tuned to our YouTube channel and News on the website.

In addition, this year Diatom Enterprises passed its quality system re-audit, moving to the new ISO 9001:2015 standard as a result. As per the ISO rules, companies must re-audit every year, but Diatom also decided to upgrade and obtain the latest version of ISO certification. Thus, not so long ago we had another re-audit, during which no critical violations were revealed. Diatom has successfully upgraded the ISO certification!

Diatom has successfully upgraded the ISO certification

As you may have noticed, Diatom is actively working with our robot. Every day we are looking for new opportunities to learn something new about possibilities for software development for robots. The Diatom team had the amazing chance to attend the exhibition and conference dedicated to the Robot Pepper called ‘Pepper World Paris 2017,’ where we discovered how Pepper can help in business.

Pepper World Paris 2017

Attending Pepper World Paris 2017 exhibition

The event was organized by SoftBank Robotics Europe and covered topics such as modelling applications for Pepper, robots’ capabilities for the enterprise market, the latest developments in Europe B2B use cases, and cognitive services to enhance humanoid robots’ interactions.

Diatom team members are good at sharing information and arranging internal tech meet-ups for colleagues. Usually, when one of the programmers has studied an interesting topic or has difficulties on a project and has found a solution, we get together to hear about the new experience. For example, this year we had two internal meet-ups, dedicated to:

– ‘Meteor.js and how to use this open platform for web, mobile and desktop development’,
– ‘Docker and how to develop any app on any platform with the world’s leading software container platform’.

In addition to this, we organized our first public tech meet-up with Google Developers Group Riga (GDG Riga) in our office. It was dedicated to a workshop about Elm – the delightful language for web apps and a tool that can guarantee great performance without runtime exceptions. The host of this event was Janis Miezitis, our talented senior Ruby developer. The Elm workshop started with a brief introduction to Elm and finished with the building of a to-do app.

ELM workshop in Diatom office

First ELM workshop in Diatom office

At the beginning of November, we visited a fascinating business technology and innovation fair – Riga Comm 2017. It was an exciting event that came with lots of opportunities and new knowledge.

Pepper communicates with visitors on Riga Comm 2017

Pepper communicates with visitors on Riga Comm 2017

This time the Robot Pepper was deployed as a Diatom team representative, demonstrating the possibilities of collaboration with other companies and showing that he could serve as a robotic guide in many industries like hospitality, healthcare, airports or restaurants.

Conclusion

In terms of our involvement in charity activities, we were very proud of our team that helped to re-design the Ronald McDonald House Charity Latvia website, receiving a certificate of appreciation for the contribution as a result.

Diatom team is celebrating the end of the year

In all corporate lives, there are always ups and downs, but we are glad that, when facing these moments, we are surrounded by loyal friends and colleagues with whom we are already celebrating our 13th year, going shoulder to shoulder to new heights. We wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season and a healthy and peaceful New Year!