Today we look at a true story happened in January in the cold north of Finland. Our guest author today is Jukka Koskenkanto, CEO of our partner company Cloudriven Oy in Finland. Feature image source: MAGE: MASHABLE COMPOSITE/ISTOCKPHOTO. Original Article „Cloud Price Wars“
Cloud computing helps a taxi to beat a fast train?
I have been lecturing about gamification in Kajaani for two years. Kajaani is a small city in Kainuu near the eastern border and in the middle of wild nature. For me it is essential to travel there a few times per year to be present in trainings. Usually I am there the evening before the training starts. That was the case also in December 2014. As usual I had a dinner in the hotel’s restaurant. Adidas Yeezy Boost 750 Pas Cher However this trip was different than all the others. I heard a one of a kind story about beating a fast train by taxi.
The story-teller was a man from southern Finland. Let’s call him Markku. He told that he travelled regularly to Kajaani to do business. Because of the long drive and environmental reasons Markku usually chose public transportation, more specifically train, to get where he wanted to go.
I can tell you dear readers that every now and then it gets really cold in Finland. During those days it is so cold that some may think that hell freezes over. That’s maybe the reason why even US army has done some winter training there (-38 degrees Celsius). It was one of those weeks when Markku booked train tickets from Helsinki to northern Finland via the eCommerce site of the railway company. Nowadays the site works well. That was not the case after site was launched a few years ago when it suffered serious performance issues during rush hours. When the performance issues were really bad people were not able to buy train tickets via the site. One can imagine what a reputation hit and revenue loss that was for the train company. Adidas Yeezy 750 Femme Obvisously the system was not built on public cloud (like Windows Azure) where one can very easily scale the service based on the actual consumption.
Based on the story Markku’s travel started on time and he enjoeyd a cup of coffee in the train restaurant while working. He used a free wifi to connect to his business documents and services located in Windows Azure and O365. So the time on board was not limited only to some pre-planned assignments but Markku had the opportunity to effectively handle also tasks that were given to him in real-time via Lync, Skype, email and company’s management systems like CRM. Story tells that he closed a few deals during the early parts of the trip. Outside temperature got even lower but it was warm to travel in the train. Maybe that and 10 hrs of working started to make Markku feel a bit tired.
Train arrived to Mikkeli station and Markku decided to move to his own seat. He got an idea and checked from “trains on map” website how long the train would be in Mikkeli before departure.
The site stated that it would three minutes based on the schedule and train’s gps location. So Markku collected his stuff from the restaurant table and went to the door to wait for arrival in Mikkeli. T Shirt Balmain Pas Cher Adidas Yeezy Pas Cher Femme He didn’t have too much to carry because he had already left his jacket and bag on a shelf near his seat. The idea was to walk outside to the car where his seat was. It would fresh him up.
When the train stopped Markku stepped outside and walked towards his car. But just on the same second he was pressing the button to open the door blinking green light turned off. The door didn’t open. He pressed it again. Again. Again. And again. Then the train loosed breaks and started to accelerate.
Markku left standing on the platform with his laptop, mobile and wallet. On the other hand he did not have a winter jacket anymore or any other clothes than the ones that he was now wearing. And it was not much. Temperature was roughly -20 degrees. Even for a Finn that wouldn’t be nice without proper clothes in the long run.
Luckily Markku noticed a taxi (Seat Leon X-perience, http://www.motoringresearch.com/car-reviews/seat-leon-x-perience-2015-first-drive-review-1215959274) which was waiting for the previous customer to pay. After a few minutes standing outside Markku got an opportunity to explain the situation to the taxi driver and the driver asked where to? Markku decided to follow the train by taxi because he had a schedule to meet and there would not be too many optional trains this evening. Train’s next stop would be in Pieksämäki, then Kuopio and after that Siilinjärvi.
While the taxi had started to hunt the train Markku called train company’s customer service. Based on the discussion it was clear that the train personnel did not have a possiblity to leave his stuff to any station. All company offices on those stations were closed. The company said that his items would be delivered to lost and found office of the last station. It didn’t feel like a good solution for Markku who needed to be in Kajaani that evening and it would be freaking cold out there. So he negotiated about the possiblity to get the stuff to the other train he was going to transfer in Kuopio based on the original plan. After a while he got confirmation for the plan.
Markku had to catch that train in order to avoid freezing moments. He opened the navigator app to get the idea of available time to catch the train. For that he needed the addresses of the next train stations. He downloaded trains on the map app from Windows Phone marketplace (http://www.windowsphone.com/fi-fi/store/app/junat-kartalla/5e072e5f-e868-482a-884c-6c926da6ca52) to follow the train schedules and to get easily exact addresses of train stations at once. And in this situation both the app and easy download really generated value for Markku. He had the opportunity to make the crucial decisions about the driving instructions for the taxi driver on the go. It only required following the estimated time of arrival for the taxi and train on each station. Based on the information he quickly understood that either he should have a rally driver behind the wheel or get lucky with the train schedules. Or even both.
From the beginning it was clear that they couldn’t catch the train in Pieksämäki. The taxi driver needed more kilometres to catch the train. Then suddenly it started to look that it would be possible to make it to Kuopio. The train was getting a bit behind from the schedule because of the snow. It was like a minute game where Markku followed continuously refreshing data from different cloud services. And finally when they had to make the decision to leave the motorway and head to Kuopio all signs of train being late vanished from the app. It looked like the train had departured from Kuopio.
Taxi driver headed directly to Siilinjärvi without taking off from fast lanes of the motorway. And once again the weather conditions were getting harder. Train started to fall behind the schedule. But then again it seemed to catch the lost minutes and arrive on time to Siilinjärvi. That would be the end for the hunt. Markku thought that it would be possible to turn around and go to Kuopio to wait for the next train. However the service had worked in a bit funny way so he decided to take a risk and drive to Siilinjärvi to see if the train had already gone.
Finally the taxi arrived at the station. Info screens told that the train would be over half an hour late. It hadn’t even started from Kuopio yet. Markku had made it. His taxi driver had beaten the train. 190 km hunt was over. Markku recorded some losses compared to the original plan. With the price of the taxi he would have bought flight to some nice and warm place. Away from the cold Finland. But he gained the opportunity to get in time to his customer and a story to tell. At this point Markku realized that part of the money would have been saved if the app would have been implemented perfectly. Short Phillip Plein If it would have showed that the up to date location & schedule data is not now available Markku would have catched the train in Kuopio instead of Siilinjärvi. Instead of that the app showed the original schedule when exact location wasn’t available for trains.
Once the train arrived to Siilinjärvi Markku went directly to his seat where a lady was reading a book in Finnish. The book was called “Tahatonta tohellusta” (meaning“Unintentional bungle”). His jacket was packed in a black plastic bag meant for carbage and all the other stuff was there. The adventure was over. Markku continued working for a few hours with the cloud based software before arriving at Kajaani.
Key learnings for Cloud investments based on the story:
- it would be easy to build an infrastructure on reasonable cost that performs based on public clouds
- it is easy to offer all time all device access to your services and data via cloud and generate value for your employees, customers and partners
- do not step outside the train if you are not planning to leave it
- public cloud makes it easy to distribute and sell your software locally, globally or whenever the possible user has the need
- make sure that your development partner can advise you about handling errors and help on running cloud driven business
About the author
Jukka Koskenkanto is the CEO and co-founder of Cloudriven. He has been involved in rolling out four SaaS application since 2007 including Finland’s first social intranet product, B2B sales management tools, performance management software and a service for building your business skills online (www.trainengage.com beta launch in March 2015). In addition to rolling out SaaS services Jukka has built reputation as a business driven gamification expert, trainer and consultant.