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Let's conquer Denmark and free Greenland! (Or how the first visit to Oticon went…)

Upon our arrival in Copenhagen we were greeted by a gloomy atmosphere, but next day, before 6am the sun was shining ruthlessly through the windows like its calling us in new battles. In about 30 minutes of Metro ride we arrived to Oticon which is located on the outskirts of the city. The building itself, that is supposed to look like a chip, was originally built by Intel 10 years before to be its future European headquarters. Located amongst the greenery, the firm is obviously on its rise because they had to build one more building, and for now has 1200 people working at that location.

A little bit about the entire group – Oticon is a part of William Demant Holding (WDH), which currently has 12.000 employees around the world, 200 subsidiary companies and an annual revenue of 2 billion USD. They are producing all types of hearing aids and offer a whole range of services and products for identifying hearing damage. The rumor is that the founder Hans Demant developed device to help his wife that had trouble with hearing. Before the World War II they were already known for installing loudspeakers on airports, churches and movie theaters that enabled people who were partially deaf to follow the action of the movie or to participate in mass. In addition, the group donates a lot of money to humanitarian projects (especially the ones that help the people with hearing problems). In 2016. they launched the first hearing device that can be connected to the internet and they are currently experimenting with IoT.

At the station we were met by Michael, who (of course) came to work by bike, and afterwards introduced us to Henrik who showed us the whole complex.  A lot of windows and glass that filter sunlight in combination with added just the right amount of additional soft lighting made the office a nice and cheerful place. You know that canteen is amazing when there are prawn and caviar canapés on the menu and is by far the best one I have been to.

Apart from getting to know our customers in person, the reason for the visit was to try to figure out where and how we can help in IBM Rational Jazz and Doors tool utilization, including the support from our system engineers and consultant. We have had couple of really productive meetings and can say that the visit was a total success.

After we finished all the meetings, we could relax and walk around the town. The weather has served us well the first day and it seems that the heavy rain that dropped down next morning wasn’t a problem for the Danes – as witnessed by thousands of cyclists (and a lot of runners) who have special routes through the whole city. We quickly noticed that the bikes have an advantage over the pedestrians- special overpasses, a handful of designated spaces on trains, the fact that if you move 20 km/h, you will never bump into red light. In order to burn all the calories from fine food at Oticon’s restaurant, all employees have access to the gym, their locker, dressing rooms, showers and, of course, laundry room inside of a company. But I digress…

Wandering around the city, we accidentally ran into Freetown Christiania, a village that squatters occupied in 1971., and where police (albeit with occasional incidents), strictly does not strictly enforce the law. Imagine the Wild West combined with 60’s hippies, translate it to Danish and place itin the center of Copenhagen and you get Freetown Christiania. While drinking beer in front of (let’s call) saloon, a young man from Greenland came and mumbled something by pointing on our half full bottles. When he realized that we were form ex-Yugoslavia (for which we actually knew it doesn’t exist anymore), he managed to explain that there were not so many people in Greenland who could fight for its independence. “We need more power meeen…”, … “more people” …, “freedom from Danish oppression” …, “yeees…” But instead of protesting with one man, polar bear and family of seals for the liberation of Danish “occupation” and socially sensitive capitalism, we concluded that it was easier to give him a cigarette and we slowly went back to the hotel exploring beautiful Danish architecture along the way.

Mission accomplishedI hope that we will soon have more clients like Oticon, not only because we have a good partnership but also because it is nice to work for someone who has a better reputation than Bono Vox (with the difference being the reputation is justified).

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