01273 830331

Quarterly update – October 2021

Posted on 13 October 2021 by Emily Wigmore

We’re back with an update to give you an idea of what summer had in store for us! With COVID-19 restrictions easing, we’ve been enjoying a slightly more normal life, and hope you have been too!

SWGB data repository

In September we launched a new online data repository for Sustainable Wines of Great Britain (SWGB). The repository allows vine growers and winemakers to record data about the measures they are taking to ensure that their operations are sustainable. These measures include minimising water and non-renewable energy use, reducing pesticide and fertiliser use, maintaining soil health, and promoting biodiversity.

The data is independently audited and, if successful, the member receives their scheme certification mark. There are currently 70 members on the scheme, and before we built the repository the data was sent to the auditors manually, which was a very labour intensive process. With the launch of the online repository SWGB hope to extend the scheme to many more Great British wine producers.

SWGB already have plans for further development, for example integrating some external services directly to save members time when entering data. There are also plans to tackle broader social and economic sustainability issues, which we will be right behind. The repository will be a really valuable tool for the scheme members, auditors, and managers and we look forward to being involved as it goes from strength to strength.

New open-source project

Recently we have been working with Fastly, a cloud service for improving the performance and reliability of high-traffic sites. Under the hood, Fastly uses a little-known language called VCL (Varnish Configuration Language) which lacks tooling compared to what developers have become accustomed to – so we built and published the tool we needed! 

Dictionary Tools for Fastly is now freely available on GitHub and allows the bulk upload and download of Fastly Edge Dictionaries for use within Fastly VCL files. 

Staff outings

The Brightminded team have been able to have a few get-togethers now that restrictions have eased.

In July, the team had a fun-filled day out in Brighton to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of Brightminded! We started off at Al Duomo’s for a delicious lunch and then made our way to Puzzle Parade, an interactive outdoor treasure hunt. We split up into three teams to give ourselves a bit of (friendly) competition. Each group received a coding device, puzzle book and mystery items and set off on their route around the streets of Brighton to solve the puzzle. We all had lots of fun, despite some taking longer than others due to stopping for ice cream on the way! We then finished off the day with some well-deserved drinks! 

Some members of the team cycling along Kingsway in Brighton
Bradley, DavidY, Anwen, and John cycling on route to the 10 year anniversary lunch

Also in July, DanC and John went to Silverstone for the British Formula 1 Grand Prix and saw Lewis Hamilton take out rival Max Verstappen in lap 1. Guess who went home the happier?

John and DanC at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone
John and DanC at the British Formula 1 Grand Prix at Silverstone – 18 July 2021

Team expansion

We are very excited to expand our team even further. Nick Day has joined us as an Applied Mathematician.

Nick is a mathematician with research experience in combinatorics and graph theory.  Prior to joining BrightMinded he spent two years doing research in Umeå (Sweden), and before that he spent four years completing his PhD at Queen Mary, University of London. 

Nick has a passion for problem solving, which makes him all the more excited for the challenges ahead that our AI project will pose!  As of last year he started teaching himself programming, and has enjoyed the many avenues this has opened for him.  Outside of maths, Nick’s interests include playing and watching football, attempting to solve cryptic crosswords, and going to music events!

Blogs

During the summer we have also been busy writing some more blogs. John gave his view on some e-commerce platforms, comparing WooCommerce with Shopify and with Magento, while I evaluated the impact of technology on corporate marketing and on the student experience during the pandemic. If you are interested in any of these topics, do head over to the updates section of our website.

Website feedback

Over the last few months, we have been working on making improvements to the BrightMinded website, and a new website is currently in progress. If you have any comments on our current website please let us know. We would love to hear how you as our client or partner think we can improve the experience on our website. Please email Jitender, who is running this project for us with any suggestions you have.

We have thoroughly enjoyed all the projects we have had the chance to work on this summer and we can’t wait to see what autumn holds for us! We hope you enjoyed this little update, and we’ll be back with another one early in 2022!