Some words about recent event.
We have arrived by plane to the Sao Paulo 1 day earlier that would catch the senseless rally at 18.30 on 27th evening. Our daily flight option via Amsterdam lands ~19:00 in Brazil. We have paid more expensive flight tickets and night in hotel as extra just to participate in that introduction rally, which as we found out was not really necessary. From the email we received 1 week before the campus party event, it looked like it is necessary.
We were not told that in Sao Paulo we may get stuck with such problems like getting money out of our cards, as not all bank machines accept european cards. We have spent over 3 hours to change money for the ticket to metro to Tiete station as we left our hotel. A simple message in advance that we can get money in CityBank would have solved the problem.
Information about directions to the CPBR hangar did not exist until the last night before our flight. It came only in Portuguese language and only directions to the street where to find a free shuttle bus. The shuttle service from Portuguesa-Tiete was 500 meters away from the exit of the Tiete station, opposite of the CPBR hangar, which, as we found out, was not more than 1km away from Tiete.
We did not get any directions how to get to the CPBR from the airport. That information was very difficult to find, as all the information available was only in Portuguese.
As we have arrived to the campus area, we have found a complete chaos. We spent like 2 hours to get into the camp, going round and round the camp with all our heavy luggage, leading by confused campus party
staff, to get our tent without a mattress (we have almost learned necessary portuguese by then), and to find a surprise that we will have to pay for food the price like in a 4 star hotel. We were not
advised that we will not get a mattess in our tent, we did not had a chance to buy it. The two nights we have spent in the camp made us to seek medical assistance and almost made us crazy. We expected Telefonica to provide us a normal sleeper, normal living and working conditions and acceptable food for the fact that we have to work for their benefit. Furthermore, nobody has issued a sticker on our equipment, though I have registered it on the site in advance. We had issues with the security staff on the exit about that. The tent provided was too intimate for two adult man. We could not agree to sleep in that together. Because of that, there were a lot of people sleeping all around the campus – armchairs, chairs, tables, even floor where carpet was softer than a concrete under the tent. The day before the presentation on the FiWare stand there was no internet or network operational. Part of our prototype required pre-configuration of network to demonstrate it. So we could not prepare our prototype to show it even if we were ready to do that. As we have found out later,
nobody had a live hardware or software prototype demo.
We were told of big opportunities to meet investors, possible partners, present our project, press coverage. All we got is a horde of children playing games and using Facebook and making noise 24h/day. We did not get a single investor contact, not a single possible partner contact, and our “competitors” had a hostile look on us. We have presented our project in an unbearable noisy environment in the dark with zero audience. We had to use flash lights to see our surroundings during the presentation session, which also took place about 1 hour late on schedule. The parallel presentations of separate two categories took place at the same area and were disturbing each other, additionally to the unbearable noise from the surroundings. We were also told that working language of the event will be English, but the only moments where we had English were the encounters with Fi-Ware/Telefonica. We also have found out that Telefonica experts are not interested in technical subtleties of our solution, all they care is how to tie our project to as much as possible of their products.
Most of the technology we showed they saw for the first time, and it looked like they do not know the technical side of the hardware for Smart Home and Smart City. However, they were very arrogant and incorrect – as for example, we went to the jury group who were evaluating software projects and informed that our presentation in the business group is technically well developed and we believe that it would be useful for them. We were offensively rejected and told that we might show it to them later. It was about the most advanced and expensive sensors, which are widely used for home automation. None of the members of the technical group did not show the slightest ineterest to this topic.
After the presentation we have got a few disconnected questions, no feedback on our project, without clear instructions what exactly we should present on the Firday 31st/January session. They did not ask to get the material about our project, did not take even a copy of the presentation. We did not also receive the recommendations on what we should do next in the written form (email or paper). We were also told that Fi-Ware staff will be present at their stand at all times and if we have questions we are free to come there and work with them. We came back 2 hours after our presentation (~23:00 29th Jan) and waited for over 12 hours to find anybody who could answer our questions. During that waiting time we were sweeping the camp for possibilities and found only under 10 people who could use a unix console or a compiler, and only two who could speak any of our languages, and those two were under influence of alcohol. We still do not understand why were we brought to Brazil such a long distance to present our project to no audience and in a concentration camp conditions. We did not have allocated conference rooms for peaceful work and meetings, we were not provided even with a minimum public stand to place our presentation. We did not exist as a registered project for public in the Campus Party at all.
As we were completely exhausted, at ~11AM in the morning, we contacted one of the finally found FiWare representatives. When we asked him about the working hours of their staff at the pavilion, we were told back that this information was not our business, and that we have no right in asking such questions. He exaggerated nervously that their work schedule is free. After a few calls he made, he told us that one representative of the jury of our category could be available earliest in 1 hour. Such “anytime” presence and horrible camp conditions are not acceptable to us, as we were not sleeping normally for over 60 hours, and we have had already arranged the retreat to a hotel in the city to rehabilitate ourselves and try to do some work there later.
As we observed, all the participants have had the same issues – working without sleep all 2 days, at their own expense, for free. We all had to pay our food, and for all of us money provided as a price were taxed and were just enough for the flight tickets. The conclusion is, that this story which is happening with this competition is a clear abuse of power and position.
For the sake of avoiding a conflict with Telefonica we did not call the insurance company, covered our medical expenses (one of us had got cold while trying to sleep on a concrete in the tent, a strong headache, etc.) and moved to a normal hotel. Another of us were trying to sleep on a sofa in the party area, by holding the bags with expensive hardware to prevent it from going missing.
In the morning on the second day all the toilets and showers were flooded with at least 2cm layer of waste water.
Considering all the above conditions, it is impossible to work productively on the project in the territory of Campus Party.