Q&A with Emil Brunner, CEO of Takeoff1 GmbH

Q&A with Emil Brunner, CEO of Takeoff1 GmbH
Emil Brunner, CEO of Takeoff1 GmbH is an experienced businessman who has worked in many countries. He has dedicated more than 10 years to the intuitive method of language acquisition called the “Birkenbihl Approach” formulated by Vera F. Birkenbihl.  Emil and Vera have worked together on the digitalization of this language acquisition method which has been incorporated into Emil's language-learning platform, Brain-Friendly. 

In this interesting Q&A, Emil takes us through the Birkinbihl approach which is helping users worldwide to learn languages with ease.

MEDIA 7: Could you please tell us about your background?
EMIL BRUNNER:
 I started as a technician; then I changed to sales. In my heart, I’ve always been a salesman. I started my business as the first Xerox Partner in Austria, and then I managed a company selling office machines and equipment. It was my first time going into other countries, like Germany and Switzerland. In that business, I worked with many phone agents, so the company grew to an outbound sales call center. In the USA, I had my first technology experience and built an automated call machine. We then got the franchise partner of RTL Teleshop - it was after QVC the second largest in DACH, for Austria.  I gained knowledge in TV-Power plus Sales power and found it fascinating. The next step was to automate the call center.

In 2004, we ran a call center in a pizza box (computer) for teleshop companies. In the States, we closed orders for up to 60% of callers fully automated, the rest were connected to the classical human call center. It had a great future, but I did it with the wrong people. So the company went bankrupt, and we went back to Austria.
After that experience, back "home" - felt so small, and we went on to start a software development business.
I began working and studying TV & Film making at the same time. My master's degree was a documentary film about "Teleshop and new technologies.”

I met Vera F. Birkenbihl, and she was one of the most successful scientists for learning methods and strategies and held a lot of live seminars - long before TEDx came up. I produced about 10 of those seminars, gaining many skills in the process, and that's when I found out about the language learning method. Me and language? I had trouble all the time while I went to school. I was sure languages were not for me. However, my son was a successful young developer and was interested and started to develop an app for language learning - using the brain-friendly Birkenbihl method. Which means, you never waste time cramming vocabulary and you don't need to learn any grammar rules.

I don't know anyone who’s happy learning vocabulary. About 90+% of all people using a language (mother tongue and foreign language) are not able to describe a grammar rule — only the teachers can do it. So there must be another way without the pain. And here it was!
I tried to learn English. The goal was to speak well without thinking about what to say. I just wanted to talk.

That's it. It took me more than a year, but I had an experience I’ll never forget. I was working on my phone with many customers and collecting orders. After a while, I put the orders from my notes into the computer. Wow! I had made a request for English courses - an order from a bookstore in Birmingham. How did I do it? Yes, I did it in English, and I didn't even realize it. It was automatic. The gap, switching from German to English, was gone - forever.

In the meantime, both my sons, Herwig and Gerwin, were now professionals in software development on the international stage. I had a Swiss partner and last year, I sold my shares to set up a new company with a new app - the Birkenbihl language learning movies. The digitalization of language learning - watch a movie and get the language. Based on subscription models, we sell it now in DACH, US, and European Single markets.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning, that I am the only one, who got the okay from Vera F.Birkenbihl (she died 2011), to follow the method of the new science of language learning and take it to the next level. I got the seal of approval for the "Birkenbihl Approach" to honor products they follow with the principle of "brain-friendly" learning method.

I have put all of this experience into a new book, the follow up of Birkenbihl's bestseller "Einfach Sprachen Lernen". I completed it with Katharina Rucker, she has been on board since 2008 and is still the best blogger for language learning knowledge. The book will be published in English in Q1-2020.

"Using the brain-friendly Birkenbihl method, you never waste time cramming vocabulary and you don't need to learn any grammar rules."



M7: How far is the Birkenbihl method’s idea of ‘learning a language need not be difficult’ serving its purpose of making language acquisition effortless?
EB:
 Let me say 100%. Because the "classical" way to learn a language is totally different from the way our brain works. Our brain is trying to find new things to discover, to get new experiences and so on. What is there to discover when you use a vocabulary list? For example, table - Tisch / table - la mesa, etc. it could also be shown as table - Katze (cat). There is no sense, no meaning, no context.

If you learn it the brain-friendly way as a full sentence, and you "de-code" it, your brain has enough context, and there are new words to learn. 

So it works, and it takes a minimum amount of time because our brain is memorizing everything in connections, like synapses, and that works very well, making it fun and available to use for the rest of your life.
The newest thing we have developed is the Movie(c) courses. Birkenbihl told us all the time, "a movie is the closest experience to real life". Watching a movie is like experiencing an actual event. 

When the "de-code line" is integrated into the movie,  entertainment and learning become cohesive. The "de-code line" in the movie, works as a karaoke player. The spoken word-pair is synchronized and highlighted. So you can close your eyes or your brain will automatically follow the decode line, and you will absorb the language. Repeat it, and you become perfect. It’s the digital way to learn a foreign language.

M7: How do you develop the movies and what is the approach for making users learn new languages easily with these movies?
EB: 
The classical way to learn a language is to cram grammar rules. Understanding and speaking are two processes in our brain that we have to learn separately. The idea developed by Birkenbihl was to find out how to use the mother tongue to understand a foreign language. She had done a lot of research and observed neuroscientists and decided to call the it the decode line which means you have two decoding lines – the upper line is the foreign language that you want to learn, the lower line is the word-by-word translation where you get the information about the meaning of the words.
It’s easy to follow them if you like to follow, but it’s enough if you just watch the movie. Your brain is automatically looking at the decode line and getting the information so if you repeat that you become more familiar with the sentence and you’ll understand it.

M7: How has your working with Vera F. Birkenbihl for more than 10 years helped you to come out with an intuitive method of language acquisition called the “Birkenbihl Approach”? What was the idea behind this?
EB: 
Birkenbihl told me that she’d had an experience with teachers and children. The problem was that the children didn’t enjoy learning vocabulary. It was, and still is, a pain. After a couple of days, all of the learned words go. So she thought, if most people have this problem then the problem couldn't be the people, it must be the method. There must be a better way.

After that, she started researching, and she found old documents, detailing how the aristocrats (the European marriage expansion) learned languages. There were many connections between the European Aristocrats, and this old document described how they learned. There was a transcript, a direct translation underneath and a live speaker. So the learners followed the speaker and read the word pairs.

All of the experiments she did, worked very well. I remember, it was approximately 2008, there was a teacher in Odelzhause who gave the children private English lessons Coached by Birkenbihl, in 3 months, the whole class were able to speak English very well and had no problem with vocabulary tests. That was the point we realized we were onto something. Based on our findings, my son built the first application for Windows. However, if you think that’s it, no. It took a lot of time to optimize it and to do all the beta tests. But after a while, we saw that it worked, and my experience was. WOW! - I got it.


"Watching a movie is like experiencing an actual event.   When the "de-code line" is integrated into the movie,  entertainment and learning become cohesive."


M7: How is the “Birkenbihl Approach” assisting people around the world to learn more languages efficiently?
EB:
Thanks, that’s an excellent question. You can do it, totally without any app, with paper or music. Take the lyrics of the song you love and start to “de-code” (translate it word-by-word). Yes, with the app, it’s much easier, and if you have a device ready, you can fit, learning a language, into every spare moment you have. So you waste no time, get entertained and learn simultaneously. After a while, you begin to speak automatically like a baby, who is listening for a long time.
When it becomes a year old, it starts with some words, after the second year it begins, from one day to the next to speak full sentences, only by listening. So while you improve upon your spelling skills, in your mother tongue or foreign language, always listen (day and night) in the background. Your sub-conscience will do the rest.
It is a kind of democratization of language learning; everybody can do it, independent of age or origin.

M7: You have played a vital role in digitalization of this language acquisition method. What inspired you to take up this challenge and what was your vision behind this?
EB:
Yes, first, it was a curiosity about the possibility and a challenge for myself to learn a language up to a level to be able to sell anything. Remember, I was a weak student.
Additionally, it was the feedback from the first beta tester, later from customers that they had the same experience I had, and they are now happy and successful.  So it was sensible. Yes, a little bit also to make it easier for people. So now, I see that the end of the traditional way to learn a language is coming.

Think about it... you can watch a movie, it doesn't matter which one, and you get automatically delivered the “de-code” line. I think we'll be able to get it in the near future, we are still working on it. So you don't need any teacher, because every child is learning it like their mother tongue, additionally. For example, a Hollywood movie uses about 1000 to 1500 unique words, a daily newspaper uses about 500 to 700 unique words. So let's watch Spanish movies this weekend, and that's it. My idea is that no child should have to suffer the cramming of vocabulary.


"While you grow up your spelling skills, in your mother tongue or foreign language, always listen in the background. Your sub-conscience will do the rest. It is a kind of democratization of language learning."



M7: As a language instructor, how important is resolving the problem of language acquisition as a barrier to businesses and marketing when globalization is the trend?
EB: It is vital. In two cases, one of them is, that companies spend a lot of money, year by year and nothing is changing. The costs go up, and success is equal to or less. Especially the production industries who have many difficulties, i.e. when the company is based in Germany, and the production is in Mexico. In this case, we can help. We can produce a learning movie for the technical process and add the “de-code line”, so the employees get both, the knowledge and the language. I think this is an excellent opportunity for all instructors and trainers of language. They can supply companies to work with the Birkenbihl method, and it gives more success with less time to spend. 

M7: Do you think that the Birkenbihl method will encourage more people around the world to learn languages swiftly?
EB:
Yes, that's what I hope, and it is essential to tell everybody that with this method it is possible, yes it works. Also, my hope is that it could connect people and bring more happiness. It's okay, if you start now and only spend 10 minutes every day. After approximately 6 weeks, you will get about 400 to 600 unique words. However, you can also do it in 2 weeks if you spend 10 minutes, 10 times a day (less than 2 hours). Alternatively, if you spend only 10 minutes every 3rd day, it takes a little longer. Do it when you want with the time that suits you. Overall, you get it.

M7: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your younger self?
EB:
Not much, except one thing: Whatever you do, if it doesn't work, find out how it could work, there is surely another way. But, just do it.

ABOUT BRAIN FRIENDLY

The Birkenbihl Approach (BBA) means, learning as the brain loves to learn. Our brain - look to the minds of children - how they like to discover and to understand how things work. It uses neuro mechanisms like abstracting rules (grammar) and background listening (to build synapses for spelling). To know more, visit Brain-Friendly.

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AIT Worldwide Logistics Acquires Global Transport Solutions Group

Business Wire | February 05, 2024

AIT Worldwide Logistics, one of the world’s leaders in global supply chain solutions, has acquired Global Transport Solutions Group (GTS), a prominent international freight forwarder specializing in time-critical marine spare parts logistics. Headquartered in the Netherlands, GTS and its more than 600 teammates across 16 locations in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America, serve over 2,000 ports around the world. The GTS network also includes nine consolidation hubs totaling more than 45,000 square meters of warehouse space. AIT Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Vaughn Moore, said, “I’d like to welcome our new GTS teammates to the global AIT network. This is the largest acquisition in our company’s history and GTS’ marine spare parts business is an excellent complement to AIT’s time-critical supply chain solutions.” The company’s business is divided into two sub-brands: Marinetrans (founded in 1991), excelling in “door-to-deck” spare parts logistics for ship owners and managers, and Best Global Logistics (founded in 2007), providing time-critical solutions and general forwarding for other industries, including life sciences shippers. According to AIT’s Chief Business Officer, Greg Weigel, the acquisition provides the company with new geographic presence in Greece, Japan and the Nordic region while adding significant capacity and subject matter expertise to existing AIT networks in China, the Netherlands and Singapore. The deal also provides a strong foundation to expand GTS’ world-class marine spare parts solutions via AIT’s expansive global freight network. “The acquisition of GTS creates an incredible portfolio of solutions serving the maritime industry with delivery of time-critical spare parts across all geographies. This is a perfect complement to AIT’s vertical strategies focused on expedited mission-critical services like our Critical Solutions Group, government and AOG team, and Life Sciences Division,” Weigel said. “We plan to rapidly invest and expand GTS’ North American operations by capitalizing on AIT’s robust salesforce in the United States and offering maritime customers a world-class spare parts logistics solution in every port.” AIT President and Chief Operating Officer, Keith Tholan, noted that the GTS core values – customer first, operational excellence, and partnership and collaboration – closely mirror AIT’s core values. “We are delighted to welcome GTS teammates to AIT,” Tholan said. “Their deep marine logistics expertise and three decades of proven on-time performance in a very demanding segment will complement the diverse solutions we offer across our vertical sector strategy. We also expect our best-in-class global air freight procurement will instantly benefit their time-critical operations.” According to GTS co-CEO John Burgstra, the acquisition is an opportunity for GTS to further expand their worldwide operations. “We aim to provide our clients an unrivaled experience when it comes to global visibility, transparency and on-time performance, fully unburdening them of the required logistical handling of their vessels’ spare parts,” he said. “We are excited about becoming part of a larger group and the global development opportunities this acquisition will provide for our teammates.” “Because of the highly fragmented and international nature of our clients’ requirements, they need a trusted partner with a vetted and effective global network,” added GTS co-CEO Vegard Prytz. “GTS will gain enormous benefits from leveraging the global AIT infrastructure, creating an even more integrated and seamless solution for clients around the world.”

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Logistics, Supply Chain, Warehousing and Distribution

Harnessing the Transformative Power of Cold Chain Logistics with SSI Schaefer

SSI Schaefer | January 03, 2024

As average global temperatures rise and the demand for cold-chain storage grows worldwide, SSI Schaefer, a global leader in intralogistics and automated warehouses, is sharing best practices and key considerations on how logistics and operations managers can optimize efficiency and cost-effectiveness of cold storage warehouses. Cold storage warehouse managers -- particularly in the food and beverage industries, but also pharmaceutical distribution -- are facing the need to efficiently and effectively store, pick, retrieve, pack, and ship perishable and sensitive goods, which require special handling, monitoring, and carefully tuned environmental conditions. Yet they face additional challenges -- the cold-chain storage market is expanding, with some reports projecting a CAGR of 9% from 2023 to 2028, meaning that warehouse managers must balance surging demand for cold-stored goods with the increasing need to reduce energy costs and carbon emissions. "What we are seeing for refrigerated supply chains is this pinch -- a need to do ever more with ever less," notes Carsten Spiegelberg, Managing Director - Middle East & Africa, SSI Schaefer. "To meet the growing complexities of the industry, it's not enough to find a quick fix. Companies need material flow experts with industry know-how to consider all angles of a facility and seamlessly blend cold-chain logistics solutions with individual processes." Cold chain storage solutions Careful planning is always the first step in optimizing temperature-controlled infrastructure. To increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness of cold storage warehouses, there are several factors to consider from the beginning. Optimizing air circulation and product storage density Since different products and comestibles require different storage temperatures, cold storage warehouse temperatures can range from -34°C to 0°C, with some even reaching 21°C. However, there is often a trade-off between storage density and air flow. Selecting the right storage system that enhances the cooled air circulation while increasing the storage density in the given facility footprint is critical in the planning phase. Semi-automated solutions for cold storage space optimization Ideal for deep-freeze facilities for bulk storage in the manufacturing sector and delivering maximum space utilization, channel storage setups with semi-automated drive-in racking systems are an accessible step towards automation, offering high throughput, enhanced safety, and reduced time for workers in refrigerated facilities. Capable of following either the Last in-First Out (LIFO) or the First in-Last Out (FIFO) principle, these systems use channel vehicles like SSI Orbiter® and a corresponding docking station to store and retrieve pallets. Compared to a static, manual pallet rack system, a mobile racking storage system is an effective way to boost storage capacity in a given space -- by up to 85%, while maintaining full selectivity typically required in distribution centers. This system involves racks that move along floor rails via electric motors to create an aisle only where needed, and it offers smart lighting that only activates in occupied aisles for reducing energy consumption, as well as a night parking option that optimizes rack spacing for maximal cold air circulation. Future-ready automation systems for a seamless, cost-optimized cold chain Due to the need for cold goods to maintain strict timetables and a closed cold chain, storage systems must handle incoming goods efficiently and cope with expected and unexpected upticks in demand. The best way to systematically manage the complexities of cold-chain material flows is with a fully automated storage system that seamlessly interconnects components, such as: Pallets Automated storage & retrieval systems (ASRSs): The SSI Exyz is an automated high-density storage system with extremely high space utilization, particularly in high-bay warehouses, and it saves 25% of energy compared to conventional machines while functioning across different temperatures. Shuttle solutions: As a future-proof, fully automated channel storage option, the SSI Lift & Run Shuttle System (SLR) provides simultaneous access to multiple racks for top-tier performance and high storage density. Other storage types Shuttle solutions for layer trays: For high-volume picking of goods such as comestibles for shop deliveries, tray shuttles and conveying systems enable fully automated robotic picking or support efficient semi-automatic goods-to-person picking. Storage solutions for container, bin and carton loads: For loads of varying dimensions, scalable solutions using SSI Miniload, Flexi Shuttle or Cuby maximize storage density while accommodating specific load and performance requirements to support automatic or semi-automatic case and piece picking. Platforms for central control of refrigerated facilities Although there are various warehouse automation technologies that track material flows, issues such as coordinating multiple systems often arise and there is a clear need for centralized monitoring and control -- particularly with the complexities of refrigerated facilities. To tie all aspects of a cold storage warehouse together, end-to-end software such as WAMAS® or SAP EWM (Extended Warehouse Management) offer clear visualizations and comprehensive tools to manage processes, resources, and stock levels.

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