High Tech Sweden

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The photo above shows a paging device handed out to customers who ordered food at an eatery in the Skansen Museum, Stockholm. Customers can return to their tables after placing their order, and when the food is ready, the paging device starts blinking! The underlying technology isn’t really out-of-the-world, but the idea is truly novel.

DSC_0172 Blinking = Food is ready!

It’s amazing how far Swedes go towards automation. In the supermarket, the person manning the check-out simply feeds customers’ notes and/or coins into the cash register, which does automated recognition and spews out the correct change in both notes and coins! A search on the internet reveals that since the beginning of 2010, Sweden has put in place a legislation that enforces the use of certified cash register with the aim of eradicating tax evasion. The tax rate (the equivalent of VAT or GST in Singapore) stands at a whopping 25% if you’re wondering.

change-maching-at-supermarket Supermarket change machine

Prices of goods are significantly higher in Scandinavia as compared to the rest of Europe (with the exception of Switzerland). How do they manage with such high cost of living (while working fewer hours – shops are mostly closed by 7pm)? Not coincidentally, Scandinavia has always been rated to have among the highest standard of living (plus being the happiest and healthiest countries). It’s all connected. So here’s what i think: it all begins with what you eat.

Scandinavians eat well (reads healthy). I can testify to this from what i sampled. It may cost more, but you get high quality and fresh produce. If you eat well, you think and do well, and there is a snowball effect that finally brings about the well-being of the entire nation. Contrast this with the general trend in Asia that focuses on lowering cost instead of the quality and nutrition of food. At some point in time there will be a backlash (think of the tainted milk and fake egg incidents).

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Brunch in Copenhagen consisting of an assortment of fruits, ham, bacon, sausage, cheese, yoghurt with cereals, pancake and bread with butter

Time to rethink your diet?

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