What happens when the panda people hold a hackathon? Recently the charity WWF-Australia partnered with Schneider Electric, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), NAB and Hackathons Australia, to host the second Future Cities Hackathon. Also on hand was Brooklyn-based, ConsenSys, a blockchain venture production studio.
Held at UTS, the hackathon brought together some of the best and brightest from the fields of sustainability, design and technology, the corporate and academic world, and the start-up community. Every hack has their theme and this one had the mission to develop blockchain and Internet of Things-based solutions to make cities more sustainable, inclusive and accessible for all. All creations had to be in-line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Novum Industria (Latin for ‘New Energy’) and The Action Calculator were joint winners with both teams utilising blockchain technology to reward energy efficiency among Australian households and businesses.
Novum Industria’s prototype app tracks energy consumption and uses blockchain to reward households which reduce energy use with tokens to pay for goods and/or services with partner businesses. The app allows energy providers to spread the energy load between on/off peak times.
The Action Calculator uses data from an online Home Carbon Consumption Calculator to track a home’s carbon footprint and provide targets to reduce energy consumption. Footprint reduction is tokenised using the Ethereum blockchain platform and the reward tokens contribute to global conservation projects run by WWF.
The joint winners will now work together to deliver a solution together. Other innovative solutions from the Hackathon include using blockchain technology to enable the sharing economy, which will encourage people to share and borrow household products (such as power tools) instead of letting them sit unused at home, and a platform that promised to revolutionise crowd-funding and civic participation in sustainable development.
Eli Saraf, from Novum Industria, said:
“We are absolutely thrilled to win the Future Cities Hackathon. Inspired by the challenges of finite resources and energy-hungry humans, the team knew there was an opportunity to develop a solution to reduce wasteful and costly energy consumption.”
Arran Leonard, from The Action Calculator, said:
“We are ecstatic to have won the 2017 Hackathon and look forward to bringing our solution to homes across Australia. Our project, which is a first of its kind, brings together the partners and technology needed to reduce electricity consumption, benefit people’s wallets, and support WWF’s conservation projects across the globe.”
Judge Farokh Ghadially said:
“With almost 90% of Australians already living in cities, there has never been a more critical time to discover innovative ways to make them more efficient places to live. The judges were looking for fresh, achievable ways to make this happen, and we certainly found these at the Future Cities Hackathon.”
Fellow judge Dermot O’Gorman said disruptive technologies such as blockchain and the Internet of Things have enormous potential.
“If channelled correctly, disruptive technologies could be used to solve the big, global problems that humanity is facing. For the past two years, the WWF team have used innovation principles as an opportunity to create new value and to channel positive community action to help achieve a planet in which humans live in harmony with nature.”
The hackathon was part of the Future Cities Project developed by WWF-Australia’s virtual accelerator, Panda Labs, designed to take innovation principles and apply them to global conservation challenges. For more info head to wwf.org.au/futurecitiesproject