Schneider Electric is the company that owns Clipsal, those light switches and powerpoints in your house, but the company is much broader than that. Its a global specialist in energy management and automation, that has just held their first hackathon, ) in partnership with Blue Chilli and Transport for NSW (Government), on Smart Cities in Sydney.
As part of their annual Innovation Summit, programmers, engineers, UI/UX designers, along with sales and marketing expertise came together to tackle the big problems from the world of business, academia, government and local communities.
Unlike a lot of hackathons, the goal wasn’t simply to build a pet project in 24 hours, this was specifically designed to create a tangible product or solution to a real problem. Given almost 90% of Australians live in cities which suffer from increased pressure on infrastructure and services due to continual urban growth. participants were asked to draw out innovative solutions that harnessed data and technology to make our cities better places to be and kick-start an ongoing innovation community.
12 teams, including a mix of industry experts, start-ups, academics, and local communities, came together to address three real world challenges arising from increased urbanisation in our cities, including how we Live (boosting patient satisfaction), Work (employee engagement) and Move (creating an integrated transport system).
After a two-day slog, each team pitched their innovative ideas to judges including Shark Tank star, entrepreneur and investor, Steve Baxter, and MD of Schneider Electric in the Pacific, Gareth O’Reilly.
The hackathon was won by team ‘My Spot’ who took away the prize of $3,000 with their system to optimize utilization of rail transport capacity. They will now be fast-tracked into an accelerator program with the chance to secure a $100,000 investment.
Winners of each sub-category, live, work and move, were awarded a $2000 prize. Teams included:
- LIVE: Team Mem (Siemen’s ltd, Urban Bio, Freelance, Schneider Electric): An app to facilitate communication on medical information between a patient and their personal support network
- WORK: Team Breaking Good (Academy Xi, UNSW Student, General Assembly Programming Graduate, Schneider Electric): A system giving real-time feedback through an everyday habit at work through an interactive feedback platform
- MOVE: Team Pulse (Parrallel Parking – a start-up): Use of facial recognition software to capture data on pedestrian movements during the ‘last mile’ of travel into the city to improve transport planning
Director Future Transport, at Transport for NSW, and partner of this Smart Cities Hackathon, Jacinta Hargan said,
We’re extremely passionate about technology and innovation which is why it is great to be involved in events like the Schneider Electric Hackathon and work with event co-hosts Blue Chilli. For us it’s exciting to see likeminded innovators come together to showcase their amazing work.
Technology offers limitless possibilities for improving and personalising the public transport experience and we’re proud to support launchpads for innovators.
Director of BlueChilli’s CityConnect program. Johanna Pitman said,
BlueChilli was pleased to partner with SE on this smart Cities Hackathon. With our focus on building great start-ups to address the world’s greatest challenges, we were delighted to provide the winning team entry into our upcoming bootcamp for smart cities startups.
Zone President of Schneider Electric Pacific, Gareth O’Reilly says,
Hackathons enable participants to go beyond their nine-to-five job. We’re putting them in a lively and engaging environment where they’re able to test ideas and see them come to fruition. With the acceleration of urban growth, we’re allowing attendees to go above and beyond because the sky’s the limit.
Urbanisation, digitalisation and industrialisation are three megatrends which have provoked a huge increase in energy demand and in turn, spurred the Internet of Things (IOT) revolution. The purpose of this hackathon is to build and test solutions to disrupt the market. We need to adapt to ongoing worldwide changes by enabling the next generation of movers and shakers to consider innovative ways to manage cities and to make them more effective.
More than two thirds of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, so its possible the ideas that emerged from this hackathon can not only benefit Australia, but the world.