CityHack 2017: the Winners and the Lessons Learned

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CityHack 2017: the Winners and the Lessons Learned

Tremend Labs

This year we hacked the city, along with our partners from Orange and Actility, two companies similar to us in terms of culture and engineering DNA.

The theme of the hackathon: smart-city solutions. Choosing this topic was not random since each of the three companies has a keen interest and proven expertise in the field.

At Tremend we have developed home automation and IoT projects and have participated in local pioneering LoRaWan technology projects. Orange is working on one of the largest smart-city pilot projects in the country. In turn, France-based Actility is an acknowledged promoter of the Internet of Things and a leader in LoRaWan.

Over 100 specialists attended the hackathon, including some of the top developers, designers, project managers, and marketing specialists from the three companies. They split into 13 teams and strived to develop the best smart city solution. For sure, it was a good weekend for urban technology.

And the Hackathon Winners Were…

The 1st Place:

The winning team showcased an innovative IoT waste management solution that leverages LoRa technology. The solution is able to recognize the type of waste that is thrown in a garbage bin: glass, paper, or plastic. The application encourages people to recycle through gamification.

The 2nd Place:

The team that won the second prize presented a new concept of parking place sharing during the times when the owners are not using them. The UBER of parking, as the team presented it.

The 3rd Place:

The team that came third used IoT, Machine Learning, and face detection to prevent incidents in crowded areas. It works by counting the number of people at a given moment in a public place. The system alerts the authorities in case this number exceeds a safety limit.

The Full List of Projects

Choosing a winner from the 13 projects presented during the hackathon was tough, and the following list stands as proof of that. Here are the other projects showcased during CityHack 2017:

Traffic light synchronization for emergency vehicles

A solution that helps ambulances or firefighter vehicles to move faster in high-traffic urban areas. Based on LoRa communication technology, it synchronizes the traffic lights on the route and gives green light to intervention teams. The solution minimizes the risk of accidents involving emergency crews, improves the efficiency of life-saving interventions, and decreases noise pollution.

Bike tracker

A bike anti-theft device based on GPS, accelerometer, and buzzer sensors, using LoRaWAN technology for low power consumption and high radio penetration. The device uses the bike’s dynamo to recharge batteries. It also has a dedicated mobile application that allows users to track the position of the bike even without GSM/3G coverage.

Predictable bus ride

A solution that reliably predicts the exact arrival time for buses and trams. Using a mobile app, the application helps users coordinate with public transportation, while also predicting point-to-point journey time.

Parking booking

A solution that helps urban drivers to book parking places in advance, so as to ensure and optimize parking availability.

Parking place finder

A mobile app-based solution that enables drivers to spot-free parking places and books them in advance. Thus it optimizes the use of available free locations throughout the day.

Parking reservation

A parking spot detection, mapping, and booking system, assisted by a mobile application. The solution aims to reduce costs by eliminating the need for cashiers and extra officers patrolling the streets for illegal parking.

Bus route optimizer

An application that provides the location of buses and their destinations. The solution sends alerts to commuters about approaching buses and can also plan trips.

CityGo bus tracking

An app that helps users see the location of all public transportation vehicles, in real-time, depending on the traveler’s position.

Urban parking

A parking place management solution. Based on LoRa sensors that detect free parking spots, the app uses a database that aggregates all the data. A mobile GUI lets users know if there are any available spots in desired areas, then unlocks the spot when the driver arrives.

Pothole sweeper

A road infrastructure scanner that detects potholes on the city’s roads. Using ultrasonic meters or LIDAR sensors, the scanner detects abnormalities in the road surface, which are sent to a back-end application, along with GPS coordinates of the location. Roads can be repaired faster and all interventions can be prioritized based on characteristics like the traffic load, speed average, and accident statistics.

Hackathon prizes

Much like the hackathon itself, the prizes for the winning projects focused on creating enriching, team-building experiences:

  • A trip to Amsterdam for the team that came out in the first place
  • A trip to the Poiana Brasov area, including a small plane tour of the mountains, was the second prize
  • A wine tasting trip in the Sub-Carpathian area for the winners of the third place

By the end of the competition, nobody left the hackathon unrewarded, as all other participants received spa vouchers.

Lessons Learned

CityHack 2017 has been a practical learning experience, from tech tips to sleepless night hacks.

Here are some of the best learnings:

  • with the right set of skills, a few talented engineers can put together Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, mobile apps, and innovative connectivity such as LoRa to produce amazing prototypes within hours
  • very different people can instantly focus on a single goal when they understand the stake and are passionate about their expertise
  • building a strong business case – or at least usage scenarios will boost the project beyond its technical performance
  • sleeping a bit can help you deliver a good pitch on the second day.

All in all, the competition was worth every cup of coffee and each line of code. With the amazing projects, with almost double the number of teams than last year’s hackathon, and with all the new friendships, CityHack turned out to be a HACKtastic event.