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Smart Cities Hackathon delivers IoT innovation

20 March 2017

Sage evacuation procedures
Safe evacuation procedures direct away from hazards and congestion
From waste disposal to better working spaces, some great creative and innovative solutions emerged during the first ever FEIT + Ericsson Smart Cities Hackathon.

FEIT collaborated with Ericsson’s first-ever student hackathon at UTS 16 – 17 March, challenging students to work together as ‘drivers of change’, addressing some of the major issues facing our cities and their growing populations.

This event was an opportunity for UTS students to team up and work with Ericsson industry mentors and FEIT academic staff using Smart Sensor data from UTS building 11.  Students could use the data to develop an IoT solution for smart cities of the future, and deliver a five-minute presentation describing the business case, and a short demonstration of their prototype.

"Ericsson believes ICT can address some of the key challenges of growing cities. The Smart Cities Hackathon is an environment for students to develop innovative and business-savvy IoT solutions to some of these challenges,” said Colin Pritchard, Head of Human Resources, Australia and New Zealand, Ericsson.

“We also want to encourage and reward teams for the impact their project might have on contributing to a more sustainable future, and in the way that they work together as a diverse of team, leveraging different perspectives to achieve an outcome.

Developers from the team of Mirko Ocokoljic, Regional Head of Ericsson’s Software Adaptation Centre, led pre-hack training before the teams dived into the actual challenge. Students participated across nine teams, with each allocated a specific problem. 

  • Team 1: Strawberry Ice Cream Smart Parking: Find the closest location with the greatest parking capacity
  • Team 2: The Godhackers (Social Responsibility Award winner) Eco-Ctrl: Controlling building lighting, luminosity and temperature based on variables (people, external brightness) to increase efficiency, health of people and save energy
  • Team 3: Smart Building: Focus on building security with occupants  authenticated based on heartbeat pattern and carry on ID card
  • Team 5: Homelab: Medical system consisting of wearable biosensors and online video conferencing to supplement the traditional GP consultation
  • Team 6: Smart Waste Management: Incentivised waste disposal system to reduce staff cleaning expenses and monitor user waste trends
  • Team 7: RLC (Innovation Award winner) Level Up: Gamify physical activity in buildings competing against each other on for energy savings
  • Team 9: Conext (Overall winner) Smart e-vac: Uses real time data from building sensors to guide and facilitate the most efficient and safest evacuation point for the occupants
  • Team 10: Smart infrastructure: Using sensors in building foundations to automate structural inspections/calculations for use building restorations and during natural disasters
  • Team 11: (Business Value Award and Team Diversity and Inclusion Award winners) Smart Public Transport: Using sensors to manage congestion in public transport especially during peak hours.

Team Conext impressed with a solution for public safety in growing urban densities.  They addressed a built environment experiencing ever-higher residential and commercial edifices, expanding campuses for universities and hospitals, and bigger sports stadia and shopping malls, which require evacuation procedures that avoid congestion and show a pathway for efficient and orderly people movement.

“Using nothing but our minds, laptops and wide array of real-time sensors, we came as a team and quickly develop our solution within 48 hours. The support from Ericsson's Industry Professionals and UTS Academics really helped too,” said Andrew Pope, who entered the Hackathon with Andrew Truong, and were later joined by Harsimran Kaur, Po-Hao Chen, Corey Stidson and Alina Sherbakov.

“To get started, we shared different problems we have experienced living/working in the city. Our idea came about when we joked about the ridiculous delays in evacuating Building 11. We realised that this problem could be solved through analysing the congestion levels at each fire exit (using real-time sensor information) and re-routing evacuating occupants to less congested exits. 

“After coming up with the initial problem/solution Andrew, Alina and Harry worked on further developing the business case for our idea, and Po, Corey and I worked on developing the prototype. We used collaboration tools such as Git and Slack to continue working with each other at the end of the first day.”

Happy hackers
Team Conext - Overall Winner FEIT + Ericsson Smart Cities Hackathon 
As Overall Winner, each team member receives a $400 gift card, and the opportunity to fast track Ericsson’s graduate program, and work further with Ericsson in major projects throughout the semester

A panel of judges convened for the group presentations was looking for Innovation, Business Value, Corporate Social Responsibility and Group diversity.

Thanks to our judges from

  • UTS: Beeshanga Jayawickrama and Ren Ping Liu from the School of Computing and Communications, and Frank Zeichner, Knowledge Economy Institute and CEO of the IoT Alliance
  • Ericsson:  Mirko Ocokoljic, David Cooper, Head of Network Products, Colin Pritchard and Lisa Tuffs, Principal Consultant.

"The Ericsson Hackathon provided a great opportunity for UTS students to engage their creativity by applying technology to real world problems. All of the teams, frankly, amazes us with their grasp and development of problem, solution, technology and benefit within just two  days - and delivered in fiveminutes," said Frank Zeichner.