- Why the TIM hackathon?
- The specifics of the TIM Digital Business Platform
- The hackathon challenge
- The hackathon rules
- The prize
- The TIM hackathon timeline
- The value of the opportunity to bring a project to life
- Familiarising hackathon participants with the TIM Business Platform
- The five winning projects of the TIM Smart Spaces Hackathon:
- Special mentions
- Why join a hackathon?
- Hackathons are for everyone
- What are the benefits to companies in sponsoring and/or facilitating a hackathon?
- How Codemotion can help your hackathon
Hackathons have had a long history of bringing people together to develop technological solutions in response to specific problems and challenges. Hackathons can be in-house, focused on particular technology or spaces, a social issue, or policy challenge.
Over the last year, we’ve seen a shift from in-person events as COVID-19 has required extensive efforts to reduce the risk of exposure. While virtual events may lack the in-person experience, they present the opportunity to develop tremendous value and rapid innovation development.
Over merely days, teams can help deep dive on a specific problem and develop, test, and launch prototypes, which if successful, can lead to full-scale commercial services and initiatives.
This year Codemotion recently partnered with TIM, the largest Information and Communication Technology group in Italy, and Google Cloud for the Smart Spaces Hackathon.
The hackathon attracted over 100 individual participants and highlighted the value of the TIM Digital Business Platform. This is significant as TIM transitions to a Telco as a Service (TaaS) model, which aims to enable the digital transformation of customers, ensuring a better Time to Market not achievable with traditional approaches.
This document provides an in-depth analysis of the event: the logistics, the challenges, the stakeholders, and the benefits to all parties. It’s particularly relevant to organisations that may be considering hosting, partnering, sponsoring, or contributing to a hackathon but are not sure where to start or how their company can reap the benefits.
Why the TIM hackathon?
The hackathon provided an opportunity to design new and intelligent spaces featuring innovative services that can improve the places where we live, with a particular focus on the new scenarios deriving from the Covid-19 emergency.
The hackathon was underpinned by the TIM Digital Business Platform, offering a range of software with easy access for developers and “ready-to-use” functions thanks to Application Programming Interfaces, and the Google Cloud platform of cloud-based computing services.
The initiative is also part of the activities of TIM WCAP, the Group’s open innovation programme for start-ups and SMEs. Created in 2009, the programme is now increasingly focused on fostering business initiatives that can enrich TIM’s digital service offering.
“The best part of the hackathon has definitely been the collection of ideas that played a central role. We received a total of 15 projects! This was made possible thanks to a strong mentorship put in place to support the teams on their way. This activity, together with the standup meetings organised with the teams during the event days, made the hackathon a success!”
Giulia Proietti, Project Manager, TIM Smart Spaces hackathon for Codemotion.
The specifics of the TIM Digital Business Platform
- The TIM Digital Business Platform consists of several APIs that provide uniform and standard access to as many services in the fields of Robotics, Media & AI, Massive IoT, Communication, Smart Cities, VR / AR.
- Access to these services takes place through the widespread REST architecture allowing, through the credentials provided to the teams, to use their favourite development environment and any language that supports it.
- The APIs are also collected and made available in one practical collection for Postman making exploration and understanding even more accessible and thus extending the application examples to environments such as Nodejs, GO or Ruby.
- Some APIs made available are developed by TIM and cover interesting applications, such as IoT, Blockchain Data Notarization and PKI, Authentication OTP, SMS, Air Quality, Robotics Infrastructure, and Pedestrian Detection.
- Other APIs are made available by Google Cloud, such as Cloud Vision, Speech-to-text and accessible directly from the TIM platform making the access of participants uniform and making this hackathon an important opportunity to experiment with multiple scenarios.
- The platform also documents and suggests some Google Cloud services not mediated by the TIM platform (for example DialogFlow, Geocoding, StreetView, …) to help participants develop further integrations with the APIs provided.
- Google Cloud will also offer direct support to participants through mentorship and specific content.
- The versatility of the TIM Digital Business Platform also allows integration with other important platforms such as Google Assistant for the creation of interactions through Google Home devices via Dialog Flow.
- Participants familiar with the IFTTT platform could also try to expose some of the TIM services on the IFTTT platform with the subsequent creation of applets that combine the TIM services exposed with third-party services and devices.
The hackathon challenge
The programme consisted of five areas with participants tasked to design and implement their innovations:
Topic 1: Home
Our homes are an evolving space that adapts to the new dynamics of life, including the management of time, resources and entertainment. How can technology assist in those dynamics?
Devise innovative ways of using technology in the home environment to make the home of the future an increasingly SMART place, serving our needs.
Topic 2: The Office
How can the way we work change thanks to the use of new digital infrastructures?
Highlight new ways of interacting within the physical workplace and develop innovative ways of doing business that would not be possible without the tools made available.
Topic 3: Public Spaces
How can digital technology improve sociability and create more efficient, healthy and ecological ways of experiencing cities and other common spaces?
Design innovative ways of experiencing public places, cultural spaces and tourist attractions, with consideration to a reduction of the ecological impact.
Topic 4: Retail
How can technology improve the experience of customers and stakeholders in the shopping and retail sector?
Use the latest generation digital infrastructures to make production, delivery and sales processes in SMEs and large companies safer, more efficient and more attractive.
Topic 5: Care Residence
How can technology help us care for our loved ones?
Explore the potential of technology to assist people in difficulty, the elderly and disabled in the hospital or health care services.
The hackathon rules
Team submissions were judged by a jury of TIM executives and other industry experts, based on the following criteria:
- Adherence to the proposed areas and feasibility
- Effective use of the functionalities and APIs made available by the TIM Digital Business Platform and possible replacement/integration with alternative external solutions
- The ability of the proposal to add value compared to existing solutions on the market
- The clarity and completeness of the project presentation and the demo of the prototype.
- The sustainability of the proposed solution and the ability to be inclusive towards all potential beneficiaries
- The ability to complete the realization of the project / elaborate even after the hackathon
Each winning team received vouchers to the value of €5000. Winners are also invited to partner with TIM to develop their projects.
The TIM hackathon timeline
The main phases of the hackathon:
- 8 June: Registration opens: Participants register, and connect to the Discord channel to meet other participants and assemble teams, each with a Team Leader eligible to access the TIM Digital Business Platform.
- 1 July: Registration closes
- 2 July: Hackathon launch
- 2nd to 5th July: TIM and Codemotion mentoring provided during the hackathon through the dedicated Discord channel
- July 5th: Deadline for submission of the project. Completed projects are sent to the Technical Jury for evaluation.
- 5 to 22 July: Project evaluation
- 23 July: Announcement of the winners
The value of the opportunity to bring a project to life
Unlike many hackathons, things didn’t end with the awarding of the winners. Winning teams were invited to partner with TIM to transform ideas into prototypes and then into functioning services. This gives teams the ability to continue to work to enhance their respective projects and take advantage of the mentorship of experts.
Giulia Proietti, Project Manager, TIM Smart Spaces hackathon for Codemotion.
Familiarising hackathon participants with the TIM Business Platform
Three webinars were held on specific topics to familiarize participants with TIM:
- Introduction to the TIM Digital Business Platform and first examples of AI-based solutions
- TIM Smart Spaces Hackathon warm-up: an in-depth analysis of the APIs offered by TIM’s Digital Business Platform.
- Spaces: innovative solutions and market scenarios.
The five winning projects of the TIM Smart Spaces Hackathon:
ArtBeat detects gatherings inside museums and prevents damage to works of art thanks to TIM’s Pedestrian Detection and Air Quality API. The solution monitors and adaptively manages the quality of the indoor environment, analyzes the feedback left by visitors and their preferences; it also enables ad hoc commercial offers through the use of Google’s Cloud Natural Language API.
BBetter is a web app that utilizes gamification and rewards logic through the use of virtual coins to encourage virtuous behaviour in citizens, motivating them to act in favour of the community. The app uses the notification APIs of TIM and Google’s Cloud Vision.
Hollie is a holographic system that implements a virtual assistant, activated through voice commands. The immersion of holographic technology and the use of TIM’s notification API and Google’s Dialog Flow make dialogue fluid, giving the impression of speaking to a person. A webcam recognizes people, objects and emotions and makes Hollie a specialized advertising system.
Jammed uses IP cameras, to check the level of crowding in public places in real-time and find out the time or day of the week with less crowding. The use of TIM’s Pedestrian Detection APIs and Google’s BigQuery also allows you to predict the level of crowding through appropriate machine learning algorithms.
RedCare aims to improve the assistance and care of frail, elderly and disabled people by using new communication methods enabled by the use of TIM’s notification API and Google’s Dialogflow and Speech to text functions. Doctors and family members will be able to interface with them to monitor and follow their medical course and psycho-physical state to improve their well-being and overall monitoring.
The Myloh project wins the TIM Inclusion Special Mention dedicated to Fabio Galluccio – Pioneer of Welfare, Diversity and Inclusion. Myloh is installed on telepresence robots in use in nursing homes.
Thanks to the use of TIM’s Cloud Robotics API and Google’s Cloud Vision and Dialog Flow, Myloh can interact with the elderly and analyze their facial expressions in real-time. This identifies their emotional state to assist their caregivers and health carers. It also allows seniors to stay in touch with loved ones.
Sustainability: BBetter – Public Spaces area BBetter is a web app that exploits gamification and rewarding logics by using virtual coins to promote virtuous behaviour in citizens, encouraging them to carry out actions and develop habits to benefit the community. It uses TIM’s notification and Google’s Cloud Vision APIs.
Social: Almond – Public Spaces area The solution that makes cities healthier and detects their state of health based on the presence of pollutants and waste. The data is analysed by TIM’s Air Quality and Blockchain and Google’s Cloud Vision APIs, social interactions, webcams and environmental sensors. The BBetter project also wins the Sustainability Special Mention
Social special mention: The Almond project wins the Social Special Mention for its efforts to make cities healthier by monitoring air quality and detecting the presence of air pollution harmful to health. The data is analyzed thanks to TIM’s Air Quality and Blockchain APIs and Google’s Cloud Vision, social interactions, webcams and environmental sensors.
Why join a hackathon?
There are many excellent, tangible reasons for joining a virtual hackathon:
- Increase your experience working in groups
- Meet and collaborate, solve problems, share skills and help build better products
- Make friends and connections – you might find your new colleagues or housemate
- Gain confidence in explaining your ideas to new people
- Gain mastery of virtual tools and working online with a group of people
- Learn new skills and hacks
Hackathons are for everyone
One thing often overlooked is that hackathons are just not for developers. You might need writers who can translate tech concepts into practices, designers who can share charts and graphics, and financial folks who can set a potential budget of costs in case you win the funds to finance your idea. Anyone who might be an end-user of whatever you are planning to build will have valuable insights and a perspective you may not have considered.
Giulia Proietti, Project Manager, TIM Smart Spaces hackathon for Codemotion.
What are the benefits to companies in sponsoring and/or facilitating a hackathon?
According to Giulia Proietti, project manager of the TIM Smart Spaces Hackathon, there are many benefits for a company to get involved in a hackathon including:
- Collect new ideas that can be useful to address an issue or stimulate the development of new business models
- Discover and get to know new professionals for future collaborations
- Launch (or re-launch) promote, enhance or boost the brand
- Promote a brand-new kind of event for marketing purposes
- Test a specific technology or promote the use of a particular tech product (i.e. tech adoption)
Carlo Nardello, Chief Strategy Business Development & Transformation Officer at TIM asserts.
How Codemotion can help your hackathon
Codemotion consists of an enthusiastic team of professionals experienced with running events both in-person and virtual. As a result, we can help manage your hackathon to ensure the process and winning teams meet with your expectations. Specifically, we can assist with:
- Establish a cross-company organising team, including corporate, academic, and community representatives.
- Assistance with developing the themes and specifics of your hackathon
- Create and host a central platform to upload all the information relating to the hackathon, including timelines, guidelines and other resources.
- Community outreach and access to participants through our extensive community of developers, data scientists, designers, technical writers, CXOs and other technologists
- Assistance with corporate outreach and enlisting mentors
- Resourcing and supporting mentors throughout the hackathon to support their teams
- Live event coordination
- Media outreach
- Post-participant survey and additional communication such as establishing groups, newsletters or other channels as appropriate
- Post-event analysis
- Creation of a database of stakeholder, participant and event attendees for future marketing opportunities
If you have any queries, do not hesitate to contact us!