iTechArt Hackathons: Looking at Problems in a Different Way
The quest for innovative ideas gave birth to iTechArt hackathons in 2014. These hackathons are now held annually. We look for “off the beaten path” solutions to problems we face in everyday life.
We follow all the best practices when it comes to our hackathons. There is a tight time frame to introduce the idea’s innovative character, outline how it improves life, and demonstrate a working solution. Practical use is of the utmost importance, so the team has to show not just a prototype, but a product ready to go live.
The projects are evaluated in accordance with the following principles:
Novelty and Innovation - Is the proposed solution and approach unique with no live analogs in place?
Social Importance - Does the solution have real social impact and value? Can it better the life of a particular social group or company?
User Convenience - Is it easy to use? Does it work quickly?
Technical Implementation & Functionality - Did the team solve a really complicated problem? Did they manage to create a fully-working solution within the given time?
The first hackathon dates back to 2014. The projects were related to various spheres of company life from an app to book a foosball table to corporate social network. Two awards were given to the solutions that locate lost digital devices serving for development and testing at the office.
At iTechArt, we are always searching for talented young people interested in IT careers. Students Lab provides a chance to network and be mentored while developing real-world technical skills. We also place a great deal of importance on training. The Students Manager App was designed to unite students and mentors, and was quite a hit with our hackathon jury. The app allows students access to the lecture schedule and track their progress.
Creative ideas and their implementation inspired us to transform hackathon into iTechForum - Software Engineering Days. These are the days when we hack, share knowledge and engage in intellectual battles.
Here are a few of the apps developed during our iTechForum hackathons:
EMPLOYEE DISCOUNT LOCATIONS APP
One of the results of iTechForum was an app that showcased all the places that offer discounts to our employees. The jury (and more notably the rest iTechArt team) found this interactive map displaying area discounts worthy of first place.
The Jury’s Comment: It’s an interesting idea which solves a particular problem. The ability to go live is the most important aspect of the whole project. Moreover, the team developed a beautiful user-friendly app with a simple interface.
One of the teams presented an app that eases the process of public transport payment using QR codes. Application features included a one-click payment process, full control over remaining trips, a reminder to buy new trips, and more.
Every parent is concerned with the safety of their children at all times, so another app developed was a system of Bluetooth beacons installed on playgrounds. The exact child’s location is transmitted to the parent’s mobile device via Bluetooth Low Energy, which unlike GPS does not drain phone or wearable battery.
Another great app for the city: The Salvation app is aimed at sending rapid alerts from users located within walking distance from an accident scene. The users can send and receive notifications requesting help and alerting necessary emergency services.
CHAT-BOT FOR SLACK
iTechArt Forum 2017 was the largest in history (with almost 450 participants) and the most innovative in terms of technologies used. Chat-Bot for Slack was the most popular app this year. The solution recognizes and indexes the text on images, providing an opportunity for the future search of text from the pictures. The project aims to optimize the work with whiteboard photos which are often lost in chats.
Jury's Comment: The problem of data loss from the boards is acute. We see that the team developed a ready-to-go solution that can be used right now. It elegantly solves this non-trivial task which is really beautiful.
The smart office is indispensable without convenient working conditions. Windy is a system that controls the main parameters of the office environment. It helps fight carbon dioxide disbalance which can lead to a drop in productivity, sleepiness, apathy, and depression. Small multifunction sensors are located in the rooms while transmitting information to a cross-platform application on temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide content and illumination.
These were just some of the inventions created by the iTechArt team during four years of hackathons. If you’re looking for innovative solutions for office or business, don’t hesitate to contact us!