A solution-focused hackathon to improve society: #JoinHackathon

By , 22 November 2016 at 10:00
A solution-focused hackathon to improve society: #JoinHackathon
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A solution-focused hackathon to improve society: #JoinHackathon

By , 22 November 2016 at 10:00

Young talent, the desire to change the world, to develop innovative applications, to work as a team, to find new ideas even if it involves not sleeping for 24h…The combination of all of these elements, with an added dose of hope and effort, combines to bring us the latest hackathon organized by Telefónica and Qualcomm as part of the Join initiative.

When we’re children, at school we’re told that we the youth are the future of society – that we will propel our family and country forward. For this to happen, we have to prove our worth across domains, maintaining a resilient attitude in all of our endeavours, as only effort and perseverance will help us attain what we want. These sentiments have pretty much been the leitmotif of the millennial generation.

This hackathon’s working model fits the demands of these new generations like a glove thanks to its ability to provide the organizations involved with new ideas, developed in a setting driven by cooperation, teamwork and the creative overcoming of challenges with a swift, dynamic and ambitious attitude.

Telefónica has a long history organizing and holding hackathons: HackforGood, “Everyone Included”, or the frequent Eleven Paths are just a few examples of this aspiration.

Improving the world through technology

The purpose of the contest was to give young developers the opportunity to positively contribute to society through the use of technology. As well as prizes in the form of money, winners will also get the chance to further develop their projects via the Talentum Startups scholarship program. Movistar and BQ also participated in the event. The latter provided the devices used to develop the Android applications.

From the 29 to the 30 of September, 10 teams comprised by young developers aged 18 to 30 signed up for an adventure that required talent, effort and the ability to overcome challenges while developing Android applications capable of providing social improvements in the field of health, education and personal safety.

Developing young talent

In the course of 24 uninterrupted hours, all 10 teams were able to provide a real solution to the challenges that had been set out for them. It wasn’t easy for the jury to choose the three winning teams. On the 30th, each team got the chance to present, for one full minute, what they had developed, and they all received enthusiastic applause from the audience. As well as the presentations given by the contest’s young participants, who came from different schools and universities, the audience also got the chance to listen to a motivational speech by athlete Chema Martínez.

In that context, Rosalía O´Donell Baeza, in charge of Telefónica’s Youth Public Positioning and New Media, stated that “We shall continue to support the development of online and offline initiatives, via the Join program, to promote talent among our youth and help them develop within the context of digital transformation”. Félix González Quesada, the vice-president of Qualcomm Spain, pointed out that “For us it’s wonderful to be able to encourage young talent and help them develop their abilities using Qualcomm technology”.

A hackathon with substantial prizes

Functionality, design, degree of development and harnessing of the Snapdragon 652’s capabilities were the jury’s basic evaluation criteria. After a lengthy deliberation, they awarded three prizes, plus a special award determined by the audience.

  1. The first prize, amounting to €5,000, was awarded to Hightrack.
  2. The second prize, amounting to €3,000, was awarded to Hack4Data.
  3. The third prize, amounting to €2,000, was awarded to DroidsAreHacking.
  4. The audience award, comprised of a GoPro camera for each team member, was won by WIT.

Hightrack, the winning team, developed an educational application that allows videos to be added to textbooks so that children can further progress in their studies. “Our application is called Read&Play; what it does is bring books alive via augmented reality. It allows children who are studying to use their smartphone, or their parents’, to make images come alive so that they can learn in a new way”, explained Enrique Mendoza, the group’s spokesperson.

Hack4Data developed an application under the category Personal Safety that combines artificial intelligence with child safety. Tobías Lindener, on of the team members, explained that “We developed an application that allows parents with small children to monitor, at all times, where their children are—without violating their privacy. The app monitors children’s location and every time they leave a pre-established area, the parents get a notification. We also took advantage of our knowledge in machine-learning to integrate an option allowing children to ask for help, using their smartphone, if they have a problem or don’t feel safe, which sends a notification to their parents’ telephone”.

Lastly, DroidsAreHacking developed a health-related app that detects falls among elderly people and sends notifications alerting family members or doctors. This team won the third prize.

Additionally, the audience award went to WIT for their educational virtual reality app, “Gamification”. Each member received a GoPro camera.

In any case, it wasn’t easy for the jury to reach their decision. As pointed out by one of its members, Eloy Fustero, Marketing and Development Director at Qualcomm, “It was pretty hard, the satisfaction of seeing these kids developing their projects with so much motivation made reaching a verdict very difficult”.

The effort to make dreams come true

The Ciria room in the Distrito Telefónica, where the event was held, boasted all the ingredients for a perfect event. Young talent, technological development applied to societal improvement and an enthusiastic audience, all of which was topped of with a motivational speech by Chema Martínez: “You are the future, and this initiative, which allows young people to prove their worth and talent, is wonderful”.

The best of all is that the projects that took shape during the hackathon will continue to develop thanks to scholarships. Congratulations to all!

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