Hackathons = Speedy Innovation

Our world, businesses and industries are changing more rapidly than ever before. In order to tackle the rapid changes and stay competitive, companies must find new ways to accelerate their innovation capability. Co-Creation, building ecosystems and hackathons have become great ways to show how companies can find new ideas and leverage their business through technology and digitization. Co-Creation and ecosystems are some of the better known concepts, so let’s have a closer look at what hackathons are all about.

Hackathon, also called hack, industryhack or codefest, is a portmanteau of the words “hack” and “marathon”, where “hack” is used in the sense of exploratory programming, not its alternative meaning of computer crime. Hackathons are events where developers, UX designers, QA engineers and business developers form 2-3 person teams and collaborate for 48 hours to innovate an out-of-the-box solution for various business problems. It brings big companies, software developers and tech start-ups together to experiment technology, and helps companies to start quickly and bring elements of the opportunity of digitization live in just few days.

Symbio has participated in three industry hacks this spring. We aided in the creation for developing the future of more personalized elevator experience, utilizing digitization to improve harvesters yields, and working to innovate how news could become more engaging, especially for a younger audience.

The first Industryhack was with Kone, one of the largest elevator companies in the world. Kone was looking for solutions to enhance their end-user experience, and also wanted to find some easy tools for facility managers to utilize to improve maintenance operations. They also gave hackers an opportunity to create something unique out of the set frame. Symbio’s team decided to create their solution for improving the end-user experience by adjusting the background music of elevators and other locations based on the preferences of the people in those places. This involved combining indoor location techniques with Spotify Enterprise.

Ponsse is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of forest machines. Their success has always been based on customer-oriented operations and closely listening to forest industry entrepreneurs. Symbio’s team participated in Ponsse Industyhack on March 18th to 20th 2016. Ponsse wanted to find solutions for greater operational efficiency and comfort for their machines, and also wanted to increase productivity through intelligent data and remote maintenance of the machines. Lars, Hannu and Ville created a couple of hacks to showcase how to improve the productivity of the driver with gamification and machine learning, and how to augment the head unit of a harvester with mobile applications, voice control and text-to-speech.

YLE also organized a hackathon together with Editors Lab and Google News in April, 2016. The aim of the hackathon was to answer to the question “How can we build better communities on news sites?” Participants were encouraged to think about new ways to foster more productive and constructive discussions about current events. Symbio’s team included a developer, UX designer and a communication specialist. Jarno, Margit and Mia created a location-based web application, which allows two-way communication between viewers and journalists. The platform engages users to contribute photos of the events they witness in real life. The journalist can also request photos from users who are close in proximity to the real-time event, or request photos of events to write about later.

The heart of Symbio has always been Innovation Co-Creation – building innovations in partnership with our clients to make the world a better place. Hackathons are great agile extension to more structured collaboration. They demonstrate quickly to business owners the variety of opportunities technology can bring to leverage their business opportunities and stay competitive in the fast evolving world. Our engineers have found hackathons to be a great way to gain deeper domain understanding of the industry and its challenges. It also challenges their thinking, and through rapid-prototyping, allows them to demonstrate their idea. They are also a great way to network with other bright minds. And on top of this all – they are amazingly fun!

If you’re interested in learning more about Innovation Co-Creation, Hackathons, IoT, software development, testing, and Connected everything, download our Symbio Overview Data Sheet or contact us at marketing@symbio.com. We’d love to learn what new innovation you’re bringing to market and how we can help bring it to life!