Smart Cities Hackathon Heralds in a New Wave of Female Developers and Technology Enthusiasts to the Australian Blockchain Community
Over a crisp October weekend in Melbourne, the Blockchain Association of Australia hosted a Smart Cities Hackathon at RMIT University. The goal was to utilize Blockchain technology to develop innovative solutions that would solve real-world problems facing today’s cities. Over 50 total participants formed 9 separate teams and worked collaboratively to create innovative, applicable and scalable solutions.
One of the more encouraging aspects of the hackathon was the amount of diversity seen within the participant pool. More than one-third of the hackers were female, and this is consistent with the trend we are seeing in terms of who is getting involved in the various industry meetups and conferences around Australia.
“I was very pleased to see so many females participating in the hackathon. It is very important that we foster this level of diversity as we are building the foundation of the blockchain community in Australia,” said Luke Donnellan MP, Minister for Roads and Road Safety, who spent time with each team during the hackathon.
“At the Blockchain Association of Australia, a key focus for us is to identify and help grow the Blockchain developer base in Australia in an inclusive manner,” said Chami Akmeemana, Chairman of the Blockchain Association of Australia. “Our goal is to have a community of 1000 blockchain-trained developers within a year, and facilitating platforms like this hackathon is but one of the ways we are working towards this goal.”
The participants ranged from your typical hackers of this world to people that had never programmed before, including 3 teams representing two different high schools (Melbourne Girls Grammar and Westall SC). While the participant pool was diverse, they shared one common trait: a desire to absorb as much knowledge as possible on all things blockchain technology and a wish to continue doing so after the hackathon.
“I was very inspired by the passion I witnessed from all the participants,” said Murtaza Tawawala, President of Blockchain Learning Group Inc and one of the sponsors of the hackathon. “What impressed me even more was the number of participants who stayed back after the event to inquire about how they can get more education.”
“We were proud to be event sponsors and valued the opportunity to partner together with Blockchain Association of Australia and a diverse group of blockchain enthusiasts to explore new ways to harness this powerful technology for community benefit,” said John Nevins, Chief Executive Officer of the City of Kingston, a key sponsor of the hackathon. The event was a resounding success, resulting in several smart technology solutions being
developed in just 48 hours.The finished prototypes addressed a wide spectrum of use cases, from providing cost and time efficiencies with public work projects to an affordable homeownership project using blockchain fueled technologies.
The 3 winning teams and their concepts were:
1. Team “Smart Space” who built a peer-to-peer space sharing solution with a twist, where users can rent out any unused ‘space’ to others, including storage lockers, garages and much more. Ownership of a rental is authenticated via QR code only accessible on the occupants device and verifiable on-chain within an Ethereum smart contract. Payment is therefore made immediately in Ether upon verification.
2. Team “OWL” developed a tamper-proof and secure data acquisition system, utilizing sensors to acquire and publish data to the IOTA tangle. As data can be used as fuel for smart cities, this solution attempts to harness meaningful data to ultimately make smarter and more efficient decisions for a modern city..
3. Team “MySay” developed a community-based voting system built on a decentralized voting platform. A transparent and trustless voting solution for local municipalities ensures all votes are counted and totalled correctly.
“Overall, the teams produced solutions that absolutely have the potential to disrupt and ultimately improve several aspects of city life,” said Dr. Jonathan Reichental, CIO for the City of Palo Alto and the keynote speaker/judge at the hackathon. “I was especially impressed with the quality of the finished products from the two secondary schools who fielded teams – they had zero programming experience coming in and yet were able to create meaningful, well thought out and technically savvy solutions!”
Blockchain Association of Australia