Sleepless in Yerevan Municipality

All articles about Hackathons tell inspiring stories about how a group of people agreed to stay awake for a weekend to develop technical tools to enter the start-up world, offer something new to users, and make money out of it. To compete with those stories, Kolba Lab has to share even more exciting details on what was done here in Armenia to grab the attention of readers.

The mystery about the force which makes people want to stay awake and (most importantly) work hard for free still remains unsolved. Being a social innovation lab, we hope that it’s the willingness to create a social good and have a positive social impact in the community (whatever that means) and to solve a social problem using hackers’ knowledge and skills.

At the second glance, with more pragmatism, most probably it might be the award pool of $12000 that motivated more than 60 data scientists, web developers and IT experts to join Smart City Hackathon hosted in Yerevan Municipality in October 2017.

As a result of a 24-hour hacking process we anticipated seeing several smart city solutions for the Armenian capital developed on the basis of datasets that were provided beforehand. As smart city solutions can be very broad we specifically focused on a few areas: clean city, condominium management and tourism development.

While the process of the event is quite fun, interactive and supposed to have a strong element of networking, making friends with new people and finding new partners, the preparation for the event should be well planned to ensure this happens over the course of the 24 hours.

The Mayor of Yerevan also expressed interest in getting to know those people who volunteered to hack the data and design some new cool projects. Several employees of the Yerevan Municipality joined teams during the event to provide consultancy on the current developments and trends, problems that city management faces and other details.

Among the problems addressed during the Smart City Hackathon were garbage collection and waste management, smart tourism development, design of tools for mapping and monitoring environmental pollution, including noise pollution, electronic management of residential buildings and so on.

While the process of the event was not open to the public, the idea pitching part was open for anyone interested in the topic, who could come and get to know teams and the type of tech tools developed for Yerevan city. The results of a weekend hacking were presented in only 5 minutes, teams were required to present a working prototype to the invited jury members, who had another 5 minutes for questions.

The jury panel selected three solutions to get seed funding from the European Union:

1. Electronic management system for condominiums, which will ensure the transparent management of funds and better communication between local governance bodies and residents of the buildings.

2. Smart garbage collection and trash bin allocation solution.

Based on the datasets provided by the garbage collection company the team tracked routes, density of population and the number of trash bins installed in two districts of Yerevan, management optimization model was prototyped.

3. Tool for monitoring quality of life in different district of Yerevan. The tool was based on analysis of data-sets on environmental pollution, mapping of residential buildings, data from mobile operators and other layers of information. This solution will support city management and businesses, providing metrics on a range of areas, such as which areas need further greening or greater access to public or private service provision units.

Data scientists and developers love a good challenge. Winning is much more about the pride of having the best “hack” that could be developed in such a short amount of time. Though financial awards always support the enthusiasm to last longer.

If you are interested in data solutions, we have some other initiatives boiling in our lab.

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