Last weekend (16 to 18 February 2018), the developer community from the region got together for the very first Industry 4.0 Hackathon in Bremen. During the programming marathon in the "Kraftwerk", 14 teams showed what can be done in a mere 48 hours, starting from the generation of ideas and then moving onwards to the implementation of prototype software. What was being looked for were creative ideas that could be put into practice for networked products, apps and services focussing on B2B applications. The aim of the work done by each team up until Sunday was to develop appropriate strategies, work out new concepts, create the associated programs and finally convince the jury that the team's idea was worthwhile. Member of the jury and director of innovation Frank Maier was thrilled: "It is incredible what creative results the teams developed in such a short time".
The most convincing developers were the "neusta" team, which won the first prize for the "Best Idea", with prize money amounting to €1500.
They developed a method of enabling optimised financial transactions between machines, based on the use of the crypto-currency IOTA.
The second prize "Best Implementation" with €1000 prize money was won by the "Just in Time" team with their idea for an intelligent, weight-based ordering system. The Lenze Group was the sponsor for the prize for second place. Six other teams also won prizes. The new hackathon format was arranged by encoway GmbH from Bremen.
The supplier of innovative software for mechanical engineering is especially interested in bringing young people together who want to work with technologies of the future in a creative environment. Managing director Christoph Ranze says: "With this hackathon, we want to show that industrial tasks can be unbelievably sexy – not only for engineers, but also for computer scientists and creatives." And why Bremen? For Ranze, it is exactly the right place because here there is a lot of up-and-coming new talent from the MINT disciplines.
In several small teams, 80 students, software developers and creatives working in the field of science and in actual practice demonstrated their love of experimentation in the areas of Cloud, Mobile and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). For their self-defined tasks, they used platforms and eco-systems provided by well-known industrial partners such as Lenze, Airbus and Schultz Systemtechnik. The participants were therefore able to try out their skills and ideas with real machine data.
Encoway's sister company logicline GmbH from Stuttgart and the automation company Lenze SE from Hameln supported the hackathon. As an IT consulting and project company, logicline specialises in the development of digital products and has been successfully organising the Stuttgart hackathon for several years now (www.hackathon-stuttgart.de). encoway and logicline belong to the Lenze Group. With a combined total of around 200 experienced employees, they represent the rapidly growing business of software and digital services from Lenze.
What is a hackathon?
The term "hackathon" originated in Canada and the USA in the 1990s and is a combination of the words "hacking" and "marathon". This is merely a play on words and does not refer to criminal cyber activities of any kind. On the contrary, it primarily concerns innovative approaches to challenges that necessitate solutions in the form of creative programs.
Hackathons bring people from different areas together in order to expedite diverse types of solution to variegated problems. In a hackathon, software and hardware developers, graphic designers and web designers, as well as other people with IT associations collaborate with each other intensively under the pressure of a deadline. The aim is to develop a usable IT solution for a specific target group.