“The standard has been the highest I have seen at any recent hack”. That is how Joann O’Brien –Vice President, Agile Collaboration, TM Forum– summarized the event that she has been leading: the TM Forum Open Hack 2016, in Nice, France. In the most recent edition of this vibrant and prestigious hackathon the bar has been set very high.

The weekend before the TM Forum Live! main event, seven teams –including residents of Nice and international developers– pitched their ideas for making cities smarter and more sustainable. They were competing for direct cash prizes as well as the unique opportunity to showcase their application to a number of city directors and senior executives at the flagship event.

In just 48 hours they had to create their demo. To ease this frantic process, they were provided with a complete suite of tools, including: TM Forum APIs, IBM Bluemix cloud development platform, Ericsson Service Innovation Framework APIs and FIWARE smart city platform: IoT sensors, supplied by IBM; open data from Nice City and also provided by and FIWARE; real-time air pollution monitoring data provided by DeliverChange; location data and API provided by Skyhook; 3D printing for rapid physical prototyping provided by Trimaker. And also, support from API experts, mentors and entrepreneurs, present at the Open Hack.

This meant working on a tight schedule but also within a rich environment and through an open platform: “Open data, open APIs and open platforms are key for enabling open ecosystem and this event shows that in action” –as Joann O’Brien puts it.

sparsity

The judges –Pierre Gauthier, Chief API Architect, TM Forum; Elaine Haher, Director, Business Development, Ericsson; Pascal Helot-Dugat, IBM; and Alexis Caporale, CEO, Trimaker– looked not only for the most striking ideas, but also for evidence of how well the teams used the APIs. They analyzed the usefulness of their solution with the citizens in mind and looked for for the highest level of innovation and a clear business model to be deployed in parallel to the technical part of the project.

The teams outdid themselves. They delivered creative ideas to be transformed into disruptive products and services with both the city betterment and the achievement of commercial success in mind. Among those ideas, the three winners:

  • Garden Sharing –the winning team– came up with a solution to connect people who have a garden to share and those who’d like to use one. Cities and citizens could make money through renting out their green spaces and partners could monetize the idea offering complementary services. From this project, new ways to grow food and collectively care for plants could also be created.
    The team used the IBM Weather API and TM Forum Customer Management, Product Catalog Management and Product Inventory Management APIs.
  • City of Things, the team in second place, presented their idea as “saving the world through free Wi-Fi”, and based it around the motto “do good things for your city and be rewarded”, from a gaming perspective. Their app showed the ability to offer citizens tasks they could perform in return for rewards: a citizen would pick up trash and accordingly receive a discount in the water bill. The dashboard would monthly personal savings/earnings, as well as the real-time measurement of the city’s ‘health’ and its top priorities for action.
    The team used FIWARE, open air pollution data, and the TM Forum Product Catalog Management, Product Ordering and Onboarding APIs, deploying everything on the Bluemix platform and consuming it through Ericsson.
  • Eco Run team came up third. Their app aims to help citizens get healthier through outdoor exercise, while avoiding polluted areas at the same time. Again, the app has a gaming element – citizens are given suggested routes which avoid pollution and rewarded with, for example, tickets or discounts. The city could reap the rewards through reduced healthcare costs… and happier citizens!
    The project makes extensive use of FIWARE resources. They used TM Forum’s Product Catalog Management, Customer Management, Product Inventory Management APIs and real-time sensor data from the City of Santander (provided by FIWARE).

O’Brien pointed the most immediate achievements of these teams: “The winning teams will demonstrate their solutions at TM Forum Live! this week and all the teams that pitched will have the opportunity to meet the Mayor of the City of Nice, who is interested in hearing more about these innovative ideas.” She also highlighted that their success at this Open Hack should be observed under a wider scope: “As we were designing the Open Hack, the COP 21 was being agreed in Paris and 196 countries signed an agreement to take action to keep the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius – but it’s not just countries; it’s really people and companies who will make a difference. And that begins at events such as this”.