Creativity and innovation go hand-in-hand with learning at Stonehill International School [SIS]. At Stonehill, they believe in providing newer and enhanced opportunities to their students to be able to integrate technology and innovation with academics, to foster holistic development of each student.

Image Source – Hackathon

Stonehill hosted its first inter-school Hackathon. A ‘Hackathon’ or a ‘Codeathon’ is an event where teams of developers get together to come up with solutions to problems. These solutions include, but are not limited to, robots, machine learning algorithms, mobile and web applications and websites. For the most part, there is only one constraint – time.

Participants of the Stonehill Hackathon included students from six international schools in Bangalore. The participating school included Bangalore international School [BIS], The International School, Bangalore [TISB], Inventure Academy, Neev Academy, Oakridge International School and Indus International School. Twenty-one Secondary School students from SIS also participated in the event. All participants were grouped into teams, with each team comprising of a minimum of two and a maximum of five students.

The participants coded and created solutions to a variety of different challenges ranging from medical technology to natural language interfaces.  The participants had six hours to create solutions by using any programming language of their choice.

The enthusiasm of the students was palpable while students worked on software and hardware based projects. Students worked on a number of projects like an artificial intelligence based facial recognition system, neural networking, computer games using Python, database projects, messaging applications, Arduino/Raspberry Pi and Lego Mindstorms, to name few.

At the end of their allotted six hours, the teams had to present their projects to our panel of judges and the rest of the Hackathon participants. The distinguished panel of judges comprised Mr. Dale Vaz of Amazon India and Mr. Nasser Ebrahim from IBM. Mr. Vaz is Head of Engineering and Chief Technology Officer at Amazon India and Mr. Ebrahim is Senior Technical Mentor in the IBM India Software Lab Machine Learning Hub.

The first prize was won by Team Robomatrix from Indus International School who made a robot meant to carry medicine to a destination. The team was awarded prize money of INR 15, 000/-

The second prize went to Team ETWAS of Oakridge International School that made a home automation system using an artificial intelligence based facial recognition. The team won prize money of INR 10, 000/-

Neev Designers of Neev Academy walked away with the third prize. The team designed a prosthetic arm using Lego EV3 and they won prize money of INR 5000/- The event was an immense success and Stonehill plans to make this an annual event.

HackerEarth, a leader in innovation and talent management, has announced the launch of its first virtual AI hackathon for Alexa. This unique hackathon is aimed at building more engaging skills for Alexa, which is the cloud-based voice service and brain behind Alexa-enabled devices, including the Amazon Echo. 

Image Source – Alexa Hackathon

Registration for the hackathon is open now. The contest will encourage developers to think outside of the traditional application development approach and embrace a voice-first design approach. The participants will be given access to the Alexa Skills Kit, a set of free, self-service, public APIs, that developers can utilize to easily create new experiences for Alexa. The existing architecture allows developers to build applications or skills to enhance the customer experience for its users. The Alexa Skills Kit [ASK] is a useful tool for independent developers, designers and brands to create new ways to engage Alexa.

The hackathon is being conducted keeping in mind that the resulting skills will be useful for the end users. For this reason, it is an open themed hackathon where participants can build any skill that can benefit Alexa customers. Participants are encouraged to create business productivity solutions, cool games, engaging chat bots, smart home applications or anything else that users might be looking for.

To get started, participants can have a look at the existing skills in the Alexa India skills store. There are over 12,000 skills in the store across multiple categories including Business & Finance, Food & Drink, Games, Music & Audio. Over the past few months, Alexa developers from across India added a localized flavor to the skills, enabling customers to listen to devotional songs like Hanuman Chalisa and Gayatri Mantra, find out diverse information ranging from Indian pin codes, Indian presidents to Indian Railways PNR status, or play Indian Tambola, Mahabharatha quiz and Indian GK Quiz. Lifestyle and Entertainment skills like ‘Rock Paper Scissors’, ‘Ganesha Speaks’, ‘Find My Phone’ and ‘Help me Sleep’ are among the most popular skills within Indian customers. This hackathon will give participants an opportunity to work on voice-controlled skills that will make Alexa smarter.

Alexa is currently being used for myriad applications including ordering food and transportation, controlling a smart home, playing music, and much more. Popular services such as Ola, Zomato, Saavn and The Times of India have also identified the potential of voice-enabled customer-interactions early on and provide their services to users through Alexa and Echo devices.

The registration process of this hackathon will conclude on April 1st, 2018. All teams that qualify will be required to submit a working skill based on their idea by April 15th, 2018. All skill submissions that pass the skills qualification process by April 21st, 2018 will get published to the India skill store and will be readily available for users to install on their Alexa app. Teams can also add other language support [e.g. EN-US] to make their skills available to the global skill stores, however participants must register themselves as India vendors and publish their skills to the India store to qualify for the competition.

The name of winning team will be announced on May 1st, 2018. The jury for the hackathon includes senior leadership from Amazon and Alexa Skills business in India. The winning teams will also be awarded cash prizes, devices including Amazon Echo and Amazon Kindle and will also get to meet senior team members from Alexa Skills team in India. 

Sprint, HackerEarth’s innovation management software is a platform to ideate and collaborate on interesting products, solutions and processes. It also helps organizations to crowd source solutions, from internal and external audiences, helping them minimize the time, effort and capital spent on driving innovation. HackerEarth also hosts a global network of top developers which companies and governments can tap into through Sprint, to generate ideas and solutions. Organizations use Sprint to crowd source ideas that help them meet larger goals, which are broken down into distinct themes and specific campaigns.

  • Registration and Idea Submission: 20 February – 1 April 2018
  • Skills submission phase: 2 April – 15 April 2018
  • Skills certification phase on Alexa Skill Store: 16 April – 21 April 2018
  • Judging: 22 April – 28 April 2018
  • Winner announcement: 1 May 2018
About the hackathon
The Alexa hackathon began on Feb 20th and the winners will be announced on May 1st, 2018. The winners will not only win a cash prize and an Echo device, but will also get the opportunity to interact with the senior members of the Alexa Skills team. Currently, close to 2000 participants have already registered for the hackathon. For more information, please visit the Alexa Hackathon site

HackerEarth, a leader in innovation and talent management software have released a report titled Global Hackathon Report outlining the market shares of key regions and sectors contributing to Hackathons. The report was released at IndiaHacks 2017. More than 1000 hackathons, conducted across 75 countries in the world, from 2015 till date have been analysed for the report.

Image Source – HackerMoon

Key findings from the Global Hackathon Report

Hackathon phenomenon catching on world over

  • Not surprisingly, with 379 hackathons, the US topped the list of countries with most hackathons
  • India ranks second with 105 hackathons
  • The list of top cities had no surprise entrants with London having conducted the most hackathons (31), followed by San Francisco (28)
  • Three Indian cities, Bangalore,  Mumbai and Hyderabad  make it to the list of top 10 cities in the world

Private companies rule the roost

  • Of the hackathons conducted, almost 50% were hosted by Private organizations in different sectors to develop low-cost solutions, fast-track innovative ideas, and encourage creativity among employees
  • Nonprofits primarily conducted hackathons for social good or the environment
  • Public companies and governments use hackathons to build relationships between disciplines, mine data for new useful content, develop new technology approaches, create economic value

Hackathons are not one-off events

  • According to the research around 52% are recurring hackathons with annual editions.

Women-only hackathons are nowhere near enough, but the report did bring a glimmer of hope

  • The number of all-female events almost doubled from 2015 to 2016. The study separately analyzed close to 40 women-only hackathons
  • The report indicates that organizations do understand the barriers—sexism, isolation, condescension, and frustration—women in technology face
  • The  number of all-female hackathons in 2016 was almost twice that in 2015 and companies have begun to recognize that gender disparity has far-reaching consequences and are making a conscious effort to mitigate them

Domains and themes hinting at new possibilities

  • Traditionally, hackathons were conducted exclusively in the IT sector. However, in the last decade, firms in sectors as diverse as banking, food, climate, and health care are experimenting with hackathons to address problem-solving and new ways of thinking
  • Emerging technologies such as IoT, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, and Augmented reality/Virtual reality were among the top domains in the two-year period, reinforcing their positions as potential intelligent and digital disruptors across industries
  • Mobile app and web development was the second most popular domain.
  • The most popular domain and theme is Multi-discipline, which comprises hackathons where people [mostly high-schoolers and university grads] were asked to come together to ‘learn, build, and share’ exciting ideas or creations using any language, tool, or platform of their choice; this category also includes events for which finer details were not made public on their websites.
  • Cloud and data science were also popular domains at the hackathons
  • Payment, geo, communication, social, and music APIs were also popular

Universities more keen on encouraging learning than offering cash prizes

  • It is interesting to note that opportunities from mentors, investors & accelerators/incubators were the most popular form of award at these hackathons
  • Student hackathons were more about learning and innovative thinking, in no specific domain or theme, than cash prizes and sophisticated gadgets. This hints at a culture where today’s academia emphasizes out-of-the-box thinking, providing the students with chances to network and learn
  • Student-only hackathons are open to all students in high schools and universities; some hackathons also permit participation if a student has graduated recently.

The entire report can be accessed here

The pitch finale of #BuildOnIndiaStack, Venture Pitch Competition, organized by iSPIRT and Dalberg was close-fitting. With over 180 entries, the selected 12 finalists from diverse sectors such as e-governance, health care, education, fintech, environment and agriculture presented their ideas to a full-house audience.

Image Source – BuildOnIndiaStack

EasyGov that bagged the first position was awarded a cash prize of Rs. 3 lakhs. EasyGov is a cloud solution to help billion people of India to discover the entitlement from thousands of welfare schemes from the Government. EasyGov solution will help in rolling out 10K+ schemes in local language to enable people check family entitlement from phone.

The runner-ups, Journee and Megdap received prize money of Rs. 2 lakhs & Rs 1.5 lakhs respectively. FreeSave and Krishiyog received consolation prize. The winners now look forward to interact with Nandan Nilekani, who has agreed to mentor them for shaping their ideas.

The founders of the winning startup, EasyGovAmit Shukla and Vineet Sharma said

IndiaStack has created enabling environment for democratizing the government welfare scheme delivery. Acceptance of eSign document at all government offices can make it really big. We thank #BuildOnIndiaStack to provide us a platform to showcase our efforts.

Technology evangelist, Nandan Nilekani who has also been at the forefront of the digital agenda in India said

IndiaStack was being used mainly for Fintech. It however has vaster potential. It needs to be extended to education, health care and skill development amongst others. India Stack provides access to features such as the Digi-Locker, eKYC, eSign, UPI that can re-invent these sectors and make them accessible to the common man. #BuildOnIndiaStack was organized to embark upon this journey and interact with entrepreneurs that would be keen to serve the unserved and underserved. India Stack can be source of massive inclusion for India’s population.

The panel of jurors comprised of stalwarts from the impact and social entrepreneurship industry like Bindu Ananth, Chair of IFMR Trust and IFMR Holdings; Srikrishna Ramamoorthy, Partner, Unitus Seed Fund; CV Madhukar, Investment Partner, Omidyar Network; Varad Pande, Partner, Dalberg Global Development Advisors and Sanjay Jain, Chief Innovation Officer, CIIE. The jury had a deservably difficult time to shortlist 12 entries from the total 180+ entries that #BuildOnIndiaStack received.

Bindu Ananth, Chair of IFMR Trust and IFMR Holdings, said

IndiaStack has tremendous potential to encourage innovations for India’s mass market. This eve put the spotlight on a number of such applications & entrepreneurs and will help create more focus on mass market business models

Varad Pande, Partner at Dalberg who also was on the jury panel said

Today’s pitch presentations demonstrate the passion of our young innovators and the potential of technology to serve India’s 1 billion underserved. This competition is the start of a journey to support innovative tech-enabled solutions that “Build for Bharat”. We at Dalberg are excited to be part of that journey.

Jury panel with the winner EasyGov, Founder – Amit Shukla and Vineet Verma

IndiaStack is the largest application programming interface [API] in the world supported by an open API policy by the Government of India. The stack is a new technology paradigm that is scalable to handle massive data inflows, and is poised to enable entrepreneurs, citizens and governments to interact with each other transparently, creating an ecosystem to develop innovative ideas to serve the 1.1 billion people on the platform, specifically the BOP population.

Sanjay Jain, Chief Innovation Officer at CIIE and who has been associated with the IndiaStack initiative said

The strong finalists, and the diversity of entries shows that entrepreneurs believe that they can make a business which meet the needs of the underserved.  This sends a strong signal, which is further strengthened by the interest from the VC community in this event.  I am confident that this will lead to more entrepreneurs and investors looking at the country well beyond the top tier of the economy.

#BuildOnIndiaStack also created a platform for entreprenuers to interact with various partners of the eco-system.  Investment Partner at Omidyar Network, C V Madhukar said

Today’s event brought to the fore the entrepreneurial energy in India that is attempting to solve important public problems. As entrepreneurs think about using the India Stack, investors have an opportunity to invest in companies that protect the privacy of individuals, especially in light of today’s judgement by the Supreme Court making privacy a fundamental right.

The competition was open to all innovations that leverage the IndiaStack to unlock new business models and/or reach previously underserved, new customer segments across diverse sectors such as financial services, education, healthcare and others.

Some core focus areas for the competition also included digital lending and supporting activities, such as alternative credit scoring; sector specific digital services such as health insurance or education loans, skilling and certification, property registration agreements, patient-centric healthcare management; and SaaS platforms ‘As A Service’ that support the development of other India Stack based innovations such as Digi-locker or e-sign providers.

Srikrishna Ramamoorthy, Partner at Unitus Seed Fund said

Our priority at Unitus is to invest in startups that can disrupt the way financial services is delivered to the masses. This competition has facilitated that in a big way and we want ventures to keep building on India Stack.

Partners of this event were Bharat Innovations Fund, Omidyar Network, Unitus Seed Fund, CIIE [IIM-A]. Start-up India and LetsVenture were the outreach partners for this inititative.The event was also supported by AwsActivate, 91Springboard and Rise Mumbai.

ITC Infotech, a global scale full service provider of technology solutions and a fully owned subsidiary of ITC Ltd, successfully concluded the third chapter of iTech 2017, its annual technology innovation & co-creation platform.  As part of iTech 2017, ITC Infotech organised a codeathon and a startup showcase on July 22 & 23, 2017, at its Bengaluru campusMicrosoft Azure was the official cloud partner  for the event.

At the Start-up Showcase, innovative start-ups from  across the country got an unique  opportunity  to present their solutions in front of ITC Infotech’s global client representatives and senior leadership of ITC Infotech and ITC Ltd.. These solutions, based on Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, AR, VR, etc., addressed real-world industry challenges crowd sourced from across ITC Infotech’s global client base, as well as from ITC Ltd.

Two start-ups, inFeedo and Aindra won a grant of Rs. 5 Lakhs for a paid POC each, and the chance to co-develop their solution with ITC Infotech as a part of its go-to-market strategy. inFeedo presented a chatbot that can talk to employees and proactively  identify those who are unhappy or most likely to leave. AIndra developed an AI based-face recognition/ verification/validation, visitor tracking, damage detection to use in machine learning, also, asset review and management.

The codeathon brought together some of the sharpest technology minds in the country  to compete, create & code for complex business applications. The participants addressed various challenges ranging from social chats to jigsaw puzzles to  demonstrate their programming expertise and mettle in technological innovation.

The winning group titled Latch, used Node JS, Django & Bots to create a social chat application. They walked home with a cash prize of Rs. 3 Lakhs. The first runners-up titled Offline Champs, demonstrated how to cache and update content offline using Magnolia CMS on the iOS Platform. They won a cash prize of Rs 2 Lakhs.

The second runners-up, titled: Sparks, created a smart solution for push notifications for all mobile platforms using Node JS and won a cash prize of Rs. 1 Lakh. Special jury awards of Rs. 25,000 each were also given to three promising participants.

The panel of judges consisted of business leaders from ITC Infotech’s partners and global clients, such as KONE, Sutter Health and Woolworths along with senior leaders from ITC’s businesses.

Commenting on the success of the event, Ms Sushma Rajagopalan, CEO & MD, ITC Infotech, said

iTech is not just another technology event but an innovation platform that creates an ecosystem of students, IT professionals, entrepreneurs,  start-ups, technology enthusiasts, clients and partners to create solutions for real business challenges. With each passing year, iTech has grown into an extremely  sought after platform,  inspiring new waves of technological advancements and innovations. This year again, it was successful in spotting the best talents across the country and brought to light the great technology potential of ‘Digital India’. Like each year, we will work closely with the winners and help them implement their solutions and assist them in gaining global market access in an accelerated time frame.

The third chapter of iTech 2017 received around 3,500 entries for its codeathon and 36 teams were shortlisted for the final round of development. For Start-up Showcase, 15 shortlisted start-ups were invited to showcase their solutions at the event as a part of the start-up showcase. Adding to the success of iTech 2015 and iTech 2016, iTech 2017 was another milestone achieved in nurturing the digital ecosystem and bringing together entrepreneurs to celebrate technology.

About iTech 2017

iTech, an ITC Infotech initiative, is an annual technology innovation platform. The platform focussed on leveraging emerging and disruptive technologies to create business-ready solutions, for addressing some of the most challenging problems faced by the industry. For more information, please visit iTech 2017

ITC Infotech, a global scale full service provider of technology solutions and a fully-owned subsidiary of ITC Ltd have announced the third edition of its flagship annual co-creation and technology innovation platform iTech 2017. The event will take place at the ITC Infotech campus in Bangalore on 22nd and 23rd of July, 2017.

This year, iTech 2017 will run two parallel tracks, a startup ‘Showcase’ segment and ‘Codeathon’. For ‘Showcase’, ITC Infotech will invite startups to demonstrate solutions leveraging Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cognitive Computing, Automation, Deep Learning, Natural Language Processing and Bots, to address specific business challenges. These real-world industry challenges are crowdsourced from across ITC Infotech’s global client base, as well as from ITC Ltd.

Some of these use cases include:

  • Voice-controlled AI devices/technologies (such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, Siri or Cortana) to improve inpatient hospital experience by providing an intelligent virtual assistant to hospital patients
  • Identify patterns in Loyalty customers and drive proactive engagement for Retail, Consumer Goods, Travel and Hospitality
  • Enable personalized marketing [across industries, including Banking, Insurance, Retail, Consumer Goods, Healthcare, Insurance, Travel and Hospitality]
  • Predictive Maintenance in factories
  • Yield prediction for Agriculture
  • Identification of pest [insects, diseases, weeds etc.] through image analysis, and recommender system for remedies
  • Golden Batch Analysis in Process Manufacturing – Control limits for various process parameters and Predictive & prescriptive composition of raw material
  • AI based Trade promotion/campaign management

The Codeathon segment will see 40 teams, shortlisted from the entries received, face-off in a race against time to create code components for complex business applications. Participants can present their ideas across challenge areas provided by ITC Infotech. The event is free and open to all students, professionals, developers and early stage technology startups.

Ms. Sushma Rajagopalan, MD & CEO, ITC Infotech, said

iTech is where young technology disruptors and innovators from across India come together to celebrate all things ‘new’ in technology. Technocrats and business leaders from across our global client base will be joining us for these two days to understand how they can unlock the untapped opportunity within their organizations through the latest digital technologies. With iTech 2017, we will be bringing together some of the sharpest technology minds to compete, create and code, while interacting closely with the vibrant ecosystem of entrepreneurs and business leaders of the future.

An exciting addition to iTech 2017 for technology startups is the ITC Infotech Grant of Rs. 5 Lakhs for a paid POC, and the opportunity to partner with the company in creating a thriving ecosystem to foster technology innovations. With the phenomenal success of iTech 2015 and iTech 2016, ITC Infotech is excited to host iTech 2017 and recreate an innovation platform to ‘Experience Intelligence’.

About iTech 2017

iTech, an ITC Infotech initiative, is an annual technology innovation platform. The platform will focus on leveraging emerging and disruptive technologies to create business-ready solutions, for addressing some of the most challenging problems faced by the industry. For more information, please visit iTech 2017

Flipkart announced a one-of-a-kind hackathon to crowdsource innovative, implementable solutions from the tech community and concerned citizens, that could help ease Bengaluru’s perennial traffic problem. Termed Gridlock Hackathon, the initiative marks the start of the ‘Month of Innovation’ at Flipkart, a part of its 10 year anniversary celebrations.

Image Source – Flipkart Gridlock Hackathon

The contest will run from June 7, 2017 until June 21, 2017 and is open for technology centric solutions, as well as those that partially leverage technology through out-of-the-box thinking.

Key Highlights

  • Hackathon to crowdsource innovative tech solutions to help ease Bengaluru’s traffic issues
  • Participation is free & open to all
  • Register and submit entries on Flipkart Stories

Ravi Garikipati, CTO and Head of Engineering, Flipkart said

Flipkart was born in Bengaluru as an innovative tech company that has over the years changed the way India shops. We believe in open innovation which means that society at large should benefit from whatever we do as a company.

Gridlock Hackathon is an important part of our 10th anniversary celebrations and we want to engage with tech folks as well as citizens to try to collectively find some innovative solutions to Bengaluru’s traffic woes. The idea is to give back in some way to the city we all love, and ensure it retains the vibrant ecosystem that has been a major catalyst in the growth story of Flipkart and so many other companies.

The hackathon will initially run online and participants can submit tech or partially-tech solutions for macro problems like Bengaluru’s overall traffic, or traffic snares in specific areas like Silk Board, KR Puram, etc. All entries will be judged on parameters like impact, feasibility, scalability and sustainability, and completeness. The teams or individuals with the best entries will get a chance to present their solutions to a panel of esteemed jury, who will pick the best 3 ideas.

State Bank of India-Collaborative Innovation Centre launched SBI National Hackathon – Code For Bank, an API Hackathon Platform for developers, start-ups and students to put their thinking caps on and come up with ideas and solutions that can change the way banking is done in India. From a technology standpoint, Bank views APIs as a set of micro-services that are individual or a combination of use cases, around which a mash-up of applications can be developed on-the-fly.

Image Source – SBI Hackathon

In the age of digital Banking, SBI is organizing this Hackathon with an objective to invite start-ups, developers and partners to collaborate, ideate and co-develop disruptive and innovative solutions spearheading Indian Banking Technology Landscape. The bank’s effort is to promote an Outcome based Technology Culture amongst Start-ups and Developers with the focus on Developing Cutting Edge Solution for Bank in an agile manner. This will put in focus the Business Value driven by Technologies like Predictive Analytics, Fin-Tech/Blockchain, Digital Payments, IOT, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, BOTS and Robotic Process Automation.

In the phase-1, participants can register their idea during 20th – 29th May 2017 followed by Hackathon which will start from 6th June 2017 and ends on 20th June 2017.  The initiative will allow participants comprising a team of maximum five people to develop applications or solutions using only SBI APIs, only external APIs and a combination of SBI APIs and External APIs.

SBI keeps innovation on priority and CODE FOR BANK 2017 [C4B 2017] is bank’s biggest step in launching this platform for start-ups and developers in India. The initiative will a part of APIfication Strategy and Transformation which is developed by SBI Collaborative Innovation Centre to create a Boundary less and collaborative development ecosystem which is Technology Agnostic, Agile and completely Digital.

Today all Emerging technology is becoming API based, Fintech is Disruptive, RegTech for Banks is gaining and everything is on Mobile. Banks have to respond to VUCA world [Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous] and local themes like Demonetization, Financial Inclusion, Digital Payments, etc.

C4B 2017 will help drive both External and Internal Innovation. Developers can quickly get an Application Ecosystem View, learn the Bank Technology DNA and start developing solutions using the APIs available on the platform.

For more information, please visit SBI Code For Bank