Region’s Largest IIoT Hackathon: Four Days, Six Winners, 50 Teams, 250 Saudi Youth
Here’s what 250 young Saudis were doing during the last weekend in March: building apps to get machines to “talk” in a way that will improve operations at Saudi desalination plants, hospitals, and wind farms.
More than 50 teams participated in the four-day Saudi Digital Machines Hackathon, the Middle East’s largest-ever digital industrial hackathon. Complementing the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 to nurture Saudi human capital and to promote a culture of digital innovation, the event challenged developers to focus on three areas – water, healthcare and wind power – critical to the Kingdom’s development.
In the water sector, teams developed apps that used water supply and demand data to advise desalination plants on how much water to desalinate. The wind power challenge looked to create a dashboard for wind farms in Saudi Arabia that would provide operators with useful data. In healthcare, the challenge was to create a universal patient records system that could be used across multiple hospitals, was easy to adopt and simple to learn to operate.
The Industrial Internet of Things solutions focused on getting machines to share information about their performance and status with operators to improve decision-making, allowing for better operations and efficiency.
The young Saudi men and women participating in the event included software engineers, computer programmers, and user experience experts. During a two-day training, the participants were taught how to deploy and manage applications on Predix, GE’s application platform for the Industrial Internet of Things. They also learned the process of ingesting and modeling data using Predix Data Services and how to configure data flows for greater coding insights.
An international judging panel selected a winning team and a runner-up in all three categories. Winners included Team Lamda for water, which developed a solution that lowers energy consumption by providing visibility to seawater desalination plants regarding water demand. Digital Team developed a healthcare solution to migrated all hospital data to one normalization database sitting in the Predix cloud. Finally, Team Digitrans in the energy category created PreWindix, a solution that tracks the key performance indicators of wind turbines to help wind farm operators enhance operations by better using their turbines and enabling predictive maintenance.
“The Industrial Internet of Things has opened doors to limitless possibilities and we want to encourage Saudi youth to be partners in the digital transformation of the Kingdom by building their skillsets,” said Eng. Ali Saleh, Chief Commercial Officer, GE Digital Middle East, Africa & Turkey.
The Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MICT), the Small Medium Enterprise Authority (SMEA), GE, and Obeikan Digital Solutions collaborated to host the hackathon, which was run in conjunction with Hobby District, a Saudi-based startup focused on coding, software development, and the skills of the future. Tata Consultancy Services also joined hands to provide Predix mentorship support as part of their role in the GE Digital Alliance Program.
The Saudi Digital Machines Hackathon complements the goals of Vision 2030 to nurture Saudi human capital and to promote a culture of digital innovation that will support the economic and energy diversification initiatives currently being implemented in the Kingdom.
The first and second-place winners in each category will receive a mixture of cash prizes and Predix training and certification, to allow them to continue their journeys of digital industrial application development.
Predix is shaping the future of the Industrial Internet of Things. It is a purpose-built platform-as-a-service (PaaS) for developing, deploying, operating and monetizing Industrial Internet applications.
Read more stories here about GE’s support of Industrial Internet solutions for customers across the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan region.