Last weekend Vaisala took part in Junction 2018, the largest hackathon in Europe and a meeting point for more than a thousand developers and designers from around the world. Vaisala participated in the hackathon with two challenges: one from Weather and Environment (“Actually Useful Weather”) and another from Industrial Measurements (“Hack the Sauna”). Winners of different challenges and whole hackathon were chosen on Sunday November 25, 2018.
“It is great that we have these kinds of events, bringing some of the brightest young minds together with businesses. In Junction, teeming with over thousand developers, we were able to highlight in practice how also Vaisala’s products and business are increasingly based on versatile software development projects. Junction is full of energy and great spirit, and it is a fruitful platform for creative thinking that can generate truly unique business ideas that might otherwise remain undiscovered,” concludes Sampsa Lahtinen, Executive Vice President, Vaisala Industrial Measurements.
“We were excited to be part of Junction this year and wanted to make young developers aware of the fact that at Vaisala we have intriguing projects from embedded measurement software to cloud services. In the challenges, we wanted to inspire participants’ creativity but also link them to our technology: we were not looking for solutions to known challenges but wanted the participants to find new problems and applications where Vaisala’s data can be used,” explains Ari Alanko, Head of Software, Hardware and User Experience at Vaisala.
Team Should I Go snatched the first place in Vaisala’s “Actually Useful Weather” challenge. The aim of the challenge was to apply weather and environmental data – past, present and/or forecasts – for building a specific application instead of a general all-purpose weather app. Should I Go won the challenge with their solution ”Gathering weather data and living cost data to suggest best locations for travelling”.
We had a chance to chat with the winning team, consisting of four members Arturs Znotins, Siiri Talvistu, Mathias Luick and Roberts Dargis. The whole team was happy with the busy and friendly spirit of the event. “Thanks to the good organization, we were able to focus on our product. Our wish for the event was to accomplish a useful product – we never even pictured to get as far as winning the challenge,” the team describes.
What drew the team to Vaisala’s challenge was the possibility to create a solution that could be used also after the hackathon. “First we looked at the challenge and then we focused more on the weather data to identify the problem we wanted to tackle.”
As all the members are travelers, they were able to relate to the importance of weather data when planning a trip. Thus they came up with their winning application: a web-based solution that suggests the best places for travel based on weather data as well as cost of living expenses in each location. With the application, users are able to find the ideal location for their individual needs and hobbies: for example skiing, snowboarding or sunbathing.
“The project was unique and fulfilled our creative and innovative requirements. We were impressed with the user-friendly approach. Should I Go’s application combines weather data to other information cleverly in a way that could truly benefit holiday-goers,” says Alanko.
The runner-up places in challenge went to projects Weather Player and rairAI.biz.
The aim of Vaisala’s Industrial Measurements challenge “Hack the Sauna” was to improve the sauna experience by using environmental measurements from an actual sauna in the event. Vaisala installed industrial grade sensors to the sauna and provided an API for the hackers to access real-time and historical measurement data. The challenge was won by the project Make Sauna Great Again (MaSGA) that created a web application, turning various measurements from the sauna into a great user experience. The app could also inform the sauna master what to do next to optimize the experience, for example to throw more water onto stove.
“We chose the winner based on how they approached the challenge and solved it”, says Riku Hakala, R&D Manager at Vaisala. “The winning team was actively gathering real feedback from the sauna users and were able create a model to map the measurements into user experience. They had a curious mindset to understand the problem and to learn the things behind the measurements. Their outcome was a web app with clear focus and simple UI”, says Riku Hakala, R&D Manager at Vaisala.
The runner-ups of the “Hack the Sauna” challenge were projects Talking Sauna and BMC – Blazing Measurements and Controls.
The winner of the whole Junction 2018 is the team Oneiro with their project Mobility Track for Ensto’s challenge.