This weekend saw The Big IoT Hack run at Desk Lodge with the aim to see how Smart technology could improve life in Basingstoke. It gave us a tantalizing glimpse into the future of Basingstoke. The challenge was set by Basingstoke and Deane Council to improve issues with the environment, health and business and the delegates job was to answer those challenges with a technical solution. Five teams were formed on Friday evening and they brainstormed initial ideas before selecting one to work on. Then on Saturday morning the pressure was on to develop a solution that they could demonstrate to our panel of judges by Sunday afternoon! Long hours and hard work lay ahead to achieve this but all the teams rose to the challenge.

In order that the teams could develop a working solution we were deeply indebted to our partners Pycom and Microsoft who provide the technology on which the solution could be built. They provided the delegates with access to low-level hardware and sensor technology and an Azure Cloud platform as a starting point for development. First thing Saturday morning the teams received extensive training from the partners on how to get the environment up and running to collect data and pass it to the cloud for processing. Then it was into the serious development of the solution with the back up of fantastic support from the Pycom and Microsoft teams who were present to help them move forward and resolve any problems they encountered.

The pressure went up a notch on Sunday as time started to run out and the demo sessions loomed. So who were our teams and what were they developing?

Team Samplair

This team was made up of Robert, Dick and Christian. The challenge they set out to tackle was the hot topic of air quality in Basingstoke. Their idea was to try to “crowd source” air quality measurement from a mixture of people, bikes, cars and buses to gather real time data and speed the roll out air quality measurement.

Team SHM

This team was made up of Peter, Andrew, Rob and Damian. The challenge they set out to tackle was how to reduce anti-social behaviour in Basingstoke. Their plan was to gather video and audio from already installed CCTV in Basingstoke and then using artificial intelligence (AI) they would identify signs of anti-social behaviour. Identified cases would then be prioritised for display to security personnel so that monitoring of multiple CCTV feeds becomes much more efficient.

Team Evolution

This team was made up of Ishant, Phil, Lawrence and Ben. The challenge they set out to tackle was supporting the mental wellbeing of young people in Basingstoke. They planned to use the relationship between heart rate variance and emotional stress as an early indicator of problems with mental wellbeing and then sign post young people to sources of help.

Team The ‘A’ Team

This team was made up of Lewis, Som, Mayur, Dan, Nigel and Ben. The challenge they set out to tackle was increasing cycle use in Basingstoke. They plan to deploy Smart technology to track bike journeys in Basingstoke and use the data to reduce journey times, manage incidents and design cycle routes that make it easier and safer for people to cycle.

Team Lifecycle

This team was made up of Anthony, Robin and Vitali. The challenge they set out to tackle was supporting independent businesses in Basingstoke. They plan to use Smart technology to help independent stores compete more effectively with on-line retailers by tracking shelf stocking levels and using that to guide consumers to stores that have what they want in stock.

Judgement Day!

3.30, Sunday 28th April – Judgement Day! Now our teams had to present and demo what they had come up with over the last two days. Our judges assembled, heard the pitches, saw the demos and then went into a huddle to decide a winner. Finally the teams could relax, they had done all they could, now it was in the hands of the judges. Head judge John Morton gave us the scoop. Team “The ‘A’ Team” was our winner and received the prize of 6 months of SETsquared business support. What a great hack event and what great ideas were presented by all. Amazing!