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Europe’s largest hackathon at Dipoli in Espoo created innovations for companies, which shared their data with an open mind

The main prize of Junction hackathon, 20 000 euros, was awarded to the Finnish team Oneiro (Picture: Junction | Aino Röyskö)

Despite the sleepless nights, spirits were high at the Junction hackathon on Sunday evening, and judging by the lingering smell, some very intense deving had taken place at the heart of the Otaniemi campus during the two days. In addition to the usual energy drink cans, the tables were littered with smoothie bottles, empty coffee cups and – no, not pizza boxes, but mandarin peelings. Even after 48 hours of non-stop innovation, people were able to summon the strength to cheer for the winners and organize into group photos at Sunday’s prize ceremony.

Out of 7,000 applications, 1,300 participants were selected for the event, developing over 300 new innovations and solutions for businesses and organizations during the weekend. The hackathon partner companies were required to share their data and business challenges openly with both the developers and the other organizations taking part. Traditionally, companies have guarded their information and processes jealously, but content sharing and joint development are beginning to gain ground as a method of operation. Many new innovations combine data and know-how from different players, adding value to the users of the services.

The Junction participants created hundreds of solutions to organisations during a weekend. (Picture: Junction | Iida Nenonen)

“A good example of combining a variety of data sources and services is the solution developed for Ensto by the Junction-winning team Oneiro, in which they utilized the Junction challenges of both Ensto and Telia,” says Tapio Levä, Telia’s Senior Business Manager, Analytics. “The team took their cue from platform economy and developed an application which allows the owner of an electric car charging point to rent the point to other electric car owners. The team used Telia’s Crowd Insights data to prove that electric car charging points are not found in all the places where a lot of people move about.”

More targeted Out-of-home advertising, better traffic planning, and shops in the right places

Telia’s Crowd Insights service provides anonymized data on the movement of people traffic. According to Levä, the service can be used to make better decisions based on data, and utilized wherever information is needed on the movement of people and how they spend their time.

“The service can be useful in a wide range of industries, as evidenced by the solutions created at Junction. Among other things, it can be used to develop public transport and place city bikes in the right places, analyse the impact of road works, and set up shops in the right places according to people traffic,” Levä explains.

The Telia Junction Challenge winning team, Alakantti, utilized data from Telia and JCDecaux in their solution. The team’s solution is intended for advertisers, who can use it to concentrate their digital Out-of-home advertising in places where large numbers of people congregate. The advertiser enters their budget and the time in the service, and the system then suggests suitable digital Out-of-home advertising locations based on Telia’s Crowd Insights data. In addition to better targeting, this saves time for the advertiser.

Team Alakantti, which won Telia's challenge, got to visit Telia's data center, in addition to other prizes. (Picture: Junction | Iida Nenonen)

“We felt immediately that Telia’s challenge was something that we as a team could contribute to. Crowd Insights data is incredibly precise, and it’s amazing that the mobile network creates this kind of data as a by-product. The way this data can be utilized in different contexts is really interesting,” says Ville Sillanpää from the Alakantti team.

Tapio Levä is pleased with the Alakantti team’s solution and with everything else they were able to take home from Junction: “We headed out to the hackathon to get new ideas and know-how. The participants had diverse and strong experience, which was also apparent in the results. It was great to see, for example, how machine learning was used to create forecast models, which means you’re not only relying on historical data, but also using the data to predict the future.”

The weekend showed that the best solutions are not created in a vacuum but when working together: “In our own customer solutions, we have found that the value gained by the customer increases when the data is aggregated and made more widely available to various actors. After this weekend, we have many ideas in our back pocket about new services for various fields that we will begin to develop with the Crowd Insights data,” Levä says.

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