Eighteen04 and the City of Newcastle worked with Laughing Mind to host #SoNewy - an #UrbanIOTHack from 25-27 October 2018, for teams to Connect, Build + Inspire. This tech-infused open hackathon event saw teams get hands on with emerging technology to create foundation elements for a vibrant, liveable city.

Attendees gathered on Thursday evening at Eighteen04 for briefing and to pitch the seed of their ideas, to inspire others to join forces with them for the day and a half journey ahead. 

Teams hit the ground running from 8am Friday morning to start assembling the building blocks of their concepts, planning out the teams activities. Fuelled with healthy snacks from Lynchs Hub, our caffeinated crews hatched creative concepts that drew on local inspirations.

One team integrated the parallel #reclaimthenight activities to draw inspiration and make urban wayfinding easy, personal and ambient; another explored how to heatmap growing crowds where smaller festivals and events might be occurring; a small, diverse and deeply talented team grappled with safety dimensions of rock fishing.

The ripples of engagement spread well beyond the room as teams set out to validate their ideas, spurred on by our onsite mentors to test assumptions, prove the demand and assess the adequacy of existing problem|solution patterns.

Encouraged by their discovery work, our diverse crews then set about the detailed build phase, mocking up concepts, registering domain names, 3D printing enclosures and bringing their teams up to speed on core IoT components that needed to be integrated. We watched over the course of Friday night as teams stayed connected, contributing and creating, reconvening on Saturday morning to support them through the final push to submission of their entries on DevPost by midday. Once done, with a celebratory WooHoo!, it was time to pause, eat and prepare for pitches to our guest judges from Anditi, Newcastle City Council, Spark Festival and Assemblient.

With pitches completed, our inspired judges convened to sift through the rankings, emerging with a consensus for our winners to receive their recognition, in the following order:
First prize: Team Luna, with their ambient, personalised lighting solution, targeting private facilities, campuses and events;
Second Prize: NewyIoT, with a new gateway product perfect for community engagement and exploration of IoT as a grassroots product, creating edge to edge coverage across our cityscape;
Third prize: PeepScape, with their heat map for showcasing where crowds are gathering and exploring, delivering insight for urban place engagement and activation-as-a-service.

Want to dig deeper into their entries? Head to DevPost, where you can explore and engage with their ideas, give them a boost, or get involved with taking their concepts forward. Our top 2 winners will now benefit from Eighteen04 startup supports to progress and refine their concepts. 

This hackathon was part of a collaborative startup engagement project between the City of Newcastle and Eighteen04. The project received grant funding from the Australian Government under its Smart Cities Smart Suburbs program, with event delivery managed as a collaboration with Laughing Mind.

This report is an abridged writeup of a longer event wrap at https://www.laughingmind.com/blog/sonewy-urban-iot-hack-sees-local-talent-shine-bright