Innovation is in the House

By Special Guest
November 19, 2018

Sigfox hosted an IoT creativity pitch event last week in Silicon Valley, where three teams showed off inventive solutions powered by LPWAN connectivity.

From the San Francisco Bay Area Hacking House, the twelve participants – including students, developers and freelancers from around the globe – were asked to bring forward ways to solve business and environmental issues, pitching their IoT solutions to top mentors and technologists.

The three solutions were:

Connected Seals
Designed to create accountability within container shipping, this solution alerts companies engaged in import and export activity when container seals are removed. In contrast to competitive solutions, this application delivers the information needed in a simple, cost-effective and recyclable way.

Lali Wildfire Detection
Created in response to California’s recent, terrifying wildfires, this application identifies and alerts firefighters when and where a fire starts, providing them with the information needed to quickly reach and contain the fire before causing widespread damage.

42 Robolab
This connected shelf app tracks inventory in real-time, providing data on top-performing products enabling retailers to intelligently manage orders.

The participants underwent intensive IoT and Sigfox technology training over the course of three months leading up to the competition last week.

“We are looking for real dreamers and problem solvers,” added Moojan Asghari, Hacking House manager at Sigfox. “Our mission is to provide an environment for these young talents to help them explore their potentials. It is crucial to have a team that learns from each other’s experiences and whom together move the goal post.”

The Hacking House program is made possible through partnerships with 42 Silicon Valley, host of the inaugural Hacking House, and VANTIQ, Sigfox’s premiere application platform provider.

Based on disruptive and feasibility criteria, the panel of judges – which included Ethan Haigh from HAX, Tim Robinson from IBM, Geraldine Le Meur from The Refiners and Raouti Chehih from Sigfox, as well as experts from vertical industries spanning retail, logistics and forest protection – evaluated teams on their abilities to deliver a product or a service to targeted industries.

Every team will benefit from a post-program follow-up as alumni of the Hacking House program. The three teams will also receive full support from Sigfox to continue their projects as startups or individual projects. This includes support from Sigfox’s network of incubators, accelerators, VCs and investors, to help teams transform their ideas into real products and services.

“I could very easily define this experience as a key personal and professional point in my life,” said Alberto Mannil from the Connected Seal team. “Before I came, I had the concern that my skills weren't relevant enough for the job to be done. Turns out, without having any coding or programming skills, I can still be a vital member of the team. It was a challenging experience. We needed to hack problems with the least resources. If we were lacking a certain skill, one of us had to learn the skill, if we were lacking a contact, one of us had to make and build the relationships.”

The teams will be offered opportunities within Sigfox and its ecosystem (Sigfox Corporation, Sigfox Operators in countries or startups, SMEs or larger companies of the largest global IOT ecosystem).

“When time, budget and resources are limited, you need to step away from the traditional design and fabrication methods. It is now that you must force yourself to dare to think differently and ‘out of the box.’ I have found that the best way to get appropriate dynamic solutions is through crafting a unique and diverse team. A variety of cultures and viewpoints seem, at least to me, to yield the best results, and the Hacking House program provides just such opportunities,” added Ashley Dara Dotz, co-Founder at Field Ready and mentor at the Hacking House.

“The potential for IoT knows no borders,” said Raouti Chehih, chief adoption officer, Sigfox. “Adoption, on the other hand, has historically been limited by device cost, battery consumption and solution scalability. Sigfox technology overcomes these barriers, enabling solutions to real world problems. We educate tomorrow’s IoT innovators on our technology and we demonstrate what can be achieved with low power wide area IoT connectivity. We also had the chance to be supported by 42 Silicon Valley and its CEO, Kwame Yamgnane, who brought its expertise in education and entrepreneurship, it was a real chance to build this new concept with their full support.”

While the inaugural Hacking House has commenced, Sigfox is accepting applications for the next Hacking House season in the San Francisco Bay area and an additional Hacking House in Taipei, both opening in Q1 2019. Candidates interested in participating in the next season can apply on or before January 11, 2019.

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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