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SHIFT students WIN Smart Cities Hackathon!

Tuesday June 9, 2020

Working together as part of a team is second nature for SIGNAL students. But completing a capstone SHIFT Industry Project while tackling a three-week long Hackathon, all during the middle of a global pandemic - that's team work! 

Four Christchurch SHIFT students, along with an Ara student took up the challenge; Matt Hall, Daniel Gilmour, John McLean and Manpreet Narang, together signed up to the Smart Christchurch Hackathon @Ara supported by Christchurch City Council Smart Cities Programme and Ministry of Awesome and run through Te Ōhaka - the Centre for Growth and Innovation which is hosted by and at Ara.  

The programme concept was to explore new technology and approaches that could be applied to current issues of wastewater management, and that can potentially make a positive impact in the wider community.

The 2020 Smart City Christchurch 'Flow Watch' team work remotely through Level-4 Lockdown.

The team got straight in, working remotely to develop a tech-based solution.

"We already had ideas on drinking water quality, residential water wastage, water quality for recreational uses, but we needed more!" said team member, Matt Hall. 

The Smart Water team put in overtime and worked through the weekends, they had Zoom meetings with local innovation consultants and even bio-tech specialists based in India, all providing great insight and focus for the group.

"This is a fast-moving competition, so we gathered as many ideas as possible initially before we started narrowing down the options and settling on one of them" said Matt.

By week two the team had narrowed the scope of their solution to be more user friendly and begun designing and prototyping their concept, 'Flow Watch'. The smart solution that was developed was based on the use of smart meters providing residential water users near real-time data on the water use.

'Flow Watch', the Smart Cities Water Management winning concept

After three weeks of market research, idea generation and prototyping, Flow Watch was pitched to a panel of judges, including SIGNAL Board member and Ara Head of Enterprise and Digital Innovation Nigel Young, on Tuesday 9 June, and their smart water meters solution was voted as the winning concept.

"Working as a team to develop something that’s useful for the environment and the wider community, have definitely been the highlights for us all." says Matt.

The effort and volume of collaboration involved by all these teams members is awesome work, congratulations and well done!

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