Hackathon challenges teams are encouraged to tackle are grouped below into #SmartEnergy, #ConnectedCar, and #CircularEconomy sections. Some challenges have associated datasets which will be uploaded on GitHub.

#ConnectedCar Challenges

Developers and entrepreneurs interested in this emerging space are encouraged to think about a few hot areas ripe for innovation. For this hackathon, we’re looking for great ideas and app prototypes that would demonstrate user flows and experience (UX).

Our partner Vinli, offers a platform for developing apps; including APIs which provide data via OBD port found in all automobiles post-1996 and will soon have SDKs for the major mobile platforms. The Vinli Developer Advocacy team will be in attendance to guide the discussion and ideation towards apps which could have major impact. The focus of this hackathon will be on demonstrating UX flows and prototyped user experiences that will provide info-tainment, safety, efficiency and communications benefits.

Some questions to guide your thinking are below. These are not, however, meant to limit your creativity. Should you have any questions, please email dev@vin.liand we’ll be happy to discuss. For information on the Vinli platform, sign up for the developer portal beta API access: dev.vin.li

Challenge 1: Sensor Data

How could you use sensor data to improve efficiency, safety, etc.?

Challenge 2: Info-tainment

How would you solve the media streaming issue in-car? With your smart phone receiving data every second, we need tools that transfer that data to safetly With 4G LTE in the car, the opportunities for “info-tainment” are massive!

Challenge 3: V2V experiences

What sort of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) experiences could be designed? With “DSRC” coming in 2015, the possibilities for V2V communications, safety, traffic are boundless.

Challenge 4: B2B applications

What enterprise (B2B) applications would you develop for route efficiency, safety, etc?

Challenge 5: Electric vehicles

For electric vehicles (EV), what types of solutions might you create that would interface with the utility to regulate charging time and share or communicate usage data?

Should you proposed solutions required open data sets, we can help with sourcing and outreach to NL, great EU or US.

Blake Burris and Chris George, the Developer Advocacy team from Dallas-based Vinli, a connected car developer platform, will be on site to lead this part of the hackathon and provide mentorship to teams.

Vinli is a Techcrunch Disrupt SF finalist

#SmartEnergy Challenges

PowerMatcher Cases

The PowerMatcher is an open source technology that could revolutionise the way you or I use electricity. In a nutshell, the software creates a much more powerful tool to instantly match the supply and demand of any number of “agents” — real people, devices, markets — to generate an equilibrium in prices and electricity. Technically speaking, the PowerMatcher core application provides the marketing mechanism for determining the equilibrium, while the agents work as actors representing demand and/or supply. In practice, this means that the software can lower the technical barriers to ensure smooth operation for distributed generation, smart billing, or home energy management. Smarter electricity use could save both energy and money. PowerMatcher can be applied for different organisational levels; both at an individual household level and for larger electricity users. The larger flexibility and volume are, the more value can be created.

However, at the moment the PowerMatcher is not easy to use for independent developers and users. Solving the challenges described below could help make PowerMatcher more accessible. In addition to competing for winning the Hackaton, hackers who take on this challenge will have the potential to continue refining their applications for real adoption into the PowerMatcher network.

There will be a short presentation on Saturday morning to introduce the PowerMatcher software for teams that want to tackle a project using it.

Useful links:

Challenge 1: PowerMatcher App

Consumers that care about sustainability want to make sure the electrons that deliver the electricity they buy comes from renewable resources. In practice, this has been very difficult to ensure and communicate to customers.

The PowerMatcher software could help. The PowerMatcher software already matches variations of input from renewable sources with the flexible demand in houses or buildings (washing machines start their cycles when the wind blows). This can be used for instance to meet sustainability goals or for economic benefits.

However, the PowerMatcher software does not give specific insights into how these goals are reached. The goal in this challenge is to create an app that an electricity consumer could use to learn more about their electricity consumption and the source of their electrons. Some ideas:

  • Show which entity or cluster employs flexibility.
  • Show moments of most flexibility and which entity contributed the most.
  • Show monthly/weekly goals and if they are being reached.
Challenge 2: Billing

The goal in this challenge is to build a better billing system that rewards customer “flexibility” – in other words, being flexible about timing and amount of electricity demanded. From a system-wide perspective, this is incredibly important because it allows for higher levels of renewable penetration in the grid. From a grid point of view, clusters of users using PowerMatcher perform better than clusters of individuals who don’t use it.

This challenge has two separate parts and your team can tackle one or both sub-challenges.

Currently, individual customers billed using PowerMatcher do not get billed for their personal performance, but for the average performance of the entire grid around them. The obvious problem is that a customer who makes his or her energy use more flexible is not duly rewarded. Vice versa, customers who bring down performance of the cluster are not reprimanded. Better performance of a customer does not scale with the benefits the customer receives, that is dependent on the behaviour of the entire cluster. This sub-challenge asks you to create a billing system that bills every entity individually.

In technical terms, PowerMatcher balances the supply and demand of a cluster of electrical entities. Such a cluster can be formed by the devices of a household or by several households in a district. In most cases the goals of using PowerMatcher is to utilize flexibility in the cluster to gain economic benefits. These benefits are generated for the entire cluster and in the current situation the entire cluster gets billed as if it was one customer. This means that the economic gain from flexibility in the PowerMatcher cluster is averaged over all of the customers of the PV.

A related point of interest is the PowerMatcher can create settlements easier and better when users are more flexible (it’s easier to route unpredictable bursts of electricity from sun and wind if customers are willing to receive electricity as available). Currently, however, customers are billed on what is actually used and not on their flexibility. That is, in the current billing system we have no way of encouraging customers to be more flexible.

The second sub-challenge then, is to modify the billing system so it incentivises customers to be more flexible. The field is wide open: your team can choose any method you want to encourage your customers to be more flexible.

Challenge 3. Creating a Device agent

The PowerMatcher consists of several agents: an “Objective” agent, an “Auctioneer” agent, a “Concentrator” agent and a “Device” agent. The “Device” agent is connected to a device and it is responsible for buying and selling electricity on behalf of this device.

The problem here is that while the other three agents come in a limited set of possibilities and can be standardised for different applications of the PowerMatcher software, devices come in an innumerable array of varieties.

A decentralised Device Agent is a key aspect of the success of the system: how are the technical specs of the (electronic) device and the customer wishes translated to the PowerMatcher language. This is a very open-ended challenge. The goal of a team taking on this challenge is to create an application that adds another “Device Agent” to the PowerMatcher suite and works for a new device.

#CircularEconomy Challenge

CircYouLator is a publicly available, open source, online platform that visualizes potential links between the input required and output (products, waste, etc.) produced between companies within close geographical proximity. The goal of such an application would be to reduce logistics costs, waste streams, and environmental impacts by linking companies together in an industrial symbiosis.

The CircYouLator platform is a game changing tool that will enable the transition towards circular value chains by sparking a radical change in the way we use resources. It connects the dots to shorten chains and close loops.

The Challenge

Focus on a specific region and map all of the companies that exist within that region.

Develop an online platform using publicly available, open­source databases to list all of the material and energy inputs for each of the companies in the region, as well as their product and waste (materials orenergy) outputs.

Create an interactive tool for users of this platform to match inputs and outputs:

  1. Identify neighbors in close geographical proximity to source material and energy inputs
  2. Identify neighbors in close geographical proximity to sell their product and waste (materials orenergy) outputs

The platform should also be able to expand the database by incorporating information that users can submit.

Examples for reference

Conceptual version of what we would like for the CirYouLator:

Future steps

If the pilot tool that is developed during the hack­a­thon forms a strong basis for the circyoulator project, there may be opportunities to further develop the tool.