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News  5, Jul 2012

Meet the 6 innovative urban solutions that came from UP Singapore’s hackathon

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Asia’s first ground-up innovation experiment UP Singapore shares six solutions for urban challenges created in a 48-hour hackathon.

From a one-stop portal which addresses the needs of families of Singapore’s aging population, to apps that will reserve parking spaces in major buildings (in the same way you would book seats in a cinema) and help to eliminate excessive use of aircon in public buildings. These represent just three out of the six shortlisted prototypes developed by teams of engaged citizens at UP Singapore’s recent hackathon. The six teams are also eligible to compete for a government grant and business support worth S$250,000 for further development.

During the World Cities Summit from 1st to 4th July in Singapore, ClimateRight won the Most Innovative Idea Award, and had a chance to showcase their prototype at the UP Singapore booth. Here are the descriptions of the top six ideas during the UP Singapore Hackathon:

Grandate – a mobile app which acts as a one-stop portal for you to find all information needed to plan a date out with your granny. The app uses crowd-sourced data to identify the best venues and activities catering to the older generation. It also allows for redemptions and encourages social media interaction. The team hopes that this app will help promote active ageing through intergenerational bonding and motivate the younger generation to provide for Singapore’s ageing population

ClimateRight – a mobile app which uses the crowd to detect comfort levels in buildings. As energy systems in buildings get smarter, real-time feedback on comfort can be used to adjust them on the fly, saving huge amounts of energy, money and discomfort. The app also fosters community interaction in office buildings.

SurePark – a mobile app which allows you to reserve parking lots in major buildings (the same way you would book seats in a cinema) and have a lot number allocated to you upon arrival. Existing infrastructure in the sensors in major parking lots offer live data feeds on the availability of parking lots, while predictive modeling of utility and exit rates allows you to book the next available slot. The technology also allows for the app to predict pending rush-hour traffic in specific lots within a 24-hour period. This will help alleviate much of the current inconveniences with traffic, and drive revenue streams for parking companies at the same time.

Liveliness – an app that helps individuals identify their desired ambience through the use of smart phones (using telco data to track density of people) by feeding this information to a crowd-sourced map in real-time. The app redefines the location app and allows you to pick a location according to your preference of ambience – lively, quiet etc.

Postcode Postcard – this concept is based on the idea of visualising data around us through a beautiful and simple interface. This initiative helps make data tangible to those who are not online. These postcards provide visual aids that help you make sense of energy consumption, congestion, weather, traffic and any other data that is available. A working prototype available on the website http://postcode.dreamsyntax.org/

iComplain – a mobile app that allows all Singaporeans to share their complaints on a convenient platform and lets others share similar thoughts and interact. This app serves to foster community bonding through providing a user-friendly mobile platform for locals and resident to do what they love best – complain!

Photo: Team Grandate at World Cities Summit

We also had the chance to speak to Gia Phua, one of the team member of Team Grandate on her experience at the UP Singapore hackathon. “It was my first hackathon. To me, UP Singapore hackathon appealed to me because of its commitment to solve the various urban challenges in Singapore, not just any other hackathon that seeks to create new softwares or improve existing ones. During the first day of the event, every idea pitched has a social angle to it, and that is what makes people respond to this event. UP Singapore doesn’t focus much on money making and you are not forced to find a business model to your idea, but as long as it serves a social needs, every idea is welcomed. It realises that an all rounded team is needed to solve urban challenges, not just computer programmers who are needed, to collaborate intensively on projects.”

About UP Singapore:

UP Singapore is an experiment in ground-up urban innovation. Over 200 of the country’s most engaged engineers, designers and developers formed teams and collaborated for an intensive 48-hour event last weekend. Demonstrating how the creative use of technology and big data can improve the nation’s urban environment, participants had the rare opportunity to access and experiment with previously unavailable big data sets from both government and corporates including; SingTel, EZ Link, SMRT, Ministry of Health Holdings and the Land Transport Authority.

Jacky Yap

Jacky Yap

Having spent one year abroad in Shanghai under the NUS Overseas College Programme, Jacky has an avid interest in entrepreneurship and web based startups. Jacky used to run N-House, Singapore's first entrepreneurial themed residence in NUS, and was also part of the organizing team for Startup Weekend Singapore 2012. You can reach him at jacky [at] e27 [dot] co

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