Urban innovation was in the air this past weekend as over 60 entrepreneurs and tech innovators gathered together at Galvanize in Downtown Phoenix for our largest civic technology competition to-date.
The Cisco IoT Challenge is a month long hackathon that challenges local developers to affect real, positive change in Phoenix through the practical application of innovative IoT solutions. Through a new kind of public-private-people partnership, iDP, Cisco and the city of Phoenix Public Works Department will provide unprecedented FREE access and training, directly from Cisco, on cutting-edge technologies to these local developers and empower them to build gigabit IoT solutions to help the city move closer to its goal to achieve Zero Waste.
At 10am on Saturday morning, to a near capacity room, we kicked off our challenge with a quick overview of iDP and our mission to transform the greater PHX region into a living lab for smart city and IoT technologies through collaborative civic innovation such as the Cisco IoT Challenge.
Cox Communications and US Ignite
David Daniels from Cox Communications, an instrumental innovation partner for iDP and Phoenix, and Bill Wallace, Executive Director of US Ignite, then presented a compelling vision for a future Smart PHX, one completely connected to the gigabit network. They described how this new Smart & Connected PHX would transform the region into a test bed for these innovators to develop and deploy next generation applications that could dramatically alter the way in which we live, work and learn.
City of Phoenix Public Works Department
With that vision simmering in their heads, it was then time for the city to inspire the participants with their reverse pitch. Public Works Director John Trujillo set the stage with some unbelievable statistics regarding the amount of trash the city collects in a year (if you didn’t know its enough to fill Chase Ball Park 7 times!). Lisa Faison and Felipe Moreno then pitched 3 concrete issues that they needed solved. Before leaving they challenged each and every team to think big, think innovative, and think sustainable.
With that it was time to get down and dirty with some technology. Mike Doenges, Consulting Systems Engineer for IoT Cisco, provided hands on training on the Edge Analytics Platform and their industrial routers and switches, which are commonly implemented in large scale IoT programs. The participants will be able to utilize these resources FREE of charge as they create their innovative solutions.
Over the next month, the 40 teams of developers will participate in the "Hack at Home" portion of the competition, where they will utilize existing City of Phoenix data sets and APIs to develop brand new solutions for the City of Phoenix Public Works Department. All teams will have exclusive access to city officials and technology mentors during this time, and will submit their proposals for the new solutions at the conclusion of the "Hack at Home" period. At that point, the top ten solutions will be selected to move on to the Cisco IoT Challenge Finale event, where the remaining teams will give a live pitch of their solution in front of a panel of judges consisting of City, Cisco and IDP officials, as well as waste technology experts. A Grand champion will be crowned live on stage and will receive $20,000 to continue developing their idea into an implementable and scalable solution, to be used by the City of Phoenix, and potentially other cities across the country.
The kickoff event was a great success and multiple implementable solutions are expected to be created as a result of this collaboration. Be on the look out for more information as to how the competition unfolds or how you can get involved in other events such as this.