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Hacking the Way To New Industrial Solutions at SWITCH 2018

The Digital Predix Hackathon 2018 was held as part of the recent Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology, SWITCH 2018.

General Electric (GE) recognises that a remarkable future isn’t just built on gradual innovation, it’s set to be driven by visionary disruption, and GE wants to play an active role in it.  The Digital Predix Hackathon, co-organised with GE Singapore and FocusTech Ventures (FTV), offered a unique opportunity for innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs to explore their ideas through access to GE’s significant industrial assets in Energy, Renewables and Healthcare, all guided and supported by experienced GE Digital instructors.

Participants at the event not only enjoyed a unique opportunity to innovate on an industrial scale, but three winning teams also had the chance to be considered for a Startup SG Founder grant of SG$30,000 through FocusTech Ventures. If that wasn’t enough, each team also had the possibility to win one ticket per team to visit the John F. Welch Technology Centre (JFWTC) in Bangalore, India – GE’s largest global lab outside the US.

With all that opportunity to explore, we spoke with two teams – Prefix, the overall winner, as well as the start-up and healthcare challenge winner, Overlay Technologies to figure out what the hack they made of it all.

Hacking the way to Success

Overall Winner: Logfront

Representative: Benjamin Ong

The Process:  We enjoyed the process of thinking through the user experience for the field technicians and discussing how to make the web application as simple and as effective as possible.

The Solution: We worked hard and tried to integrate as many GE Predix technologies as possible into our web application.

The Result:  We’re looking into developing further projects in healthcare and exploring the different ways our startup can collaborate with GE.

The Reflection: This competition has been very fulfilling. We learnt a lot from our GE mentors, and it’s given us a good understanding of the challenges and opportunities in the industrial space.

Featured Start-up & Healthcare Winner: Overlay Technologies

Representative: Maryam Azh

The Process:  Using the Predix platform, we developed a proof of concept within a short timeframe. On the modular Predix architecture, we separately built and fine-tuned the machine learning models and achieved a minimum viable product with substantial savings on time and resources.

The Solution: The scalable architecture we built on top of the simulated environment means we can now quickly validate our solution with real data, bringing immediate benefits to the healthcare field service use case.

The Result: We look forward to bringing the proof of concept to production level, to contribute to service workflow efficiencies with artificial intelligence and augmented reality technologies, in alignment with Overlay Technologies’ expansion and growth plans.

The Reflection: Through the program, we observed similar challenges faced by the healthcare industry, implying the opportunity to deploy Overlay solutions in this domain.

Hacking the Expert Insight

GE’s Digital Predix Hackathon was made possible thanks to the valuable support of seven industry experts, offering their extensive insight to judge the competitors of this year’s competition. So let’s hack into a bit of that expert opinion to explore how this year’s competitors held up, and the importance of such events for the future of innovation.

Name: Dr Ho Chaw Sing

Role: Managing Director of National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (NAMIC )

The Hack to Victory: The winning team stood out for its innovative application of the Predix platform, as well as the ability to create a solution that was very close to a minimum viable product. The diversity of the team was key for me – the different strengths and domain expertise, blending and complementing one another perfectly. In all organizations, the key differentiator is the people. Prefix had a very talented team with a good leader. Good talent, working together as a team, makes all the difference.

Quality Shows: All the teams stood out for me in their unique ways. The teams have obviously spent a lot of effort and time to adopt the platform to address the problems they were solving. The winning teams, in particular, stood out with the potential of their solutions to be developed and commercialised further.

The Value of a Good Hack: I want to congratulate GE Digital, and encourage more such hackathons and competitions to be curated, to promote greater industry-relevant platform solution awareness. As Thomas Edison famously said – “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” The process is as important as the product.

 Name: Prabhnoor Jolly

Role: Vice President of GIC Labs 

The Hack to Victory: The winning entry’s proposed solution very clearly addressed the challenge posed. Their product appeared to be well-developed and was showcased via an impressive demo, with the presentation crisp and well-delivered.

Quality Shows: I was very impressed by the general standard of the participants, especially since most of them did not have extensive prior domain knowledge within the three challenges posed. The effort put in by the teams was visible in their presentations.

The Value of a Good Hack: The industrial world is undergoing rapid technology-fuelled disruption and is competing for talent with other dynamic sectors. I believe that short, high-intensity programs such as hackathons are an effective means to give young talent a preview of the very interesting problems to be solved in this space, provide relevant insights on the sector, and offers a practical demonstration of how their skills can be useful.

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