Hackathon in Szeged Agora: Team Competition of IT Specialists for a Smart and Green Szeged
The competition, organised by the Tech Embassy for IT specialists, was implemented with the support and partnership of IT Services Hungary Kft. (ITSH), LogMeIn and SASMob. Teams comprising 2-4 members with an appeal for technology related challenges were expected for the programming competition. Gathered in the IT and Presentation Centre of Szeged Agora, the teams had seven hours to build up and develop a new creative idea from scratch. For the competition, the database was supplied by SASMob. Based on information related to the community transport and air pollution of the city of Szeged, proposals had to be made on how Szeged could be made even more sustainable, green and smart. The city would like to see ideas which could later support the renewal of transport in Szeged.
In his short opening speech made before the competition, Sándor Nagy, Vice Mayor of Szeged, spoke about the mission of the SASMob project and the achievements made thus far. Talking on behalf of his company, Zoltán Tivolt, Innovation Manager of ITSH, mentioned inspiration, a supportive environment and cooperation within the community as key factors.
Before the event, the competitors had had the opportunity to take part in a professional workshop that offered guidelines regarding the process. They then had seven hours to elaborate their ideas, which each team had three minutes to present to the professional jury. The solutions presented mainly focused on transport optimisation – however, there were also ideas related to a higher level of efficiency in waste collection and smart homes.
At the result announcement ceremony, the first three teams were awarded valuable prizes. The winning team can take part in Junction 2020, the world’s most prestigious hackathon organised in Espoo, Finland, as well as in Budapest’s ChaosStack 2020. In addition, the team was also awarded a Google Home Hub, donated by ITSH.
ITSH supported the event not only as a sponsor but also delegated two members of their staff, Zoltán Tivolt and Máté Labádi, to help the work of the competing teams as mentors. As Zoltán Tivolt said, they support events like the Hackathon since they continuously seek contacts with innovative companies which provide the market with a variety of creative solutions."We are curious about their skills – but it is also important for them to have opportunities to show their knowledge. The goal is clear: if we find each other, we should create some successful joint solution, which helps both companies move forward. This is a classic win-win situation. We continuously raise awareness in our own staff of the fact that one of the advantages of working for us is that we strive to find creative, innovative solutions. Once we have them, they can be implemented in the framework of business relations" said Zoltán Tivolt. He added: “One of the reasons we are present at this event is that supporting young talents, disseminating the culture of innovation and financing efforts made to this end are integral parts of our innovation strategy."
On behalf of the company’s Szeged office, Ágnes Pataki added that the Szeged site of ITSH had been present in the city for ten years – and now was the time for them to significantly expand their local office. " All the work and conscious development done have brought results by now: in contrast to the former 60–70 headcount in Szeged, we now have 280 people working here, i.e. we have quadrupled our Szeged staff. We have created a new office in Bocskai Street as we have simply outgrown the building in Rókusi Boulevard" said Ágnes Pataki, who is also involved in recruiting. She also added that, besides Budapest and Szeged, ITSH also has sites in Debrecen and Pécs and now, seizing the opportunities offered by the local university’s education, now they employ educated local workforce at ITSH in Szeged. "As our mother company is German, we now have many colleagues who studied German at the university – and many could never imagine earlier that students could join an IT company after graduating from the Faculty of Arts, capitalising on their language skills " added Ágnes Pataki.
Edit Kószó works for the company as a project coordinator and one of her tasks is related to SASMob. "We are one of the companies that signed the partnership agreement for the project, which is implemented under the umbrella of the Urban Innovative Action Programme, with the municipal government of Szeged and, as a result, we, together with another 10 partner companies, take part in this EU call for proposals. One of our priorities is to encourage our colleagues to travel to work by public transport or on foot or bike. We are in the process of assembling a company bike fleet which our staff can use free of charge if they want to rent a bicycle for shorter periods of time, to cover short distances within the city – like bike to a nearby restaurant for lunch in their lunch break, run errands during the day or travel between our two Szeged offices.
We also want to encourage our employees to come to work in a car share scheme, for which an application has been developed as part of the SASMob Project, whose testing will shortly begin at ITSH and the other project partners. In essence, we encourage our staff to use the same car to come to work and travel home if they live close to each other, to share their car with one another " said Edit Kószó.