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Numble announced as the overall winner of the online Smart Shipping Hackathon 2020

Who said you can’t organize huge events during a global pandemic? De Vlaamse Waterweg nv , EY and Antwerp Management School joined forces to organize the online Smart Shipping Hackathon on November 26 & 27. During less than 48 hours, a record number of 215 participants from all over the world worked together in several teams to build solutions for the future of Flanders inland waterways. De Vlaamse Waterweg nv defined 4 challenges: Crewless Lock Passage, Communication, Corridor Management, and Operations for the Future. At the end of the hackathon, the jury selected a winner per challenge and one overall winner: Numble.

Online Hackathon

Because of a well-known reason, this hackathon was transformed into a fully virtual event. EY The Factory was in charge of the practical organization, being the experts in organizing open innovation events, both physical and virtual. All hackers worked together in a virtual environment on Microsoft Teams and submitted their pitches on EY Cognistreamer.

The teams got support from a diverse group of experts who coached the hackers and answered their questions. EY also organized virtual workshops the teams could attend during the hackathon. The first workshop focused on how to build a strong business model. Not only is it important to build a strong prototype. The jury also evaluated to which extent projects are economically interesting and realistic to implement. Therefore, Jan De Clippeleer explained how to build a business model, using the Business Model Canvas. During the second workshop, team member Jelle Jacobs explained the ins and outs of a good pitch. It’s one thing to build a good solution. If you can’t pitch it in a convincing way, the jury might lose your attention!

The Teams space also included a ‘Fun Channel’, where the participants could share their hacking spaces, what they ordered for dinner, and, of course, the necessary cat pictures.

Smart Shipping

The Smart Shipping program of De Vlaamse Waterweg nv is an ambitious project that aims to fully optimize and digitize the use of inland waterways in Flanders. Flanders is one of the most traffic-congested areas in Europe. That’s why Smart Shipping aims to increase the share of inland shipping in freight transport in the interests of mobility and climate.

With these ambitions in mind, De Vlaamse Waterweg nv, EY, and AMS defined 4 challenges for this hackathon. Participants could choose which challenge they wanted to tackle:

  1. Crewless lock passage: How is an automated barge able to safely pass through a lock when no one is present on the barge?
  2. Communication: Which communication protocols should be implemented to enable safe navigation with automated and conventional barges?
  3. Corridor Management: How to enable corridor planning for both automated and conventional barges?
  4. Operations for the future: How should the government incorporate new technologies and organize their operations towards optimal traffic management?

And the winners are…

On day 2 of the hackathon, the teams had until 3 PM to submit their idea on the EY Cognistreamer platform. The jury evaluated all ideas, and after hours of tough deliberation, chose the winners. The winning teams were announced during a live award ceremony, attended by all participants and important stakeholders of the industry. Here they are:

Winner Challenge 1: Crewless Lock Passage

TU Delft – Smart Ropes

Smart Shipping Hackathon Winner challenge 1: TU Delft

Which problem are they solving?

“We are solving the issue of the mooring of automated vessels in navigation locks. As no people are present on either the vessel or in the lock, this mooring process needs to be automated.”

Description of the solution:

The main goal of the developed solution was an easy and viable implementation. To decide whether a solution was viable, we considered the costs of two men working in a lock helping with ropes. The costs of two 24/7 jobs to take over the mooring of un-manned vessels was estimated to be 28 million euros per year. Our solution must be cheaper in order to make it viable.

Winner Challenge 2: Communication

Flumensys Technologies – Flumen Platform

Winner Challenve 2: Flumensys

Which problem are they solving?

Communication between all user groups on the waterways.

Description of the solution:

A map-based communication platform that integrates infrastructural data, live location of vessels and boats, and provides services to unmanned/autonomous agents and remote control operators.

Winner Challenge 3: Corridor Management

Numble – Wave: Smart Navigation, made simple

Smart Shipping Hackathon Winner: Numble

Which problem are they solving?

Unclear and variable requested arrival times, waiting times along the trajectory (locks, congestion), and being dependent on external factors.

Description of the solution:

Wave automates your ship planning tasks by monitoring all relevant dependencies for your voyages in real-time.

You tell us where you go and where your cargo has to go (import/export, closing times), we do the rest. We give you the optimal route based on traffic and incidents, we match your arrival time with slots and arrivals or departures of seagoing vessels so your cargo is on the terminal in time, and we automate your communication with the authorities such as lock planners and port authorities.

Winner Challenge 4: Operations for the Future

Touch nothing call a Vessel Train – Remote Terminal for Vessel Train Application

Winner challenge 4: Vessel Train

Which problem are they solving?

How the vessel train concept can fit in the regulations, which requires people still in the “loop”

Description of the solution:

Remote terminal to improve reaction times of unmanned bridges

Numble as the overall winner of the hackathon

In the end, the ‘Wave’ project of Numble has also been elected as the overall winner of the Smart Shipping Hackathon. “First of all, big thanks for the organization of this hackathon! With our solution, we wanted to solve the frustrations of inland skippers and we wanted to show how much data is actually already available today. All these data needs to be centralized to fully benefit from the potential.”, Nicolas Maes, Business Developer of Port+ explains.

Numble - Wave Project Smart Shipping Hackathon

The team won a voucher of € 3000 to use on the Google Could Platform, a project feasibility study by De Vlaamse Waterweg nv, and 10 days of free consulting services by EY. “We really didn’t expect to win.”, Nicolas continues. “When we submitted our idea into Cognistreamer, we quickly took a look at the other ideas submitted for the challenge we were working on. We immediately realized the competition was tough with a lot of promising projects submitted. So first, we were really excited to hear we were the winners of Challenge 3! When they announced our project as the overall winner of the hackathon, we literally shouted during the ceremony, that’s how happy and surprised we were!”

“After the hackathon, we already met with the team to see how we can further develop the solution. During the hackathon, we only had time to create an MVP, so we want to keep working on the tool. Our team exists of operational people from Port+ and people with a more technical background from Numble. Today and in the next few weeks, we will try to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and collaborate closely with De Vlaamse Waterweg nv to hopefully implement our idea as soon as possible!”

All other winning teams won several prizes, offered by the hackathon’s partners and sponsors.

The advantages of an online hackathon

De Vlaamse Waterweg nv is very pleased with the results of the hackathon and the organization of this online event. Krista Maes, Operational Director at de Vlaamse Waterweg, explains why: “This hackathon was a very valuable initiative. Together with creatives in the business and academics from all over the world, we wanted to encourage innovative thinking in our industry and make it future proof. When registrations started to come in, we noticed a lot of potential and talent would be available during the event. This online hackathon allowed us to share our knowledge with people globally in order to find solutions for the challenges of Smart Shipping together.”

“The number of participants has exceeded our expectations! This also shows the advantages of organizing an online event: you can involve international experts and collaborate while seriously decreasing the impact on the environment. A win-win for everyone involved!”, Krista concludes.

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