For the second year running, BESIX Group was involved in organizing the Construction Hackathon. Together with the Belgian Construction Confederation and the other partners, the Group can look back on a successful second edition of the event. The topic of "Smart Buildings for Smart Cities" brought players from the spheres of construction, technology, business and ICT together with the goal of innovating the sector.
Last weekend around 50 people, including five enthusiastic BESIX employees, made their way to Co.station (Brussels) for the hackathon for construction companies. Spread over seven teams, they put their heads together for three days, built their cases, and faced a jury to defend their innovative solutions for making cities smarter. The participants thoroughly enjoyed the pleasant mix of different nationalities and backgrounds, as attested by Guillaume Foucart:
"The open atmosphere is what I remember most. We had the opportunity to network intensively with others from the construction sector and at the same time to learn about new digital technologies."
To develop their cases, the teams were able to enlist the help of a number of prominent coaches and experts, such as our BESIX colleague Bart Gentens, Construction expert in SMART & sustainable buildings.
Smart solutions for smart cities
The topics presented placed the focus upon mobility, site safety, buildings and energy, the tendering process for major projects, BIM, etc.
The "LANEBOT" team presented a solution by which the different traffic lanes in both road directions can be used flexibly in order to resolve the problem of traffic congestion. This team took fourth prize and also the audience award.
The jury awarded the laurels for second and third place to software applications for our sector. "ConstruLingua" presented a new platform with which tender texts can be analysed and summarized in order to simplify the decision-making process for third parties. This team, which included BESIX engineer Michiel Dhont, may further develop the idea by Innoviris & BBRI.
For its part, "sitePlanner" aims to take the use of BIM to another level by implementing, for example, temporary installations and tower cranes in the model.
In the end, one team scored highest in desirability, fitness for application, feasibility, sustainability and presentation. "SOLAR OPT" was praised for its aim of using IoT to measure and track the output of solar panels, so that a cleaning team with a robot can spring into action in the event of problems (dirt, falling leaves, etc.). This team took not only the first prize at this hackathon, but also the BESIX prize. As a result, BESIX will put it in touch with potentially interested parties within the Group.
Partnerships for open innovation
The BESIX Group sees this hackathon as fitting perfectly into its strategy of open innovation. The numerous partnerships in which the company is already engaging through its activities reflect the "stronger together" philosophy. With respect to smart buildings, too, this is the best way to go, as Peter Bertels says:
"I am really proud that BESIX could take up the role of facilitator for this second hackathon of the Belgian construction industry. As facilitator of SmartHack it was very cool to see how vague ideas on Friday evening can turn into really concrete projects on Sunday if you have enthusiastic people with complementary backgrounds working together. That’s putting Open Innovation into practice."