What is the potential of the latest technologies and how can they be fully exploited? The international Industry 4.0 (IIOT) Hackathon, powered by Pioneers Discover and startup300 answered this question. From November 6 to 8, 2017, more than 20 start-ups from various sectors of industry, as well as developers and students gathered at the tobacco factory in Linz to solve concrete technical problems and challenges within a 48-hour hackathon.

What is a hackathon?

The word “Hackathon” is composed of the words “Hack” and “Marathon” and includes a collaborative event on software and hardware development. The length is usually limited to 48 hours. Selected start-ups and sometimes individual developers or students work against each other to find solutions to concrete challenges set by companies.

The following three partner companies: KEBA AG, Wienerberger AG and Fronius International GmbH provided the participants of the hackathon with the following use cases:

At the Industry 4.0 Hackathon, the internationally operating automation company KEBA was looking for ideas for the creation of an online community that will assist users with technological questions. The solutions should include an intelligent database and smart interface technologies. Big Data, Predictive Analytics, Machine Learning, Remote Maintenance, VR/AR, HoloLens, Communication Tools and Community Building could include the use case as “Technologies & Tools”.

Wienerberger AG is the world’s largest producer of bricks with 198 manufacturing plants in more than 30 countries. As part of the Industry 4.0 Hackathon, the company demanded virtual support and intelligent solutions for machine maintenance. “Technologies & Tools” included machine labelling, remote maintenance, predictive analytics, machine learning, big data, VR/AR and sensors.

The third member of the group is Fronius International GmbH from Wels. The global market leader in welding, photovoltaic and battery technology expected from Industry 4.0 Hackathon a prototype for virtual assistance systems for commissioning, control and maintenance of plants. The following technologies and tools can be used: AR/MR, HoloLens, Wearables, Smart Devices, Virtual Assistants, Conversational & Natural User Interfaces, interaction with PLM (PTC), CRM (Microsoft) and ERP.

Source: © 2017 Pioneers.io

The beginning

A few sentences from the companies to explain the initial situation were enough for the teams to start the actual challenge. In total, 20 teams of start-ups, inventors and students competed against each other. The teams were divided into six groups for each of the three companies. The Simplifier team, which included our CIO, Christopher Bouveret, our Head of Core Projects, Kamil Filar and Front End Developer Jennifer Häfner, dealed with the use case of Fronius International GmbH.

“Hackathons are always a good possibility to find a solution in a relatively short time. They provide customers a quick overview of possibilities and solutions. We also offer our customers a Hackathon when implementing our low-code platform Simplifier.”
Christopher Bouveret, CIO at iTiZZiMO

Fronius International GmbH handles more than 30,000 service cases per year. In many cases, a technician from the headquarter must be involved in finding a solution. This generates enormous travel costs for the company. In order to minimize this effort, Fronius International GmbH asked the six groups to produce a prototype for virtual assistance systems for commissioning, control and maintenance of plants.

Easy access to expert knowledge

Based on our low-code platform Simplifier, the iTiZZiMO team developed a Smart Remote Service App. If a plant reports a malfunction, the installers of Fronius International GmbH are able to scan a QR code on the defect plant via smartphone and thus access a menu for further information. They can either watch videos about the repair process or read the solution in PDF files. Live data can also be read out from the system without any problem by using a connector.

If the provided information does not help the installer, another possibility is a service call. The installer can call a technician out of the system. The technician can guide the installer through the maintenance or repair process with audio-visual support. By transferring the camera image of the smartphone, errors can be found quickly and the correct implementation of the process guaranteed. Via an automatic GPS location, the technician also knows exactly where the installer is located.

In order to ensure smooth and transparent communication, the Simplifier was also connected to a Fronius-own ticket system. This guarantees an error-free documentation of tickets. Product data, machine error codes and comments are transmitted. This means that employees can see all incidents from the company-owned CRM system in tabular form.

“Most of the mobile devices today have an integrated camera. Remote Service makes use of this functionality and connects experts on the browser via video streaming with the mobile devices. When developing the app, we deliberately chose a solution on the smartphone because 99,9 percent of installers always carry it with them. Of course, it is also possible to connect smart glasses without any difficulties, but not every installer has access to smart glasses or the affinity is not given.”
Kamil Filar| Head of Core Projects | iTiZZiMO AG

By using the Smart Remote Service App, travel costs can be reduced by 60 – 70 percent. Therefore, knowledge transfer becomes much more efficient, as the context-relevant data is provided at the right time and in the right place.

The web-based configuration environment makes the Simplifier ideal for creating integrated business and IoT applications. The business processes of Fronius International GmbH could be reproduced in an user-friendly way and the IT landscapes could be networked with standardized connectors. Thus, all data were quickly prepared and available in the app. The pragmatic solution on the Simplifier can thus be fully implemented after 48 hours of operation.

Source: © 2017 Pioneers.io

The approach pays off

At the end of the hackathon the results of the individual teams were presented. Each company was able to choose from its six teams three favorites. Afterwards, the favorites met a second jury, which awarded prizes to one winner per company.

Overview of the winners:

  • Winner Wienerberger Challenge: Sarah Steiniger
  • Winner Keba Challenge: craftworks
  • Winner Fronius Challenge: iTiZZiMO
  • Ex-Aequo winner Industry 4.0 Hackathon: craftworks & Sarah Steininger

The Winning Software – Simplifier

iTiZZiMO not only won the Fronius International GmbH Challenge, but also the overall prize as the best solution among all teams. Christopher Bouveret, Kamil Filar and Jennifer Häfner were proud to receive an award from the event partner, a Consulting / Promotion Voucher by Fronius International GmbH and tickets for Pioneers’18.
Source: © 2017 Pioneers.io

“We are overwhelmed and very happy about the success of this challenge. And above all, that our product – the Simplifier – has proven itself alongside such strong competitors. The Hackathon has shown that the Simplifier can do exactly what it promises: Rapid Application Development at its best. I am proud of the achievements of our small team within 48 hours and look forward to a possible further collaboration with Fronius International GmbH.”

Christopher Bouveret, CIO at iTiZZiMO

“In fact, we’ve never taken part in a hackathon against other teams before. Therefore, I am even more delighted that we were able to beat 60 participants from more than six nations in just three days and were able to take the prize with us back home to Würzburg.”

Jennifer Häfner, Front End Developerin at iTiZZiMO

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