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Innovative ideas from the Dutch Open Hackathon

How open data can create meaningful products



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The second Dutch Open Hackathon was a great success. To recap, during the Hackathon, participants took application programming interfaces (APIs) and data sets from eight companies – Albert Heijn, KLM, KPN, Rabobank, Schiphol Airport, Kamer van Koophandel, USG People and Philips – and attempted to come up with a unique app in about 48 hours’ time.




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Based on our learnings from the Hackathon last year, we wanted to make sure that something tangible came out of it, something of business value. This is always the dilemma: if you try to steer a developer community too much in the direction of being innovative, you won’t create innovation. If you do too little, you will get too much “blue sky thinking” without creating actionable products.


We tried to achieve something in the middle with the six challenges this year: Health, City Life, Travel, Transport, Work and Entrepreneurship. On Friday, the developers pitched their ideas and participated in team-building exercises. Saturday was the time for the teams to develop their applications as well as listen to interesting external speakers. On Sunday, the teams prepped their pitches for the judges. There were 54 teams. Twelve teams were chosen for the finals, and they pitched their apps on stage.

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The teams were judged in two rounds. The first round looked at the techniques the teams used to create the data, such as whether they made the best use of the data sets and APIs, and whether they developed an understandable and user-friendly interface. The judges examined how the team created the solution and what kind of value came out on the creative side.


The second and final round was on stage. Each team gave a three-minute presentation followed by two minutes of Q&A with the judges. In this round, the judges were looking at innovation, creativity, the “wow” effect and the business potential.


The overall winner was called Hello Goodbye, in the Transport track. This idea is based on the frustrations of picking up someone from the airport. Instead of waiting around to find out where he or she is, you can use the app to find the person. The app makes use of ibeacon technology for indoor positioning, so you know exactly where the person is. They did testing with augmented reality, so you use your phone and zoom in to certain areas to see where your loved ones are. The business model here is that the app can also pitch discounts for coffee, or for something else to buy in the airport. It really looked cool.

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The overall runner-up was named BaaS – Beer as a Service. It’s geared toward people at a festival always looking for that person delivering the beer. They connected the LORA device under the beer can for the temperature with geo location to show exactly where the beer is. It’s also linked to Philips data, so you can see how much calories you have burned and how many steps you took during the festival. I liked how they connected data with density and managing the flow with a big crowd.


The track winner for Health was Recept It. Their premise involved looking at how to deal with all the leftovers in a kitchen. How do you create a delicious meal from these leftovers? You input what leftovers you have into the app and it creates a potential recipe for you, and also links to such things as the number of calories in the meal. The user interface looked good, the search engine looked good, and it really worked.

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The prize from Philips went to Tabtics. Since most people open tabs on the Google Chrome extension many times a day, what if this action was linked to wearable data so that each opening of a tab triggers a tip to improve your health? For example, one tip might be that it’s time to take the stairs when you go to grab lunch. The beauty of this app is that the tips are very doable.


Finally, as part of the Philips Foundation, we asked the Red Cross to join us. One of the solutions we worked on for the Red Cross was called Red Analyzer. If there’s an issue somewhere in the world, for instance a malaria outbreak in Africa, the Red Cross gets data from that country, but the data comes through the Red Cross field offices in a very scattered way. There’s often a delay of four to six weeks before they receive the data.


However, via a tracking device from KPN, people can a) track where those field offices are and b) create an app where field offices and people who are impacted in a certain village can answer questions to get real-time data from the crisis area. This information can be relayed to the coordinator and the field officer, thus sending them to the crisis area without a delay and leading to them being more effective in the area where the real crises are.


Overall, the Hackathon supported Philips’ philosophy of innovation by helping us obtain good insights into improvements to be made on the platforms we use, like the HealthSuite Platform, based on the real-life developers working in the APIs. Ultimately, we want to have an open platform where developers can co-create new innovations with us.


The Hackathon also resulted in very creative ideas coming forward that challenge Philips to see what’s possible to achieve by connecting data sets. Opening up your data is part of the journey to becoming a more open company. It’s a big opportunity to drive innovation internally, within the boundaries of privacy and patient data.


It’s ultimately a chance to co-create meaningful products by collaborating with other companies, with the developer community and data sets. We hope to continue working together with such companies to create partnerships that can have a beneficial effect on peoples’ lives.

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Robert van Geffen


Global Digital Lead Professional Health / Capability Lead Digital Experience, Content and Mobile  

Robert van Geffen is the Global Digital Lead Professional Health at Philips. He’s responsible for providing thought leadership and is focused on enabling and accelerating Philips’ transformation into a digital company. Prior to this position, Robert worked in various leadership roles as part of the Digital Leadership Team and Digital Marketing Leadership Team for Philips Healthcare.


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