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Innovation shines at Sigfox IoT hackathon in San Francisco

Steve Rogerson
December 3, 2015
Projects using acoustic waves, machine learning, GPS tracking and increasing efficiency of municipal equipment were named winners of last month’s Sigfox hackathon in San Francisco for IoT applications.
The winning smart-city projects support water conservation, energy efficiency and commuter safety. In addition to Sigfox, sponsors included San Francisco’s Office of Civic Innovation and the Department of Technology, Texas Instruments, Microsoft, Plasma and Accenture.
The four winning teams were predictive maintenance system Audio Argus, WaterSaver thatoptimises smart green-area watering during California’s severe drought, DryWaterconnected fight-water-waste system, and Better BikeGPS tracker and distance sensor for bicycles.
Audio Argus isa predictive-maintenance system created by David Sykora, Merrick Clark and Joel Brinton to keep the city running on time and under budget. “Using acoustic waves, we can determine if your fleet of vehicles, air-conditioning units, medical devices, or any device with a mechanical component, is working properly or needs service," the team said. The team received a free one-year subscription on the Sigfox network and dedicated support, gift cards to redeem in the Texas Instruments’ store and dedicated support, and free Microsoft Azure services for one year.
WaterSaver,developed by Nick Pera and Ben Morse, optimises smart green-area watering during California’s severe drought. Based on live metrics (weather, humidity and temperature), forecasts and machine learning, connected valves and sprinklers turn on when needed and allow the city to conserve the resource. The team received a free subscription for one year on the Sigfox network and dedicated support, as well as gift card to redeem on Texas Instruments’ store and dedicated support.
DryWater, developed by Nicolas Triballier, Pascal Boudier, Pierre Guillot and Julien Brette, is a connected fight-water-waste system. It monitors public green-area moisture to water them only when necessary. Machine-learning algorithms and network coverage across wide areas allow optimised resource usage in public parks and fields. The team received a free one-year subscription on the Sigfox network and dedicated support, as well as gift card to redeem on Texas Instruments’ store and dedicated support, and free Plasma access and cloud service for a year.
Better Bikeis a GPS tracker and distance sensor for bicycles to ensure a safer commute. Created by Shimolee Nahar, Boyd Lever and Mudit Mittal, the Better Bike team received a free Plasma access and cloud service for one year.
The three-day hackathon drew 150 participants. 
The Sigfox network, which is dedicated to the IoT, has been rolled out across San Francisco, and will be deployed in nine other US cities by the first quarter of 2016.
“Becoming smarter as a city means setting up the right infrastructure and creating an environment that invites community participation,” said Miguel Gamiño Jr, San Francisco’s chief information officer and executive director of the Department of Technology. “We established the network and invited developers to the hackathon as a way to engage this creative community to help us discover the potential for using this new network. I’m impressed by the level of creativity demonstrated over the weekend and see potential for meaningful real-life application.”
Allen Proithis, president of Sigfox in North America, added: “This weekend's hackathon was an overwhelming success and validation that the city of San Francisco is the right place for companies that want to be on the leading edge of technology, and that Sigfox is the right choice for highly cost- and power-efficient connectivity for devices requiring low levels of data.”
Participants in the event competed for $200,000 in prizes andbuilt applications.
“By putting on this hackathon with Sigfox, we wanted to encourage developers to leverage our unmatched long-range wireless connectivity for their IoT applications,” said Thomas Almholt, applications manager for wireless connectivity at Texas Instruments. “We are excited to see such innovative designs come out of the weekend and can’t wait to see how developers use the Sigfox network moving forward.”
After multiple IoT deployments in Europe using the EU’s sub-1GHz spectrum, Sigfox will allow US customers to use its network with TI’s sub-1GHz RF transceivers to deploy wireless sensor nodes that are lower cost and lower power than 3G and cellular connected nodes, while providing long-range connectivity to the IoT.
The hackathon also marked the first collaboration between Sigfox and Microsoft, as the participants of #connectyourcity used the Microsoft Cortana analytics suite, a cloud service for data scientists and developers using predictive analytics in applications.