H.E. Ohood Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing, and Director General of Prime Minister’s Office, and H.E. Majed Al Mesmar, Deputy Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), have honored the winners of the UAE Hackathon, which was held under the theme “Data for Happiness” at a ceremony hosted by Zayed University in Dubai.
In the six stages of the Hakathon, 18 teams won the top three positions on the nationa; level, with three winning teams at each stage. Hundreds of contestants, volunteers, judges, mentors, trainers and organizers have participated in the ceremony.
The team “Life Saviours” from Fujairah, led by the young Emirati woman “Maithaa Hilal Al-Nuaimi”, received the highest rating. The project aims to rescue victims of snake and scorpions bites, through a medical device and drugs, and using GPS system to communicate with the air ambulance.
H.E. Ohood Al Roumi: The Hackathon has produced projects aimed at achieving happiness
H.E. Al Roumi emphasized that the “UAE Hackathon – Data for Happiness”, has resulted the creation of projects that all serve the same goal of achieving happiness and improving the quality of life. She noted that the Hackathon is an important initiative and opportunity to motivate the UAE’s youth minds and unite them to innovate solutions to the challenges of vital sectors, through the use and analysis of big data, and designing projects accordingly.
H.E. Al Roumi said: “The UAE Government relies heavily on active partnership with the community in all its entities and institutions, and on benefiting from the creative energy of the youth in the scientific and technological fields in the design of solutions and initiatives”. She added that the Hackathon succeeded in utilizing these enormous energies and guiding them to support the Government’s goals in making a positive impact on society.”
She expressed her appreciation to TRA’s efforts in the organization of the Hackathon, and praised the active participation of the national universities, calling all entities to link their work and initiatives with projects that achieve happiness and enhance the quality of life in society.
The Hackathon supports the Government’s efforts in the field of big data
H.E. Majed Al Mesmar, TRA Deputy Director General, emphasized in his speech during the ceremony, on the importance of the Hackathon, which coincided with the Year of Zayed and the UAE Innovation Month. He expressed his gratitude and appreciation to H.E. Ohood Al Roumi for her support to the Hackathon, which is part of the Government’s efforts in spreading the concepts of Artificial Intelligence (IA) and big data analysis. He also thanked the participants in the Hackathon, as well as the participating entities.
H.E. Al Mesmar said: “Today, we conclude the UAE Hackathon 2018 – data for Happiness, and on this occasion, allow me to begin by congratulating you and myself for what we have achieved together. I extend my praise and appreciation to the preparation and organization team. I say to them: what I see in front of me today confirms that you have succeeded in your mission. It was indeed a worthwhile event that you have borne. God bless you. I would also like to thank our academic partners: Khalifa University, Zayed University, University of Sharjah, Ajman University in its two branches (Ajman and Fujairah), and the American University of Ras Al Khaimah. You have been the best partners in making this experience a successful one, as it serves our common goals of future shaping, and entering into the era of artificial intelligence and open data in a practical way.”
Universities are the innovation arena for the happiness of society
Professor Reyadh AlMehaideb, Vice President of Zayed University, said: “The dedication of universities as arenas for innovation in achieving the happiness of society hit the goal of the “UAE Hackathon”. The youth’s vitality, determination, open hearts for life and future, and their strides to accomplishments, make them the perfect dynamic engine that drives dreams to come true and spread happiness across the country. The wide participation of young people from across the emirates in this activity is a sign of commitment to achieving this goal, following the commitment of the Government to achieve people’s happiness and enhance positivity as a value and way of life.”
Prof. AlMehaideb added: “We are pleased at Zayed University to be part of this cultural project that represents the wise leadership directives and aspirations to improve the lifestyle in the UAE. Moreover, we are committed to working hard to encourage our students to share their creative ideas and innovations in the utilization of data and information, through the UAE Hackathon initiative and others, to develop solutions to the challenges of the most relevant sectors to the community’s life, aimed at happiness and improvement of life quality in the UAE. We, at the University as well as the other participating universities, look forward to establishing an effective partnership with TRA and the other partners to interpret the Hackathon goals into reality in the coming years, by sponsoring innovative students and encouraging them to develop their various innovations and take them to the next level to practical implementation and linking them to the business sector of the country.”
781 participants forming 176 teams
The ceremony was held at Zayed University in the presence of hundreds of participants in the Hackathon, who worked within cooperative and interactive teams in spirit of competition and innovation. They analyzed the available data on the national data portal “Bayanat.ae” to reach perceptions, ideas and solutions to the challenges of the identified topics of health, education, traffic congestion, social relations, lifestyle, and gender balance.
The total number of participants in the UAE Hackathon reached 781 participants, distributed to 176 teams, from all the emirates. The rate of female participation reached 60% of the total number of participants.
Interactive website and special application for people of determination
Lamya Rashed Alqaydi from Delta Team, which also includes Omar Alqaydi, explained the “Delta” Project, which is an interactive website that shows the natural attractions in the UAE, including the areas of events, camping, valleys and others, comprising an opportunity to introduce them and increase their demand.
Salma Bakheet Almansoori, the leader of Determination Team indicated that her team project is a dedicated application for people of determination that allows them to identify all their available services across the UAE.
The winning teams have been evaluated through a direct evaluation mechanism with the participation of expert jury. Each team was given the opportunity to present their ideas, concepts and solutions, which have been developed within 5 minutes, including answering questions of the jury.
The criteria of evaluation included the use of data, the social impact of the project, level of innovation, perceptions of the team about the future implementation of the project and ability of convincing the jury of the idea’s importance.
The official data portal provides more than 530 data sets that are open to use and reuse without restrictions or limits, and are part of the Government’s approach to entering the data era, which is the infrastructure of the digital transformation era. TRA seeks through the Hackathon to encourage the culture of using data, as well as the availability of data to various segments of society in accordance with the applicable laws.
Effective partnership with the private sector
In addition to government entities and universities, the UAE Hackathon has received support from the private sector. This has been represented by a group of companies that provided training and guidance and availed some of its experts to participate in the jury. Among these companies is “Here Technologies” which provided training experts and mentors in mapping services. Moreover, “Oracle” provided two training courses, “IBM” provided seven training courses and a number of mentors, “Microsoft” provided guidance in two Hackathon stations, and a training workshop at one of the sites, while “Cazar” and “Xplorer 3D” provided similar workshops. In the field of organization, “Richard Kerby LLC” and “Open Data Collaboratives” provided support.
On the sidelines of the closing ceremony, TRA organized a workshop on the comprehensive guide to data availability in the UAE, which was developed by TRA as a reference for government entities in dealing with data to achieve the highest goals and ensure positive impact on society.