Press Release

Abu Dhabi Hackathon launches today in Khalifa University with more than 323 contestants

As part of UAE Hackathon organized by the TRA and the National Program for Happiness & Wellbeing

 Abu Dhabi – 3 February 2020: The Abu Dhabi Hackathon kicked off today in the capital with the participation of more than 323 contestants, employees, business owners and entrepreneurs comprising 59 teams in the first phase of the 2020 UAE Hackathon (Data for Happiness and Quality of Life), organized by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) in collaboration with the National Program for Happiness & Wellbeing and in partnership with a number of government and private entities, across the emirates in conjunction with the UAE Innovation Month.

The three-day Abu Dhabi Hackathon will see many events, where the first day includes briefings about the Hackathon mechanisms, how to work in teams of people with diverse knowledge and interests, and how to deal with data to reach relevant solutions, contribute to community happiness and enhance the quality of life. Through these workshops, contenders will learn about data analysis tools, data presentation tools, data concepts, how to work with UAE government data, and advanced geospatial data.

Following the preliminary stage, the competitive stage will begin, where teams engage in developing solutions and ideas in accordance with pre-set challenges that reflect government and community priorities. Meanwhile, training continued in areas such as teamwork, presentation and communication skills, development, programming, and data analysis.

The contestants will finalize their work on the second day under the same teams while trainings continue. On the third day, the teams will stop in the middle of the day so as to prepare for the judging process involving experts, academics and officials.

In the evaluation process, competing teams will have the opportunity to present their findings on the podium within a specific time limit, with the aim of convincing the jury, inter alia, of the feasibility of the innovative solution or project, its applicability on the ground and its reliance on real data from the available government data platform. The team's ability to present is an important criterion in determining winners.

Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori: The Hackathon is a paradigm shift in data analysis and utilization

Commenting on this major event, H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri, TRA Director General, said: “We started today a new round of innovation and creativity. The Abu Dhabi Hackathon now brings together hundreds of minds from various sectors in the country under one roof, to reach innovations and projects that contribute to the development of ten key sectors in our time. We are proud and privileged to see so many people who want to serve their country by analyzing, innovating and being creative, while hoping for a better tomorrow.”

H.E. Al Mansoori stressed that the Hackathon, in its current cycle, will represent a qualitative leap in the field of data analysis and utilization, adding: “The importance of the Hackathon does not stop at the resulting inspiring ideas (while they are certainly important), but its great importance stems from it being a hands-on example of the significance of data and its analysis. To date, the use of data in the Arab world is at its lowest levels, and the Hackathon is a model example I invite all organizations and companies to follow as they devise their development plans and programs. In this year’s session we will make every effort to transform the inspiring ideas produced by the Hackathon into projects on the ground. Expo 2020 visitors will benefit greatly from these projects, where the Hackathon focused, in its current edition, on supporting this major global event.”

Salem Al Housani: The rapid technical pace requires everyone's contribution to the development process

For his part, Mr. Salem Al Housani, Acting Deputy Director General of the Information & mGovernment Sector, welcomed the participants, saying: “No country can achieve the required progress by relying on one person or several people. Governments can no longer work alone and meet what is required from them. Today’s progress in light of this enormous technical acceleration requires everyone’s contribution to the building process from school students, to government employees, to businessmen, to scientists and researchers. This is the idea behind the UAE Hackathon (Data for Happiness and Quality of Life), which is addressed to all idea owners and innovators of different ages and professional levels, who find themselves able to present ideas that will have a positive impact on society, all while utilizing a large group of datasets provided by government and private entities.”

This year, the TRA adopted ten themes covering challenges to be addressed by the UAE Hackathon, in line with the declaration of our wise leadership to make 2020 a year to prepare for the next 50, and included: happiness and well-being, Expo 2020, smart and sustainable cities, environment and climate change, world-class health system, space investments, sustainability and infrastructure integration, high-level education system, digital transformation, safety and security.

Any UAE resident holding a valid Emirates ID card can participate in the UAE Hackathon. The competitions are not limited to people working or interested in the IT field, but are intended for storytellers, artists, entrepreneurs, engineers, thinkers, innovators, problem-solvers and any person with ambition and imagination to make things better. The TRA has published the registration link on the Hackathon website (https://hackathon.ae ) inviting those wishing to take part in this innovative competition to act fast and  reserve their places in the Hackathon according to the emirate in which they reside or wish to participate in, noting that registration is still open in the rest of the Emirates.

In its 3rd edition and for the first week, the Abu Dhabi Hackathon will be hosted by Khalifa University from February 3-5, The second week will be Sharjah Hackathon from February 9-11 at the American University of Sharjah, following Ajman Hackathon from February 10-12 at Ajman University, and Umm Al Quwain Hackathon from February 11-13 at Umm Al Quwain Youth Centre. The UAE Hackathon will take place in Ras Al Khaimah from February 16-18 at the American University of Ras Al Khaimah, in Fujairah from February 18-20 at University of Science and Technology of Fujairah, and in Dubai from February 24-26 at Zayed University – Dubai Campus. The TRA announced that the closing ceremony will be on March 3rd coinciding with the International Open Data Day, during which the top three winners from each emirate will be honored.