The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) announced the launch of the 4th edition of UAE Hackathon: Data for Happiness and Wellbeing organized by TRA virtually with support from the National Program for Happiness and Wellbeing across the seven emirates of the country. The opening ceremony was attended by Her Excellency Hessa Bint Essa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development, H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, TRA Director General and Head of the UAE Digital Government, and H.E. Salem Al Hosani, Acting Deputy Director General of the Information and Smart Services Sector. The opening ceremony included introducing and explaining the various hackathon challenges and the judging mechanism, while it gave attendees the opportunity to ask different questions.
UAE Hackathon is one of UAE’s effective steps towards excellence and leadership, in recognition of UAE Vision 2021 and in response to the initiatives of the 50th anniversary. The fourth edition complements the efforts and support provided by TRA and its partners in the UAE Hackathon to turn innovative and creative ideas into successful businesses and projects on the ground.
The launch of the 4th hackathon edition saw participation from 21 government, federal and academic entities, where hackathon registrations have reached 1500 participants who will compete to provide best ideas and solutions for 49 challenges in 11 topics endorsed by TRA to achieve targets of the national Online Service Index (OSI), in which UAE aims to be first, thus contributing to realizing the UAE National Agenda 2021. The themes include: UAE's Golden Jubilee, Digital Transformation, Travel and Tourism, Financial Technology, Entertainment and E-Sports, World-Class Health System, Security, Safety and Justice, World-Class Education System, Environment and Climate Change, Smart Sustainable Cities, Work Efficiency and Productivity Development.
Speaking at the launching ceremony of the hackathon, Her Excellency Hessa Bint Essa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development, confirmed providing best forms of support to enhance competition in the hackathon space, creating a technological environment capable of coping with and tackling various challenges, and making best achievements and practices within the framework of smart and quality government services, adding: "A few weeks ago, we were honored to know that the esteemed Cabinet launched the National Policy for Quality of Digital Life within 5 strategic technical and digital initiatives that enhance the best quality of digital life in the UAE and around the globe. Today we are launching UAE Hackathon to continue achieving the best for our country with the will of "nothing is impossible”.. The future is for those who make it, and we do not wait for the future. This is what we learnt in the school of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai."
Her Excellency further added: “We are honored to support this hackathon as one of the brightest indicators of digital giving in the UAE, as it directly targets thousands of students in hundreds of universities and schools nationwide, and opens the door for competition and challenge to all segments of society, including employees, entrepreneurs and information technology specialists, to develop innovative service-oriented and developmental solutions and ideas. All of that under the context of spreading happiness and achieving the best quality of life, in accordance with the UAE government vision, and in line with the national development aspirations that embody the best competitive environment for the UAE.”
H.E. Hessa Bint Essa Buhumaid explained that the success of this digital technological quest, "the UAE Hackathon", depends on everyone's responsibility for the future of all. And that the UAE’s success in delivering the Hope Probe to Mars puts us all before a greater challenge to achieve a greater deal of successes. Her Excellency addressed participants in the hackathon, saying: “Arm yourself with confidence and be up to the task... Our hope for you is great, and our expectations from you are greater, as you are undoubtedly able to achieve a technical feat in the data of happiness and wellbeing for a better future for all."
In turn, H.E. Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, TRA Director General, said: “Today we are inaugurating the fourth UAE Hackathon: Data for Happiness and Wellbeing, as we live a landmark moment in the history of our dear country. Just yesterday, the Emirati innovation reached a new orbit, our thoughts now are about planet Mars, and we still aspire for more. We believe in the possibilities, and that there are no limits to youth minds when they set out in the quest of searching for knowledge and serving mankind. These days also mark the 50th anniversary of our glorious union, to begin another 50 years on the journey of advancement started by the founding fathers, and continued by our current auspicious leaders”.
H.E. Al Mansoori stressed that UAE Hackathon has contributed to furthering the innovation culture and creative thinking, adding: “UAE Hackathon has encouraged many organizations in the country and the region to launch similar events, with the aim of maintaining the momentum of creativity among community groups. Today, we pride ourselves on being a nation of digital transformation, accelerators, space, smart cities and shaping the future. As such, we want this hackathon to show us the way with ideas befitting the UAE and expressing far-reaching visions that glimpse into the future and provide effective solutions to various challenges.”
Registrations in UAE Hackathon started in February 1st , with the second phase starting today until February 20th, covering intensive team training according to the challenges they are involved in. As for the third and final stage (judging), teams are divided by their locations in the seven emirates, and the best three teams are selected from each emirate. Results are to be announced during the UAE Hackathon closing ceremony, scheduled for 6 March 2021, where the first place team in the country and top 3 teams in each emirate will be honored.
Trainings provided to the teams aim to help develop their ideas, starting with how to build a team, use artificial intelligence, how to plan a business model, develop presentation and financial technology skills, along with continuous coaching and mentoring and training provided by partners such as Google, Here, Cissco, SAP.
UAE Hackathon reflects the meaning of partnership and collaboration between the government, academia, companies and community members, to emphasize that the culture of innovation is an integral part of the qualification and education mechanisms in the UAE, which in turn embodies the four aspects of UAE Vision 2071 creating a future-oriented government, providing future education, creating a diversified knowledge economy and a more cohesive society.