"It's tough to compete with beer!" was the conclusion from our colleagues after competing in this year's Arctic IoT challenge (ARIoT). We sent eight of our colleagues to represent Itera at the annual IoT hackathon.

Written by Magnus Bae, Consultant at Itera. 

ARIoT is an annual event arranged in the wintery hills of Holmenkollen in Oslo. This year 7 teams participated, and with the total amount of participants doubling since the challenge's inception last year it now was over 40 participants battling for glory. With more people and more teams the battle was fiercer than ever. Could our concepts hold their own?

This year we split our participation into two teams and two concepts. Team TrashTalk had decided to tackle the issue of smarter and more efficient municipal garbage collection. Undoubtedly inspired by the Veireno issues in Oslo, could their smart garbage bin solve any issues? The second team, Team SmartAss, had opted to focus on welfare technology; the goal to improve quality of life for people in nursing homes or hospitals, or elderly living at home.

Days filled with talks and innovation

During the hackathon there were given several talks, and all of the teams got to hold their own lightning talk. One talk we found especially interesting was Coop IT's Anne Kristine Næss talking about which challenges their large logistics organisation faces. It was especially fascinating to listen to the challenges they face even with a modern warehouse and how they think that IoT could contribute to increasing warehouse throughput and efficiency. In addition they see potential for better logistics tracking, and aid in decision support, as well as facilitating improvement of internal and external services in various ways.

Smarter garbage collection

Team TrashTalk sought out to improve the logistics in municipal garbage collection. Flamed on by the recent troubles in Oslo their concept was based around smart trash bins capable of telling how full they are both in terms of volume and weight. Add in a cloud powered intelligence solution with dashboards and heatmaps, now the only thing that's left is solving the travelling salesman (garbage truck) problem.

Team TrashTalk also collected the coveted money tree award. One of four awards given exclusively by the judges during the awards ceremony right between dinner and the final (popular) vote selecting the winner amongst the top three teams.

Better health care

How can we better take care of those who need attention from doctors or nurses but have difficulties communicating about it? Team SmartAss spent their time at ARIoT prototyping health care solutions. Some of the ideas were also applicable outside of healt care, such as smart diapers or a pacifier with a temperature sensor that could integrate with smart home automation and smart phones and watches for instant notification.

The core idea of the concept is how multiple sensors can be easily integrated via a room hub, or when feasible - a body hub. Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices can talk to the hub, which can then securely forward the messages to the cloud or to, for example, a situation room in a hospital or a nursing home. Some of the devices prototyped during ARIoT include the aforementioned smart diaper and smart pacifier, as well as a compact Electro-Cardiogram (ECG) device with a tiny built in alarm button if the patient needs medical attention outside of what the sensor registers.

There are also ways of making senior citizens living at home feel safer. Accelerometers and motion sensors could be used to detect a fall and alert relatives or authorities as necessary.

Congratulations, Bespin!

Other teams had great and interesting projects as well, and without going into too much detail we'd like to mention the winning team from Visma, team Bespin, which was working on developing a "cloud bar". Here you order and pay for your beer from your phone and then pick it up at the bar with no queue or waiting for the bartender to serve other customers. The system recognizes your face and gives you the beer. They hope to have a working solution that dispenses beer (not just water) for NDC and JavaZone later this year.

While the guys from Visma are busy finishing their beer bar they might need someone, or something, to attend to their plants. Altran's Gnomes were working on just that. A smart greenhouse that can water your plants based on a variety of sensors and knowledge about what plant you're growing. And if the office seems a bit gray you can just connect to the built in camera and get some green while clocking in those hours of overtime!

The KnowIoT team were busy crowdsourcing road and air quality analysis, while team AntibIoTics were looking at other aspects of e-health. As always EvilCorp were a bit secretive about their plans, but in short they were busy doing large scale facial analysis to use for data mining.

We had a blast, and were in no way surprised when Bespin deservedly walked away as the victor at the end of this year's ARIoT, while our own SmartAss team took second place. Beer is close to the heart for most geeks.

We look forward to coming back next year. If you want to know more about our concepts keep reading!