If you were to walk into the newly renovated Pritzlaff Building (recently dubbed Ward 4) in downtown Milwaukee on the weekend of June 5, you would have stumbled upon a truly inspirational site. Hackers, coders, hardware specialists, entrepreneurs, and graphic designers came together over the weekend to put their minds to the test at Launch Milwaukee’s 54-hour Hardware Hackathon. Attendees pitched their hardware or software ideas to a group of eager individuals, formed teams, and immediately began working.
During the weekend, Scanalytics challenged participants to integrate the SoleSensor, an intelligent floor sensor that measures foot traffic and behavioral patterns in physical spaces, into their startup idea. During the first night (Friday) Scanalytics team members mingled with the crowd and spoke about the advantages the SoleSensor offers in a variety of applications. A group of two guys from a manufacuring company were instantly intrigued by the opportunity, and after the opening comments and pitches, immediately went to work on a plan to integrate our floor sensor into their idea.
As a Senior Engineer and a Product Specialist, Chris and Mike have keen understanding of the potential of integrating the Internet of Things (IoT) into their industry. Not only because it’s part of their job to keep up with new technologies, but also because facilitating the integration of IoT into the manufacturing sector is high on the industry's priority list, making it no surprise that the Hackathon team gravitated towards the SoleSensor.
The remarkable team brainstormed and pieced their plan together in a matter of hours, jumping back and forth between white board and laptop, relentlessly typing, gesturing, and showing the occasional grin as their ideas took flight. By weekend’s end, Chris and Mike compiled several ways the SoleSensor could be utilized in the manufacturing setting. They ultimately decided on the idea of tracking the movement of factory workers and combining that information with heat maps to optimize productivity, naming their new creation “Improovment” (pronounced “improvement”). Their determination and innovative ideas truly resonated with the Scanalytics team who are proud to name them winners of the Scanalytics Challenge.
As victors, the team will receive benefits and prizes such as the SoleSensor Development Kit (SDK) for one year, a cash prize, and the opportunity to be the featured integration at the next trade show. Scanalytics also provides a minimum of 10 hours of mentoring to the winning team in order for them to further develop the project.
The Hackathon enabled and encouraged a wide range of ideas, all of which were innovative and useful to their respective markets. It’s always hard to choose winners when everyone has worked so hard, but in the end, it’s not about who won, it’s about furthering your knowledge in your own field and getting the chance to learn something new from people you otherwise might not have met. Props to the winners and congratulations to all the participants for their hard work and dedication to their dreams.