"The sustainable city: newspaper, tourism and culture", and "Transport: the customer at the center": in Naples on 11 and 12 June, during MobilityTech, young IT experts will compete in designing an app on these two themes during the first hackathon organized on sustainable mobility. Barbara Covili, managing director of Clickutility On Earth, a company specializing in the organization of events for the mobility and local public services, transport and logistics, energy and environment sectors, tells us what to expect from this meeting place for "harmless, indeed profitable cyber pirates".
1) What is a hackathon? What novelty does it entail?
The term hackathon comes from the union of two English words: hacker and marathon, and indicates a programming competition between young computer experts. Synonyms of hackathon are also: hack day and hackfest. From the point of view of technological innovation, events such as hackathons allow companies and investors to quickly create new software, innovative services for the web and apps for mobile telephony.
2) How and when was it born? And in Italy?
The origin of the Hackathons is American: in Silicon Valley, in the early 2000s, Java and Sun companies were the first to introduce these forms of collaborative brainstorming. Over the years, these events have become increasingly widespread, especially for the development of apps for smartphones (the first iPhone was introduced on the market in 2007). From a hackathon organized at the end of the last decade, a very popular mobile messaging app was born: GroupMe, later purchased by Skype. In Italy, with the exception of a few experimental attempts, it is still an almost unprecedented event.
3) Where do they exist in Italy? How many participate?
Last year, a hackathon was organized by the University of Trento and we will organize one in Naples on 11 and 12 June, during MobilityTech, one of the main Italian events for technologies dedicated to mobility and public transport. Typically about fifty people participate, alone or in organized teams: independent hackers, software and app developers, programmers, students, graphic designers and simple enthusiasts. Generally, they are gritty young people in love with technology, eager to turn their idea into a successful start-up. There are often internships in famous companies or monetary prizes to attract participants. Only five years ago, hackers were seen as cyber pirates, today this is no longer the case: these events are also opportunities for young people to get in touch with funders of new businesses and create a real hack-community around a specific theme .
4) What will happen in Naples? What topics will be covered?
The first hackathon organized on sustainable mobility will take place in Naples on 11 and 12 June. High school or three-year university students can choose to design an app for smartphones and tablets on the two themes: "The sustainable city: newspaper, tourism and culture", and "Transport: the customer at the center". At the end of the work session, usually of six hours, the apps created will be presented to a jury of experts, who will express their opinion by evaluating different criteria: better interface, visual design, more ambitious project from a technological point of view, ability to respond to the specifications indicated in the trace.
5) What do you expect from this city? And what do you want?
Naples is an urban reality in strong evolution. After years of delay and backwardness on innovation issues, today it expresses a radical need for change, especially on the subject of services, the dialogue between the administration and citizens, transport and mobility.
The world of technology is changing at an impressive speed: from our point of view, Naples is an ideal platform for trying to include the creative energies of young people in the processes of transformation and innovation. We expect great things!
6) What if someone wants to organize a Hackathon in their city?
We can design and implement a hackathon in any city and on virtually any theme. At the end of the month, we are organizing one in Brussels entitled "Mission Growth": the aim will be to build an App for SmartPhones that makes it quick and easy for small and medium-sized industries to access the financial world of the European Union. The concept, the technologies used, the design, the innovation and the usefulness of the app created will be awarded.
7) How can you participate?
Participating is very simple: just register on the official website www.hackathon.it. Subscribers will have to bring their PC, we provide a welcoming location, broadband internet, food & beverage for the duration of the event. Hackers keep the copy right of the apps they create, whether they are rewarded or not. Participants are naturally required to consent to the dissemination of the application in the community.