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Hub350 was buzzing in early October as close to 100 students met for the launch of Kanata North Business Association’s first-ever hackathon. 

KNBA president Jamie Petten welcomed students from Carleton University, University of Ottawa, Algonquin College and La Cite to Hub350 for Discover Technata Hacks; a first of its kind initiative in the tech park aimed at solving real world problems leveraging by the power of 5G. 

Samir Ayachi, head of 5G SW Development Group and deputy head of Ericsson Ottawa, introduced the possibilities that come with a 5G network, and spoke to what life might be like by 2030 with more reliable, efficient and sustainable networks. 

“If you can imagine it, it’s possible,” Ayachi told the students. 

As he introduced the real-world problem students were to solve, he invited them to consider the convergence of the physical and digital worlds, and leveraging the power of 5G.  

Students were then given the Hackathon’s challenge:

Do you want to help Kanata North be the green high-tech capital of Canada? People and companies do not realize the amount of water and electricity they use day-to-day. Most of the time, we rely on people to monitor their usage! This leads to an incredible amount of waste, which is costly for companies and harmful to the environment. We have seen the impacts of climate change, like the several natural events that have occurred in our city over the last several years. We want YOU to help us develop a solution to water and electricity waste using 5G, IoT, etc.! 

Immediately, the room was buzzing with ideas as students began to gather into teams and talk about how they could solve this problem. 

The hackathon will run over three days, with students meeting again on Oct. 5 for a working session. Students will submit their proposals via video on Oct. 7 in the hopes of being selected for the final pitches. On Oct. 12 they will meet for the last time for the final pitches, awards and an afterparty. 

KNBA’s event organizer Erin Moretto said she likes that the Hackathon brings students and more than 20 tech mentors together to work together to solve a problem. It is part of the tech park’s close relationship with Ottawa-area postsecondary institutions, she added.  

The students agreed. Three second-year students from Carleton University said they registered to be a part of the first Hackathon to learn from experts in the field, and to test their knowledge.  

And, they pointed out, there are prizes to be won. And with that in mind, they went off to start tackling the problem.  

Article and images by Melanie Coulson

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