The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most exciting and rapidly developing areas of tech right now. The fact that everyday objects like household appliances, health devices, vehicles and more can connect and interact via the Internet is a game-changer for all industries.

Experts are expecting over 22 billion items to be connected to the IoT by 2025, leaving ample opportunity for developers and strategists to design seamless, intuitive experiences across every sector.

Tech needs people from diverse backgrounds to drive progress and innovation in the IoT field. That’s why the Girls in Tech 2021 Virtual Hackathon invited people with a variety of skill sets to come together online and design innovative IoT solutions using technology. We wanted to challenge our community to think creatively and test their skills, all while forming valuable career connections.

The projects submitted blew us away!

Hackathon judge Ramat Tejani, AWS GetIT Programme Lead, said this:

It’s clear to see that the participants really worked well in their teams to come up with both creative and innovative solutions to the problems they had identified. There were so many different ideas put forward and it was a privilege to be able to judge so many passionate teams and the brilliant concepts they came up with. I also loved that several of the teams created prototypes allowing us to see the apps in action! It was difficult to choose between all of the great ideas but the winning teams definitely ticked all the boxes! Congratulations to all the participants for collaborating and submitting their ideas!

Check out the three winning entries below.

1st place: TrackMyTruck

TrackMyTruck was designed by five incredible women who wanted to address issues of trucker wellbeing, road incidents involving large vehicles, and operational efficiencies of managing vehicle fleets.

The solution developed is a clever IoT system that integrates with the government-mandated Electronic Logging Device to help companies reduce accidents and increase productivity while improving driver wellbeing.

The winning team walked away with $10,000 worth of Amazon Web Services credit as well as an $800 cash prize. Not to mention a bank of new professional connections and a wealth of practical experience.

Designer Megan Casebier learned a lot from being a part of the hackathon. She said, “I’m so incredibly proud of my amazing team of UX designers and developers and what we were able to accomplish together in such a short time. I learned so much from each of my teammates.

UX Designer Mia Sampson was appreciative of the chance to utilise her skills and compete in the hackathon. “This was a great opportunity to utilize my UX design skills and learn how to communicate and work efficiently with a team of developers under a short timeframe,” she shared. “I cannot recommend enough participating in a hackathon, as it was an extremely valuable experience for me on my journey as a UX Designer.

And Full Stack Developer Leanne Frisinger noted the benefits of working collaboratively with unique skill sets (despite not meeting in person!): “Being a team of UX and full-stack developers, we each brought a unique skill set to the table. We were able to learn from each other and had an incredibly enjoyable experience.

2nd place: Speesh

The creators of Speesh wanted to develop a portable security system for women based on IoT. The concept included an app for smart phones combining alerts, video and voice streaming services paired with a smart pendant and electric shock gloves for self defence.

The project pitch suggested uptake by smart cities to boost safety, minimise incidents of harassment, and warn women of unsafe areas.

Shalini Dhote, ideator and co-creator of Speesh gained valuable experience and a boost of confidence by working on the project. She said, “I’ve never thought of myself as a female engineer, or founder, or a woman in tech. I just think of myself as someone who’s passionate about science and tech.

3rd place: Hodo

Hodo was designed as a travel companion to help people access activity ideas, safety advice (including COVID-related information and emergency services information), transport options and planning materials. It takes the guesswork out of travel planning by making lesser-known, and usually unrated information known in a broader way – for example, revealing ‘hidden secrets’ and promoting places that may not have websites or ratings.

The app connects with a text chat service for when the Internet isn’t available, so users can make plans and get ideas on-the-go.

Project Manager Amelia Tran was thrilled to be able to contribute to a winning project without having development skills herself. She said, “With big ideas, but limited development skills, I was able to collaborate with the world’s most-talented developers and designers to bring a vision to life. Thanks for the opportunity!

And Prajakta Rane, Lead UI/UX Designer said, “Across five different corners of the globe, we conquered the language barrier and broke the mold, each one of us a fragment in the journey of our successes.”

A lot of the hackathon teams were impressed at how language barriers didn’t pose an issue, proving just how valuable it can be tapping into a global network.

Connect, learn and grow with Girls in Tech

We’re so thrilled that this year’s hackathon was a success and can’t wait to watch these amazing teams progress in their lives and careers. We know they’ve individually and collectively got so much to offer the world, bringing unique perspectives and skills.

Girls in Tech programs are designed to challenge, inspire and connect women from around the globe. If you’re looking for an opportunity to grow professionally and personally, look out for more upcoming events – like the Girls in Tech Startup Challenge. This could be your chance to test your skills and access invaluable business experience and advice if you have an idea worth pursuing. Apply before July 16th – and tell your friends too!