Smart City Hackathon looks to boost Dhaka’s livability

To solve pressing problems that living in a city like Dhaka can present, Grameenphone hosted a 36-hour Smart City Hackathon, the first of its kind in Bangladesh.

Written: Nov 2016

Last week in Dhaka, the inaugural Smart City Hackathon brought together 408 participants, each coding solutions to 10 different challenges of city life faced by residents of Dhaka.

As GP constantly learns, evolves and improves on its digital journey, it takes in some of its best learning opportunities from the community. The Smart City Hackathon was a platform to do just that: learn, co-create and incubate great ideas, using in this case, White-board, Grameenphone’s inhouse innovations centre, can play an enabling role. To do this, GP’s White Board, in associaltion with Prenuer Lab, organized the 36-hour hackathon.

Why #SmartCityHackathon?

Dhaka, one of the world’s megacities , is also among the list of least livable cities. Overcoming Dhaka’s problems calls for disruptive thinkers and innovators to find solutions with the help of Information and communication technology. The main purpose of the Hackathon was to come up with implementable digital solutions to reduce the impact of the problems faced daily in city life.


Endorsed by the Mayor

The Smart City Hackathon ran non-stop for 36 hours through which tech professionals, including coders, designers and innovators, tried to develop implementable innovative ideas to solve the problems of Dhaka City. The program was inaugurated by the North Dhaka City Corporation mayor Mr. Annisul Huq (pictured above), along with Grameenphone CMO Mr. Yasir Azman, CTO Mr. Mehhat El Husseiny, and other officials from Grameenphone and Preneur Lab.


In a video message GP CEO Petter Furberg (above) said, “Whiteboard will continue to drive the innovation in Bangladesh through events like what we have here today and we will do that together with our partners incorporation with the eco-system to ensure benefit at large for the society”.

What problem to solve?

White-board challenged the coders to look into and solve 10 problem areas of Dhaka city under the areas of Clean City; Efficient living; Urban Management; Better Slums’ Traffic & Transport; City for Women; Lifestyle; Town hall; Future Citizens; and Open Ideas.

How it was played

Each team, comprising of a maximum of 4 members or minimum of 3 members, worked continuously for 36 hours to implement their idea and build their concept as a software (web/mobile app), hardware or AI. There was a mentor for each team to guide them throughout the event.


Top 3

Team Durbin (below) ranked top on the leader board. They developed a surveillance system to help survivors contact rescue steam outside collapsed buildings. Team Spark became 1st runners up by developing an event-based cognitive traffic light scheduling through a low cost Smart Security System.  AppFlakes were selected as the 2nd runners up for their Smart Bike Sharing Company for the students and executives of Dhaka City.


More than a competition

The winning team of the Smart City Hackathon will get three months co-working space at White-Board with access to White Board’s ecosystem. Relevant knowledge and asset support will be provided by White-Board to solidify the prototype. Further, a special demo day will be organized by White-Board for commercial opportunities. Additionally the team will get 6 months Startup Mentorship and Support from Preneur Lab, 6 months mentorship from IEEE BDS, 6 months IPR and Incubation Support from Dnet (Junction), Funding opportunity of up to BDT 2.5 million from Spider Digital (Dubai), and a funding opportunity of another BDT 2.5 million from the ICT Division*, Media support from The Daily Ittefaq and Radio Foorti will also be provided to the winner.