What happens when you bring together seasoned industry professionals and fresh young minds brimming with great ideas? The Future City Plan Hackathon.
Held at the end of 2021 in the outskirts of Beijing, China, the event drew more than 100 participants from some of the most prestigious Chinese universities
Over two days, the young contenders, organized in 25 teams, battled it out for glory, a cash prize, and the chance to land an internship at Schindler – an opportunity to shape the mobility solutions of the future.
"These hackathons are always inspiring," says Laurent Aureyre, who heads R&D at Schindler and sat on the jury panel. "It’s a great opportunity for us to connect with bright young talents, who often bring a brand-new lens to some of the projects we’re involved in."
For young people, events such as the Future City Plan Hackathon are an opportunity to connect with companies in an informal setting – and get a feel for what it’s like to work for them.
Laurent Aureyre, for his part, sees this as an opportunity to tap into the creative power of young minds.
Many of us in the industry have already been ‘formatted’ to some extent. But these young people approach these topics with an entirely different mindset, and that’s refreshing.
To stand a chance to win, teams needed an original idea that pushes the boundaries of what is deemed acceptable and challenging basic assumptions – but ideas alone wouldn’t cut it.
The teams had to develop their idea into a proof of concept, with many designing elaborate cardboard structures fitted with sensors and actuators provided by Schindler to bring their vision to life.
Two external mentors, with a combined wealth of experience in hackathons and hardware design, were on hand to share their experience and give a little helping hand when needed.
"All the entries showed strong potential, but a couple of them really stood out," says Laurent.
The team capturing the top prize in the ‘Smart Elevators’ category came up with a concept involving elevators fitted with smart cameras to advance safety. "We plan to use the cash reward to buy a small 3D printer to work on other ideas," a member of the winning team said.
The winners in the ‘Sustainable Urban Development Solutions’ developed a concept aimed at easing elevator bottlenecks in office towers during the lunch hour. Their out-of-the-box idea was to turn elevators into takeaway food delivery stations.
"The whole experience was fantastic," a team member said. "A two-day brainstorming is a rare opportunity. We learned a lot from this Hackathon, and we now hope to get a chance to discuss our concept with Schindler and maybe take it to the next steps."
We hear that’s the plan.