New Zealand’s annual AgriTech Hackathon went virtual. Here’s what’s coming

Cat Mules

Cat Mules

Pivoting during a global pandemic doesn’t exactly sound simple, but the annual AgTech Hackathon has managed to do with style, this year going under a new name: AgTech Hackathon Lite.

The AgTech Hackathon returns for its fourth year, with its continued aim of connecting talent with New Zealand’s primary industry.

In a quick pivot away from original plans to be in the first weekend of March due to Covid-19 disruptions, it is now being hosted through HeroX, a crowdsourcing platform that hosts challenges from NASA and more. This year, the Connected Farm challenge was supplied by Microsoft’s Azure FarmBeats system in partnership with Aware Group, to seek answers on how to “reduce the noise” and provide targeted insights to farmers.

In collaboration with AgriFood Week, this year’s Hackathon seeks innovative ideas in solving five Primary Industry problems across dairy, horticulture, water management, forestry and the connected farm. Participants from all across Aotearoa are invited to enter, as individuals, with friends, or by joining groups online.

“While the country is on lockdown and many of us are at home, we have an opportunity to help the Primary Industries,” Linda Stewart, CEO of the Hackathon’s Principal Partner CEDA, said. “This sector hasn’t stopped, and is more important now than ever so we’re thrilled that the Lite event can bring together the brightest and most creative minds in New Zealand to work together and find real time solutions to unique problems faced across this vital sector.”

The Hackathon challenges participants to present a solution for their chosen industry problem. It involves exploring problems, researching and brainstorming solutions in an ideation process, before entering their solution by the deadline of April 28th. Mentors are on hand to help participants should they want it, Event Manager Johnelle Hosking explains, in terms of ideas, feedback, answering questions and giving sector insights allowing participants to form their solution.

Last year’s Hackathon winners included an imaging camera to detect and identify fish species in rich water environments, a digital management tool to optimise productivity of kiwifruit vines, and an AR training app to make training farm workers easier.

Interested? Explore one of five real world primary industry challenges for 2020 here, enter your solution and you could win $1,000 with AgTech Hackathon.

Image credit: The Factory NZ.

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Cat Mules

Cat Mules

Umbrellar's Digital Journalist, coming from a background in tech reporting and research. Cat's inspired by the epic potential of tech and helping kiwi innovators share their success stories.

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