SD Solutions hosted a Safety & Dev Solutions Hackathon in its Tbilisi office for Georgian programmers, innovators, and creators. It took place August 19-20, 2022 covering the topic “How to make the world a safer place to live”. It was Tbilisi’s first offline programming event since the lockdown, and it was a huge step forward for the local IT community.
What is a goal of the hackathon?
After the new office opening in Tbilisi we saw that after pandemic put people on online working mode for too long. To shake up a Georgian IT community, our team brainstormed on how to bring developers together and let them feel the vibe of live teamwork again. The hackathon was meant not only to get programmers out of the home offices, but also to create a platform for socialization where they could share their ideas and empower the Georgian workforce market.
What’s more, in response to the Russo-Ukrainian war and dramatic world’s changes, we picked a theme: “How to make the work a safer place”. Many Ukrainian developers were in Georgia before the full-scale war started, after the invasion began, their number only increased, and they got a lot of support from Georgian people. So we aimed to inspire relocated developers and local professional with a common aim — to create solutions that might be helpful for people’s safety.
Partnership is a key!
Many of our partners, top-list IT companies, are highly interested in Georgian talents. Georgia is close to European market geographically and event more in terms of working culture and technical background. Thanks to our partners, Safety & Dev Solutions became a true synergy moment of Israeli experience and Georgian strive to innovate.
People, who chose the winners and evaluated 24 hours development process, are highly experienced IT professionals. They came to Tbilisi to build personal connections and help the participants find the right way to success.
Cyrebro – leading cybersecurity company was represented by Kfir Matza, VP R&D at with 25 years experience in the field. Kfir has also huge experience in running hackathons, so his advice was in handy for all teams. Looking for Python developers for building a team in Tbilisi, Kfir got involved into the process and become a true ideologist of this event, bringing a spirit of fair competition and team work.
Finaro – A-list fintech company, that already has a growing Java team in Tbilisi, decided to enter the event with two professionals – Nimrod Roth, R&D QA manager with 20 years experience in Fintech and Shahak Savyon, R&D Manager with a solid background in IT. Together they managed to evaluate all aspects of developing process and team’s ideas while sharing Finaro’s strong working culture and values.
How does a hackathon go?
The hackathon was pretty flexible. Developers could compete individually, with a team, or get together with other attendees on a hackathon. Skilled Full Stacks, Python, C++, Node.JS, Java developers, ML і Data Science engineers, QAs, and Product managers joined our event. That’s how 6 teams were formed, and 3 of them got rewarded.
There were 24 hours to develop solutions and prepare short presentations. Judges did not rate presentations, but 5-minute pitches played a key role in evaluating such criteria — alignment with a topic, innovation, user experience, challenges, strategic thinking and feasibility. Judges also scored the development process and teamwork from 1 to 10 points.
Here is a short excursion through the presented solutions:
The Data Science team, regarding the Russo-Ukrainian war, created a Machine Learning model that detects fake news. As Telegram is becoming increasingly popular these days, they made a demo version of Telegram-bot powered by AI that identifies Russian propaganda. In perspective, this model can be integrated into other news or message platforms. The team also suggested implementing voice and image searching and building databases of user rankings and reliable sources to enhance the prediction.
Developers paid attention to the problem of fakes on the internet, even through video conferences. Nowadays, people cannot be sure they are talking to a real person on calls, so the team’s solution intends to protect any online conversation platform such as Google Meet, Zoom, Microsoft Team, WEBEX etc. The program gives instructions to a person, like “turn ahead”, and identifies if she or he is not wearing the web mask or is it just a manipulated picture.
The NodeJS team tried to resolve the kids’ browsing issues to protect them from inappropriate Internet content. So, they developed a program called ChildNS that locally limits access to potentially dangerous sites.
Developers from team #4 demonstrated a solution that might reduce the percentage of kidnapped children and increase the number of found missing kids. They developed two synchronized web applications called Secure Track that allow parents to have their children’s geolocation through their devices. The same tracking systems already exist, but the issue is that the companies which own these programs have centralized systems and in the case of break-in, criminals get the confidential information of all the users. Secure Track is an innovative blockchain model of applications with distributed systems and individual smart contracts, so the information about a child’s geolocation will be secured much better, and only parents will have access to it.
The team chose to cover urban problems and made Donations Hub. The issue is that many Infrastructural, Municipal, Civil, and Educational projects stay on the “MVP” stage, and buildings’ concerns are not solved at all. Such a tendency is usually caused by a lack of financing or bureaucracy in the government system. The solution advises giving local communities that have been bonded to the particular area to gather around and create projects in the name of a group of people.
Interesting fact: team #6 was disqualified as they couldn’t go align with the hackathon rules, where offline participation of all team members is mandatory.
What we got as a result
Judges scored team #4 and their solution for preventing kids from kidnapping as first place, so they got a certificate for $3500. The second place and $1500 belongs to team #1 and their ML model supporting Ukraine. And the kids’ browsing solution of team #1 is in third place with a gift for $500.
Winners had two options to get their prizes — by cash or as an AWS certificate to improve their programming skills and implement their ambitious ideas.
What is next?
We are grateful to all partners and participants for making these 24 hours full of joy and exceptional experience. Everyone had a great chance to meet new like-minded people, communicate with colleagues, share case stories and just have a cheer talk.
For those who are waiting for more events in Georgia, stay tuned for updates — we are already working on another event to make our community grow and create exceptional products with passionate people.