Four innovations in agriculture presented on VIRAL hackathon


The VIRAL hackathon grand finale was held last night at the Innovation entrepreneurship centre Tehnopolis. DEMO Day – the crown of two days of work – was an opportunity for the four teams to present to the jury their innovative ideas in the field of information communication technologies and agriculture, which they came up with after 48 hours of work on the hackathon.

Backed by mentors from four fields: business developer, pitch, software, and hardware prototyping, the teams worked from 17 to 19 May to solve defined hackathon problems, creating innovative and creative solutions to help farmers improve processes and systems in their businesses.

The three teams worked on optimizing and automating irrigation systems and presented functional prototypes on DEMO day, made with the support of TechLab IEC Tehnopolis, while one team created a software solution that enables optimization and measurement of workforce performance.

The teams  GoDigital, Mechanic Crops, Demetra, and Perfect H20 proved by presenting their innovative ideas that 48 hours is not a short time to create a great and functional solution.

The title of winner of the VIRAL hackathon was won by team GoDigital, who stated that they are very satisfied with the whole process and have learned a lot about agriculture and the ICT in the sector. They have created a hardware/software solution FIRM system (Farmer Irrigation Remote Monitoring), which offers irrigation capabilities with a “single-click” – optimization of resources for irrigation of farms, more efficient allocation of labour, information on air temperature, percentage of humidity of air and soil, higher yield volume with less investment and the ability to adapt to plant species.

The second-placed team is Demetra, which presented the software solution of the AGRICULTURAL Labour Automation Tool, i.e. plantations where harvesting takes place by hand-picking technique and there is no possibility of adequate monitoring of workforce efficiency. With their application, it is possible to automate the system, control the dynamics of employees’ work, obtain “real-time” data, manage costs, and have constant insight into the job done, especially taking care of labour transparency and protection of workers’ rights. They say that with the help of mentors and a dedicated team of Tehnopolis, they have managed to master new skills and meet people with whom they will continue to cooperate.

Third place went to team Mechanic Crops, which offered a software/hardware solution that implies artificial intelligence in combination with a new type of irrigation system that allows you to have an “irrigation engineer on the farm” that is available for 24 hours and enables maximum water savings.

Although only three first places were originally scheduled to be awarded 2,500, 1,000, and 500 euros, the fourth team, Perfect H2O, was awarded a 250-euro award, to reward their effort, work, and dedication. Their solution, D’Go, is a combination of software and hardware, provides data on the amount of water for plant culture, soil quality with excessive water consumption, and allows small and medium-size businesses that are not available to laboratories to learn how to maintain the land.

As Aleksandar Janicic, the coordinator of the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development and Project Management at IEC Tehnopolis pointed out, although the hackathon aimed to import ICT and the agricultural sector to solve specific problems of farmers, much greater value of the event itself is reflected in the multidisciplinary cooperation of students from different student units, who have achieved great success together in a short period and presented great solutions: “We wish that young, innovative people continue to think proactively and that student ideas are generated and developed under the roof of Tehnopolis and in the coming period.” In particular, he thanked sponsors who recognized the importance of viral hackathon and supported it to the general patron – the Standard Working Group for Regional Rural Development in Southeast Europe (SWG), which supported the project to diversify economic activities in rural areas of Southeast Europe through the development of the value chain, implemented in partnership with the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ); general sponsors of the hackathon –  Montenegrin Telekom,  ICT Cortex and Coca-Cola HBC Montenegro, which in addition to monetary support provided refreshments for all hackathon participants; partner of the hackathon – Alter Modus and friends of the hackathon – Podgorica Glavni Grad, Hipotekarna Banka, and  Swisslion-Takovo.

Hackathon was organized through the VIRAL project, which was co-financed by EU funds through the Erasmus + programme. The project aims to import and improve cooperation between faculties, students, and the business sector using ICT solutions in the agricultural sector. In addition to IEC Tehnopolis, the project is being implemented by the University of Banja Luka, Donja Gorica University, Dzemal Bijedic Mostar University, University of Mostar, University of Tuzla/Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Bijeljina University, University of Wageningen, Maribor University, Bucharest University, Agro-fruit, Jaffa-commerce, Plantaze 13. July, Western Balkans Institute, Innovation Centre Banja Luka, INTERA Technology Park and Montenegrin Association for New Technologies MANT.

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