Franz de la Fuente and AE Team | November 13, 2018
The Philippines’ digital community, seen as an emerging growth sector, got a significant and innovative boost with the staging of the Aboitiz Group’s Decode Tomorrow: An Aboitiz Future Challenge. Held from November 10 to 11, gathered 800 professionals, start-ups, freelancers, and college students to a 24-hour hackathon to come up with solutions for business- and community-oriented challenges specific to Aboitiz business units.
Ana Aboitiz-Delgado, UnionBank’s Chief User Experience Officer, kicked off the event, which was held at Metrotent Convention Center in Pasig City.
This is not just an opportunity for you to solve the 17 different problems that will be presented to you today, but this may be the beginning of something even bigger. And we hope that we will get the opportunity to continue to work with you today, tomorrow, and in the future.
Chief User Experience Officer
Also on hand to share insights to the participants was UnionBank Chairman Justo Ortiz, who emphasized that the pursuit of dreams should always be based on values and led by a genuine purpose—the spirit behind the success of Aboitiz.
[We all need] to reinvent ourselves to fulfill a higher purpose. For us in Aboitiz, it’s to drive change for a better world. Now that’s quite ambitious, isn’t it? Quite challenging. But we know that together with you, we can co-create this future…your imagination and our resources, we produce the best solutions that can really change the world.
–Justo A. Ortiz
With the hackathon, which was one of the biggest in the Philippines, the Aboitiz Group seeks to build a digital community keen to play in spaces where innovation, technology, and purpose intersect. In doing so, the company promotes its core values of innovation—better ways to provide efficient systems, quality service, and products—and teamwork, a multi-disciplinary approach to achieving business goals.
As innovators, we work to better ourselves, to learn more and contribute more. In everything we do, our highest aspiration is to drive change for a better world by advancing business and communities.
– Erramon I. Aboitiz
President and Chief Executive Officer
Participating teams employed intelligent applications, immersive experience, Internet of things (IoTs), big data and predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation or even a hybrid of these methods for their chosen challenge. They then pitched a working prototype (software or hardware) to a panel of judges composed of executives representing the whole Aboitiz Group. Their proposed solutions were then weighed based on idea quality, sustainability, potential impact, application intelligence, and demonstration, as well as innovation, business impact, and overall quality.
As the hackathon came to a close, Team Codeen was declared the grand winner with their proposed application called Vena, a platform for broker and buyers of AboitizLand. The features are designed to keep both clients and brokers updated on payments, balances, construction progress with actual photos, as well as the capability to manage clients online. They also won in a triple tie in the Hackathon+ category.
“It was great! The mentors were really helpful and actually sought us out to give us insights. The timeline was tough! We had only 24 hours to create the solution, and our product wasn’t completed by the time we had to pitch it. But, we persevered!” shared Team Codeen.
“What I’m always telling people is that you’ll be surprised with the ideas they come out. That’s the idea of hackathons: it’s the ideation. It’s what people can do with technology. Technology alone is already a given. How we can extend the capabilities of those technologies is in the hands of the developers and the teams,” said Chris Misola, Lead Software Engineer/Product Development of Packetworx, one of the hackathon’s partners.
“We want to give a good experience for our customers. It doesn’t end when they reserve [their property]. We want that after the sale is closed, the experience of our vecinos is good – from their reservation until the time they move in. It’s really the customer journey…we want them to have visibility of all relevant information about their account. We want to be proactive,” explained Ryan Vinegas, Manager, Information Technology, Strategy/Decode Tomorrow Business Unit Mentor, AboitizLand.
As part of the panel of judges, Jojo Guingao, AEV Chief Technology Officer, explained how Decode Tomorrow manifests principles behind the Aboitiz digital transformation initiatives.
This hackathon helps us reinforce our vision for future-proofing our business by encouraging everybody to be part of our innovation story. There has been a lot of learning especially in terms of how to present an idea—your idea can only be as good as your storytelling. You need to be able to articulate why your solutions are sustainable. We at Aboitiz are willing to help you pursue and continue your ideas. Hold on to that because it will go a long way.
– Jojo Guingao
Chief Digital Officer
While only one team was awarded the top prize, Aboitiz BUs will continue working with finalists whose pitches demonstrated can be further developed.
Some of the notable ideas from the final pitch include:
• A kind of Open Access app that reduces electricity consumption while using green renewable energy and integrating a social network that allows people to buy and sell electricity from both businesses and end-users
• “E-konek” aims to ease consumer electricity service application by capturing a customer’s location via real-time and connecting them to a network of electricians’ associations
• A web-based application that can predict weeks ahead how much power a solar farm can produce in a day, which is also useful for better planning and energy trading displaying various data (e.g. weather data, temp, heat index, etc.) that affects power output
• A program that helps prevent and tracks water leakage featuring sensors that send alert signals to a central control and color-coded segments/service areas that can predict the probability of leakage based on the age of pipes along the route
Decode Tomorrow: The Aboitiz Future Challenge was organized by the Aboitiz Group in cooperation with Red Wizard Events, the same team behind UnionBank’s hugely successful nationwide <U>HACK project.