The Blog

Hackathon Diaries: Oulu 5GFWD hackathon

Virtual classrooms, hospital experiences, and factories of tomorrow

How to hack with 5G networks in mind? How do you manage three teams and ten hackers in an efficient manner? Is Oulu one of the best places to hold a hackathon?

The role of technology

When 3G networks came, they brought us our first real chance in mobile internet and mobile video calls among other things. Now it’s time to add another odd number in front the letter G and like before, also supercharge the speed of the network. But what kind of world changing solutions will this new 5G network bring? It seems that no one knows yet, but there’s a lot of potential!

Now, network technologies aren’t really my jam. But I see 5G networks — like any other cutting edge technology — as an enabler. Therefore, this hackathon provided a new kind of challenge that we were eager to take on. A well defined problem and a polished solution wouldn’t cut it this time — we would also need to take into consideration what role this one specific technology plays in all three solutions.

How did we do? Short answer: 1 win and 2 honorary mentions.

The challenges we took up on

In total there were three challenges, two from industry leaders Nokia and Telia, and one from the Oulu University Hospital. Here is quick rundown of those challenges.

Oulu University Hospital (OYS) challenged teams to improve their customers’ journey. With 42 kilometers of corridors, the hospital is a massive complex and navigating through different departments takes ages. Additionally, all patients are given the same information in the same format, which is confusing to some patients. Since OYS is a special health care hospital, patients have no say when it comes to scheduling — this may lead to being late or even missed appointments, which is very inefficient.

Nokia wanted the participants to develop new ways of optimizing their already state-of-the-art telecom network equipment. In order to succeed the hackers would need to make the current process even more digital than it currently is, by utilizing the aid of machine learning, computer vision, wearable technology, augmented and virtual reality and robotization. Nokia’s industrial environment’s challenges presented our team with a chance to try our hands at building with novel and upcoming technologies.

Telia presented a challenge with the largest scope — mobile apps for 5G age. Unlike Nokia’s and OYS’ challenges, there was no apparent real world problem. This meant that in order to create a truly useful solution, our team would need to find a target group whose needs are not yet met by any other solution. I don’t want to go into details on how we eventually ended up selecting students and educators as our target group (more talk about this in the future), but I want to point out that we quickly realized that in order to create a meaningful solution we would need a teacher’s input throughout the whole hackathon. This lead us to include a teacher student as one our hackers.

There has not been a single hackathon without a sauna in our history, photo by Ultrahack

The teams and their solutions

Perfekt Patient set out to create the best customer journey ever seen in a hospital. A week before the hackathon we reached out to doctors and people who had spent long times in hospitals. From these interviews and conversations with the people from OYS we formulated our problem space and decided to focus on guiding the patient to the right place at the right time. Our solution was a mobile application coded with React native. OYS appreciated our solution and honored us with a honorable mention.

Industry Perfekt team made an impressive demo and development plan of how Nokia could optimize their component tracking process. With the combinations of wearable technology and always on optical reading, the tracking process would be a lot less prone to errors. Did Nokia like our solution? I’d say so, although we did not win the main prize, which ended up going to a company specializing in augmented reality control panels. We did receive an honorary mention, so we got that going for us which is nice.

ClassRoom’s dashboard for teachers was pretty simple but enough to get the message across.

Team ClassRoom was in charge of coming up with a solution that would enable students to get more immersed with teaching while at the same time providing valuable insights to the teacher about students. Our team really rocked this challenge! Our demo, consisting of a dashboard for the teacher and a VR-demo of a heart for the student, was cool af. You know who else though the solution and demo was cool? Telia. They even gave us the 10K main prize for it!

Hackathon superstars, photo by Ultrahack


Oulu 5G hackathon was definitely a positive experience. Goes without saying that the venue and event were masterfully organized, and just look at how much fun we had! Big thanks to Nokia, Telia and OYS for the challenges, they were one of the most challenging in our hackathon history which is a good thing!