The IT Department of the University of Tasmania looks down on Sandy Bay from the top of the campus. The Centenary Building overlooks the footy oval at the bottom of the hill. So there was nothing for it but to wheel a 55” Surface Hub, in contravention of University statutes and presumably Microsoft’s official guidance, out the back door, across a main road and, zig-zagging between ramps and lifts, all the way down the hill…
…where it became one of the stars of UHack 2017, the University’s second annual hackathon (and Tasmania’s biggest) involving teams of students and professionals across the island, and the culmination of its Research Week.
Competitors in Hobart, Launceston and Burnie, video-linked via Skype for Business, spent a chilly early September weekend sweating over disruptive ideas, innovative business models and creative presentations. They drank the University dry of energy drinks and coffee, and came up with remarkable results under extreme pressure.
Insync joined the volunteer force of staff, students and sponsors running the hackathon, to provide mentoring to the teams, occasional technical support and amateur doodles on the Surface Hub – which was in its element. In between impromptu demos to teaching staff, researchers and students, the Hub’s infinite whiteboard came to symbolise the limitless world of human invention, scientific discovery and the kind of silliness that fuels lateral thinking.
Watching participants meet the Hub, we noticed a consistent pattern. Sceptical, cautious, even slightly intimidated; first wary prod at the screen; testing, questioning, experimenting; and then total absorption in anything from maps to maths, hieroglyphics to "hangman". Technology does not produce ideas: but this technology brings them out of its users like nothing before.
All in all, a fantastic weekend underpinned by technology – trying to unearth new areas or innovation and research for the betterment of all!
First: Control Freaks (Burnie) One Farm Control System
Second: For Loopers (Hobart) Energy2U
Third: AI P.T (Launceston) with AI P.T
First: Sarox with Career Connect
Second: Face Off with Echo
Third: Asian Coders with Health Cyborg
If you’d like some guidance on Surface Hub and how these devices and the power of Office 365 can unlock ideas in your workplace – please reach out!