AgTech Hackathon generates innovative Tech solutions for Primary Industries

 After 30 hours of intense collaboration, participants in the third annual AgTech Hackathon, presented seven innovative tech solutions for genuine primary industry challenges to judges at Central District Field Days on Saturday.

 The AgTech Hackathon, in conjunction with New Zealand Agrifood Week, connects tech talent with the primary industries in Aotearoa. Attending teams pooled their expertise at the Massey University Riddet Complex, many staying at a local marae overnight. All of their hacking culminated in a public expo, judging event and awards ceremony at the Field Days.

 “This was one of the most impressive AgTech Hackathons I’ve attended,” says mentor Ian Taiera and winner of the inaugural 2017 event. “The Massey location, resources, partners, and diverse age and range of attendees from around the country is great.”

 The winning team, Aqualitics impressed the judges with their solution to the PF Olsen challenge, “How can we use technology to efficiently and accurately monitor and report on water quality?” As a team, they developed a hydro-powered imaging camera to detect and identify fish species in forest river environments with the ability to monitor other water quality variables like temperature, pH and periphyton.

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 Judges Linda Stewart (CEDA), Erica Van Reenen (AgFirst and Farmer) Scott Gillet (Amazon Web Services), and Mat Hocken (Rural Innovation Lab + Nuffield Alumni) assessed the teams’ volume of hacking, their ability to articulate and solve the problem, and the team dynamic.

“It was impressive to watch these diverse teams learn about the primary industries, their problems, then immediately think outside the box and develop their ideas utilising the skills and resources available to them,” says mentor and judge Scott Gillett from Amazon Web Services.

The Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA) manages New Zealand AgriFood Week and is a proud supporter of the AgTech Hackathon and partner of The Factory and Talent Central. CEDA, with support from key industry members, sets the strategic direction and development of the region’s agricultural sector, manages partnerships, runs several events and delivers content for New Zealand AgriFood Week.

“I am really impressed with the turnout and the ideas generated. This was a perfect, exciting fit as we wrap up NZ AgriFood Week,” says Linda Stewart, CEDA’s CEO and Hackathon judge.

The AgTech Hackathon is supported by the Central Economic Development Agency, AGMARDT, Massey University, Zespri, Gallagher, LIC, Fonterra, PF Olsen, Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Accelerate25, Pamu, Horizons Regional Council, Seenbros, Talent Central, Summer of Tech, Beef+Lamb NZ, and is delivered/managed by The Factory.

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