The day of the battle!
After a quick breakfast, we were picked up from our hotel just after 9am, and taken to the Hanze Hogeschool campus. Luckily the rest of my team members (Hanze Hogeschool Team 2) were waiting right at the door for me. We launched into our case immediately after the opening remarks at the battle- this surprised me. I thought things might be a little awkward since we’d all just met but because we had a task to complete in a limited timeframe, we bonded straightaway and began brainstorming ideas for a solution.
Our case was entitled “basic domotics for lifelong living in your own home”. The background behind it: people nowadays have an extended life-span and want to live at home as long as possible, rather than moving to a nursing home. However, this means elderly people may need some form of assistance to remain at home, which is where domotics (home automation) comes in. We were asked to develop a concept/solution for an affordable, unobtrusive domotics system, considering factors such as the technological components required and the amount of the control elderly users should have over the system. I felt that it was quite an interesting an idea, especially we had a good balance of skills between team members: 2 domotics students, 1 bioinformatics student, 1 business student and me, the usable security nerd.
Before lunch, much of the time was spent brainstorming, thinking about possible ideas which could be implemented into homes. We also had a look at our key demographics, researching information such as the number of people over the age of 65 in the Netherlands and the annual income of these people, to ensure our design was affordable. In the afternoon, we set amount making these ideas a little more concrete, costing components we thought we would need, and discussing security implementation, allowing elderly users to have the appropriate level of control over the system. It was then a rush to get the pitch presentation finished off before dinner was served. The day went by very quickly but I think that’s due to the fact we were all focussed on the project in hand.
We ate as a team and then it was pitch time. We were given just 3 minutes to out forward our ideas on stage in front of the audience and a jury- slightly nerve-wracking. Our presentation had the honour of being the first one to finish on time and we didn’t think the jury were going to have any questions to ask us. Afterwards, it was a case of networking until the winners were announced by the end of the evening.
Sadly, we didn’t win (and we didn’t get through to the next round either) but it was a great experience. I was a little skeptical about how well team members would work together, given that we only met for the first time in the morning (there’s always some level of awkwardness when meeting new people). I’m glad to say I was wrong, and the team settled down quickly. I liked the concept of getting an idea together in the space of one day: it allows you to create rough prototypes and it worked well- very enjoyable!
Team photo by Erwin Schiphorst- our case instructor