Coders met at Ultrahack

Ultrahack hackathon put coders to the test. But, what is a hackathon?

Ultrahack, held under Slush, attracted a group of coders from all parts of the world to develop solutions for corporate challenges. DNA also threw in a challenge.

Ultrahack 2016, a hackathon leading to Slush, was held at Vallila Konepaja in Helsinki. It was the final of the largest hackathon tournament in Europe. During the weekend, more than 560 software developers from 29 countries attempted to solve challenges presented to them by different companies.

The objective of Ultrahack was to come up with new financial and social innovations, and to offer a stepping stone for new talent. The event had attracted a diverse group of skilled coders: student teams, startups and also larger companies.

Innovative ideas for DNA's challenge

Tiina Rytkönen, head of online development at DNA, describes the Ultrahack atmosphere as innovative and inspired.

“We wanted in because this event is a perfect match with DNA's values and its new way of carrying out agile business. The event was fun and relaxed, while the teams also worked long hours to solve the challenges,” Rytkönen says.

DNA challenged the teams to create ideas to develop the coverage maps located on DNA's web pages.

“Coverage maps allow us to open interfaces to external software developers. We wanted to hear new ideas in order to make our services more transparent towards our customers.”

At Ultrahack, teams innovated the use of positioning data in coverage maps. They also thought of ways to develop the services as a bi-directional channel, where customers could provide DNA with information about Internet connection speeds in specific locations.

“Our primary objective is to provide our customers with better information about the coverage of DNA's mobile network, whether they are driving across the country, at their summer cottage or skiing in Lapland,” Rytkönen says.

The map developer wants to join the race

DNA's partner at Ultrahack was Karttakeskus, which provided the teams with the coverage maps and other material via its map service.

“It was fun to be part of this event, where the innovating teams were fully focused on these challenges,” says Tero Dubrovin, service manager at Karttakeskus.

Dubrovin also received many new ideas from the event.

“For example, we could develop map customisation, so as to produce a different map design, according to the user and purpose of use,” Dubrovin says.

Dubrovin got so enthusiastic over Ultrahack that he may take part in a future tournament as a competitor.

“During the weekend, I started to think that I could take up one of these challenges as a coder and put up a skilled team.”

In addition to the finals held in Helsinki, different Ultrahack tournaments were organised in seven countries in Northern and Central Europe during the year. The chain of events will continue when Ultrahack 2017 will be launched at the beginning of the year.