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AEC Hackathon back in London for 2nd year

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"We've Forked !"*, she said enthusiastically waving an Arduino board and hurrying back to the team huddled around a table. The Hackathon was in full flow and it was not even 11:00 on a Saturday morning yet.

On July 8-10th the AEC Hackathon comes back to the UK for a second year and it is set to be one of the biggest ever seen.

The AEC Hackathon was founded by Damon Hernandez in Silicon Valley in 2013 where it grew rapidly across the USA, with over 14 events. AEC stands for “Architecture, Engineering and Construction” covering everything from Built Environment to Future Cities. Each event is organised by a local team and in 2015, the first ever International AEC Hackathon in London was hosted by:

Team Gapath0n working late into the night at the 2015 AEC Hackathon London
Team Gapath0n working late into the night at the 2015 AEC Hackathon London

*Forking a Repo” is a phase common in the digital developer community and refers to branching a code repository on GitHub. If you are reading this in a construction job and don't understand what it means then you need to keep an eye on the 2016 AEC Hackathon.

Hackathons are not only for the IT Industry

Hackathons have long been staple events in the IT Industry since the late 1990s but now other industries, such as the Architecture, Engineering and Construction sector, are starting to discover their benefit as Digital Technology becomes ever more prevalent..

A Hackathon is an intense competitive weekend where teams of coders, designers and industry experts rapidly create new ideas for prizes, fame and fortune.

They are a great place to:

  • Discover and use cutting edge technology
  • collaborate and network
  • Solve key challenges for the industry

For sponsors, the event is a place to meet the best of the UK’s tech individuals and get a first-hand view of the latest developments or maybe find your next star recruit.

Not all attendees need to have to code or even have much background with tech. Teams are formed on Friday night with a mix of skills so just come with knowledge, an inquisitive mind and a collaborative spirit.

Construction industry has only recently adopted digital design methods and technology

The construction industry is worth £150bn to the UK economy and $15tn worldwide. It is bigger than Energy, Automotive and Aerospace combined. It delivers our:

  • homes
  • infrastructure
  • cities
  • utilities

It faces unprecedented challenges from population growth, climate change and skills shortages. It is also less productive and less profitable than in the 1960’s. Why?

Well unlike the automotive, aerospace, pharmaceutical and consumer goods sectors, the construction industry is only recently adopting digital design methods and technology.

My first ever construction job was to calculate cable runs through a skyscraper. I immediately asked for the CAD models and the automatic wire-routing plug-ins (standard in the automotive industry). "What's wire routing?" came the answer “just use paper and a ruler” Although this might sound like a story from 50 years ago, it was 2014.

Building Information Modelling is the future of the construction sector

However, things are now changing and this £150bn industry is undergoing a Digital Revolution where the UK leads the world thanks to Building Information Modelling, (BIM).

BIM brings aerospace and automotive technology into the Built Environment including:

  • 3D Modelling and Virtual Reality
  • Wearable Technology
  • IoT and Data

The ultimate goal for BIM is to unify IoT, Smart Cities, PropTech and Infrastructure Systems to enable us to make better use of our Built Environment for generations; a “Digital Built Britain”.

The next phase of BIM development is now underway

The next phase of BIM development is now underway and Innovate UK will be setting a challenge to explore BIM Level 3 at the AEC Hackathon.

The core concept behind BIM Level 3
The core concept behind BIM Level 3

The Future Cities Catapult are also setting a BIM challenge to create an interactive BIM model of the venue over the weekend, pulling in:

  • live sensors
  • virtual reality
  • datamodels

These challenges will be supported by hardware, software and data over the weekend including access to Google Tangos, Arduinos, IoT APIs and much more.

Pushing the boundaries of a Digital Built Britain

The 2016 AEC Hackathon takes place over the weekend of 8th to the 10th July in the Urban Innovation Centre, London.

A group of dedicated sponsors and VIP speakers, who will be guiding the teams through the weekend challenges, include:

This will be an unprecedented opportunity to bring IoT, Future Cities, Built Environment, developers and creatives together to push the boundaries of a Digital Built Britain and demonstrate the innovation of the UK tech industry.

Find all details and tickets about 2016 AEC Hackathon

As the hackathon is a team based weekend event, competitors must commit to the full weekend to be eligible. A Slack channel is available after registration for competitors to develop their ideas.

You can follow the 2016 AEC Hackathon progress on Twitter: #AECHackLDN and @AECHackathon

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