Successful Hackathon exceeds all expectations

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During the first weekend of December, for the first time after the pandemic, a Hackathon was held on the premises of the University Library of the Technical University in Košice, organized by TEL IT (DT ITSO SK).

Hackathon, also known as Hack Day in the world, represents a combination of creativity, information technology, and competitiveness. The participants had the opportunity to experience all this during this event. 150 young IT enthusiasts in 30 teams invented a total of 32 applications in 24 hours with the help of 20 mentors from TEL IT (DT ITSO SK) and the Technical University of Košice.  The hackathon concluded a series of events that TEL IT organized this year within the local developer community. Other beneficial events were Coder Fest and Coder Game, which contribute to a high degree of cooperation with university and high school students, as well as with companies operating in the local market. All of these events support the corporate strategy to attract young potential people to ensure sustainability, continuity, and growth within the business.

The best idea of two young students was rewarded with a prize of EUR 6 000

One of the five topics that the competing teams had the opportunity to address represented 1 of the most technologically challenging problems we face at Deutsche Telekom. One of the distinguished guests at this year's Hackathon, Felix Mohnke, who serves as IT Business Director at Digital Hub ENI (Enterprise Integration), challenged the programmers with the topic of Tardis.

The absolute winners were Teodor Barča and Michal Petričko from the Gymnasium on Alejova Street in Košice, who, just after receiving the prize and the first congratulations, did not hide their excitement and joy: "We are very happy, we still can't believe it. To win the top prize is a great feeling. Even our parents didn't want to believe us at first," the winners said with a smile and added about their recipe for success: "It is important to develop your skills in your spare time, to do different projects. Of course, you have to enjoy such things, first of all, then the results will come." The young talented students worked on the Tardis theme and presented a proposal for a solution within 24 hours. They took home a prize of EUR 6,000 for 1st place. In addition to the prize money, they also gained the attention of a foreign guest, Felix Mohnke, who came to support the event from Germany and offered the budding talents a work placement.

In addition to the experience, the other two teams that came up with the best solutions also received an interesting financial reward.

The organizers are not hiding their enthusiasm for the event

"I think we managed to build on the pre-pandemic period and bring the development community together again, to bring new ideas in a great execution. The winners of the Hackathon, the Puma team - that is Teo and Michal, worked on one of the most technologically difficult problems we face at Deutsche Telekom", said Michal Kováčik (DT ITSO SK), who works as People lead - Software Engineering.

Guests Felix Mohnke and Michael Herzog-Fismer also expressed their enthusiasm for the event.

" Bringing TARDIS to the Hackathon Kosice 2023 was a great pleasure for me. We anonymized and exported metadata of our API gateway Stargate. The task was to find and import the data, visualize it, and then try to find patterns that indicate an incident in the traffic before it occurs. The winning team PUMA was able to give hints about an upcoming incident by using an AI. We are already planning a joint session with the winners and our teams to make Deutsche Telekom’s IT more stable in the future. Thanks to Deutsche Telekom IT Solutions Slovakia for the organization and the great opportunity to present our topic. We are looking forward to the next event." said Felix Mohnke, Business owner IT at Digital Hub ENI.

Michael Herzog-Fismer said: “ Inspiring event! professional made! great mixture of topics - from Tardis to local Startups! good opportunity to network with locals and sponsors. We showed ourselves as a hip company to the outside. What made me think: we have seen what is achievable in 24 hours... we should use the format more often (currently planning a hackathon in Germany) and improve our developer's experience in a way of making software development, testing, and operations easier, faster and more fun.”

The benefit of this year's event was not only to help young talents to become visible but also to bring technological solutions for organizations such as Košice IT Valley or Project Košice 2.0. Participation in this competition is a unique opportunity for the applicants to work on digital projects that can support and promote the IT sector in the east of Slovakia.

The Hackathon was supported by the event partners - Deutsche Telekom IT Solutions Slovakia, Nordics, UIA, Košice IT Valley, and Project Košice 2.0.

Watch a short video about what the 8th Hackathon looked like.

1. Reducing E-waste: IT companies are known for their rapid innovation cycles, which often lead to the disposal of outdated electronic equipment. To combat this, we are focusing on extending the lifespan of our IT devices - laptops, monitors, keyboards, printers, etc. - through a repair and refurbishment programme.

In 2022, our company (in partnership with AfB company), donated and reprocessed 1.935 pieces of IT and mobile equipment that didn’t end up in landfill, saving 3.7 tonnes of electrical waste. By reusing IT devices, we reduced our carbon footprint by 220 tonnes.

We donated more than 500 laptops to schools, hospitals, and NGOs. In one year, we helped create 20 new computer labs in regional schools and universities. The numbers for 2023 are looking even better compared to last year.

In this way, we are not only reducing e-waste, but also supporting the circular economy by reusing valuable components.

2. Cloud Computing: The cloud has revolutionized IT infrastructure, allowing for more efficient resource utilization. By consolidating data and applications in data centres, we can optimize server usage, leading to a reduction in energy consumption. Our company is also investing in renewable energy to power our data centres, further enhancing our sustainability.

3. Energy efficiency: The energy demands of data centres are substantial. However, DTITSO is investing heavily in improving energy efficiency. This includes purchasing only 100% renewable energy from 2020 onwards, reducing the amount of energy consumed for heating, ventilation and air conditioning of offices. We have set the temperature to 20 degrees and reduced the air flow for ventilation.

We have reduced office space by almost 30% in terms of square meters, which equates to 900 workplaces. By the end of 2024, we plan to reduce office space by 50% of sqm compared to 2020. We have thus reduced the rent and maintenance costs of the building. These efforts not only reduce our carbon footprint, but also save on operational costs.

4. Remote Work and Reduced Carbon Footprint: The shift to remote work, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has been embraced by many IT service companies. This reduces the need for commuting, which, in turn, lowers carbon emissions and supports sustainability goals. Remote work aligns with circular economy principles by reducing resource consumption associated with office spaces.

As part of our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, in March this year we inaugurated and put into operation the first 10 electric vehicle charging stations. At the same time, we are gradually replacing our car fleet with electric company cars. This gives our employees the opportunity to use the new electric cars and charge them directly at the charging stations that we operate.

In addition, our employees have the opportunity to rent electric scooters as well as classic bicycles. We believe that this move can help raise awareness of environmentally sustainable transport and motivate employees to consider their environmental impact and choose a more environmentally friendly alternative.

5. Green Procurement: Our IT company is increasingly selective in our supply chain choices, favouring suppliers that adhere to sustainable practices. By supporting environmentally responsible suppliers, we are indirectly contributing to a more sustainable and circular economy across our industry.

6. Employee Engagement: Sustainability initiatives are not limited to services and operations. We engage involve our employees in sustainability efforts.

This year, our employees planted 401 trees in the High Tatras, reducing our carbon footprint by 4 tonnes. We also built a new ecosystem - a lake for frogs in a city park in Košice, helping to improve the environment for the benefit of the citizens in Košice. Our employees participated as volunteers who enthusiastically planted plants and made the surroundings of the pond.

These days we are planning to place 2 textile recycling containers in our company premises, where not only our employees will be able to throw in old and unnecessary clothes, which will then be reused or recycled. This will help to reduce material consumption and CO2 emissions in textile production.

Moreover, DTITSO organise awareness campaigns and events for our employees to promote energy saving and recycling, such as Earth Hour, Earth Day, World Environment Day, World Cleanup Day, European Mobility Week, etc.

In conclusion, sustainability and the circular economy are no longer optional for IT companies; they are imperative. By embracing these principles, Deutsche Telekom IT Solutions Slovakia not only reduce its environmental impact but also position itself as a socially responsible company and meet the growing demand for environmentally conscious products and services. As technology continues to evolve, the IT sector's commitment to sustainability ensures that progress doesn't come at the expense of the planet.