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  • Writer's pictureKate Wajda-Nikiel

Krakathon 2022 - Hacking for Good!

Introduction


“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any KrakenFlex hackathon before…”


So according to our annual just-before-Christmas tradition in December 2022 we have held this awaited event again - the KrakenFlex hackathon.


What is a hackathon?


A hackathon (a word created as a mix of hacking and marathon) is an event where people engage in rapid and collaborative engineering over a relatively short time such as 24 or 48 hours.The goal of a hackathon is to create functioning software (or hardware) by the end of the event.The "hack" term is used here in the sense of exploratory programming, not breaking into a system, violating security or causing any damage.


Krakathon


The theme of this year’s hackathon edition was Less is more - which could have been interpreted by participating teams as e.g. increased automation and less manual work, simplifying the processes, less carbon is more green, smaller usage of resources or time… The sky was the limit.


As KrakenFlex has expanded worldwide and recently stretched out its tentacles to Japan and Switzerland, we went international with the hackathon and had teams from different regions of the world taking part in it.


To coordinate this global event, we have done some pre-hackathon preparations: with a call for ideas first, then a pitch session to present the idea of the hackathon project and form a team, and lastly the actual hackathon which lasted 24 hours. All of the teams were very creative, enthusiastic and engaged, and after the hackathon finished they shared the results of their efforts in 10 minute presentations (and some demonstrations as well!).


Afterwards, our 4 judges from KrakenFlex and Octopus Energy (with the help of technical consultants from KF) have decided on winning teams. It’s worth mentioning that it wasn’t an easy task as all teams have done a good job and every project was unique and has been dealing with a different issue or exploring a different opportunity.


Judges

  • Charlotte Johnson - Chief of Staff at KrakenFlex, energy market expert focusing on distributed energy resources and flexibility, and Krakathon veteran - the hackathon teams she had been a member of have won multiple Krakathon editions

  • Matthew Wapples - Global Director of Customer Growth at KrakenFlex, an expert in enterprise-wide software sales and project deliveries, and lover of toast and Nottingham Forrest

  • Philippe Grosjean - Technology Lead at KrakenFlex Switzerland (previous Depsys), an expert in Enterprise Software and IoT technologies applied to Energy and Utilities, and a firm believer that Technology can be harnessed to improve people’s quality of life while creating a more sustainable future

  • Tom Breare - Senior Partnerships Manager at Octopus Energy US, recently moved from the UK to the US to expand and grow Intelligent Octopus in Texas


The winners


1st place - IoCarbon (Intelligent Octopus Carbon)


Carbon emission comparison of 4 different EV optimisation scenarios


Team members: Andrew Walker, Rachel Tadd, Martin Tejada

KrakenFlex, a global leader in developing smart car charging, controls about 16 000 cars (as of December 2022) which are registered on the IO (Intelligent Octopus) tariff. This is the next generation of charging, an improved and more innovative evolution of Octopus Go tariff. Octopus Go has been designed to help electric vehicle drivers charge up on cheaper power overnight (between 00:30 am and 04:30 am), so they can charge up their EV for a fraction of the price of a traditional car. Intelligent Octopus takes a step forward and uses the power of data science from KrakenFlex to use the cheapest charging schedule. Intelligent Octopus will pair directly with the customer’s car’s charging system, using KrakenFlex service to find the best time to charge. All the customer needs to do is to use the mobile app to specify when they need the car charged and how much charge they need and we’ll make sure it’s ready for use.


We currently optimise EV fleet charging to ensure charging during the cheapest time of the day but here comes the question - is it the least carbon-intensive time for the charge as well? How much carbon can we save with Intelligent Octopus?

This project's goal was to find out what is the most environmentally friendly way of optimising the fleet of electric cars.


The team used their data-science skills to analyse and compare the data from the whole EV fleet for November. They have run through 4 optimisation scenarios: dumb charging (when the EV is plugged in, the charging starts), Octopus Go tariff, IO or Intelligent Octopus tariff and optimising based on carbon intensity forecast.


They have found out that IO gives very similar results to the ecology-focused scenario and performs much better than the non-smart approach of charging cars. As a result, IO has helped us to save 81 tonnes of CO2 in November 2022.


As our mission in KrakenFlex is creating the new energy system for a better world we were really thrilled to see more evidence of the positive impact our services have on the environment (yay for saving the world!). We are pretty sure our current and potential customers would like to see these numbers too.


Runner up - Cute Demonstrator


A cute diorama to demonstrate in a simple way how Network Intelligence works


Team members: Pascal Bauermeister, Antoine Zen, Emilie Zermatten, Jonathan Bischof, Simon Reynaud, Yann Chenaux

The aim of this project was to show how to integrate both systems - Network Intelligence and Kraken - in a cute way and then explain how it works making it easy to follow and understand.


It has been demonstrated with a model that has been created of LEGO building blocks and some custom-made 3D-printed parts. It consists of all the most common energy components: battery, wind turbine, solar panel, EV and house (mimicking the energy usage by the customer's household).


The team has taken us through the day in the life of an imaginary Octopus customer, Olivia. We were observing how Olivia unplugged her electric car and drove to her work, meanwhile wind and sunshine induced generation of the energy that was stored in the on-site battery. When Olivia came back home in the evening, she plugged her car in to charge it and turned the lights on in her house which resulted in importing energy from the grid.


During the whole presentation of Olivia’s journey we were able to see on the provided energy graphs how all these actions and events affected the energy import/export of all monitored components.


We love how this project has made complex things simple (and cute!). Judges have appreciated how engaging and fun the presentation was and how it might enrich our demos and give us opportunities for creating cool videos to share knowledge about energy and information about products from KrakenFlex and Octopus Energy.


Summary


Here, at KrakenFlex we value creativity and believe everyone contributes so we enjoy how our amazing KrakenFlexers can transform great ideas into actual innovative projects.

We had loads of fun during this edition of the hackathon, exploring some cool concepts and boosting teamwork! However we also see the opportunity to take it further, understanding that there is a real commercial application coming especially with the winning solutions.


We hope to get bigger and even better in the next 2023 edition of the Krakathon - in fact, a little bird told me some people already have new interesting ideas ready!


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