CodeVsCovid19 hackathon: An app for herd protection
The virtual CodeVsCOVID19 hackathon took place last week. Nicolai Wenger was among the 3000 participants. He is a researcher at the Institute of Public Sector Transformation at BFH Wirtschaft and reports here on his experiences. Together with his colleagues from the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, he developed the “Be a Sheep” application. To be in the best possible position, I put together a capable team together with HSLU students. Around 24 hours before the official start of the hackathon, there was a short kick-off meeting. In this meeting, initial project ideas were discussed and missing skills were identified. Shortly before the official start, two more BFH alumni were recruited to complete the team with their skills. Thanks to a good network, a team was put together in just under a week that had skills in the areas of app development, business analysis, data science, UX design, marketing and project management. Thus, on 27 March at 5 pm, a motivated team started the CodeVsCOVID19 adventure. During the next 72 hours, requirements were defined, user stories written, mockups designed, meetings held, videos edited and countless lines of code written. The name of the hackathon was the programme: our team dealt with the problem of how the infection rate of the corona virus could be slowed down.
The countries of South Korea and Singapore, which have also got infection rates under control thanks to smartphone apps, served as inspiration. Borrowing from the metaphor of protecting the herd, we christened our development “Be a sheep”. The main function is to notify users of suspected Corona cases in the vicinity. By allowing users to share their location with the app at all times and allowing users who have tested positive to share their findings anonymously with the community, the app informs all users who have been in the same place as the sick person in the last two weeks.
App appeals for solidarity
Thanks to this function, the users concerned can be sensitised even more quickly and, if necessary, put themselves into self-isolation. The “be a sheep” app thus appeals to solidarity and helps to slow down the infection rate. With the self-evaluation integrated in the app, users can check whether their symptoms indicate a possible corona infection or not. Based on the result of the self-evaluation, the user is recommended how to proceed. In the newsfeed, users are informed about the most important SRF articles on the corona virus. Thanks to an interface to corona-data.ch, the community is also constantly informed about the latest case figures in Switzerland.
It was very refreshing to be part of this great event and to be able to contribute to the community in this way. Thanks to the great team spirit, the project was extremely fun and the hours flew by. The win-win situation was perfect. We were able to pass our quarantine boredom by developing a meaningful app. In just under 60 hours, we didn’t create a perfect end product, but a prototype that can be further developed. We organised our collaboration with tools such as Google Meet, Slack, Asana and Adobe XD. Productowner Maurice Willen did an excellent job. It was impressive what discipline was displayed by some team members. There were developers who were still “deploying” code at four o’clock in the morning and were back at the Daily Scrum Meeting at eight o’clock in the morning. We will see in the future what happens with the app. If we receive enough attention, it is conceivable that the app will be further developed into a product that can be used by the masses in the fight against the corona virus.
Maurice Willen – Project Manager at Connect Com AG & HSLU student
- Rajasekaran Yogarajah – Lead Developer at READ Enterprises Holding LLC & Uni Basel Alumnil
- Kail Kuhn Schlicht – IT Consultant at saracus consulting GmbH & HSLU Student
- Timo Weiser – Cloud Engineer at codify GmbH & HFU Alumni
- Robin Meyer – Developer at codify GmbH
- Sothy Yogarajah – Data Science Consultant at ERNI & HSLU Student
- Daniel Probst – Owner of www.corona-data.ch & PhD student at the University of Bern
- Lukas Müller – Security Engineer at terreActive AG & BFH Alumni
- Nico Wyss – Corporate Client Advisor at the Bank für Tirol und Vorarlberg AG & HSLU Student
- Yorick Pels – Junior Analyst at ELCA Informatik AG & BFH Alumni
- Dimitri Bütikofer – Production Controller at Swiss Post Solutions & HSLU Student
- Konstantinos Lessis – Forensic Technology Consultant at PwC & HSLU Student
- Simon Perrelet – Transformation Consultant at Dr. Sieber und Partners AG & University of Fribourg Student
- Nicolai Wenger – Research Assistant at BFH Wirtschaft & HSLU student