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Hacking for a good cause

The Social Impact Challenge at Bosch ConntectedWorld shows how the Internet of Things can tackle social and ecological challenges

Pitch hall at the BCX hackathon

The Bosch ConnectedWorld (BWC), which took place in May 2019, not only attracted 5,000 participants and more than 150 speakers, its BCX Hackathon also included an all-new event: for the first time, a Social Impact Challenge was on the agenda.

Five teams took part in the challenge to support four non-governmental organizations and the UN World Food Programme in tackling social and ecological challenges.

The Internet of Things is increasingly making our daily lives easier. But it also has potential to do a great deal more, such as contributing to ending world hunger or improving access to sanitation in crisis regions. The IoT can contribute to making the world better on a large scale.

Annette Wagner, Head of sustainability and ideas lab, and enthusiastic Social Impact Challenge coach

How can the Internet of Things change the world?

Social Impact Challenge

Often, we do not realize the extent to which the Internet of Things (IoT) is already a part of our daily lives. For instance, the term does not occur to us when we track the status of a package delivery online. But the IoT delivers all kinds of smart, technical solutions that make our everyday lives easier. At Bosch ConnectedWorld, bright minds come together to find new solutions for daily tasks.



More than 150



hack challenges

The Hackathon

A part of BCW, the Hackathon is a three-day challenge for front-end and back-end developers that aims to develop suitable solutions for a defined set of challenges. This year, a new challenge was added to the Hackathon for the first time: the newly initiated Social Impact Challenge reflects the Bosch commitment to social responsibility, and aims to find sustainable answers to the challenges the world is facing.

Participants were asked to cooperate with four non-governmental organizations and the UN World Food Programme to come up with solutions to social and ecological challenges. After 30 hours of programming, the five teams pitched their results to the audience at BCW. The Insectus Team took first place, and their cash prize was donated directly to the NGO. Together, they plan to continue developing the IoT solution.

Social Impact Hackathon
Hacker working together on their tasks
The Social Impact Challenge was exciting for all participants
Teamwork is key

Three examples of how the IoT can make the world a better place

Insectus, winner of the Social Impact Challenge 2019: This initiative supports the cultivation of protein-rich insects, and aims to fight hunger and malnutrition in African countries. Equipped with sensors that monitor the temperatures, CO₂ content, and humidity of incubators, the solution can help ensure the best possible conditions for the larvae to develop.

Wash Net Team is a consortium of several NGOs that focuses on access to clean water and sanitation around the world. Here, too, the IoT can provide support: for instance, the app the Hackathon team developed can monitor water levels in tanks and issue an alert when levels are low and tanks need to be filled. This can help ensure the cleanliness and good functioning of toilets. In addition, the app provides an overview of all available sanitary facilities and allows users to report toilets that are dirty or in need of maintenance. With the smiley function, the app also gives users who wash their hands with soap positive reinforcement.

Fairventures Worldwide works along the entire value chain of timber. One of the initiative's projects is currently working to replant trees in deforested and strongly degraded areas of Indonesia. To better control the growth of individual trees, the Hackathon team came up with a clever idea: each tree is fitted with a flexible strap that contains an individual QR Code. It measures the tree's diameter and height, thus providing information on the tree's growth.

Social Impact Hackathon: Transforming the world with IoT

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The Hackathon at Bosch ConnectedWorld 2019 offered the 5,000 participants many opportunities to experience the IoT first hand. And the Social Impact Challenge demonstrated that the Internet of Things not only contributes to making everyday life more comfortable, for instance with mobility systems and building technology. Smart IoT solutions also help make the world a better place.

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