New York Maritime Innovation Center Completes First Hackathon

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The newly launched New York Maritime Innovation Center (NYMIC) is proud to announce that it has completed its first major event to generate innovative ideas and minimum viable products to find solutions that address the most pressing challenges impacting the ocean shipping industry today. Top honors of the 36-hour hackathon went to “Doc-it,” which addressed compliance challenges through the use of A.I. NYMIC was organized in 2018 at SUNY Maritime College with a unique mission to bring fresh ideas into the industry, foster collaboration with the tech/startup community and accelerate the adoption of new technologies by the maritime industry.

On March 29-31, NYMIC conducted the first NYC Maritime Hackathon for developers, UX/UI designers, and domain experts to tackle a variety of industry problems and data sets. Under the guidance and mentorship of select ocean shipping industry executives and advisors from the NYC tech community, the participants collaborated to design solutions with commercial viability in mind. The event was cohosted and executed in partnership with R1 Labs, a tech ecosystem builder and event strategy advisory firm out of NYC. Sponsors included: SUNY Maritime Foundation, Inc., Wärtsilä, American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), Seabury Maritime, Liberty Global Logistics, Shakti Software, TecPier, and Lloyd’s List Intelligence.

“We were blown away by how engaged our sponsors and mentors were. Each of these industry leaders helped shape the event and success of the projects by dedicating their time and talent to working with the participants—many of whom had no background in maritime coming into the weekend. The spirit was one of true collaboration—helping NYMIC realize its vision of convening, connecting and catalyzing the industry all in the name of innovation,” according to Christopher Clott, Director of New York Maritime Innovation Center.

The Hackathon kicked off on Friday night with a panel featuring Inna Kuznetsova (Board Member, Global Ports Investments PLC, former President and COO, INTTRA), Tero Hottinen, (Director of Emerging Digital Business, Cargotec), Natan Reddy, (Senior Intelligence Analyst, CB Insights), and moderator Peter Ford (Partner at SkyRock Advisors), highlighting the challenges and opportunities ahead in the maritime space. After the panel discussion, Josh Shapiro (COO, Liberty Global Logistics) provided additional insights to help set the stage for participants.

Subsequently, teams formed and were assigned mentors based on selected problem sets. Issues included such predefined areas as: ports and ship security and cybersecurity, efficiency of operations, safety, the use of machine learning, predictive analytics with regards to anomaly detection and Artificial Intelligence (AI). All competing teams received 36-hour access to historical data from multiple data sets provided by industry sponsors and partners.

The event culminated Sunday afternoon with nine teams presenting their projects in front of a packed audience at Company (fka Grand Central Tech), a known innovation hub in NYC. Solutions ranged from utilizing smart sensors to monitor cargo conditions, to creating a data analytics dashboard for ship managers, to tools for more efficient ways to normalize data. Demos were presented to a crowd of 150 and judged by Inna Kuznetsova, Kevin Humphreys (General Manager, Wärtsilä), Mike Edgerton (VP, Hudson Trident at HudsonAnalytix), Konstantin Loebner (Founding Partner, TecPier), Gareth Burton (VP of Technology, ABS) and Jean-Paul Rodrigue (Professor of Global Studies and Geography, Hofstra University). Judging criteria included: applicability for a pilot program, quality of MVP (Minimum Viable Product), quality of demo presentation, and business potential.

The winning team Doc-it leveraged their background in healthcare to create an Artificial Intelligence tool to streamline compliance in the shipping industry. The tool generates a list of documents required for shipments depending on cargo, source and destination ports. It then checks existing documentation for unfilled form fields to eliminate delays based on missing fields. They received a cash prize of $1000 and an opportunity to join the NYMIC Ideal X Accelerator Program.

Second place was Ratelytics which built a statistical model to determine optimal fuel usage based on historical and real time data (weather, cargo, routes, winds, currents, ports and areas of congestion). They received a cash prize of $500.

According to Christopher Clott: “We launched NYMIC at a time when the ocean shipping industry began moving forward to embrace IT-based innovation and address financial pressures with the help of technology. As a non-profit organization in the center of NY maritime community, the Center has an important mission and unique opportunity to catalyze new initiatives by connecting entrepreneurs, and startups, and tech talent with invaluable industry connections, investors and mentorship.”

NYMIC plans to continue its collaboration with event participants/developers, providing them with additional resources for business development, as well as facilitate connections with accelerators and investors. The Center already has relationships with a number of venture capital firms, accelerators and angel investors in the US and abroad, some of which were present at the event and approached projects post-pitch.

Industry supporting partners included: DNV GL, Global Container Terminals, Hudson Trident, Cargotec, Matchback Systems, Spire Maritime, Navis, MariData, NY Tech Alliance, Urban Tech NYC, The NY Supply Chain Meetup, BSY Associates, and Ubidots.

Sea News, April 5