Datacom’s annual hackathon – Datacomp – saw participants humanise technology through the theme of “EmotionalX”. As part of the weekend event held on 24-26 August, hundreds of participants from across Australasia converged on Datacom’s Auckland office to design technology that forges genuine human connections between people and business.

The hackathon has grown to become one of the largest in New Zealand and participants included Datacom staff, customers, volunteers and design students. Ideas were developed into prototypes over a fast and frenetic 48 hours and presented in a Dragon’s Den-style judging event at the end of the weekend.

“No matter how high-tech we get, we’re all still human beings, and the way we feel shapes our actions, colours our thinking and plays a vital role in how we approach our everyday lives. This year’s Datacomp was all about finding real-life solutions to the everyday problems our customers and society face,” said Greg Davidson, Group CEO.

“Collaboration was a major feature of the weekend, to better inform the ideas that were being developed. This included extensive collaboration with customers, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry for the Environment, the Starship Foundation, Toyota, and the Department of Internal Affairs, many of whom were onsite during the weekend.”

Davidson also noted that emotionally connected customers mean longer lasting and more valuable business engagements.

“It’s little wonder that companies are choosing to actively bring emotions and feelings into their workplace. Connecting people and technology to solve challenges and create opportunities is fundamental to what we do at Datacom.”

First place went to Team Taupuhipuhi for their solution Village that helps people become more aware of their emotional wellbeing - like a modern day guardian angel. Using behavioural tracking, geo-location and social media tracking it will identify where you are at emotionally, and if necessary, will notify parents or loved ones you need help. The team is donating their $2,000 prize money to a suicide prevention charity.

Second place went to Team Excalibur for Piki, a mobile platform for people with lived experience of homelessness. It’s a self-directed programme, delivering socially connected personal growth, and showcases the skills, talents and interest of people using the app, to help match up with jobs and educational opportunities. Piki was designed with tertiary education provider Unitec, and extensive collaboration with people from Auckland City Mission.

Third place went to Team Mira who built a personal health coach using a smart mirror screen with an AI engine, facial recognition, emotional detection and the ability to track voice and tonality. It’s like an intelligent mirror that you can talk to, encourages you, helps you achieve personal goals and provides comfort without judgement.

“Another highlight of the weekend was the participation and contribution of the nine GirlBoss scholarship winners. Alexia Hilbertidou of GirlBoss selected the young women who joined teams for the Datacomp weekend. We also had design students from AUT, Unitec, Media Design School, MIT and Massey,” said Davidson.

“This is about creating a bridge of real-world experience for the students, and it added another dimension to the event. They were bold, and felt comfortable and confident enough to pitch, form and lead teams of people who were inspired by their vision and passion.”

Datacomp is also valuable as a recruitment tool for Datacom, which provides training for its staff to help them present and develop their ideas each year.

“Our goal with Datacomp has always been to encourage our people to think differently and find ways to make everyone’s lives better, not just solve technical problems. The beauty of Datacomp is that it brings so many diverse people and ideas together in the one place, to create things that are both innovative and inspirational,” said Davidson.

“As this year’s theme showed, technology is not just a one-dimensional tool, and we’re not just looking for programmers or technical experts, but people who genuinely want to help make our world better. Innovative thinking and a deep understanding of what drives people is what gives technology solutions substance.”

“We’re were delighted to again have the support of our partners Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, and Google Cloud throughout Datacomp,” said Davidson. “Their expert support and advice throughout the weekend was invaluable to the participants.”


About Datacom
Datacom works with organisations and communities around the world to solve their biggest challenges, imagine new possibilities, and help move them to a better place by connecting people and technology. Built on strong local values, world-class technology, and experienced people who genuinely care, Datacom sets a new standard in IT services. Datacom supports customers through a broad range of services and solutions that span technology, operations, digital and products, all underpinned by robust industry experience and insight. With more than 5,300 people working across Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe and the Americas, Datacom is truly world-class in capability, and proudly local at heart.