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Hack to the future as RN’s best coders help design apps for Defence

6 October 2022
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The best and the brightest coders, app designers, tech gurus and thinkers from across the MOD put their thinking caps on to pick technological solutions to challenges facing the Forces.

More than 70 personnel from all three Services, plus the civil service and Reservists shared their expertise at the week-long Defence Hackathon.

Split into eight teams, they were charged with finding digital solutions to a particular issue or challenge in under 48 hours.

Hosted at RAF Henlow in Bedfordshire with the support of Astra Appivate, RAF Digital Services, Digital Academy, and Navy Digital, the Hackathon allows Defence to identify talented individuals in any profession who can support digital and cyber activities.

Within two days, eight teams of individuals from across Defence had designed applications to support the development of future responses to issues such as sustainability and the physical security of the MOD estate.

At the end of the ‘hack’, teams presented their ideas to an initial panel of expert judges from across the Defence digital field, including demonstrating their working prototype. After lengthy deliberations, two teams were chosen to pitch their ideas in the final. 

One designed ‘GeoSnap’ – an application which allows everyone in the MOD to report suspicious activity and potential security matters directly to the relevant MOD security services, quickly and accurately, using a mobile device.

Congratulations to everyone who took part: the skills that have been developed are incredibly important to the future success of the UK Armed Forces.

Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston

The other team came up with ‘GreenCloud’ – an app for everyone in the MOD to collaborate on solutions to sustainability issues while giving local commanders the information they need to make decisions on the effectiveness of their actions.

Highlighting the MOD’s commitment to achieving Net Zero targets, the latter project – devised by one sailor, three soldiers, a couple of civil servants and two RAF personnel – will now be considered for full development by Defence digital experts.

Announcing the winners, Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, said: “We’ve had a taste of the journey we are all taking on the use of cutting-edge technology, and the challenges we face in turning this technology into usable solutions to operational problems.

“Both applications that made it to the final had undoubted utility and confronted the ongoing challenges we face in both security and achieving our Net Zero aims.

“Congratulations to everyone who took part: the skills that have been developed are incredibly important to the future success of the UK Armed Forces.”

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