Queen’s IT Students Win Big at Allstate NI Hackathon

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  • On Wednesday 10th December Allstate NI announced the winners of their recent Hackathon competition which was held at Queen’s University Belfast. The challenge was to invent new or improved products or service offerings within a fixed timeframe that leverage the data collected by an insurance company the size of Allstate in the US.   

     Allstate NI partnered with the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen’s with a view to opening up the data to a group of students, have them develop ideas and ultimately produce a demonstrable product to the Allstate NI leadership team.  30 students in total registered for the event and were asked to initially present their thoughts to the Allstate NI team in groups. The groups were then given a week to turn their raw ideas into an initial design which were then reviewed by a panel of Allstate experts.  Four groups made the final and got to work on building a demonstrable application which was presented via immersive telepresence to a global panel from Allstate on the 20th November 2014. All of the entries were of a very high standard and came with many fresh ideas which impressed the panel. However, after much deliberation, DriveXP, made up of Stephen Laide and Adam Fallon, were named the winners with their iPhone application which was able to solve a major business problem in an innovative way.

     On Wednesday 10th December the winning teams were invited to a celebratory event at the Allstate NI Belfast Office to collect their prizes. Upon arrival students were welcomed by Bro McFerran, Vice President and Managing Director at Allstate Northern Ireland, and treated to an array of refreshments. The groups were then presented with their prizes, a total of £3,000 worth of Apple vouchers, and then taken on a tour of Allstate NI’s new state-of-the-art Enterprise Command Centre.  

     Russell Kane, from the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen’s said, “The Allstate NI Hackathon presented an exciting opportunity for the students to engage with experts in the IT industry and to experience the challenges of a real-life IT project. It has allowed the students to demonstrate their innovative as well as creative approaches to problem solving and we are excited to be a part of the Allstate NI journey.”

     Opal Perry, Chief Operating Officer of Allstate Technology and Operations International said, “Each group came up with innovative ideas during the course of the Hackathon and had great energy when presenting their ideas. Because of this we decided to award all four finalists with Apple vouchers to show our appreciation to them.  I’d like to thank all the students for taking part and I look forward to the possibility of seeing their ideas come to life in the insurance industry.”

     The full list of finalists and prizes are as follows

    DriveXP - made up of  Stephen Laide and Adam Fallon who each won £750 worth of Apple voucher

    IVEA  - made up of Adam Whiteside, Alex Caskey, Andrew Boyd and Victoria Potts who each won £125 worth of Apple vouchers

    Profilers - made up of Dave Nesbitt, Aine Rice and Alex Kidston who each won £170 worth of Apple voucher

    Safe Hands  - made up of Iain Wilson, Hannah Smith, Mike Seeds and Jason McMahon who each won £125 worth of Apple vouchers 

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