3 days Hackathon, 20 THW-volunteers, 5 app-ideas
The volunteers of the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) showed tireless dedication and full enthusiasm and developed five new app ideas based on the low-code platform Mendix for THW with the support of Siemens Digital Industries and Yes!WeHelp. The hackathon was part of the digital bundle donated by Siemens Caring Hands.
In March, Siemens Caring Hands donated 668 tablets to the THW Foundation. These will help local THW sections to respond to emergencies in a faster and more targeted manner. During a hackathon, various apps based on the Siemens software “Mendix” were developed to meet the needs of the THW.
The aim of the hackathon was to combine forces and develop new ideas and solutions, as well as to enable THW helpers to independently plan and implement low-code applications with the help of the Mendix platform. The model-based development interface with drag & drop functions allows developers to create apps quickly and easily – even without any prior programming knowledge. This makes it easy for people without extensive IT knowledge to use digitization and encourages them to try out new things.
Hackathon and new app ideas for the THW
In just 48 hours, the individual teams – consisting of THW volunteers and Siemens experts – came up with five great app ideas. These will create real added value for THW and drive digitalization forward. The applications will, for instance, allow pocket maps and training content to be digitized. Furthermore, mission messages can be sent digitally, and tank logistics and the organization of resources and tools can be optimized.
In the development process, the THW volunteers were supported by experts from Siemens Digital Industries as well as Yes!WeHelp, a non-profit app factory made up of Siemens and non-Siemens employees, which was founded in April 2020 as a result of Covid-19. Yes!WeHelp is working to solve humanitarian and environmental challenges using low-coding and new technologies.
Digitization of respiratory protection monitoring
In addition, the DI Mendix DevOps Center is developing an app that can be used to digitize respiratory protection monitoring. During THW operations, volunteers may have to operate in areas where they can only perform their duties with the help of oxygen tanks. In this case, the individual task forces and the remaining oxygen must always be strictly monitored. Until now, egg timers and radio-communication have been used for breath monitoring. In the future, this simple yet time critical process will be digitized via a specially developed app. With the help of this application, oxygen levels can be predicted based on the observed consumption rate. This way, emergency forces can be warned in advance in case the residual oxygen is approaching the critical value.
The donation of the digital bundle and the hackathon represent a starting point for the digital transformation process at THW. These projects are an integral part of THW Foundation’s PROGRESSUS initiative. It aims to enable THW to provide assistance in a more efficient and rapid manner by using digital solutions.