The hack is back

The 2019 Future Systems Hackathon

Following on from the huge success of our award-winning Hackathon in 2018, we are extremely pleased to announce that the hack is BACK for 2019.

This time, however, we're not just tackling one industry challenge; we're tackling FOUR.

Bringing a sense of co-creation and interactivity to life is a real focus for the 2019 event, so we're partnering with our co-located show edie Live to create an even stronger feature. 


Britain's existing infrastructural and institutional systems are not fit for purpose if we are to achieve a low-carbon, efficient and profitable future. We need new technologies, new solutions and new ways of thinking, FAST.

The Future Systems Hackathon 2019 is all about TRANSITION - making way for more dynamic interactions between utilities, service providers and consumers. We're moving from ambition into action when it comes to delivery more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable ways of doing business.




The management of 'big data' has become a crucial catalyst when it comes to reducing business impacts, solving real-world problems and identifying hidden opportunities. The data an organisation can collect from its energy consumption can be incredibly powerful, but only if its collected, monitored, measured and acted upon correctly.

It's big - There has been an exponential increase in the amount of data that sustainability and energy managers can access. Meanwhile, the surge of IoT is leading more connected devices and sensors and, thus, even more data to consider.

It's complex - In the world of 'real time' information, data is updating every second, and without a reliable management solution in place teams can struggle to keep on top of it all.

It can lack meaning - Gathering the data is one thing, but interpreting it and turning it into meaningful information can often be the biggest challenge of all.

It's changing - Smart devices, IoT, blockchain, the cloud; the rapid growth in technologies and solutions offer huge potential but also carry a host of new requirements.



The Four D's - decarbonisation, decentralisation, digitisation and democratisation - are changing the way energy is generated and used. Businesses now have more power than every before in the energy market and seizing this opportunity can reap significant rewards.

Our energy mix is constantly evolving. Fossil fuels are declining, renewables are increasing. Whilst these changes offer up new opportunities for business, they also pose new challenges. 

Our infrastructure is outdated. We are living in an increasingly complex, interconnected world, and Britain’s energy infrastructure must go the same way. What role can end-user businesses play in accelerating this transition?

Innovations are being stifled. Interconnection, energy storage and demand flexibility stand out as three key innovations that could drive a flexible future for business energy. But our electricity markets were simply not designed for these new technologies, leading to some unintentional disadvantages for end-user businesses looking to invest in them today.

Initial costs remain relatively high. Renewables combined with electricity storage can open up many possibilities, but businesses are facing prohibitively high connection charges when wanting to produce their own energy, while storage systems are subject to network residual charges that can price them out of the market.



The UK is at the tipping point for the mass take-up of electric vehicles. With a government mandate for new traditionally-fuelled cars to be banned from 2040, and a host of other policy initiatives including the emissions charge, the direction of travel is clear. For the energy companies powering the UK, this creates numerous challenges – where and how will people and companies refuel their electric vehicles? Should the new infrastructure required come ahead of demand and if so, who will pay for it?

But it also creates massive opportunities: EVs can effectively operate as mobile batteries, facilitating much greater flexibility of the power system; and they will change the relationship between consumers and their energy providers.

Information is critical for energy companies as they prepare to meet the challenges and opportunities of EVs on a mass scale. The challenge in this hack is to take publicly available data – such as the number of EVs on the road; the concentration in certain areas; the available charging points – and identify opportunities for energy businesses to support the EV rollout. This could be through the development of well placed, timely and efficient charging infrastructure, for example, or retail tariffs or bundles that support customers in transitioning to EVs.

How can energy companies create Future Systems that support the mass take up of electric vehicles?



New technologies are creating a host of opportunities for utilities looking to manage their workforce in the field with greater efficiency and effectiveness, ultimately delivering a better experience for customers. From augmented reality smoothing the way for asset management in the field to mobile workforce solutions facilitating better central co-ordination and time efficiencies, the possibilities are manifold.

In this challenge, we ask our hackers to investigate new ways in which data and technology can help utilities improve customer service in the field, whether for operational or customer facing staff. Our hackers may wish to consider current field initiatives such as the mass updating of gas mains; or the smart meter rollout.

How can utilities improve customer service in the field?



In 2018 the exhibition industry came together to celebrate the very best of both small and independent event organisers with the launch of the first Exhibition News Indy Awards.

We were absolutely delighted to win not only 'Best Feature Area', but also 'Best Marketing Campaign' for our very first Hackathon - two out of the three categories we were shortlisted for!

Judges comments: The judges said "The Hackathon was a very innovative feature. A great idea, expertly delivered." They also said that Utility Week Live had "a well thought out campaign." Our "content-driven approach to messaging and innovative floor content was great to see in an age where engaging with audiences is ever more critical."