It’s such a pleasure for me to join the Isan Hackathon hosted by SEDA (Student Entrepreneurship Development Academy) at SUT (Suranaree University of Technology) in Korat (Nakhon Ratchasima), Thailand. 

Isan Hackathon poster (Image credit: SEDA)

Isan, the northeastern region of Thailand, is consisted of 20 provinces, among which Korat is the biggest one. With the theme of “Smart City – Help us Build the Model for Connected Cities of the Future“, Isan Hackathon’s participants were required to define problems in the Isan region, come up with possible solutions, make prototypes, business plans, and then pitch & demo!

I was especially touched by the projects that are strongly connected with culture and local life. This 3-day hackathon attracted 250+ participants ranging from middle school students to Ph.D. students, from all over Thailand, consisting of 27 teams.

group photo (credit: SEDA)

Among the many details in this Isan Hackathon that impressed me, I’d like to highlight two main parts. One of them is that apart from the generic introduction sessions, there were mini workshops through the hackathon. During the mini-workshops, coaches with different background such as UX & UI, software, robots, electronics & sensors, IoT, data science, and business, etc., gave participants different guidance. The members from each team chose to participate in the workshop that is catering to their needs and skill sets respectively.

And the other one is that in the end when there were 25 teams joining the final pitching & demo session, the whole venue was divided into two main parts, while the business pitching & the tech pitching + demo taking place simultaneously with two groups of judges who are experts in businesses and technologies. And then the credits of business and tech will be taken into consideration for the final results. This helped arrange time better and make sure the projects were judged on different dimensions.

Apart from usual grand, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes, there were also special prizes picked by sponsors, including AIS and O.S.D Co., Ltd. With my Thai skills, I think I understood about 50% ~ 60% of the contents. And the project CheckMate was well deserved to win the grand prize as well as Sponsor Prize, winning a total of 80,000Bht (roughly 2600USD). CheckMate is a project that combines sensors with cameras to monitor sheep & check whether they are mated, and send the data to the cloud via NB-IoT.  (The team mentioned that Korat is the province that produces most dairy products in Thailand).

Team: CheckMate (image credit: SEDA)

Apart from CheckMate, there is another project that gave me a deep impression – HALAL Isan, which is an app that aims to help people find authentic Islam food in the Isan region.  

Team: HALAL ISAN

The projects range from water, food, tourism, payment, transportation, senior citizen, bio-medical test to bold-growing techniques, etc. I assumed I won’t be able to share all the info about the projects in this blog post. Will chat with SEDA to see the follow-up development of the projects 🙂

After the Isan Hackathon, I was happy to get a tour of SUT before heading back to Bangkok. After visiting the library, farms, farm marts, and of course SEDA. I got to know that SUT is the first university in Thailand that got categorized as “University of Technology”, and what SEDA has been doing is to promote and develop entrepreneurship for students through teaching, extra-curricular activities, and training session and more.

This Isan hackathon is the 8th episode of hackathons organized at SEDA, providing that SEDA was established only 3 years ago. And there were many other workshops and Innovation Bootcamp as well. Following this just-concluded Isan Hackathon, SEDA is hosting an Agripreneur Innovation BootCamp for 5 days this week. With participants from farm owners, to students and businesspersons, I have been excited about the outcome of this boot camp!

Agriprenuer Innovation BootCamp (image credit: SEDA)

Can’t wait to have more communication and interaction with SEDA in the near future! We are looking forward to future collaborations between Seeed and SEDA, to explore academic and industrial cooperation through Seeed products and services as well as internships and other project-based collaborations, especially on SenseCAP IoT solution for smart farming!

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