Over the past three years, I've worked to cultivate relationships with leading incubators, accelerators and innovation hubs in a dozen countries. It has been wonderful seeing the tech community bloom around the world with great variety. When I had the good fortune to meet Dawn Lippert and her team at the Energy Excelerator in Honolulu, I realized there was a unique opportunity to make Hawaii a destination for entrepreneurs tackling the world’s energy challenges and amplify the impact to the mainland and beyond.
Energy Excelerator has posted recent accelerator cohorts including transportation startups such as RideScout and Bandwagon; coupled with an understanding of the local frustration and cluster that is transportation on Oahu, it was a no-brainer to work towards some programming that could elicit developer/entrepreneur interest.
If you didn't know, Honolulu is the most congested city in the U.S. of A. What if entrepreneurs from the US mainland and Asia Pacific could solve the massive commuting problem, or "reboot the commute," using local open data sets and connectivity? What if by connecting vehicles to the existing infrastructure, new apps and services could reduce the amount of time citizens spend in their cars by a few hours per week? Or, to accommodate the rising urban population, the city bikeshare program were enhanced or further integrated with the multi-modal system?
These are some of the questions that will be explored at the upcoming hackathon, "Reboot the Commute" (see what I did there?). Participating developers will be taking city data, tapping into the loads of data produced by vehicles at every rotation of the tire and relying on thought leaders to help guide Hawaii’s community of hackers to building the next awesome formula for disruption and market adoption.
Experts in transportation from the DOT and the city of Honolulu have been gathered along with local developers and open data gurus to provide both inspiration and mentoring. HTDC will help to spur venture investment and ImpactHUB will provide their amazing killer space. As we like to stay, the perfect storm of preparation meeting timing has given birth to this wonderful opportunity to literally reboot the commute...in the paradise that is the Hawaiian Islands.
While we won't be demoing Vinli, we will be looking to place some some developer kits in the hands of eager developers. We will also be assisting teams in any way possible. We hope this exploratory mission gives us better insight as to what the connected car entrepreneur and developer may build when given access to the vehicle.
We hope to see a few of you in Honolulu. Where else – but Hawaii – would you want to spend your Memorial Day holiday?!
Tweet me if you'll be on the island @blakeburris