This live, 24-hour hackathon united edie’s audience of energy and sustainability managers with Utility Week’s audience of utilities industry professionals, along with teams of hackers and tech experts, to solve real-world problems and accelerate the shift towards future business systems.

The Future Systems Hackathon 2019 was all about transition – making way for more dynamic interactions between utilities, service providers and consumers – and moving from ambition into action when it comes to delivering more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable ways of doing business.

The Hacks


The management of ‘big data’ has become a crucial catalyst when it comes to reducing business impacts, solving real-word problems and identifying hidden opportunities. From heating and cooling through to telephones and lifts, the data an organisation can collect from its energy consumption can be incredibly powerful – but only if it is collected, monitored, measured and acted upon correctly. 

The challenges:

  • It’s big.
  • It’s complex. 
  • It can lack meaning. 
  • It’s changing. 

This element of the Future Systems Hackathon 2019 saw dedicated hacker teams spend 24 hours battling it out to solve one, some or all of the big data challenges outlined above by designing and building new systems that help businesses collect, analyse and act upon their environmental data more effectively. 


The Four D’s – Decarbonisation, decentralisation, digitisation and democratisation – are changing the way that energy is generated and used. Whether its through demand response, battery storage or distributed generation, business now have more power than ever before in the energy market – and seizing this opportunity can reap significant operational, financial and environmental rewards.

The challenges:

  • Our energy mix is constantly evolving
  • Our infrastructure is outdated.
  • Innovations are being stifled.
  • Initial costs remain relatively high.

Hacker teams spent 24 hours co-creating solutions to one, some or all of the flexible energy challenges outlined above, by designing and building new systems that help businesses achieve that flexible future, today.


The UK is at the tipping point for the mass take-up of electric vehicles. 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 was 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 asked 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 considered current field initiatives such as the mass updating of gas mains and the smart meter rollout.


How can utilities improve customer service in the field?

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