General Electric holds hackathon, launches Digital Academy at Ashesi

September 13, 2017 – GE-Digital, General Electric’s tech and analytics unit, hosted an event at Ashesi to round-off the first Intelligent Campus Challenge, and launch of the GE Digital Academy. The challenge, the first of its kind, involved students from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Ashesi, primarily building applications on GE’s industrial internet platform, Predix, to optimize operations on the various university campuses. For the challenge, teams participated in dedicated training sessions on GE’s industrial platform and held a hackathon that involved application development focused on internet of things technologies.

The event attracted senior leaders and CEOs from across the tech industry in Ghana, including Abubakar Sulemana, Chief Information Officer of GE Africa; George Atiohene, Country Manager of Oracle; Angela Kyeremateng-Jimoh, Country Manager of IBM; Ebo Bentil, Chief Information Officer of Rancard Solutions Limited; Kobina Beecham, Chief Executive Officer of Dataforce Ghana Limited;, DerryDean Dadzie, Chief Executive Officer of DreamOval; Toyin Dania, Country Manager of Djembe Communications; and Evans Amegashie, Founder of Eternics. Students and staff from both universities were also present.

The goal of the Intelligent Campus Challenge was to train the first group of Predix student developers, expose students and development community to the Predix environment and to create a platform for collaboration.

“The objective is to have multiple people outside of the GE development community learning how to use the Predix platform, so they can leverage it to build solutions for their customers,” said Abubakar Sulemana, Chief Information Officer of GE Africa. “Through an event like this with Ashesi and KNUST, we train people to understand digitization and its impact on industries and more importantly to understand Predix and use it to solve real world problems. We believe that Predix is going to be the industrial internet platform for companies like us.”

The event also saw the launch of the GE Digital Academy, a virtual learning platform that enhances the digitalization of education in filling skills gaps. The platform is also geared to enhance in-class experiences with online courses and assessments and also accommodate self-paced learning.

“We are digital-industrial leaders, so we need to build future capability in digital skills in areas of computational development, data analytics, machine learning and application development,” said Roti Balogan, Learning and Development Lead for GE Africa. "Ultimately, we need to open areas for continuous development give opportunity for people to work, and have experiential learning.”

The event climaxed with pitches from the teams from KNUST and Ashesi as part of the Intelligent Campus Challenge. The focus of the challenge was to develop and implement applications that take advantage of internet of things concept to improve campus set-ups in areas including energy saving and enhanced productivity. 

The teams were assessed based on how effectively their applications automated operations on their various campuses. In the end, Team Onyx from Ashesi, came on top.  

The programme also gave students the chance to meet and interact with teams from GE, learn about GE’s new Open Online Courses and Training Programmes, and interact with GE Digital’s Industrial Internet Platform.