At CloudCar, we have a customer-oriented work culture. We welcome every opportunity to engage with automotive companies to validate new ideas of features and services. Such an opportunity arose with the recent Porsche Next OI Competition, a yearly innovation competition for connected car apps geared towards start-up companies. This year’s contest focused on three scenarios: Home, Driving and Arrival.
Working in a busy start-up with all internal resources committed to our paying customers and service platform expansions, my colleagues and I decided to go for an all-volunteer approach to engage. While it was easy to find volunteers in our product, design and engineering teams – who doesn’t want to work on cool innovations for one of the top automotive brands in the world? – we also wanted to be respectful of people’s time commitments. Not everyone will be available 100% of the time.
Our team was built of individuals with different skills and background – Software Developers, a UX Designer, and myself, a Product Manager. The energy from our brainstorm meeting sessions was invigorating. We had the opportunity to go beyond our professional boundaries and innovate.
To manage our time efficiently, we mutually agreed to cap the effort to two late afternoon hackathon sessions. We quickly identified an interesting theme in the electric vehicle (EV) space that created value to drivers, showcased our capabilities as a company and had enough technical depth to excite our engineers. For the competition, Porsche provided a cloud-based vehicle simulator powered by High Mobility making it possible for us to integrate with a real-world vehicle interface. In the two hackathon sessions, we were able to come up with a compelling concept for an intelligent EV Trip Planning App that helps drivers make best use of their waiting time while on the road and locate an EV charging station.
Our team progressed further by creating user stories, a user-interface mockup and a simple prototype to validate integration with the vehicle interface. Each of us favored the outcome. We felt positive and confident about the efforts we made into the hackathon project.
While we did not make it to the finals, we ranked at the top 15 out of more than 150 submissions and more than 750 participants. Achieving that level and receiving positive feedback from Porsche was extremely rewarding for us. Naturally, it was not the outcome we were looking for, but participating in the hackathon was still a worthwhile accomplishment. Our team at CloudCar will drive this concept forward and we’re very excited to take this project further.