EU Datathon – Not Just Another CROZ Success Story
The CROZ data team has had many major accomplishments throughout the years. The latest one of them is being selected for the final 6 in the annual EU Datathon competition. What makes this success stand out, however, is the fact that this is a competition where teams from all of Europe (and beyond) participate in. And the fact that we got selected for the final 6 shows that we are not only among the very best data experts in Croatia but among the very best in Europe.
What is EU Datathon?
At this point, you might ask yourself: “What exactly is this EU Datathon?” Well … The EU Datathon is an annual open data competition organized by the Publications Office of the European Union. Every year teams are given several interesting topics and they have to create a solution that will eventually make the lives of EU citizens easier and better by implementing it. This year featured 4 such diverse topics and the topic our team chose was: “A European Green Deal”. This topic features solutions that revolve around ideas on overcoming challenges like climate change and environmental degradation to make the future for the EU citizens greener and one step closer to carbon neutrality while saving the environment in the process.
A big deal
- 38 … That is not the number of teams that participated in this competition. It’s the number of different countries those teams were from. The number of teams that competed in this year’s Datathon is far greater than that.
What does all of this mean for us, though? First of all, this is an incredible way of putting ourselves out there as a company. And hopefully, this will lead to a bunch of new and exciting projects in the future (and even put CROZ on the map for new EU projects). Secondly, this project can prove to be a chance to really make a difference. To really help the people of the EU live better lives. And finally, all of this is an incredible accomplishment and we can (and should) all be very proud of that.
What did we actually create?
The first stage of the project was submitting an application with the concepts developed and thought of. Currently, the project is in the stage of gaining more information, gathering datasets, and further developing the idea. Whether that idea is going to turn into something tangible, though, depends on whether the members of the jury like it enough to select us for the top 3.
The premise of the app itself is rather simple – the EU citizen first needs to fill out a survey where they need to state where they live, their energy consumption, their personal goals on energy consumption, and similar data. The app then makes several energy plans depending on different parameters like the average number of sun hours or average wind speed for that location and it gives the best recommendation for saving energy based on the user’s preferences. In the end, the user is displayed how much money they saved by setting up the selected energy plan and that will help users build healthy and responsible habits regarding energy consumption. The insight into their own power consumption and savings will also give the users something tangible to hold onto. The app should also give personalized messages with feedback based on how the user is doing that month. That feedback is a unique addition because it can also offer alternative sources for energy consumption if, for example, one month’s power consumption is a lot higher than the average.
What is under the hood of the app, though, is anything but simple. After the user enters their region, their power consumption, and similar data, the app needs to calculate the best course of action going forward. And that is calculated by using data from a bunch of different data sources. Some of them have the number of sun hours in an area, while others have the type of soil for an area and all sorts of parameters like that. The app mixes it all together to create the perfect energy-saving strategy. The user data is then displayed in an orderly fashion. Naturally, there are always going to be anomalies. Some months might have less rain or fewer sun hours than was anticipated and the app needs to adjust its strategy based on that. That is, of course, one of the larger challenges of this whole project.
The CROZ renEUwable team
The name chosen for our team is the CROZ renEUwable team. And the team consists of 4 very talented and dedicated data engineers: Darko Benšić, Marina Bednjanec, Petar Matić, and Vinko Puškar. There aren’t many ways I can describe how much all of this truly means to them and how dedicated they have been to this project from the very beginning, but there is a little anecdote I can tell that kind of sums it all up… When they read that they got into the final 6, they started shouting so loudly the whole floor could hear them. That’s how important this project is to them; they have the full support of the rest of the data team with anything they need. And since the project got quite a bit of traction over the last couple of weeks, it is possible (and quite likely) that even more employees are going to be added to the project.
So… What’s next?
The competition is far from over and simply being in the top 6 isn’t enough to satisfy our appetites. The next step is to keep on working on the idea for the app, find more valid and credible data sources, and further develop the concept of the whole thing. In a few weeks, a jury will select the top 3 teams and hopefully, we will find ourselves among them… And that’s when the hardest and most time-intensive period of the project begins – the development of the app itself.
There is also a chance that CROZ will keep developing the app even after the Datathon is over. Then other CROZ departments will also join the project – to help with their extensive knowledge of creating apps and give the project a different perspective and a set of new eyes. And then this project can truly grow and turn into something that all of us can work together on and that we can all be proud of.
EU Datathon 2022 is organized by the Publications Office of the European Union and contributes to the European Year of Youth 2022 which features events and activities dedicated to young people all around Europe.