On Wednesday 22nd October a group of Allstate NI employees and Students from Queen's University Belfast (QUB) met in the University's Computer Science at Elmwood building to kick off the Allstate NI Connected Car Hackathon.
The challenge was to invent new or improved products or service offerings and to develop proof-of-concept applications within a fixed timeframe that leverage the data collected by Allstate's Drive-Wise programme either to support monetisation and/or the delivery of new or improved user experience.
Drive-Wise, Allstate's first driving behavior insurance programme, launched in 2010 offering a discount based on driving behavior which was measured by a wireless device installed on the policyholder's vehicle. The device collects feedback on driving behaviors such as hard or extreme braking, high speed, acceleration and time of day. Allstate has recently moved towards capturing the supporting data via the Drive-Wise smartphone app. The advantage of this is that most policyholders now have a GPS enabled smartphones which allows Allstate to monitor driving behavior and location at the same time. This opens up all sorts of possibilities as to how the company can use this information both in terms of its core insurance business as well as other new, innovative possibilities.
Allstate NI partnered with the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen's with a view to opening up the available data to a group of students, have them develop ideas and ultimately produce a demonstrable product to Allstate NI employees. 30 students registered for the event and Gina O'Leary (Allstate NI Director), along with Imran Iqbal (Allstate US Drivewise Sr Product Manager) and Columb Duffy (Allstate NI STM), kicked proceedings off with an overview of Allstate's Connected Car strategy and the customer data that is currently being gathered by the company. Students were then asked to break into groups of 5 to develop their ideas. After some pizza, the teams presented their initial thoughts to the Allstate NI team who were impressed with the fresh thinking and marketable ideas which were generated.
Students were given a week to turn their raw ideas into an initial design and these will now be reviewed by a panel of Allstate NI experts. The next stage of the competition is for students to then work on building a demonstrable application which will be presented via immersive telepresence to a global panel from Allstate in mid-November. It will be at this point the winner will be chosen and will receive £2,000 worth of Apple vouchers.