Why to Take Part in Big Data Hackathon? Interview with Martina Kralova from Slovak Telekom

After last weekend’s Swiss Re hackathon at Bratislava’s 0100Campus, we can already look forward for the next one. This time the organization is in the hands of Impact Hub Bratislava and Slovak Telekom. The main theme is Big Data, therefore anyone from the field or interested in the topic is more than welcome.

We sat down with Martina Kralova, the Director of New Business Development at Slovak Telekom, to discuss the goals of the hackathon, why people should join, what are the expectations, why they decided to run hackathon again, and much more.

The Telekom Big Data Hackathon will take place on May 12th-14th of May at Impact Hub Bratislava. To register for the event, visit www.innovationgeeks.sk.

Martina, what motivated Slovak Telekom and you personally to organize Big Data Hackathon? What are your expectations?

There is a premise that corporations are closed and not very flexible ecosystem. We would like to challenge it a bit🙂 We believe there is a great opportunity to collaborate and generate innovations with 3rd parties represented by students, startups, and B2B small companies in general. We would like to also learn and share know-how in the area of data science. With partners, we are running one of the few successful Big Data digital products on the market called Market Locator. This product has been available also for small companies via web and already generating revenue.

Telekom and Impact HUB organized Innovation Hack last year, and you are one of the pioneering corporations to organize hackathons and similar events in Slovakia on a regular basis. What is your strategy in supporting similar innovative formats?

We have even organized internal innovation hackathon for Slovak Telekom and Czech T-Mobile last year in September. Our experience is very positive with such events. We do not have pink glasses in a way “let’s do hackathon, it solves your innovation demand”🙂 We know these sorts of events can attract innovative people and communities and produce great ideas in a very short time. You can meet motivated people, learn new methods of work. It is an opportunity for internal employees to collaborate with external environment. Our intention is to support various innovative topics and events, that’s why we have decided to launch the platform www.innovationgeeks.sk. Big Data Hackathon organized in cooperation with Impact HUB Bratislava will be the first event launched through this platform with more to come.

Big Data Hackathon at Impact Hub Bratislava

Big Data Hackathon at Impact Hub Bratislava

The goal of the hackathon is to tackle two challenges. What are these? What will the participants be working on?

Apart from our own data science projects that fit to Big Data topic as such, the participants are supposed to choose one of our challenges. The first one is focused on telecommunication data monetization towards 3rd parties. You can use our anonymous big data sample and try to find the use-case where you will enrich new or existing service. We as operator have already been piloting such services in the area of intelligent transport systems and smart city services. The second one will be broader with focus on our existing customer base. We will be providing a huge data sample compiled from anonymized customer data, localization data, and data from some different areas.

What kind of people would you like to invite for the hackathon? Are you aiming only at big data specialists?

Not only data scientists but also product managers, business ideas creators, coders and developers, UX and UI specialists. You can create algorithm but to visualize data and develop use-case that is replicable could be appealing journey also for multi-skilled teams.

There are attractive prizes to win such as 3000 EUR in cash for winning teams in both challenges. I assume there are also additional perks besides the prize money.

Definitely. With this intention, we have already been partnering with Internet of Things incubation program in Prague Startup Centre, and we will use the same approach also in all hackathons organized by us. In general, the scale of the support depends on the quality and business potential of the idea.

Is there anything you would like to add?

As I have mentioned, we would like to open our environment and resources to 3rd parties. Apart of this hackathon, there is possibility for startups or any developers’ teams to contact us anytime at startup@telekom.sk with prototype or product in order to help them to develop it further. We have built up Advisory Board combining internal know-how and external expertise – e.g. Startup Grind London Director Marian Gazdik or Martin Palsovic from Pixel Federation are members of the board – to assess new innovations and invest money or resources in it based on project collaboration. At the end, I would like to thank our partner Impact HUB Bratislava for helping us with the hackathon.


The interview is brought to you in cooperation with Impact Hub Bratislava.

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