On December 17-19, 2011, Microsoft Innovation Center Armenia in partnership with Yerevan Municipality and Public Journalism Club held the first Hackathon in the region – Hackathon[YAN] Yerevan 2011. The event took place at the Yerevan Municipality during which 31 teams of developers and experts (over 150 people) worked 24 hours non-stop and developed 31 applications, seven of which received awards and monetary prizes.  The Yerevan Mayor visited the event and expressed the Municipality’s readiness to cooperate with the best teams and projects, which “hacked” issues related to transportation, education, environment, improved communication between the city and its citizens, problems of disabled people living in the city, and tourism.

The winner of the contest was the “Ognakan” team with its “Voice” project that allows people with hearing disabilities to communicate with others through a mobile application. The winners of three Microsoft Innovation Center prizes have presented projects on traffic regulation and monitoring, Kinect-powered Yerevan info stand, and improved communication between drivers and police. The Traffic regulation project uses the city cameras to calculate the traffic, average speed, bandwidth, and transfers the data to an HTML 5 map. The system is storing the content in Windows Azure and is available for all mobile devices supporting HTML 5. The Municipality has already started working with some of the teams for implementation of their projects.

The Minister of Economy, US Ambassador to Armenia, Deputy Mayor and other officials were on hand to help award prizes at the official awards ceremony. The event was attended by high-level government officials,  the USAID/Armenia Mission Director, other international organizations, businesses and key sector representatives, as well as extensively covered by local media outlets.

Participants in the hackathon joined specially designed workshops focused on software development with Microsoft cloud solutions and Windows Phone. Attendees also received tips and presentations focused on startup formation, leadership and marketing by Juliano Tubino, Director of the Local Software Economies initiative for Microsoft, the President and Director of Union of Enterprises of Armenia and other key players of the Armenian IT industry.