Hackathon of the Dutch Railways

Hackathon of the Dutch Railways

For the first time, the Dutch Railways is organizing a hackathon with developers from outside the organization. With this hackathon, NS wants to show that they are innovative and bridge the gap between users and developers. The NS also considers it important to be hospitable to the participants. Wi-Fi is a crucial part of that hospitality. Jeroen Polman, Manager Application Development & Architecture and Ilse van Langen, Event Manager Recruitment at NS tell us how this great event went. Bob van Aanhold of Lumiad shows how he has organized the Wi-Fi down to the last detail.

“It was exciting until the very end, including the Wi-Fi,” says Jeroen
60 external participants work in groups on different projects. Each group has an NS supervisor and train and station staff are present. With this, the NS shows that the problem comes directly from the user [=the staff] to the developers.

Jeroen Polman: “Now the event is going well and all participants are enthusiastic.” Before this hackathon could start, the NS and a number of suppliers prepared well. Those preparations took more time than the event itself. Jeroen: “It was exciting until the very end, because the internet was only set up yesterday. The router was placed on the wrong floor.”

Bob established the network excellently and showed good ownership”
The router turned out to be on a different floor. Once this was found, Lumiad engineer Bob van Aanhold was able to get to work with the network. Jeroen: “Bob has worked hard to get the IT in order. He has set up the network excellently and he has created all the personal QR codes.”

As always with a large event, there are many parties and everything worked out thanks to good cooperation. “Bob was friendly and showed ownership during the start-up. Fortunately, at 2 p.m. yesterday, the entire network was connected. The result is impressive, because the Wi-Fi is very good. With an excellent download and upload speed.”

Why the NS chose onboarding with QR codes..
From its position as host, NS opted for personal QR codes. Cyber security for NS and for the participants was paramount in that choice. Personal QR codes are safe and fast, because participants can log in directly to the network. In addition, these codes provide unique security for all guests.

Other ways of securing are much less secure. For example, open Wi-Fi networks are very insecure, especially for the user. Furthermore, one password for 200 users is very insecure. Thanks to this new Lancom technique, it is now possible to give each user his own unique QR or WPA code.

The Wi-Fi works well throughout the hall and the participants use it enthusiastically and intensively. The NS achieves its goal. Everywhere in the room are flip charts with notes, participants are typing or sketching frantically. Or they are talking to conductors or other train personnel.