Everyone has their own favorite aspects of the Knowledge conference, but the tinkerers and makers among us make tracks for the HackZone.
Similar to how CreatorCon highlights the innovations of our partners, the HackZone showcases projects that bring the platform to life by the people who we work with every day. It’s also one of the most active areas on the show floor, populated by kinetic Lego devices, a working keg, and a smoky campfire-like smell coming from a pencil engraver.
True to the maker spirit, ServiceNow colleagues developed these demos in their spare time. “Almost all of these are weekend and evening projects,” says Principal Developer Evangelist Jason McKee, who helped wrangle entries to the HackZone while building the Kegerator demo on his own. “They are labors of love.”
The results are hands-on examples of leveraging the Now Platform to build entirely new experiences for our customers. The best of them have the characteristics that define the most successful ServiceNow apps: speed in creation and deployment, smooth integration with the Now Platform, great customer experiences and scalability.
And fun: Situated next to the BeerOps programming competition, HackZone demos are meant to be accessible, interactive and kinetic. It’s the one place in Las Vegas, if not the world, where you are sure to find noise, smoke, beer, LEGOs and robots all in one place.
Here are a few highlights from this year’s HackZone demos.
Self-propelled robotic devices emulate an automated environment by independently moving objects around the floor of a warehouse, office or factory. When obstructions appear, the devices must problem-solve and relay changes back to the other bots.
Attendees can participate by adding obstructions to see how the bots solve unscripted problems. It’s a great example of how accident management can be managed by independent devices and scaled across a variety of automated business environments.
Platform capabilities on display: FlowDesigner/Integration Hub, MetricBase, TEST APIs, mobile notifications, accident management
In this blustery demo of predictive maintenance, a field of five meter-high, Lego-constructed wind turbines connect to sensors running IoT software. “Whenever people think of predictive maintenance and IoT, the example is always a nuclear power plant, a jet engine or a wind turbine,” says McKee. “In the ServiceNow office in San Diego, where most of these builders are based, they have a huge room taken over by Legos.”
Sensors monitor performance, compare to benchmarks, and make corrective actions when certain performance thresholds are passed. The Windfarm illustrates how monitoring and smart maintenance can work for devices in the field and marks the first time many will see the work of our NowX innovation team in action.
Platform capabilities on display: NowX, IoT Smart Maintenance, IoT Remote Monitoring, Field Services
Collectors of swag should make a point of visiting this sensory-pleasing demo of fabrication on demand. For this one our makers used 3D printing to custom build a 2D engraving machine. Attendees enter a name through a simple service portal, which is then laser-engraved into a carpenter pencil. The engraving takes about 12 seconds per pencil.
‘This is basically a manufacturing-on-demand story,” says McKee. Speed and integration are on display in this enjoyable, tactile demo by the same person who made the photo booth for Knowledge 2018. Come for the pencil, stay for the smell of hot sawdust.
Platform capabilities on display: Service Catalog, Integration Hub, Flow Designer, MID server
Knowing when to order replacement supplies is important, but never more than when beer is on the line. Flow and temperature sensors monitor an actual kegerator for its supply of beer and ice, determining when to order replacements to keep the beer cold and the taps flowing.
This is one demo that seemed to get more popular as the clock got closer to 5:00p. Every pub should have this sort of technology, but the predictive system for managing just-in-time inventory modeled here is useful for any industry reliant on a time-dependent supply chain. Cheers!
Platform capabilities on display: MetricBase, Flow Designer, Scripted REST, IoTHub
Other Demos in the HackZone
While you’re there, check out other cool demos:
Predictive Maintenance – An actual tractor dashboard display by Coco is wired to fleet management IoT software. It measures operating details and responds to changing fleet conditions.
AR Field Service – A LEGO printer creates banners, but not until attendees detect and repair anomalies through an augmented reality interface. You had us at LEGO printer.
Virtual Agent and Alexa – Natural language commands will play a big role in future interfaces, as this demo shows by pairing Alexa with ServiceNow Virtual Agent.
IoT DevOps – A handful of devices model the complete DevOps lifecycle from code to deployment in this clever illustration of the power of the Integration Hub.
Health Club – Step up for the week’s easiest workout in this demo of how out-of-the-box ServiceNow applications guide you through multiple stations of a custom exercise scenario. Reward yourself with a trip to the kegerator.