MSGlasgow team member Joshua McGhee shares his experience of Future Hack.

Participation in a hackathon is a challenging experience. In the space of 48 hours your team is required to move from concept, research and design all the way to development and finally, the pitch.

If you plan to cover all bases, meaningful sleep is not an option. You should be prepared to make the choice between functionality and aesthetics and if you’re hoping for a full-featured demo during your pitch, you will code through until the second your team is called. Disclaimer: The demo probably still won’t work. These pressures often result in an over-consumption of coffee and relatively feature-conservative, yet clever, pitches.

With MSGlasgow, we decided to think big and work accordingly. The system is a non-urgent channel of communication between you and your public services (Police Scotland, Fire and Rescue Scotland and NHS Scotland) by providing a mobile app that can be used to send short text messages, with an attached picture, to one of the services in question. They can respond asynchronously and use the platform to publish announcements via mobile notification.

MSGlasgow provides two important in-built features:

  • Geographic data is passed with every message to give context information and an accurate location without having to rely on the knowledge of the user.
  • The ability for services to geographically and demographically target public service announcements.

The first Future Hacks event provided the challenge and freedom to create that we were looking for. The incredible range of concepts pitched on the final day is a testament to the environment and mentors which OPEN Glasgow and their partners provided us with.

MSGlasgow has the potential to simplify interaction with public services and improve their ability to serve the community, something we consider to be the hallmark of a future city.

Next stop, energy.