#Hackthehouse initiative to turn Notman House ‘smart’

An ambitious new initiative put on by Montreal’s Notman House will seek to run four related IoT and smart home hackathons over a period of nine months, to transform the historic building into a ‘smart’ building.

Overall, #Hackthehouse will seek to bring the “Montreal Innovation Community” together to develop solutions in the IoT and smart-building industry. As well, it will seek to create a completely open-source platform enabling these technologies to communicate and help make any building more energy efficient, easier to manage and more secure.

Noah Redler, Notman House’s campus coordinator, said he’s been working on perfecting the project for more than a year now.

“We found out where the gap in smart house and IoT was: with all these technologies coming together, there was nothing that helped them communicate and share their data points so that we can make intelligent decisions around how smart houses are built.”


#HacktheHouses’ goal is to make an open source, public CMS that’s available to everyone.

Ultimately, said Redler, the desire is to see great companies use one centralized solution instead of many different independent ones.

“At the end of the day, nobody wants 15 different portals that control the light and the heat. They want them to speak together and use the data they combine to understand how to better manage their building, based on how people actually use it.”

Ten startups within Montreal have already joined the cause, with Distech controls as the initiative’s main sponsor. The multinational company Distech, with its global headquarters in Brossard, provides smart building management technologies and services that optimize energy efficiency and comfort in buildings, all the while reducing operating costs.

Distech’s sensors are already all over Notman House, which detect ventilation, heating and environmental controls.

The City of Montreal, Microsoft and various Google for Entrepreneur have both also jumped on board the initiative. Moreover, developers in a few countries around the world will participate in #Hackthehouse, but these will be announced at a later date.

“We’re really trying to make this a global movement,” said Redler. “The Notman House can become like a showroom and a testing site for all these technologies.”

The series of four hackathons will carry a biological theme that represent the notion that Notman House is like an entity, or a “body,” with sensors and IoT products being the glue that connects it all. Redler mentioned that he believes it will be the first time ever in which four hackathons will be organized that surround a common theme, leading into one another.

“We believe that everyone has something to give to this and that it’s a true community project. Everything that will be built will be built on the power of the Montreal startup community. We want to demonstrate the real power of open innovation.”

There will be an intial meeting where anyone interested can come out and learn all about the project. That will be tonight, March 2, from 3:00 – 7:00 PM.

Here’s the rough layout to how each of the four hackathons will connect to each other:

#HacktheHouse 1 – The Body: March 11-13

This first #HacktheHouse will focus on making the various hardware and software solutions work together to provide a more personalized experience to the ‘smart’ building users (renters, visitors) that will connect through the Heart.

#HacktheHouse 2 – The Heart: June 11-13 

This second hackathon will challenge participants to create a centralized operating system that will act as the link between the various technologies. Think of it as a type of WordPress CMS where widgets and APIs can add functionality.

#HacktheHouse 3 – The Brain: September 2016 (TBD)

The Brain edition will add an analytical and even intelligence aspect to the project which will give building owners the tools to better plan, manage and maintain their buildings by understanding how people use the space, and where improvements can be made.

#HacktheHouse 4 – The Central Nervous System: November 2016 (TBD)

In the final edition of #HacktheHouse 2016, we will work to bring everything together and make the project functional, from there we will truly have a better understanding of the power of the tool we built together.

Media Presentation of results: Early December 2016

Time to show-off what we accomplished over the past year. We will do a media demo of the Notman Smart House project and show how all these technologies can make any space more intelligent.

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