11/06/2024 • ACA Group Team

Ship-IT Day 2024: full recap of our ACA hackathon

Friday, June 7th, was a day many ACA members had marked in red on their calendars. It was Ship-IT Day, the annual hackathon where multidisciplinary teams work on innovative solutions for customer challenges. The day was filled with excitement, culminating in impressive results and a well-deserved winner. Read the full report below.

Ship-IT Day started early this year. As participants arrived at the ACA offices in Hasselt, they were greeted by the aroma of fresh coffee and pastries. Conversations in the kitchen buzzed with excitement and determination. Everyone seemed ready to tackle the day's challenges.

AI as the Common Thread in Ship-IT Projects

After a refreshing breakfast, the eight project teams got to work. As with the previous edition, AI and LLMs (Large Language Models) were central to most projects. Here’s a brief overview of the eight project teams:

  1. - Support the customer support
  2. DEMAZE your legacy Oracle
  3. Fluvius - “Stroomlijn” insights: FAQ optimizer
  4. Fluvius - Flow in “De Stroomlijn”
  5. Umani Group & Flexer - CV matching
  6. S-Lim - AI-powered visual notifications for local government
  7. Digitalizing of task cards and E2E cleaning service journey in a B2B context
  8. YouGO soccer app - AI gamification

For more details on the scope of these projects, check out our first blog post: Ship-IT Day 2024: Discover the 8 Innovative Projects.

Checking In on Team Status (and Stress Levels)

By midday, the office was unusually quiet despite the activity level of all project teams. Was this a good or bad sign? We decided to check in on each team's progress and stress levels.

1. - Support the customer support

This project team aims to provide extra support to's customer support team by centralizing customer data from various systems into a convenient widget in Freshdesk.

"After a brief kick-off meeting with the client to clarify all needs and expectations, we first conducted data mapping to identify the necessary data formats", explains Michiel Sioen. "This allowed us to start building the frontend. We already have several standalone elements, and we should be able to present a working widget before the end of the day."

"Ship-IT is fantastic because it allows you to explore new things with colleagues you don't usually work with", says Michiel. "It's exciting to build a proof of concept in one day that can provide immediate value to a client."

2. DEMAZE your legacy Oracle

This project team aims to create an LLM-based code assistant to help developers navigate legacy codebases more easily.

"We want to be able to ask AI questions about an existing codebase so we can understand its structure faster and make changes or additions more quickly", explains Pieter Vandeperre.

"We started by testing different AI models to understand codebases. The feedback we received was quite good. We also verified the results with the original developer of the codebase, who confirmed their accuracy. So, we're optimistic."

Pieter participates in Ship-IT every year with great enthusiasm. "I see it as a hands-on training to discover new technologies and methods", he says.

3. Fluvius - “Stroomlijn” Insights: FAQ Optimizer

This project team aims to use AI to analyze incoming customer questions and interactions at Fluvius, allowing them to more accurately and quickly detect the top 10 current customer queries and automatically generate FAQ articles.

"We first solidified the concept internally and then validated it with two Fluvius representatives present at the ACA office in Ghent", says Jo Corthals. "We're in a good position now. The data anonymization and structuring are complete, and the frontend is ready to receive the data. Now, we're focusing on data processing."

For Jo, who usually prefers a background role, this Ship-IT Day is a step out of his comfort zone. "It's also a perfect opportunity to provide added value for our client", Jo adds.

4. Fluvius - Flow in “De Stroomlijn”

The second project for Fluvius is also progressing smoothly. This team focuses on generating summaries of past customer interactions at “De Stroomlijn”, providing helpdesk staff with quick insights into customer context and sensitivities.

"Everything is going according to plan, and the client is pleased with our progress", says Jelle Cayman. "We'll be presenting a concept, part of which we've already developed."

5. Umani Group & Flexer - CV Matching

This project team aims to build an AI assistant for Umani Group to automatically match candidates with job vacancies. "Additionally, we want to incorporate OCR functionality to process textual information from scanned documents or images", says Alexander Frimout. "We're also developing a chatbot that provides candidates with targeted information about specific vacancies and directs them to jobs that match their profiles."

The six-member team is also supported today by a representative from Umani Group. "That is very productive", Alexander notes, "as it ensures we have first-hand information to tailor our solution perfectly to the client's needs."

Together with his five teammates, Alexander is confident they will deliver an impressive final product: "We're going to blow everyone away!"

6. S-Lim - AI-powered visual notifications for local government

S-Lim is collaborating with ACA to develop a new app for cities and municipalities. This project team aims to create a proof of concept for a smart reporting feature that uses AI to analyze a photo, categorize the issue automatically, and forward it to the municipality.

"We started by setting up the project and discussing the designs and user interface", says Jeffrey Vanelderen. "The design is now finalized, and the camera functionality and permissions are in place. Currently, we're working on interfacing with the AI model to see what information it returns and optimizing the results. That's the toughest part, but once we succeed, we'll deliver a great proof of concept."

Jeffrey enjoys the opportunity to see a new project through from start to finish during Ship-IT. "As a mobile developer, you're usually brought into an ongoing project. It's nice to start from scratch for once; you learn a lot from that."

7. Digitalizing of task cards and E2E cleaning service journey in a B2B context

This project team aims to streamline a cleaning company's operations by digitizing the current time-consuming and error-prone briefing process, which involves a lot of paperwork, to increase efficiency.

"The idea is for cleaning staff to receive targeted cleaning instructions on their smartphones based on their location", explains Stijn Schutyser.

"We started by mapping out the current process and identifying areas for digital optimization", Stijn continues. "We've made significant progress. There’s still work to be done on the UI and UX because we want it to look attractive and be user-friendly."

Last year, Stijn's team won Ship-IT Day, and he hopes for the same outcome this year.

8. YouGO soccer app - AI gamification

The Mobile Flutter team at ACA sent some of its members to create a proof of concept for YouGO soccer's training app. “We want to make the existing exercises more dynamic and interactive”, says Stijn Huygh. “We started by outlining and distributing the work packages. Some parts are on schedule, while others are progressing slower than expected. The biggest challenge is the accuracy of ball detection. By the end of the day, we hope to convert one exercise into a more dynamic version.”

By participating in Ship-IT Day 2024, Stijn hopes to gain first-hand experience in how machine learning can enhance user experience and enable new features in mobile development.

Who won Ship-IT Day 2024?

At exactly 5:00 PM, Stijn Van den Enden kicked off the closing ceremony. Each project team had five minutes to pitch their work and demonstrate the final result.

Despite some teams needing a couple of attempts to get their demos working, the final results were impressive. It’s remarkable how much the multidisciplinary ACA teams can achieve in just one day. However, there can only be one winner, determined by a quick vote using a mobile voting app.

Ultimately, the S-Lim project team took home the victory along with well-deserved shopping and dining vouchers. Their functional demo, which offered high potential value for the client, earned them a whopping 40% of the votes. A score any political party would envy with election Sunday approaching!

See you next year for another edition of Ship-IT Day!