Queen's School of Computing


Three of Canada’s leading technology companies, TELUS, BlackBerry and Solace, came together with L-SPARK in 2019 to create the Secure IoT Accelerator Program, powered by an innovative Secure IoT Platform. Now, Queen’s University, the School of Computing and L-SPARK are collaborating to make this same Platform available to Queen’s and RMC participants through the Secure IoT Challenge and Hackathon.


  • Passionate about building new IoT products and services that will change the way our world operates
  • Eager to learn from industry experts and business mentors
  • Interested in creating a potential startup company
  • Prepared to fully participate in the Hackathon weekend, Feb.28 – Mar.1


The Secure IoT Challenge has two main components:

  • A Hackathon that will take place over the weekend of Feb.28 – Mar.1 at Queen’s University, where teams will address a variety of challenges and develop a proof of concept of their solution using the Secure IoT Dev Kit.
  • An opportunity for the top 4 Hackathon teams to receive support to further develop their proposed solution.

In more detail, here is what participants can expect:

  • Access to the Secure IoT Dev Kit and technical expertise from Corporate Partners during the weekend Hackathon (each team will be provided with one Dev Kit)
  • Up to 4 teams will be selected at the end of the Hackathon (judging criteria to follow) to receive business mentorship from L-SPARK + up to $5000 for project expenses from Queen’s University. Mentorship period will run week of March 9 through April 17.
    • Upon completion of the mentorship period, these teams will have the opportunity to participate in a Queen’s Showcase event in April … AND after that, the top 2 teams will be invited to pitch at an upcoming L-SPARK event.


We are excited to kick off the Secure IoT Challenge and look forward to seeing you at the hands-on workshop with the IoT Dev Kits on Monday, Feb.24. These Dev Kits contain proprietary hardware and software made available through L-SPARK and their corporate partners, TELUS, BlackBerry and Solace, which they are enabling us to use for the hackathon. In order to have access to the Dev Kits, each participant will be asked to sign the two agreements:

  1. L-Spark Service Agreement
    L-SPARK is a business accelerator and the Hackathon participants will be using the same Secure IoT Dev Kit that was used by the companies in the L-SPARK IoT business acceleration program. This agreement deals with the use of this Dev Kit.
  2. BlackBerry Software Evaluation Agreement.
    This agreement is more specific to the BlackBerry software that is contained in the Dev Kit.

A paper copy of these agreements will be provided at the workshop/hackathon for you to sign if you choose to participate.

Please reach out to Elza if you have any questions.


The Internet of Things presents opportunities to address problems across many domains and applications. Along with this new world of opportunities, however, comes the need to ensure end to end safety and security starting from the endpoint device. The Secure IoT Platform was created to address this need. We encourage hackathon participants to come up with their own innovative solutions building on this platform, but to get your creative juices flowing, here are some ideas � note that these are meant to stimulate your thinking and NOT to limit you to only these use cases:
Secure IoT Challenge Sample Problems


Technical Execution
  • Did the team demonstrate a working proof of concept that addresses the problem?
  • Does the solution appear to be technically feasible and free of obvious oversights?
  • To what extent does the proposed solution leverage the capabilities of the Secure IoT Devkit?
  • How compelling is the value proposition?
  • Has the team attempted to differentiate their solution from competitors?
  • Did the team describe how their solution might become a sustainable business?
Design & Presentation
  • Did the team demonstrate creativity and innovation in the design of their solution?
  • How clear and compelling was the pitch overall?


  • The Judging Committee will select up to 4 teams to receive receive business mentorship from L-SPARK + $5000 for project expenses from Queen’s.
  • There will be additional prizes awarded by TELUS, BlackBerry, Solace, Queen’s School of Computing and Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation (specific criteria to be announced at the hackathon).
  • There will be no single overall “winner.”


  1. Review details about the program and the Secure IoT Dev Kit as presented at the Jan.14th L-SPARK Info Session
    • If you are interested in the technical aspects of the Dev Kit, be sure to check out the presentations from TELUS, BlackBerry and Solace:
  2. Complete the application for the Hackathon here. If you want to participate as a developer or IoT Lead*, be sure to fill out the second part of the application so we understand your technical skillset.
    Deadline for IoT Lead applications: Wednesday, February 12, 2020
    Deadline for general applications: Wednesday, February 26, 2020
    *As an IoT Lead, you will be responsible for following instructions and downloading all the necessary Secure IoT files from GitHub at least a week before the Hackathon. In addition, you will sign up for a free Solace Developer Account and will be given secure access to download the required BlackBerry files (upon acceptance of appropriate license agreements). We plan to have a hands-on workshop for all the IoT Leads prior to the Hackathon – tentative date Feb.24. Each team will need at least one IoT Lead.
  3. Once your application is confirmed, you will receive the link to the project listings. Create your own project or join an existing team that needs your skills. The sooner you apply, the more time you’ll have to build your team! IoT Leads will also receive the Secure IoT GitHub link.
  4. Teams will be finalized Friday of the Hackathon. We may ask teams to do a 60-second “pitch” of their idea to recruit additional team members.

Note that we can accommodate a maximum of 20 teams (one Dev Kit each), so not all projects posted are guaranteed to proceed.


  • The Secure IoT Challenge is open to Queen’s and RMC faculty, post-docs and students
  • Multidisciplinary teams are encouraged (hardware/software, application developers, designers, business and other subject matter experts)
  • Each team will need to have the technical capabilities to work with the Dev Kit
  • The Hackathon can accommodate a maximum of 20 teams


All participants in the Hackathon will be granted a limited, non-commercial license to use the Secure IoT Dev Kit (comprising hardware and software from TELUS, Solace and Blackberry) – such license grant shall terminate upon the earlier of exiting the program and the final pitch session (for teams selected to continue beyond the Hackathon). Prior to Hackathon, participants will be asked to sign an agreement confirming the terms and conditions for the limited license granted related to use of the IOT Dev Kit (text of the agreement will be provided for review in advance).

Faculty members, students, and post-docs (each a “Participant”) who participate in the Queen’s/L-SPARK Secure IoT Challenge may independently or jointly develop intellectual property (IP) during and following the Hackathon weekend (Feb. 28-Mar.1). Participants are requested to disclose any such IP developed to the Office of Partnerships and Innovation, via the invention disclosure form (here). Any such IP created by Participants shall be owned by the Participants. Participants who wish to advance the development and commercialization of their IP following the Hackathon will receive support from the Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation team.


For inquiries, contact one of the following:

Elza Seregelyi | Director
L-SPARK CORPORATION | www.l-spark.com

Marwa A. Elsayed | Campus Coordinator
Queen's/L-Spark Secure IoT Hackathon,
School of Computing