The first ever 4GEE Hackathon took place over the weekend and we are very pleased to say that it has been a massive success! The aim of the hackathon was to pioneer the next generation of business apps and also to show how mobile apps can make businesses far more productive and efficient by using superfast 4G.
With over 20 teams of computer science students, developers, designers and entrepreneurs, we knew the quality of apps was going to be outstanding, and it most definitely was! The event took place at The Hub Westminster in London and attendees were able to take part across three different categories:
- Real-time collaboration with 4G in the private sector
- Real-time collaboration with 4G in the public sector
- Augmented Reality (AR) for Business
Vital to the hackathon was the involvement of our chosen API partners. By using APIs from Pusher, PeerIndex, LinkedIn, Cloudbase and Wikitude to help create apps for the different business themes, the competing teams were able to explore and discover the ways in which they could really make the most out of their short amount of time to build their business apps!
The API partners gave away prizes to teams for the best use of their API, as well as EE providing some fantastic prizes for the main themes. LinkedIn had 4 32GB iPad minis for their winning team, and EE gave away £2000 of Amazon, iTunes and Google Play vouchers, as well as 4G Mobile WiFi devices for all winning participants, with 50GB of data each month for a year!
On the morning of Saturday 22nd, everyone got together to start working on their business apps. Fuelled by great food, energy drinks and an open bar, the teams worked straight through the night, right up until their presentations in front of the judges on Sunday afternoon.
Before the presentations took place, the judges made their way around all of the teams to watch demos and ask questions to get a better idea of each project. The judging panel included Oliver Mattos from Google and Mubaloo CEO Mark Mason, as well as Andrew Mair and Jonathan Pollock from EE. The API partners were also judging for their own categories. Each team then had 3 minutes to present their apps to all of the other teams and also to the judges once again. After the quick-fire presentations and some conferring among the judges, the winners were announced.
Best Overall Student Entry
The award for Best Overall Student Entry went to team EEvent app for their conference collaboration and networking tool. By using this app, event attendees are able to log in through LinkedIn to find other event attendees relevant to them. Attendees can chat together in real-time through the app. If someone is unable to attend an event, then they can stream the conference video to keep up to date in real-time.
Jack Franklin, Catherine De Roure, Sophie Drake, Grant Heywood – University of Bath
APIs used: LinkedIn, Pusher, Twitter, OpenTok
Real-time Collaboration in the Private Sector
The award for Real-time Collaboration in the Private Sector went to Spizza. Spizza is a real-time multiple video stream based on hashtags. Within the app, users can browse live streaming videos in real-time and are also able to connect with people using the same hashtag as them.
Alessio Fabiani, Daniel Pyrathon, Omar Alvi, Nauman Rasheed, Ahmer Javaid
APIs used: Twitter, Firebase, opentok, bootstrap twitter, angularJS, python, django
Real-time Collaboration in the Public Sector
The winner of Real-time Collaboration in the Public Sector went to the very deserving Cloud Doctor team. The app provides patient to doctor consultancy using the LinkedIn API. Members of the public can connect with specialist medical consultants depending on their symptoms, instead of having to reach out to their GP or waste time in A&E.
APIs used: Cloudbase, LinkedIn, Pusher, Azure.
Augmented Reality (AR) for Business
The Augmented Reality for Business winner was Finder, which is an app that allows users to view information on nearby places using AR. If someone was near to a cinema for example, they could click on the cinema icon within the app and see trailers of the latest films showing in that cinema. The same could go for restaurants, theatres and shops!
APIs used: Foursquare
Best Overall Business Entry
The winner of the overall EE prize was Periscope; a live video and geoinformation viewing platform. Periscope combines live video streams with geolocation and social analysis to create a platform that can be used for business and public sector uses. This app could be used by the emergency services – police could use the geolocation and video to monitor riots for example.
As the event partner and judge, the two Mubaloo teams were not eligible to be entered into the competition to win prizes, but they built two brilliant apps that were highly commended by the judges.
The first app, CollaboRATE, was built by Richard Turton (Senior iOS developer), Valentin Kalchev (QA Engineer) and Liam Nichols (iOS Developer). CollaboRATE is a crowdsourcing platform for sharing, discussing and rating just about anything you can think of. Topics with tags are created and within each topic, users can add proposals in the form of images, text or links. Everyone can then discuss and vote on the individual proposals and the best ideas will bubble to the top. The app uses cloudbase for data storage and Pusher to keep all connected clients up to date, as well as using 4G to make sure everything happens instantly.
The second Mubaloo app, BumperCards, was built by James Frost (iOS developer), James Ward (web developer) and Daniel Box (QA Manager). BumperCards is an app designed to be a digital replacement of business cards. When people meet at big events, such as the Hackathon, they often trade business cards but sometimes these business cards are misplaced. By logging in with your LinkedIn account, BumperCards generates you a digital business card within the app.
The app was integrated with the Bump SDK, which enables users to ‘bump’ their devices together when they meet and instantly share their virtual business cards with each other. Users can then look back through all of their digital business cards to see people they’ve connected with at an event. The business case for this app was for event organisers, who could log in to a web dashboard to see this connections being made in real-time, through the use of 4G. The Pusher API was used to instantly notify the web dashboard of these new connections being made so event organisers could analyse the success of the event.
Our developers only concentrated on the connections taking place in real-time for the hackathon, but the web dashboard could also be used for other purposes, such as showing which directors are at the event and perhaps a breakdown of industries and companies present. All of this data could be used for event organisers to examine the ROI of their events and also to drive future marketing efforts. One of our senior iOS developers, Richard Turton, has also written about the hackathon in more technical detail. Click here to read his post.
We were so impressed with all of the apps at the EE Hackathon, and also the huge amount of talent there was in just one room. It is so great to see what is actually possible with mobile and 4G. Massive congratulations to the winners and to everyone who took part, it is so great to see people dedicating their time to create such innovative projects, and we really can’t wait to see how these business apps progress in the future! We’d also like say a huge congratulations to EE for organising such a successful event!
Keep your eyes peeled for more news on the hackathon from EE, Mubaloo and the API partners. If you’d like see more Hackathon photos, they are all on our Facebook page!
Click here to watch the official EE Hackathon video!