Just a few hours ago, the curtain fell down on the Emirates Airways (EK) Hackathon in San Francisco, from the 7-8 November. The Hackathon objectives were straight-forward, contestants were asked to develop ideas and applications to “Enable different personas to search for flights online or on mobile devices in new and creative ways.” Each team was asked to select a specific persona and re-invent current search options, according to their specific needs, using web and mobile API’s.
The Cloud Ecosystem Development teams in MEA and Silicon Valley partnered with Emirates Airways by providing Hackathon participants with the IBM Bluemix platform and Watson API enablement as well as advisory support, during the 24 hour-long hack. The team also provided prizes for the team with the best Bluemix application, which included a GoPro 4.
The Hackathon participants were armed with all the information about IBM Bluemix platform and Watson APIs before the hackathon actually started, but, being a team of excellence, the Cloud Ecosystem team from Silicon Valley still kicked off the Hackathon by holding an IBM Bluemix workshop, giving contestants a boost of information, enabling them to hit the ground running.
The Hackathon was a 24 hour activity, and the interest from applicants was monumental. More than 700 applicants entered the Hackathon, but EK decided to select only 300 participants, and disperse them into 42 teams.
14 of these teams (one third of all participants) selected to use the IBM Bluemix platform and include Watson API in their solution. This is an impressive 600% growth of IBM Bluemix use, compared to EK’s previous hackathon held in Dubai. This means that Bluemix awareness and adoption is most certainly growing, and more and more developers are realising the benefits of our platform. The EK and IBM teams are committed to continue with Hackathons, as this benefits EK by releasing innovative and competitive travel apps, and benefits IBM by creating awareness, and broadening the use of IBM Bluemix to promote and foster innovation.
Judges and other onlookers had the pleasure of witnessing some ingenious usage of IBM Bluemix and Watson APIs. At the end of the Hackathon, the decision was to award the overall winner prize to the team #pathfinder, who created an app to improve and reinvent the travel booking process.
The best IBM Bluemix application came from the team called #emiblue who used Watson personality insight and speech recognition to come up with innovative idea to improve traveler experience.
#emiblue: Bluemix Platform Winner
Overall the Hackathon was a resounding success from an IBM Cloud perspective, but our commitment to EK does not end here. We will continue our collaboration with them and expose more of our platform to them, with focused activities targeting their innovation agenda.
I would like to thank the Cloud Ecosystem Development team in Silicon Valley, Jean Carl Bisson, James Barry, Scott Tomlinson), the Cloud team in MEA (Mir Ali, Anthony Butler) and EK Client team (Mustafa Kilic, Mike Ghoraishi). I am sure there were other involved in this and I apologize if I left them out.
Call to Action:
Visit your closest CIO and explain to him/her what is that he/she can expect to achieve with such an event. A Hackathon will drive value within his/her business, but expectations will need to be set up! These goals will drive the overall theme and specific prompts that developers will use during the event to build their apps. For more information, contact Predrag Lucic and/or Anthony Butler.