Author: Grace Durie
After participating in the ZappHack and answering the question, ‘so what exactly is a hackathon?’ in 2014, the team at Intelligent Environments hosted our very own in house innovation challenge, our first of 2015.
After a plethora of ideas had been submitted at the end of December 2014, at 09h on 8th Jan, 2015 our six selected teams, armed with a 30 hour supply of Redbull, crisps and the local pizza delivery on speed dial, set to work.
Each team comprised of a range of technical skills, from the developing wizards to those to whom writing a line of code was as alien as operating the Mars Rover.
Soon after our six teams got to work, the Innovation hub at Intelligent Environments was a hive of activity, with meeting rooms taken up by teams designing, building and coding themselves into a frenzy in preparation for the final demonstrations of the brilliant ideas that they had conceptualised.
So as the rest of the company went home, our intrepid hackers remained onsite, working tirelessly to perfect their innovations.
The teams’ tireless working culminated in six truly excellent presentations that showcased some brilliant innovations ranging from a wonderful new smart watch face designed around the company logo to checking your bank balance using Google Chrome.
With trends in wearable technology and security looking set to dominate the financial services technology industry in 2015, these themes seemed to dominate the concepts that were developed.
After the presentations concluded, our panel of six in-house, expert judges unanimously selected a winner, team Fetch, whose concept to effectively eliminate the need for usernames and passwords was the most impressive of the afternoon.
So what, as a spectator, have I come away with from the hackathon?
For one, I have seen that the skills gained during the process aren’t limited to learning how to write code at two in the morning, but included the best way to stall during a presentation when your demo doesn’t load quickly enough and that a Wookie may well be the poster boy for the authentication of the future.
Finally, the hackathon showed a spirit of interdepartmental, companywide collaboration, cooperation and innovation, with teams made up of members from a range of departments and Intelligent Environments as a whole turning out to watch the presentations and cheer on our intrepid hackers.
It was an entertaining afternoon for us non-hackers and came to a glorious end for those who had spent 30 sleepless hours on their creations, I look forward to seeing what the next hackathon, due to kick off in summer 2015, brings.