A few weeks ago, we wrote about organizing a hackathon as a great way to discover, support or highlight new and innovative ideas in your company. Valerie also wrote about her experiences at AE’s first hackathon. In the coming weeks, you’ll get to know some of the teams and their projects a bit better. They’ll share their experiences, design choices and technical implementation. Today we want to show you how our colleagues at AE spent their 48 hours and what their major takeaways were.
This was the AE 2014 Hackathon.
Meet the ideas:
Team members: Ken D'Hondt, Philippe De Croock, Samantha De Kleijn, Christophe Lucas & Jasper Verplanken
The conversation starter. A way to quickly find people with similar professional skills and interests. The key to delivering an application with relevant business value in less than 48 hours? A team of five exquisite people and an endless motivation to get the most out of everyone’s skills and talents in this action-packed mini-project showdown. It was an amazing opportunity to see how everyone’s talents mingled to come up with an idea that was innovative, refreshing, realistic and relevant to AE’s core values. It surprised me greatly what can be achieved with the current state of technology, even when the triple divinity; time, budget and scope are extremely limited. Every consequence of adding or removing things to the current scope resulted immediately in a visible impact on the final product. Even up to this day, a feeling of accomplishment and ‘entrepreneurship’ still lingers on and gives an incredible motivational boost to promote the intrapreneurial mindset within a project or enterprise.
Team members: Niels Nuyttens, Gert Nelissen, Leendert Dommicent, Wouter Seyen & Ellen Van Molle
We’ve built a service using iBeacons for a public bus transportation service. It constantly tracks the number of people waiting at a bus stop and the occupancy of the busses itself in real time. All that data is consolidated in a back-end service and made available for analysis to optimize existing lines but also to the end-user. Using the accompanying app we’ve created, it's possible to check whether or not the next bus on a specific line is too crowded. During the hackathon, we’ve mainly developed on the Android platform which proved to be quite a challenge sometimes. Because we’ve built a data-driven app we also needed a tool that created relevant dummy data so we could test the app and its algorithms without continuously walking past the iBeacons ourselves. The hackathon was a great way to experiment and work with new technologies and work out the business value of some ideas at the same time.
Team members: Glenn Dejaeger, Sarah Denayer, Pieter Herroelen, Thomas Anciaux & Alex Wauters
An online resume app. Keep your professional information up to date. From anywhere and from any device. Our product idea started from a real need within AE to keep our consultant’s resumes qualitative and always up to date. We wanted to make it easy and fun for our colleagues to manage and showcase their skills, competences and ambitions. For us, the AE Hackathon was a way to discover, research and work with innovative technologies and ideas. Because of the – very – limited time you’re under a lot of pressure to get things done and mostly functioning on a lot of adrenaline and caffeine. That works, albeit for a short period of time. Having only two days to work on a project necessitates a clear strategy and action plan beforehand. A close follow-up during the development itself is also a must to keep focus on the key aspects of your project and to have a great and effective product to present afterwards.
De Lijn Gamified
Team members: Andries Van Humbeeck, Yannick Geerts, Maarten Aerts & Charles Van Goidsenhoven
With access to the API of ‘De Lijn’, the Flemish public transportation service, and a lot of iBeacons, we had the idea to develop a game for their passengers. The purpose is to capture bus stops for your team. Each passenger in the bus that is playing the game is part of a team and has to capture a bus stop during his or her route. Using iBeacons on the bus itself and at each bus stop we could create a real arena where people had a limited timeframe to compete for the bus stop. The two days were sometimes quite hectic as we had some issues with setting-up our development environment and working out some other technical and hardware issues. But even with those difficulties; being able to actually develop and present a working game made it even more rewarding.
Team members: Students Lucas Vanlaer, Eline Vanermen, Willem Schroé & Dario Incalza
As a student organization we organize a lot of network events. To make it easier for visitors to find other people in the crowd and not having to look at their name tags all the time, we had the idea to create a networking app specific for conferences and other similar events. We had some setbacks because one of our team members fell ill right before the start of the hackathon. Nevertheless, I think we did well. We divided all the work; some of my colleagues worked specifically on coding and design while others fine-tuned the business plan for the final presentation. We found out about the AE Hackathon through AE Recruitment and we thought it would be a great event to join and show our skills.
Team members: Ralf Geenen, Johan Merckx, Sophie Traen, Jan Callewaert & Steven Arnauts
We worked on a digital platform to facilitate and improve knowledge sharing within our company. AE has a lot of knowledge and competences and we’re always looking at ways to share our know-how with colleagues and clients. It’s great to see how much we can achieve with our team in such a short period of time. We started from scratch and used to first day to really fine-tune our idea together with the whole team. That was a great way to get buy-in and commitment from all team members. Having only two days is also a great way to really work towards something concrete and put some ideas I already had for a long time into practice. The cultural aspect of the hackathon is very important too. We have a lot of new colleagues and participating in the hackathon helps them to expand their network.
Team members: David Van Steenkiste, Els Dessin, Michael Mertens, Paul Diepvens & Bart Declerq
Buzzypay is an automated payment system for public transportation using the passenger’s cellphone and iBeacons to detect his presence and itinerary. When leaving a bus, payment is processed automatically without the need to scan a ticket or badge. This way you can provide real automated pay-per-use for bus services. The hackathon was an ideal format for this. We were able to start with a fresh idea and work out the business and technical needs, do the necessary analysis and conquer some technical hurdles. It was quite a challenge to integrate the API, provide a robust back-end and connect everything to a mobile first front-end application but it’s really great to see how much progress we could make in only two days. The hackathon also focused on the business value of the project so the real value for us was not only in the technical implementation but also the design of a good business case.
For more information and pictures on the AE Hackathon go to the Google+ event page or contact AE at Valerie.Taerwe@ae.be