The goal of the WidasConcepts Hackathon is to create „Smart Office“ solutions and to integrate it into existing IT infrastructure. Four teams: Blue, Red, Yellow and Green are formed each with color coordinated Tshirts. Each group gets an envelope with budget allowance. The use cases are distributed quicker than expected and the event kicks off at 10.30 am under the motto Keep Calm Hackath On.
While group red is in search of a moderation kit and group green is looking for a camera, group blue has already described the first whiteboard. I meet group yellow in the coffee kitchen. Here the start was set at 11:15 am. Meaning, the organizational aspects are already taken care of.
The first entry to the base station.
Group green is right in the middle of the first sprint and group red presents its strengths and interests, in order to distribute the roles in the group. The moderation kit has also been found. Lunch options are partly discussed, coding is simultaneously happening.
It’s become pretty quiet in the Widas building. The groups are engaged in the conception of their solutions. While outside the sun shines, the air conditioner is running in the building, so that people can work.
The Party Pizza is delivered, the teams take a break excepting group green. Here the work is still on. Group blue is now again up and going with more strength.
Get some coffee first, and then it there is no stopping group red. The soldering iron is used and in parallel, several workflows are initiated. The group is cheerful and optimistic. Group Green has now gone for the lunch break.
Update group blue. The basic architecture is laid and the first piece of software running. The second sprint is currently on track.
Group green is researching market solutions and in parallel working on voice and face recognition. There is no notice to the base station, not yet. Group red has the first prototype that has successfully passed the test and even group yellow is doing well: The architecture is in place, the data transfer is in progress and the interfaces are designed and currently being implemented. Group blue reported initial success in implementing the interface.
Group blue makes a pause and also group yellow comes out to get some sun.
Although group blue is currently struggling with browser incompatibility problems, all are confident already to have a nice product by the evening. The painting and video-transmitting is functioning. In contrast, group green has conflicts now nearing the end of sprint with the results. Update group red: the sensor is accessible via Bluetooth and group yellow did announce a running web app and iOS app but has not yet been able to communicate with the light.
Group green draws its initial conclusion: Face Recognition runs, speech recognition seems more difficult. Unfortunately nothing can be yet demonstrated. As things stand there is still a lot to do.
Status report from group Blue: Local whiteboard works, currently working on functions: open, store and post. In parallel, the distributed application is being prepared. The group is, of their own accord, well in time. Half an hour before the official end of the first Hackathon day, the group red also conclude. The window sensors communicate with the hub, which in turn evaluates the received messages, combines them, and forwards it on to the broker. The group is sure about being able to demonstrate tomorrow an executable prototype with executable software and an appealing user interface. The last words of the group yellow for the day: It’s hard work!
A couple of people sitting again at their use case, others having breakfast. Not all the Hackathon participants have arrived yet.
Status Group green on the second day of Hackathon: Meanwhile, the app for speech recognition is now running, communication with the broker is being taken up, but this is not working as it should. Some are easily tired, the halting progress is slowing the enthusiasm but small successes continue to lead the team. Group yellow is well rested although work was getting done long after, let’s say, it was already dark. Today’s vote follows in a few minutes. With group blue, the core functionality is in place, the collaborative work is possible, smaller functions will be defined in the next sprint. Then the group decides either for a nice solution or the integration of more features. Here, work was going on until midnight, so that definitely everything would be completed. However, the budget is sufficient only for chips as lunch. The group red is, more or less rested, it did take longer than planned (originally wanted to stop at 19:00). Minor progress in the project has led to an 80% coverage of the “must haves” and yet there is also some time buffer for the “nice to haves”.
The trophy and prize are waiting to be awarded.
Group Photo group red. The sensors are completed, the hub is completed, the MQTT broker is ready, the Visualization app is implemented and the system configuration is also completed. Currently intricacies are being carried out. Just towards the end, group blue is having big problems. The solution is currently not connectable to the internal Widas T-broker because it does not allow a secure connection. The solution must however be safe. Still, the group is confident to be able to solve the problems in a timely manner. The idea is to possibly use a bridge. Group green is currently working on linking the image software. This must be trained however, and that proves a bit problematic. In parallel, the technical concept for the real world is getting drafted. Slowly, the hardware is running out, so currently the stepper motor coil cannot be controlled. With group yellow, the results are being mapped to the stories and subtleties are being worked out. Here, the different lamps can already be remotely controlled. Soon it’s going to be lunch time and today its Döner/Kebabs.
Last update before the presentations. In group blue the planned functionality scope is fully implemented, the completion of documentation going on, one can even implement an extra feature eventually. The chosen theme is considered particularly interesting, one looks forward to what can be demonstrated. Naturally, group blue wants the trophy. Group yellow is in the fifth and final sprint. What remains is the presentation, the real architecture and the cost estimate. Lunch is then skipped, not due to time constraints, but because one is looking forward to the final grilling. There is a short pause now. Group green has again optimized the prototype to show something meaningful. The integration of voice and facial recognition will be shown separately, because time is running out. The concept of cost estimation is yet to be completed. Looks like the team is going to be occupied to the very end. The group is however at 17:30 ready against all odds, to take the winning trophy that says at least milestone M4. Finally group red is ready to present. The responsive Sway presentation is finalized, communication and integration done. People are busy with fine tuning. The group believes to at least make it to the fourth place. Although the suspicion arises, that a deliberate understatement is made.
The presentation of the Hackathon results starts punctually. Blue starts with usable distributed whiteboard, followed by yellow with intelligent lighting circuit, green with access control by voice and face recognition and red with intelligent window sensors. It is already clear that all groups have worked with total commitment and that a substantial group dynamic has emerged. The models are functional, can be demonstrated and integrated into the Widas IT infrastructure.
Prize distribution. The jury has decided: Red team wins the WidasConcepts Hackathon 2016!
Now its grill time already!