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TADHack Orlando Online 2020: Fun Times with Developers
TADHack Orlando Online 2020 took place over the weekend, March 28 and 29, preceding Enterprise Connect Virtual. This hackathon was our first fully remote event, but certainly not our first experience with a far-flung group of participants.
Since founding TADHack in 2014, we’ve always accepted remote entries, as making it to a location isn’t possible for many developers who are interested in participating. Remote entry has helped over 1,000 people take part in TADHack from the comfort of their own homes, and you’re as likely to be a winner in person as remote.
With COVID-19 social distancing in force and Enterprise Connect 2020 postponed till August, we turned our planned pre-Enterprise Connect Orlando event into TADHack Online 2020, and everyone was remote. The only snag, as some hackers shared and I experienced too, is that family doesn’t tend to view hacking from home over a weekend as being truly busy. That can make it hard to get stuff done.
Over half the hacks included intelligent agents, generally using Google Dialogflow, which is now just part of the programmable communications stack. The stack comprises Asterisk (open-source telephone answering service for processing calls) mashed up with Simwood (telco making the calls and messaging happen), as well as APIdaze and Intelepeer (both communications platform-as-a-service, or CPaaS, platforms). It’s a software stack that web-centric developers understand, and can mash up and build upon to solve problems important to them. Check out the pitches, as well as the slides, to see the complex stacks built in about 24 hours over one weekend.
By letting developers work on what matters to them we had a good diversity of hacks:
- A couple of games — TeleDoom and TeleQuest
- A great development tool from developer Sam Machin using Node-Red for Asterisk
- IoT Feral Cat Trap hack from Jerry Reed, a professor at Valencia College
- A couple of hacks addressing immediate market needs (SMB Reschedule and Jarvis Phone Assistant)
- A range of agent-based hacks, including Food Finder – Eat Local and Home School Helper, that used all the sponsors’ resources
As this event demonstrated, programmable communications is evolving, and the stack is getting easier to use by many more people. Programmable comms hackathons have become an honest cooperation of joint learning, networking, business development, and bringing vital new blood into the industry.
So to communications industry vendors, I have this recommendation: Copy what Avaya did earlier this year with TADHack Phoenix. Bring your ecosystem together with a healthy dose of web/non-telecom developers. Get them hacking on your platforms, solving problems that matter to them, not you. You won’t find your killer app; it doesn’t exist. But you will set your business and ecosystem on a trajectory to better serve your customers.