This weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in “Wearable Worlds Invents the Connected Traveler” two-day hackathon event, fully sponsored by American Airlines. It was an amazing event, as there were many groups of developers creating unique, exciting travel-related applications. There were a lot of sponsors like GoGo, Pebble, IBM, MasterCard and tech partners like Concur, VoicePark, LocationSmart, etc. present, providing developers with unique technologies and APIs to help out with their hackathon projects.
This was the longest hackathon event I have ever attended, as it spanned two full days!
With the goal of making life easier for the mobile traveler, developers worked passionately to produce a working application that airline (like American Airlines) could potentially utilize in the future. I had the fortune to work with an extremely talented group of people, which included: David Lee, Ibrahim Kabil, Andy Kwan of GPOP and Lance Nanek, a veteran Android/Glass developer. Together, over the course of two laborious days, we churned out a Google Glass/Android & web application called FLUX, an application designed to provide a convenient travel experience for VIP travelers with American Airlines.
I have to admit, I was intidated first, as I have never participated in a hackathon of this scope, as well as working with seasoned web/mobile developers & UX designers that have been in the field far longer than I. However, I soon found my role in the project and am glad that I was able to assist with the Android development portion of the project. I was also humbled to see my team members’ expertise.
By the end of the hackathon event, our team was able to produce FLUX for three platforms, which included an Google Glass and Android application for the American Airlines’ VIPs and a web-based client/server setup for American Airlines’ employees. The FLUX Android & Glass application for VIPs displays data such as flight departure time, gate information, current weather settings, etc. It also uses the iBeacon Bluetooth modules to detect where the VIP is currently located in the airport and displays relevant data based on the area. For example, if the VIP was at the security checkpoint, FLUX would inform the user to prepare for security and display their digital boarding pass automatically. At the sametime, the FLUX transmits that data to American Airlines’ employees, giving them the ability to prepare and know about the VIPs specific needs and provide premium services that would be expected by VIPs. Such a service would minimize chaos and confusion and make the travel experience for VIPs a better experience.
During the pitch session, there were quite a few incredible projects displayed, including an in-flight social app, sophisticated mobile and Pebble flight notifications, etc. Unfortunately, our team was not one of the five teams that were chosen to advance to the next round. However, I am proud that our team was able to produce a functional prototype in a short period of time, not to mention working with a talented group of people! I’m definitely looking forward to attending more hackathons in the future!