At rapidBizApps, we believe in working hard for success – the success of our customers. We wanted to improve our existing products and solutions for our customers, and what better way than to bring together our best minds. So, we decided to run an internal Hackathon.

Hackathons are a great way for people to make their teams, plan their ideas, and execute them in a way that is outside the norm. We also discovered that when our modus operandi is paused, our teams found time to find creative solutions, and discover innovative ways to apply those solutions to products that are already in production!

So, the hackathon was announced for finding solutions in the following areas:

Problems that needed solutions

  1. Couch DB + Mongo DB
  2. Mine Management Dashboard
  3. Executive App
  4. Rapid Inspect Android App
  5. Supply Beaver
  6. Thermal Imaging (Inspections + work order)
  7. OSI Pi Event Frames(event based work orders)
  8. Power BI
  9. Tableau Dashboards
  10. Multiple environment using build automation

The rules were simple. The team size shouldn’t exceed 4, and teams had 36 hours to plan and build their solutions.

S.No Team Name Number of Members Team Member Names Project Short Description
1 Coder Feeder 2 Surya, Naveen, Prasanth Coder Feeder
2 Crazy Folk 3 Priyanka, Manoj, Satish groundHog Bot
3 FIRe-commerce 3 Ravindra, Asheek, Srinivas Find My PC
4 The Psychics 2 Adithya, Krishnaneel Predicting Mine Production Volume
5 Speech Action 2 Anirudh, Kumar Kalluri Speech engine for groundHog
6 Tech Bees 2 Varalaxmi, Sravani groundHog for Smart Watches
7 rBA Coders 3 Gopal, Chander, Kishore BreakTime
8 Andiner 4 Gabriel, Gani, Lakshman, Sahil Device recognition
9 PDPS 4 Prabjot, Daljeet, Prudhvi, Santosh CouchDB + Mongo DB, intelligent scheduler, Power BI
10 rapidTestingRocks 5 Bhuvan, Amrutha, Devi, Gopi, Shankar Performance, Load testing

Prize

A total of ₹ 1,00,000 prize pool was announced that would be split between the first three winners.

The winner of the first prize would be awarded ₹ 50,000, the second ₹ 30,000, and the third ₹ 20,000.

Synopsis of all the projects

So, the men were assembled, plans were made, coffee was brewed, laptops were ready.

The whistle was finally blown, and they set off on their race to find, and create the best solution to our existing challenges on products.

We went around to different teams and spoke to them to find out what each of them were up to. Here’s what we found.

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Coder Feeder

Their project was a a Skype Bot that would notify a group when there’s change in snacks in our pantry.

A camera monitors the pantry and picks up change in pixels, detects the change, and sends a picture to the Skype group via the Skype Bot.

So, people interested in a particular type of snack can immediately help themselves – saving time and frequent trips to the pantry.

Crazy Folk

rapidbizapps-hackathon-crazy-folk

Team Crazy Folk’s technical skills were being put to use in building what they called the “groundHogBot”

This bot uses Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing to make interacting with the groundhog dashboard seamless. The bot converts natural language into specific keywords that the groundHog bot can send to the application via API calls.

The bot can be used by supervisors or managers who are on the go, as an easy alternative to the traditional way of interacting with boring dashboards. Using the bot, they can now get an understanding of the current situation, reports on historical data, and insights.

The team is also porting the groundHogBot into messaging apps like Skype, Telegram etc., to respond to text, and also integrate with Amazon Echo (Alexa).

FIRe-commerce

Ravindra is the man behind project management at rapidBizApps, and his team was building an alternative to popular e-commerce that they call “FIRe-commerce.”

“In the recent past, all products and solutions that I had worked on has the necessity of Node plus MongoDB/ CouchDB/ Couchbase, etc., as a back end,” said Ravindra.

“This is a reliable combo, but an overkill for simpler projects as there is dependency on Server experts. We took this opportunity to explore Firebase and have created an ecommerce app as a Proof Of Concept.”

“Happy to gain competency on simpler yet powerful alternative which has no dependency on an exclusive server team,” he adds.

The Psychics

rapidbizapps-hackathon-psychies

Using Machine Learning Algorithms, team Psychics aimed to achieve accuracy in predicting the outcomes of a mine’s production. This is based on historical data, and also on the current working data.

The purpose is to increase the efficiency of the product by helping product managers take immediate actions based on statistics.

Speech Action

rapidbizapps-hackathon-speech-action

groundHog is our digitalization solution for underground mining companies. Team Speech Action with Anirudh and Kumar Kalluri tried to utilize the power of Speech Engines on smartphones to perform tasks on the tablet version of the groundHog app.

The soundbot takes in natural language, uses the phone’s speech to text engine to converts it to commands that the app can understand. This is particularly useful for people on the move.

A future version of speech action will help ensure that ambient noise is eliminated to make this useful for operators in a machine.

TechBees

groundHog was primarily built for tablets and smartphones. The Team Tech Bees came together to optimize this app for use on an Apple Smartwatch! Another addition to making groundHog better!

rBA Coders

Smartphones are everywhere. Imagine if you are able to just connect to people near by, play games with them. It’s like connecting online and playing games, but a bit more personal.

Project BreakTime was created to do exactly this and help people in their free time play games, go out for a coffee, go out for a movie. At the moment, the team is focused on building one part – just Playtime so that people can connect and play games.

Could be a fantastic way to build team spirit and collaboration at companies.

Andiner

This team wanted to simplify the process of device tracking in our office. This is truly a challenge since many people are borrowing devices from the cabin for various tests.

“We created an android app that takes care of querying and updating an excel sheet on the cloud. We chose to map devices being used with Employee Id of person using the device,” says Gabriel, member of the Andiner team.

“Our plan is to have a bot responding to user requests,” he adds.

PDPS

Team PDPS was eliminating the need to use CouchBase on our applications. CouchDB was primarily used to support offline functionality, but it’s very expensive, and expensive to the tune of $55,000 a year per application! Moreover, it is extremely slow and unreliable.

The team wanted to eliminate the use of CouchBase, and the way they planned to do this is by using CouchDB and a peer to peer mirroring on MongoDB. The offline functionality which is of prime importance is now handled by CouchDB itself.

Additional benefit of using MongoDB was the use of Microsoft Power BI to illustrate data, and give the right insights to our end users.

Although this was their main project, they also told me about a “surprise” they have in store for the final presentation round.

rapidTesting Rocks

rapidbizapps-hackathon-rapidTesting-rocks

Bhuvan is the QA testing manager at rapidBizApps. And as some one who has just joined our team, his aim was simple – to make testing better than before.

“JMeter is an Apache project that can be used as a load and performance testing tool for analyzing the performance of the web application. It can be used for some functional testing as well.
The major need for load and performance testing of the tool at the moment, is to improve the performance of the web application when a number of users hit the application at that particular instance,” said Bhuvan.

Presentations

The whistle was blown again signalling the end of time. It was now time to stop all activity and join everyone else to present what they’ve done.

Dark circles and lack of sleep wasn’t going to stop our team members from putting on their best show. After-all, they had worked relentlessly for the last 36 hours to plan their idea, and execute the plan, and adding final touches to their presentation versions.

It was hard work, and all team members were now getting their PPTs ready. The projector was installed, our CEO and our CTO took their seats, and it was pure excitement for everyone as we all awaited the teams to show us what they’ve been up to.

Teams were allotted a maximum of 10 minutes to present their idea, and showcase a working demo.

The Winner: Team PDPS

Team PDPS presented the alternative CouchDB + MongoDB to replace the existing problematic CouchBase. They also integrated this with a production ready app rapidInspect, AND also brought in the Power BI dashboard to showcase important data! – the solution was fully production ready, and it only took them 20 hours to build the entire thing.

The team’s surprise was a Scheduler Optimizer that could be integrated with any application. Currently, estimations for projects in any service company are based on rough calculations. Project managers use these estimates as a guideline to allot time to personnel from various teams. The idea of the optimizer is to use historical data and current data to provide an automatic estimate. The scheduler optimizer works great for projects that are fixed length – such as the installation of solar panels at residences.

Team PDPS also used Power BI to build dashboards from data and had them integrated into both these applications.

First Runner Up: Team Crazy Folk

The “groundHogBot” by team Crazy Folk was successful at converting natural language into specific keywords that the application could understand. The demo showed how simple keywords via speech or chat could be used to perform tasks such as finding current status of tasks, understanding today’s production, and in future version, even create reports.

Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing are the future, was definitely something that our leaders wanted to implement in the application and make interacting with the groundhog dashboard seamless.

Second Runner Up: Team TechBees

rapidbizapps-hackathon-winner-techbees

Team TechBees were superbly successful in porting and implementing groundHog; an application primarily built for tablets, to a smartwatch!

The demo was phenomenal, and was received with resounding applause and found them in a deserving winning position!

Operators and miners can now manage and track work from their watch!

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