Hackathon: Building apps for a better future
Nearly two hundred participants went through sessions on brainstorming.
The Hackathon, titled ‘Building Apps for a Better Future’, attracted participants ranging from school students to well established professionals from different parts of the country, to create an app or a website or hardware hack through a gruelling 24 hours of nonstop computer coding.
A hackathon is essentially an event where programmers come together to collaborate to create a computer program.
This techfest, which began on July 23 was extremely competitive, with different teams racing against time in a bid to outdo each other.
The themes which the participants could work on ranged from apps for next generation enterprises, citizen reporting to technology on addressing climate change. While the rules stated that participants had to build their working model from scratch, in just 24 hours.
Sleep deprived and surviving entirely on caffeine, yet with no sign of lethargy, the grand finale saw the participants demonstrating several innovative app prototypes.
While one team demonstrated an app for online voting in India, another showcased an app where one could search and access the nearest blood bank in medical emergencies, saving precious time in the process.
Another team displayed an app which would display the nearest parking space through scientific predictions, thus saving time and fuel.
Despite the exhaustion and taxation involved, the evening was peppered with witty banter as the mentors quizzed the teams on the economic feasibility, target market etc.
The first prize went to team ‘App or After’.
'Kolkata Intelligentia’ and ‘Dark Swag’ were the two runners up.
All three winners received internships at the Microsoft Azure, free library membership at the American Centre Kolkata and a chance to pitch for incubation at NASSCOM Warehouse Kolkata.
Winners 'App or After’, a motley bunch of school, college students and entrepreneurs, said that it was an ecstatic and jubilant moment for them.
“We were coding till the last moment. Nothing was going right for us until now”, said the tired but happy youngsters.
Team Dark Swag, the second runners up, created an app for citizen reporting where one could report on the various problems and issues of the city after which the necessary department would look into it.
“It feels great to have all the hard work appreciated”, said the team, comprising mostly of computer engineering students.
The panel of judges included Craig L. Hall, U.S. Consul General of the U.S Consulate Kolkata, Mark D’Souza, Senior Audience Evangelism Manager of Microsoft Corporation (India) Pvt. Ltd and Ravi Ranjan, Deputy Manager of NASSCOM 10,000 Start-Ups, also gave away the prizes.
While they all acknowledged the creativity and effort that had gone into making the apps, Mark D’Souza also duly noted that it was time to look beyond apps in the realm of technology, while Craig L. Hall acknowledged that this was just the beginning of a future of diverse people and groups coming together to meet challenges.
“We even have the collaboration of several diverse sectors like government, business, schools, etc through an event like this”, said Hall.
(Reporting by Tanushree Sen, Images by Sandip Roy/IBNS)