Imagine 5p.m. on a Friday, your boss asks you to write an application that can record WebRTC conversations and analyze the speech to identify specific keywords. Oh, and you don't really have experience using real-time communications and your boss wants to see a demo by Monday… Besides wondering what ‘big-brother’ could do with such an app, where do you even start???
Two ultra-talented developers, Roderick Hodgson and Alex Francois, created the incredible application mentioned above this past weekend at TADHack mini London.
Perhaps the most astonishing thing about TADHack mini London was the variety of skill level each hacker came to the event with. There were participants that had hardly any developer experience. Take for example Stephen Sales from Analysis Mason – he created his very first hack in a matter of hours, which was an automated pre-interview information-gathering application. Stephen came to the event with no intent to participate but with a little bit of guidance (and a little bit of needling), he rolled up his sleeves and delivered a fantastic first hack. Additionally, a new record was set at TADHack-mini London by having the event’s youngest hacker at 15 years old. I don't exactly recall where or what I was doing at 15, but it certainly wasn't pitching a room full of strangers my app that I had just built.
For me this is what it’s all about – breaking down the seemingly impossible and making it possible. That moment when the call gets answered and you hear the voice of the person sitting next you - the wide-eyes and smiles of accomplishment only to be spoiled by the increasingly louder feedback echo that happens because you forgot to mute. Brilliant! - as they say in the UK. I admittedly have more selfish reasons for attending these hackathons. I seek to challenge our API story and how easily developers can go from zero to hello world. This year, we teamed up with Telestax, the maker of RestComm to help deliver an easy yet powerful API that any developer ANYONE can use. The conclusion was clear: the hackers were able to achieve more, way more.
Below is a brief summary of the hacks built using RestComm and PowerMedia XMS. I encourage you to check out the all hack pitches on the TADHack Youtube channel and get involved. It’s fun, educational, and as we’ve seen, ANYONE can do it, not just hardcore developers.
*** Grand Prize Winner *** Sebastian Schumann - “Contact Sentry” – an inbound call filter that would automatically allow contacts from address book through but would grey-list those not. Integrated with Slack that would prompt the called party to approve the grey-listed caller or block and blacklist them.
Roderick Hodgson and Alex Francois - “Distillate” – gave users the ability to record a WebRTC based conversation that would then be streamed to Watson for Text-to-Speech and Alchemy keyword analysis. The keyword summary would be sent to the users after the call via SMS.
Stephen Sale – “My First Hack” - an automated pre-interview information-gathering application that would then be summarized and sent to the interviewee via SMS before then connecting the interviewer to the interviewee
SPAN Services - “Mayday” – replica of the popular Amazon Mayday that would allow businesses/e-commerce websites to have a click-to-call type button that would connect customers to agents. Featured video calls, file sharing and co-browsing.
Dalton – “Jerry” – an inbound calling service that gives users the ability to reach their favorite applications without using data for example directions, news updates or even funny sound clips.