RingCentral Announces Launch Hackathon Winners
What a weekend! RingCentral was a sponsor at the 2015 Launch Hackathon. The platform team spent Friday-Sunday in Fort Mason with a thousand creative, enthusiastic, and very tired hackers, helping them build projects on top of the RingCentral Connect Platform.
The results were inspiring. We worked with teams that built a virtual shopping app powered by Oculus & RingCentral. We saw demos of an app that texts parents when their teenagers are texting while driving. Another team built a service that helps shoppers buy stuff online simply by texting their requests to a phone number.
It was the kind of creative energy we wanted to see, and we hope some of these apps will turn into real-life business applications that we can showcase on our App Gallery and offer up to RingCentral’s 300,000+ customers.
Here are the winners from this weekend’s event:
3rd Prize: ‘pro.speckt’ ($500)
Pro.spekt is a back-end that allows bloggers, brands, and companies to build fan following based on phone numbers and SMS rather than email address. The idea is that SMS are more likely to be read than emails, and many users would prefer to receive important, personal updates on their latest blog or news site via SMS. By integrating RingCentral’s messaging APIs, the team built an opt-in setup where followers submit their phone numbers. The blog or content site can then leverage those numbers for updates and marketing campaigns, including geo-targeted use cases. Congrats to team members Amanda Legge, Fernando Jorquera, Kevyn Arnott, and Megan Johnson.
2nd Prize: ‘Walk This Way’ ($1,000)
Walk This Way, the project from Mat Tyndall and Justin Zemlyansky, creatively merges Oculus Rift, Leap Motion, RingCentral, and APIs from retailers Best Buy and Macy’s to create a virtual reality shopping experience. A user can “walk” into a virtual Best Buy, examine a LCD TV up close from all angles, and then virtually “pick up” phone to call a store rep to ask questions. It was an inventive marriage of VR, e-commerce, and RingCentral to create a unique shopping experience that any retailer can take advantage of. We had a lot of fun “shopping” with the Oculus goggle and making a virtual motion to make calls!
1st Prize: ‘Respondu’ (DJI Insipre Drone or $3,000)
Ever read a review and felt the need to ask the reviewer more questions in real-time? Our grand prize winner built a service to do exactly that. The husband and wife team of Brian Johnson and Barb Tassa built an incentivized social review service that result in an interactive and deep engagement between shoppers and buyer reviews. From the Respondu interface, a shopper can reach out to the author of a particular review and have a chat session. While the chat interface is built into the reatiler’s Web interface, the reviwer can respond directly from any SMS-capable phone. The team also built an opt in and anonymity engine so the two sides never need to reveal each other’s identity or phone number. We thought this was a super useful addition to any shopping Web site or app. Great work Brian and Barb!
Honorable mention: ‘TextBuy’
A close 4th place, as determined by our panel of judges, was given an honorable mention. TextBuy, from the brothers Alex and Harrison Chen, had the tag line of “Text and Buy Anything Instantly”, which pretty much captures the use case. Want to buy 5 bananas but too lazy to go to the store or even open an app? Just text the phone number RingCentral provisioned and TextBuy will interpret your ask and send orders to the correct online retailer. This cool service was also one of the 15 finalists at the Launch Hackathon.
Check out our highlights video to see the best moments from this year’s hackathon event.
We’re not done! Our own Kira Makagon will be on-stage at the Launch Festival on Wednesday, March 4th, right after Marc Benioff’s keynote. She’ll show off some of the work from the Launch Hackathon, as well as talk about why developers, integrators, and businesses should try out the new RingCentral Connect Platform.