• Marketing Department

We ‘Personalised the Ordinary’ at this year’s Hackathon: See the ideas, winners & photos

With a more focussed theme than usual at this year’s Hackathon we thought the teams might struggle to come up with ideas, but we had no reason to worry! The theme was ‘Personalising the Ordinary’ and nine teams came up with a whole range of ideas tackling different ways to turn your average shopping experience into an extraordinary one.

One team built a way to generate personalised landing page content for each shopper, based on data such as frequently browsed & purchased brands, whilst another built a way for customers to find store locations which had all the items from their wishlist in stock.

There was even an in-store screen which was made shoppable using voice, to browse, search & purchase products…it could even speak back to the user to engage them in conversation!

Preparing for the hackathon, yoga & lunch.

It wasn’t only the ideas which were impressive this year, but their execution and the technology used to build the prototypes too. Some of the new tech which the teams tested out and put into practice included:

  • GraphQL to make different aspects of data available, as required by different frontends

  • A combination of AWS Transcribe, AWS Lex and AWS Polly to power customised chatbot functionality

  • AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) for Email which was used to deliver personalised & interactive emails containing a customer’s own wishlist items and even directly shoppable emails

A few teams also experimented more with Google Cloud services such as Cloud Functions, Cloud Build and Firebase Authentication. There was also a whole load of tried and tested tech used in our production apps and services including; Terraform, Docker, React, Angular, RFID, Swift, Node.js, Java, a multitude of AWS services and of course not forgetting our very own MESH platform itself!

The key technologies used by teams at this year’s Hackathon.

Machine Learning once again played a key part in this year’s Hackathon, encouraged by the Personalisation theme. In fact, the winning team of the coveted “Judges’ Choice” award built a service designed to easily collect data about how users browse and buy online. Making decisions based on this data available so that frontends could easily personalise their journey to each customer.

Another fun product was “Tinder for Trainers” which recommended trainers to a user based on the products they swiped right on.

Finally, there was the 2019 “Peoples’ Choice” award winner — ‘Team Kettlegeddon’! This team’s sole aim was to prevent the painful phenomenon where you buy something like a kettle on Amazon and end up forever plagued by banners and targeted marketing showing you more kettles to add to your collection! Well done to all involved on a really fantastic event!

If you like the sound of our two-day Hackathon, then get in touch and we’ll keep you updated about next year’s event! Each year the event is getting bigger and we love to get our clients, local students and of course our entire team involved.

At One iota our tech stack is constantly evolving, inspired by the new technology we try in our hackathons and other R&D work. If you’d like the opportunity to work with some of the tech mentioned above on a daily basis, we’re currently recruiting and have a number of roles available in our Manchester and Pembrokeshire offices, see our available roles on our Join the Team page.