We’ve just returned from lovely Toronto and are still pumped about our weekend at #HackTO! The event itself was a huge success. 100 developers in attendance, 23 completed apps (a record for any HackDays event) and $7000 in awarded prizes. Amazing! We were extremely impressed with all the apps that were built on Saturday. Our fellow sponsors Twilio, FreshBooks, Shopify, TrendSpottr, SoundCloud, TinEye, and YellowAPI were great to work alongside with, and we were super impressed with some of the integrations that were built with these awesome APIs! Of course, there can only be one winner, and we were thrilled that “LastResort”, a Twilio and Context.IO mashup, took the top prize! (And, it didn’t hurt that the amazing Leila Boujnane, the founder of HackDays, brought her sweet Zazie to be official #HackTO greeter:)
LastResort monitors your existing email stream (via Context.IO) for critical issues and calls the appropriate support people (via Twilio) to fix them as they arise. The team leveraged our webhooks to handle the email monitoring component of the app, and used a fictional server error to demonstrate the power of their hack. In real time, they were able to demo an email with the subject line “server down” coming into the inbox, and triggering a call to a tech support person. Cooler still, the app keeps calling a priority list of support people until someone answers/accepts the responsibility to fix the problem.
Ian Ha, Scott Hyndman and Victor Mota, who built the app, work together (although Victor’s internship recently ended) at a company called BluTrumpet, a monetization and distribution platform for mobile apps based in Toronto. As Ian Ha explains in his great post about the day’s events, “we all like and respect each other and know our strengths and weaknesses. We also have the added benefit of being candid and critical and there was plenty of healthy discussions throughout the day. We were constantly talking with each other, pair programming at times, pitching to help whenever. “Hey, what do you guys think of this? How does this look?” was a common phrase. We were constantly checking in on each other.”
The app itself won because of its utility, demonstrable functionality, and great presentation at the end of the day. It didn’t hurt that the LastResort team chose to use not one, but two of the sponsoring APIs, and married them in such a cool way! Here’s Leila and the winning team in their crowning moment. Scott’s enjoying a hard earned sip of ale:
We’re such big fans of Twilio, so seeing another Context.IO/Twilio mashup win a HackDays event was a pleasure (remember last summer’s HackVAN?) What other possibilities do you think exist for Context.IO and Twilio? What other kinds of calls and texts can you see triggered based on incoming email content? There’s also the option of displaying emails based on incoming calls, as last August’s HackVAN winner Ross showed us! What other ways can we mash up these deeply entrenched modes of communication? Let us know!
And stay tuned for more news about the upcoming and inevitably COMPLETELY awesome #HackMTL event in June that we will be playing a big part in helping to organize! How could we not? Montreal + June + HackDays = pretty much the best thing ever. Get psyched.