X24.2018 – A D.I.E. HARD Story
After the success of its first hackathon three years ago, Extentia returned with X24 Season 4 in 2018! Held over 24-non-stop-hours on August 24-25, this year the focus was on Data, Intelligence, and Experience (D.I.E.). The theme – D.I.E. HARD – featured real problems from real partners resulting in real solutions. Extentia is home to six houses – Constant Variables, Infinite, Parikrama, Royal Brigade, Spartans, and Unicorn. They competed to create solutions that incorporated Big Data, necessarily included intelligence and focused on delivering compelling user experiences.
The event was designed, developed, and organized by a Core group at Extentia – senior Extentians and ably supported by a Crew – photographers, admin, videographers, writers, interviewers, moderators, and more. They ran the event with a live feed – photos, videos, hourly updates, and a busy comments section while maintaining a social media presence. The hackathon was also live-tweeted over 24 hours, along with updates on Facebook using the hashtag ‘#HackathonX24’ and ‘#X24DIEHARD’. The weeks leading up to the event were packed with action – ‘Face Off’ – a quiz and online scavenger challenge ran twice a week, a video challenge was held, the teams participated in a Legothon to depict D.I.E. with Lego parts, and finally created an X24 tune in Jingle 24. All winners secured benefits for their X24 teams.
Season 4 saw the entry of ‘Sergeants’, the return of expert coaching, a stressbuster room, and team substitutions. The X24 Sergeants – senior representatives from Extentia’s customers and partners were product owners who drafted the challenge statements. They provided special support to the teams and worked with them over the 24 hours to create a real solution that addressed a real business problem. A day before the event, the X24 Sergeants arrived at Extentia for the much-awaited ‘house reveal’ – each Sergeant was assigned to a house and participated as an X24 team member. Another new feature for this season was Code Cops – six internal Extentians appointed to review each team’s technical prowess and code quality.
On August 24, Extentians gathered for the launch of X24.2018. It featured young and enthusiastic teams made up of developers, visual and UX designers, and sales people. The participants had access to Extentia’s ‘Techquarium’ set of new-age technology hardware and platforms and every challenge statement came with a recommended device. These statements were shared with the teams a half-hour before kick-off. They had to use state-of-the-art technology and present their solutions to an evaluation and mentoring panel, along with a sales pitch. X24 Season 4 presented Extentians with an opportunity to display D.I.E. HARD innovation, technological skills, creative flair, passion, and concepts. The event kicked-off at 11:11 AM.
The challenge statements for this year were:
Constant Variables – Discover Your Zone
Create a platform that enables users to look for and pick retirement options while keeping several attributes in mind – cost of living, health care system, taxes, and more.
Infinite – Ship It
Businesses are required to ship items across the globe quickly – the high number of service providers makes it challenging to find the best deal. The goal was to create an application that is an aggregator and offers an easy and efficient way for consumers to compare the offerings of available courier service providers, upload package details, and schedule pick-up/delivery.
Parikrama – Farmer Connect
Availability of farm mechanization technology for small and medium landholding farmers provides them with products, services, and solutions to enable growth. The requirement was to create a platform that encourages farmer and user engagement.
Royal Brigade – Waste to Fuel
To encourage, develop, and run efficient waste-to-energy programs, this platform would have to facilitate the collection, managing, and distribution of waste to recyclers by helping with capacity management, route planning and motivating users to get involved.
Spartans – Quick Buy
When traveling abroad, forex is essential. However, buying it can be time-consuming and cumbersome. This application will offer users an easy and efficient option to buy online forex by letting them look up currency exchange rates, buy multiple currencies, hedge purchases, and more.
Unicorn – Raise It
There is a major need to get funding for start-ups by connecting them with interested investors. This solution provides a communication and collaboration platform between startups and investors – including making recommendations, tracking preferences, and providing insights.
The challenges were linked to Extentia’s customers and partners who were actively and enthusiastically involved. All the details are on the X24 web site. As soon as the hackathon began, the teams rushed to strategize with their Sergeants and decide how to best implement the D.I.E. solution. They utilized their time with the special coaches and advisors wisely – updating their solutions and tweaking for efficiency. During the evening, the X24 teams welcomed Extentia guests and the Gurus as they walked the floor and glimpsed the applications in progress.
The X24.2018 Gurus – Vandana Saxena Poria and Harshad Joshi along with special coaches Pradip and Don met on August 25, to evaluate, vote, and pick the winners based on several assigned evaluation criteria. These included a working solution, coding best practices, presentation, and demonstration. Each Guru brought a different perspective to the judging – some were technology focused, while the others had a business or customer perspective. Admittedly, the decision was a tough one for our Gurus – after much deliberation they declared the results as follows:
1st place – A tie between the Royal Brigade and Parikrama
2nd place – The Constant Variables
At the awards ceremony, the Gurus spoke of how X24.2018 was the definitive client-focused hackathon – this ensured that teams were more focused, committed, and learned a lot from their peers and the experience. According to them, the final step would be to take the developed applications to fruition and complete the X24 circle.
Once again, X24 attracted several sponsors who offered generous prizes and support for the teams and was covered by these publications: Times of India 1 | Times of India 2 | Hindustan Times | Prabhat (Marathi) | Indian Express
Look up www.x24.extentia.com to learn more about X24.2018 and past events.