Jessica Thomas of Purple

This blog is contributed by Jessica Thomas. Jess is a Senior Marketing Executive at WiFi analytics company, Purple. She is responsible for both SEO and PPC as well as driving the businesses content plan. 

Last quarter, Purple teamed up with Cisco to host an internal hackathon. The goal of the hackathon was to utilize Meraki API’s to produce new features, analytics and other enhancements to the Purple platform.

Purple’s Developers, also known as ‘hackathoneers’, were pre-divided into three teams of six – Team Orchid, Team Royal and Team Eggplant. Each team went a full 24 hours with just pizza, red bull and code to keep them going.

Cisco played a huge part in the hackathon, donating six Meraki MR33 access points for the winning team and participating in the judging process. Prior to the hackathon, Cisco also sent two engineers from Amsterdam to the Purple office to provide general API training across the Meraki product landscape. This included;

  • Wireless health API’s to receive real-world data back from Meraki access points (signal quality, client load etc.)
  • Dashboard API’s which allow programmatic configuration of the Meraki devices (such as configuring a wireless SSID, enabling captive portal, splash screens etc.)

“The hackathon was a huge success”, said Gavin Wheeldon, Purple CEO. “The partnership with Cisco and DevNet helps bring our developers up to speed quickly on the latest API developments.”

Matt Johnson, Technical Leader at Cisco, commented: “I’ve been part of many hackathons and this is by far the best output I’ve seen. The solutions created by each team were first rate, and clearly focused on solving real pain points or adding value to customers.”

Johnson, continued “The existing automation of the Purple platform enabled the teams to very quickly produce an environment that they could start hacking on. Coming from a DEVOPS/ infrastructure automation background, you often see people spending a considerable amount of time getting to the point where they have an environment to ‘hack’, rather than spending time developing.”

Meraki Purple hackathonCisco DevNet’s Matt Johnson (third from right) joins the Purple “Hackathoneers” to work with Meraki API’s to produce new features for the Purple platform.

The winning team was Eggplant who worked on a provisioning and IT management platform. The main focus was to create a two-way provisioning integration between Meraki and Purple. This consisted of a setup wizard in the Purple Portal where a Meraki administrator could enter their API key and select which networks/ access points to import to Purple.

Team Royal also worked on an integration between Meraki and Purple. Their aim was to utilize data present within the Meraki API and create informative and useful reports for clients based on this data.

Taking a completely different route, Team Orchid focused on sentiment analysis, using facial recognition, machine learning and language processing.

Gavin Wheeldon, Purple CEO, said “I’d like to thank Cisco and all of the participants in the hackathon. It’s a tough gig staying up all night and trying to get a project in some semblance of completeness. Safe to say they all did it and of all the hackathons we’ve done over the years, this was by far the most polished. All of the developments will make it into our platform over time.”

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Matt Johnson

Cisco DevNet Developer Evangelist

DevNet - Developer Experience