I’ve always enjoyed my work in coding. Sure, some days it can be monotonous, frustrating, and terrible on my back and eyes, but more often than not I find myself elated to be able to intricately manipulate letters, numbers, symbols, and lines to form a beautiful new creation. Being able to see that same elation within the eyes of so many young and eager minds this past weekend, reminded me (once again) of what incredible opportunities we have to further technology and better our world.
University of California, Santa Barbara’s first annual beachside hackathon was held from January 30 to February 1 and hosted over 500 participants. The students came from all over California to both show and tell their own personal coding projects, as well as take a stab at some new ones. These giddy participants formed small groups to collaborate on fun new projects, some of which were even rewarded with cash or gadget prizes.
I had the awesome responsibility of judging several groups who’d use our exciting new Connected Mobile Experiences (CMX) 10.0 API. As many of you know, CMX 10.0 provides REST APIs for maps, location details and analytics information. The competition was tough, and each group brought ingenuity and infectious enthusiasm, but in the end we chose two top winners.
One of the winning teams had impressively developed a game called Virus. The objective of the game was that users methodically maneuvered in order to avoid other users who’d been “infected.” If the users failed to do so, they too would be plagued with the dreaded infection. The second winning team developed a game cleverly called, Where is Waldo, in which one player was designated to be Waldo, and other players scurried about to find him/her. The app would show the user if they were “hot or cold” based off their location in relation to Waldo. We absolutely treasure the students’ innovative ideas, and loved being a part of their discovery processes.
Cisco also hosted the wireless network service for the entire hackathon. A total of 26 Cisco access points were placed within the Main Tent and Corwin Pavilion Hall. Throughout the weekend, CMX 10.0 was running on our cloud server to track WiFi device activities occurring throughout the event. Just take a look at the WiFi activity heat map we captured. The top portion of the map is the Corwin Pavillion which, at its peak, held about 400 participants. The lower portion shows the Main Tent area which held about 200 people. We were thrilled with the data we were able to track and that we were able to see, yet again, CMX 10.0 in action.
The UCSB Hackathon was more than just a great opportunity for Cisco to show off our tools, it was an incredibly valuable opportunity for us to learn from tech’s rising generation. I look forward, with great anticipation, to what next year will bring!