I like to think that I am pretty passionate about technology. And I like to work with others who share my passion. So when I hear about a group of 150 engineers working 24-hours straight in a race to make our products better…that gets my attention.
On April 26 & 27, our Infinite Video Platform (IVP) teams across the globe joined in our first Infinite Video Platforms Labs Hackathon. But this Hackathon was different than most – we invited our customers to take part, not just as judges, but as collaborators, critics, and colleagues.
The hackathon was not a stunt. It is about transforming our relationship with customers, building trust, and changing the way we do business. As we have migrated from an appliance waterfall organization to a cloud dev/ops continuous integration, continuous deployment organization, it is more important than ever that we engage our customers as much as possible in co-innovation.
So when we offered our customers a chance to step behind the scenes with us, meet with each other to discuss their needs, and tell us how they think IVP could evolve to better meet their needs… they jumped at the chance.
Idea: IVP Labs
The idea for this hackathon began in January of this year, at the Consumer Electronics Show, where we first unveiled Cisco’s IVP Labs. More than just a test kitchen for our products, the IVP Labs are designed to enable all of our Infinite Video Customers worldwide to participate in the innovation process and help us redefine the future of the consumer video experience.
Which, of course, leads us to the very first IVP Labs Hackathon. We were honored to have representatives from three of our valued customers who brought specific challenges to the 144 participating engineers.
Over 24 hours and four locations around the world, our engineering teams…who tend to be competitive…hacked at IVP in a race to find the best outcomes for our customers. In the end, each customer selected a winning feature that best met their solutions.
With 22 new features prototyped, our customer quickly realized that selecting one feature over another was a challenging task… They eventually managed to select winning hacks that focused on Content Discovery and Music Content, allowing subscribers to get recommendations from friends, searching based on the consumer’s mood, and identifying soundtracks from movies or series.
Most of those 22 features reflected what really is a challenge for our Service Provider customers: how to improve content discovery in video services that typically offer thousands of content assets.
IVP Labs Hackathon 2.0
Our next step is to move the winning ideas into the development pipeline, where they will be tested in our IVP labs in partnership with our customers. Features will then be prioritized based on user data and feedback and folded into the IVP roadmap process.
We are already planning our next hackathon for later this summer, complete with another team of great customers, and 24 hours without sleep for a good cause: Making IVP the best video platform in the industry.