Hackathon 2020: More Inspiring Innovations from our Global “Hackateers”

Apr 02, 2020  News Randy Kershner

Photo of Selligent Marketing Cloud employees celebrating at the end of the 2020 Selligent Hackathon, an annual innovation competition held by the company

 
 

Our third annual Global Hackathon kicked off in early March, under the shadow of a threatening global coronavirus. Before mandatory containment, isolation and quarantines were the norm worldwide, our eight global teams were able to successfully unite, compete, innovate and collaborate, working on a 24-hour project of their own choosing.

A hackathon, for those who may be unfamiliar, is a marathon-like session where teams join together for 24 hours, working together on various projects to spark new ideas that might solve a particular problem, create, or improve products or processes. At the end of the 24 hours, each team presents or pitches its fleshed-out idea as a finished product.

At Selligent, this is right up our alley. We are committed to inspiring innovation among all our global teams – and we always welcome opportunities to allow our teams to research, learn, and experiment with ideas that might be outside their normal line of work. And of course, we fuel those ideas during the 24-hour hackathon with plenty of coffee, pizza, and energy drinks; not to mention encouragement from and interaction with peers from around the world. As Igor Kalders and the Hackateer committee reminded us, a hackathon is a “trip to programmer’s heaven”: providing an opportunity to code and have fun, while delivering real business value!

This year, the theme for our Selligent hackathon was is “re:live” –an abbreviated way of saying "real time” and “live." The jury, which included Selligent judges from leaders around the world, were encouraged to award extra credits to those team that leveraged a real-time experience, in any sense of the word. And of course, the ultimate mandate was to be creative and have fun!

And creative they were. The eight teams, including four from Belgium and two each from India and the United States, competed in three categories this year:

  • The Security Challenge, a side competition in which contestants solved as many security challenges as they could in 24 hours
  • The Viewers’ Choice, voted for by all Selligent employees
  • And the Professional Jury, the grand prize/overall winner
Selligent Hackthon 2020
Selligent Hackthon 2020

Teams and “hackers” worked and stayed in touch throughout the night on chat and video conference, finally reconvening the next day to present their pitches and share project demos. Some of the creative projects presented this year included:

  • A solution to the challenges marketers face with emails opened in “dark mode,” for a better viewer experience
  • An app called “Eater” that identifies groups of people wandering together as an “autocluster” in a specific location, actively searching for a place to eat, and then pushes a message to the whole group from a specific restaurant nearby that has tables available
  • Selligent Heartbeat: a mobile & web app to create audiences and actionable segments in real-time
  • “Put a gremlin in SMC”: focused on product robustness, allows users to choose a specific type of attack to unleash in each category (resource, state, network)

 

Selligent Hackthon 2020

And the winners are...

Before winners were announced, Alexei Kounine, VP Innovation and resident AI lead at Selligent, reminded us all how the level of innovation and creativity has continued to increase every year with our hackathons. Every team did an outstanding job. It was exciting to watch each demo and impressive to see what could be built in a mere 24 hours!

Finally, our VP of Engineering, Lars Wiesner, announced this year’s winners in each category. A select panel of judges picked one overall winner, while employees around the world also got to vote for a Viewer’s Choice.

  • Security Challenge: The Social XRay team (U.S.) developed a tool to measure brand and performance on social media, but actually scored a homerun with the Security Challenge side competition. This is the first time a team outside of Hasselt got to win a trophy!
  • People’s Choice: AutoCluster Journey (BE), for a system that analyzes snapshots of GPS locations and creates clusters from this (see description of Eater app, above).
  • Professional Jury: Team Data Slayer (BE), for creating a platform game, fully immersed in the theme of marketing automation, that can be used for recreational or promotional purposes

Congrats to all of our winners and thanks to all of this year’s passionate teams and participants, as well as our professional jury.

Thanks to all for your contribution! And who knows? You might see some of these innovations integrated into Selligent Marketing Cloud in the future.

If you’re interested in this kind of challenge, maybe there’s a place for you at Selligent. Check out our careers page to see our openings around the globe

Selligent Hackthon 2020

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