How Hackathons Can Bring Us Helpful Apps

We see it everywhere nowadays. Hackathons are in. Companies, nonprofit groups, universities and governments are having them.

But, what is a hackathon?

Well, according to the Oxford English Dictionary hackathons, hack fests or code fests are events typically lasting several days, in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming. So basically, anyone can have a hackathon. You only need a space, access to the Internet and programmers. And by the end, one project is declared the winner.

Right now hackathons are held by governments, institutions, companies and organizations for a very diverse range of purposes. They are part of a movement that puts creative solutions to problems in the hands of “the crowd”. In my opinion, this is the most effective way to create unprecedented ideas and potentially impact faster the development of societies.

Student Hack

Sometimes to bring ideas to reality you have to define the needs and put together people for a concrete solution to emerge. In our case, we developed Student Hack.

Student Hack is an application entirely conceived in the context constrained by the framework provided by a hackathon a few years back. And what does this means?

Fusionworkers at the 2013 Puerto Rico Tech Summit's Hackathon.
Fusionworkers at the 2013 Puerto Rico Tech Summit’s Hackathon.

In our specific case we had to come up with solutions for various specific problems in Puerto Rico, and we had various technological tools that we could use. So the idea that emerged was an application that tackled the problem of absenteeism in schools.

Student Hack uses a real-time messaging system to send notifications to parents if a student skips a class. The app got the attention of the Department of Education of Puerto Rico and a pilot test was done in a school with the possibility of being adopted more widely.

This application is an example of a solution that lived past the hackathon, as most other apps just stay as concepts. But this is the whole purpose of hackathons: they give importance in the exploration of possibilities to different problems. And sometimes these ideas become the inspiration for further projects.

I encourage anyone to participate or take a look at hackathons that have been done in the past. There are groups dedicated to organizing hackathons as well as websites in which you can find projects that have been developed.

My experience participating in hackathons has been a positive one regardless of the solutions that come from it. We can learn from other’s projects, as well as look at things from different perspectives.

At Fusionworks we have developed different solutions such as SmartFlow and Price Point. SmartFlow is a custom business process automation solution and Price Point is an integrated tool to plan, execute and measure trade promotions ROI.

If you are interested in learning more about what we do, check out our site  

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This article was written by Angel Arroyo, Fusionworks’ Technical Consultant.

Fusionworks: experts in Microsoft GP, Microsoft CRM, Oracle Fusion Financials, Oracle EBS, Prophix, SAP Business Objects, Microsoft Power BI. 

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