In this blog post I would like to share with you our first adventure in the domain of hackathon.
This april our team decided to participate in the first Austrian tourism hackathon in Seefeld. Maybe you already guessed right that the name of the end result of this hackathon - an app called 'Seebi' - is derived from Seefeld and something else to that we are coming a little later.
First comes First
For those of you who do not know what a hackathon is I will try to make a short explanation. Like you guessed right the word hackathon comes from hacking and marathon. That is already everything you need to know about hackathons. It is an event that involves hacking/coding for a specified amount of time, usually at least or more than 24 hours.
In that time period you should come up with an idea and try to implement it. Usually there is also a given topic around that the ideas should focus. In this specific case, we were tasked with handling tourism data for the region of Seefeld and making it accessible for everyone.
Next comes text
So let's get started! We came there totally unprepared and the first 30min were a hard fought battle over the best idea. But after some time we settled on creating a chatbot that we then called Seebi (Seefeld Bot Interface). As always, we were overwhelmed by the ideas that were flowing through us. We planned to make a server and a client that then communicates with the different bot interfaces (facebook, telegram, slack), but after some time we realised that with the api.ai interface we could achieve the same rather easily.
Our main work consisted of the integration into different bot interfaces and obviously to train the rather dumb neural network. So after a hard day and a hard night we could finally finish our project nearly an our before deadline. The pizza that we got on our finish line was well earned and one of the best we ever had!!
Our bot rocked (performed) well on the presentation and we were proud of this little toddler. At the end it was not enough but nevertheless we arrived at the fourth place and won some price money for our regularly company lunches ;)
If you would like to try this bot out for yourself to explore the great city of Seefeld you can find the source code here.