Making Hackathons in Kraków – where bots, beacons and face recognition meet

At Making Waves, we believe that cutting edge technologies can help our customers to improve their users’ experiences. To boost innovative solutions, we organize hackathons regularly.

Krakow is a hub of talented and open-minded developers, and this is why it has been shortlisted by Forbes as a European Startup Hotspot. Nevertheless, it can be a challenge to keep up to date with the latest technologies and how to implement them in the most effective way to support specific business processes. One way to achieve this is by organizing regular hackathons. In a hackathon we are not just exposed to new technologies, we also gain ideas and find hacks to offer our clients. This supports their digitization needs which leads to business success.

All of our hackathons share one main goal – to deliver a working prototype. We tend to focus on hot IT themes like cognitive services, bot messages or beacons micro-location based information.

These technologies enable us to:

  • personalize information based on mood and location
  • welcome and guide guests into business settings
  • automate communication and selling processes
  • enable easier multilingual communication
  • personalize settings for individuals based on their preferences

In a nutshell, these various automations generate extra benefits for businesses by making sure that their customers and guests receive the information they need and the service they require. A smooth, personalized user experience can translate into a bigger revenue for the companies.

Below you will find more details on applications that were created during our last hackathon. All of them are successfully working prototypes.

Making Waves is beacons ready

Beacons are great for providing additional information in a micro location context.

 

MOBILE GUIDE

A mobile application that displays relevant content, based on the current location of a device.

This application uses beacons to indicate the current device location. A beacon is a small Bluetooth radio transmitter, which repeatedly transmits a single signal to the other devices. Besides location services, beacons can also contain other sensors such as motion, temperature, light and pressure sensors, to name just a few.

A set of 6 beacons is used to create a map of the exhibition area. Based on the signal strength, the application finds the device location and highlights it on the map. Each of the additional 11 beacons is connected to a single stand. When approaching the stand, the application automatically presents the relevant content, which might be related to the presented project or an interesting location in the exhibition area.

The application was implemented in Xamarin, which is a Microsoft cross-platform development software. It allows for creation with native Android, iOS, and Windows apps, using a shared code base.

Highlights:

  • A mobile app that displays relevant content based on the current device location
  • 17 transmitters responsible for mapping the exhibition area and project stands
  • Whenever a mobile phone appears within the transmitter range, the application reacts accordingly
  • Technologies: Beacons, Xamarin

 

MEETING POINT

A mobile application recognizing people based on personal beacon.

The business context for this application are conferences and similar events. Assuming that all participants have their own beacon, it is possible to identify individuals and display personalised content or a greeting on a screen.

The implemented Android application monitors the area to check for transmitting signals. If a beacon appears nearby its owner,  the application presents a personal welcome message on a connected TV screen. The system supports displaying multiple messages, for everyone identified within the monitored area.

Highlights:

  • A mobile app that recognizes people based on their beacon
  • Each participant is provided with a Bluetooth transmitter for identification purposes
  • The app welcomes everyone who appears nearby
  • Technologies: Beacons, Java (Android)

 

Making Waves is cognitive services ready

Cognitive services is great set of tools that can help you building more intelligent and engaging applications.

 

FACE RECOGNITION

An application that uses a photo to recognize a person and displays personalized content.

The implemented application uses the camera to take a photo, and processes it to recognize the user. After a successful recognition, the system can display additional content like a quote of the day or details of the conference agenda.

The solution uses the Face API which is a part of the Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services. It is a cloud-based service that uses the artificial neural networks to provide algorithms to detect, identify and verify faces. Artificial neural networks are computing systems inspired by biological neural networks that try to simulate how the brain works. Such systems are trained on a provided set of examples to do certain tasks. They are particularly useful in areas that are difficult to express with traditional math-based computer algorithms.

The application was implemented in Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), which is a Microsoft graphical subsystem that renders user interfaces in Windows-based applications.

Highlights:

  • An app that displays personalized content based on face recognition of a photo
  • The app takes a photo and identifies the user
  • Quote of the day and the conference agenda are displayed for the recognized users
  • Technologies: Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services, Windows Presentation Foundation

DRINK RECOGNITION

A web page that displays the drinks that can be served, based on a picture of the beverage container.

The implemented web page allows users to take a photo of drinking vessels, for example coffee cups and beer glasses used at the specific conference venue. The system recognizes the vessel, and provides information about the beverages currently available.

The solution uses the Computer Vision API that is a part of the Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services. The API allows rich information extraction from images to categorize and process visual data. The API provides numerous methods for recognizing visual content, such as analyzing the image to retrieve connected data, recognizing hand or machine written text, and many more.

The web page is hosted in Microsoft Azure, which is a cloud computing service created by Microsoft. It allows  developers to build, test, deploy, and manage reliable and scalable applications and services.

Highlights:

  • A web page that displays the drinks that can be served, based on a picture of the container
  • The page allows users to take a photo of cups and glasses
  • When the item has been recognized, information about available drinks is displayed
  • Technologies: Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services, Azure Functions, HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript

 

Making Waves is bots ready

Bots are great for automating and improving communications.

LANGUAGE BOT

A slack bot that translates messages to English in a channel where people use different languages.

The implemented bot aids communication in a multilingual environment. The bot checks every message in the channel where it is installed. After defining the main language for the channel, any posts in other languages will be translated automatically.

The solution uses the Google Translate API and Microsoft Azure. Google Translate API allows users to recognize the language of a message and translate it. The bot currently runs on Slack, but it can be easily implemented by other chat providers.

Highlights:

  • A bot that translates messages in a channel
  • The bot sends a message back to the author, providing the message in the desired language
  •  Technologies: Microsoft Azure, Node.js, Google Translate API

 

 

Making Waves is all about knowledge sharing. All of the apps were presented to Client Directors from the NoA Family during our Client Directors Day, which took place in Krakow in the autumn of 2017.
We want to offer our customers the best mix of expertise and modern solutions, and will continue to organize hackathons regularly. Stay tuned!