TADHack 2016 Review and 2017 Plans

Firstly, thank you to everyone who took part, organized, or promoted TADHack this year. You’re part of a global community discovering and promoting the latest ways to add communications to your applications, services or business.  TADHack is the only global meeting place for developers who want to learn, share, code and create using the tools and technologies available in telecommunications. In this weblog we review TADHack 2016 and share some of what we have planned in 2017.

Yes, I did use the T-word in the above paragraph. Telecoms is being democratized by open / closed source platforms and APIs. Telecoms and the web continue to merge and evolve, Telecoms can not be viewed in isolation to the web. DIY (Do It Yourself) in telecoms is on the rise thanks to this democratization. We’re seeing new channels for delivering many of these innovations within messaging platforms like LINE, WeChat; at the edge of networks and on devices other than smartphones (e.g. IoT). Telecoms and Telcos are different, as discussed in this weblog, and Telecoms is immensely powerful.

Its been a busy year for TADHack 2016, across all the hackathons we had 3000 registrations resulting in 208 impressive hacks being created around the world, with over $75k won in cash and prizes. You can see all the pitches on the TADHack YouTube Channel. When we use the term hack, we really mean prototype, many of these hacks are being taken commercial. Check out the 24 amazing hacks created for Carrefour over just one weekend at TADHack Global. In 2016 there were more hacks created than in the previous 2 years combined. You can review those previous 200 hacks in this weblog.

We kicked off 2016 with TADHack-mini Japan in February. We achieved several firsts at in Japan. For example, we had close to 100% turn out ratio for those registered to attend, and it was a Valentine’s weekend. This demonstrates the keen interest in telecom app development in Japan. It was also our first event in Japan, and our first TADHack where English was not the primary language, instead it was Japanese. The inventiveness of the hacks was inspiring. I’m hoping we can add Tokyo as a TADHack Global location in 2017. You can see the videos of all the hacks here and here. Thanks to Naoki Uchida of NTT Advanced Technologies and his team for making TADHack-mini Japan possible.

In April we had TADHack-mini London, just before the WebRTC Global Summit.  TADHack-mini London was larger that last year with 88 people through the door, with 18 hacks, with more diversity of people involved, and many more hacks winning that required little coding. This is an important trend; the tools and platforms continue to democratize telecoms so more and more people can use it their applications, services and businesses. We call the event a mini, simply to avoid confusion with the massive TADHack Global. But these hackathons are large, several of the sponsors were struggling to support all the hacks being created on their technology. You can see the videos of all the hacks, as well as the slides here and here. Thanks to Alastair Moore and Niall Roche of UCL for making IdeaLondon available.

I’d also like to give a shout out to the Founders and Coders WebRTC course students: Tasnim Sultanah, Mireia Sangalo Tomas, Ivan Gonzalez, Jack Tierney, Eleanor Re’em, Virginie Trubiano, Robert Francis, Katherine Bowler, Andrew MacMurray, Jack Murphy, Elias Malik, Francesco Moro, Sam Houston, Owen Turner-Major, Eoin McCarthy, and Ben Gesso. Which used WebRTC, Tropo, Telestax and Dialogic to create their hack Confidant, which addresses a real life requirement brought to them by a Charity and an NHS Trust who want to enhance youth mental health counseling services using a community of volunteers on related university courses. Working with local charities to create hacks that can help solve local problems is something we’re going to do more of in 2017.

In May we had TADHack-mini Uruguay, at the Universidad ORT Uruguay (Campus Centro) in the vibrant city of Montevideo. We are grateful for Universidad ORT Uruguay’s cooperation in making this event possible. As at every TADHack around the world the enthusiasm, creativity, and skills are world class. Because of the University rules we could only run during the week, a couple of developers took time from work for TADHack. Many of the hacks were locally relevant, solving problems specific to Latin America. You can see the videos of all the hacks, as well as the slides here.

We wrapped up the year in October with the massive TADHack Global, 2600 registrations, over 170 hacks. A big thank you to the Global Sponsors who made TADHack Global 2016 possible: Carrefour, Canonical / Ubuntu, Cisco Spark, hSenid Mobile, Matrix, Project reThink, Telestax, Tropo, and VoxImplant. And the many partners running locations around the world, thank you. All their hard work created the largest global hackathon over one weekend. At the TADHack YouTube channel you can see all the videos segmented by location winners,  global winners, and all the pitches from all the locations including remote. The event is summarized in this weblog. Thanks to Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu and Canonical, for the opening keynote in giving everyone involved the inspiration, but also cementing the knowledge that they are part of a global TADHack community.

Read the comments in the above weblogs and you can see the fun and value people got from being involved. At the end of this weblog is a Twitter widget so you can see the volume of activity around TADHack.

For 2017 we currently have 2 events confirmed:

  • TADHack-mini Orlando, will take place the weekend before Enterprise Connect 2017 in Orlando, on 25-26 March. Developers who hack at TADHack get 50% off the onsite price for the Enterprise Connect Orlando 2017 conference (use code ECHACK17 when registering). Winners from TADHack-mini Orlando can pitch at Enterprise Connect for even greater exposure! And remember we accept remote entries for the mini-hackathons as well.
  • TADHack Global, 22-24 Sept 2017, will be bigger, better, more diverse, with greater focus on local social impact and commercialization of the hacks.

Other TADHack events are in the pipeline, and its not just hackathons. A request by several people involved in TADHack is to provide more help for newbies, we’re looking at providing hands-on training for the technologies through a roadshow across several cities around the world. As well as providing more online resources to help on the basics. So watch this space to discover all we have planned, its going to be fun!