Firstly, thank you to everyone who took part and supported TADHack Orlando online. I know many were busy because of the current situation helping customers, businesses, friends, neighbors and family manage the transition to WFH (Work From Home). Especially with everything that breaks now people are no longer in the office, “But it worked last week…” – well last week you were in the office.
Thank you to the sponsors for demonstrating your commitment to developers and programmable communications in not pulling out and providing excellent online support throughout. Namely IntelePeer, Sangoma (their technologies: Apidaze (VoIP Innovations) and Asterisk) and Simwood.
I’ve helped many companies over the past 2 decades engage developers. There’s a culture necessary throughout the organization to put developers first, and these sponsors demonstrated that.
The quality, originality and breadth of the hacks was impressive. Hacks included paying TeleDoom or TeleQuest; a range of interesting ways to help people and local businesses through the current crisis like Food Finder – Eat Local and Covid Advisor; hacks that should be in-market already like SMB Reschedule; and ubergeek ones like Node-Red Asterisk.
For 2020 we added a theme, a focus, for the hackathon on intelligent agents / assistants (also known as bots) using conversational interfaces. We were supported by the renowned expert Dan Miller, Opus Research. Who helped with the judging on Sunday, and supporting us in the run-up to the event. Many of the hacks included bots.
Here are the winners:
Jarvis Phone Assistant (Giancarlos Toro, German Gamboa, Mike Groff, Hunter Henry) – Apidaze $500
Interactive voice assistant to answer phone calls and screen spam callers. We used Intelepeer to manager the call process, then Apidaze and Simwood to send texts to the receiver of the call.
TeleQuest (Garrett Curtis, Conner Luzier, Jenn Gibson, Eric Good) – Apidaze $200 & Intelepeer $250
TeleQuest is a phone-based adventure game, perfect to keep your social distance while connecting with others. Uses Apidaze and Intelepeer.
Home School Helper (Mike Cairns) – Apidaze $300 & Intelepeer $250
Due to COVID-19 many parents are learning how hard of a job their teachers have. HomeSchool Helper is a voice and messaging application designed to create and maintain a calendar using chatbots and voice interfaces. It then interfaces with NodeRed for sending local notifications to Google Home for reminders to do assignments, take tests, or attend a lecture without the parents having to run around and coordinate. It allows older kids to receive text messages of assignments and all family assignments are written to a shared google calendar for ease of use for parents. Uses all the sponsors.
TeleDoom (Matt Williams) – Asterisk $250
TeleDoom allows you to play Doom in the manner of early-90s Saturday morning children’s TV – by phoning up and pressing numbers on your phone’s keypad. It uses Simwood to route numbers into Asterisk and to send SMSs, and it uses Asterisk ARI for the TUI and DTMF collection. Call +44 113 403 7093 to give it a try!
Node-Red Asterisk (Sam Machin) – Asterisk $250
The Hack itself is something I’ve been wanting to work on for a while, I’m doing quite a bit at work now with Low Code tools to enable non-developers to create stuff on our platforms, one of the more heavyweight tools I’ve been working with is NodeRED (https://nodered.org) which is an opensource product that started life inside IBM and now lives with the JS Foundation. Originally conceived for IoT its grown to be very good for any kind of real-time event driven applications, like programmable comms! So I’ve built a package for NodeRED to interface with Asterisk via ARI, at the moment it just has the basics to receive a call, playback media files and hangup, but now I’ve got the framework I should be able to add more functionality like DTMF, Bridging, Outbound dialing etc.
Eventually I’d like it to get to the stage where it could be a visual interface for setting up asterisk.
The main sponsor tech I used was Asterisk, its been a while since I did much with it and so there was a bit of a learning curve to get up to speed with all the changes, I’m using the node-ari-client library within my package to interface to asterisk.
I also setup a Simwood trunk to asterisk but I’ve not managed to utilize that yet as I didn’t get as far as building the outbound nodes yet.
Food Finder – Eat Local (Nick Kwiatkowski) – Asterisk $500 & Intelepeer $500
Food Finder is an application that helps restaurants and customers connect with each other during the Corona Virus. Right now, many local restaurants have shut down, and many others have pivoted to carryout and delivery only. The service allows consumers to call in to an “Alexa like” system, or view a webpage to search for restaurants that are currently open. Additionally, a back-end system calls restaurants on a regular basis to allow them to update their availability and services.
Sponsors Service’s Used:
Asterisk. Terminated a phone line to the Asterisk PBX and build connectors to Google Dialog Flow for AI based IVR responses for customers.
APIDaze. Built the website with WebRTC components to allow customers to call restaurants without having to use a traditional phone. Also registered a IP Telephone to APIDaze’s system to allow for fallback in case automated systems failed.
Intelepeer – Used the Atmosphere Smart Flow system to build an IVR to call restaurants to validate database. Smart Flow uses speech recognition so that people at the restaurants can answer simple questions with their voice.
SMB Reschedule (Chad Hart & Dave Horton) – Simwood $1000
Help SMB’s reschedule appointments with their customers using conversational AI. Businesses just need to use a Google calendar and sheet to input their information, and SMB Reschedule will auto-dial customers and a virtual agent will reschedule their appointments. This hack uses Simwood phone numbers, SIP trunks, and webhooks to plug into a Dialogflow bot via Drachtio – an open source SIP server and Dialogflow gateway.
You can see all the impressive pitches in the TADHack Orlando 2020 Pitches playlist.