Last week, the UX Innovation Labs team was in beautiful (understatement) Sydney, Australia to run our first Integrated Cloud Partner Hackathon. The idea came up last Spring when Jake Kuramoto (@TheAppsLab) and I were musing over how to expose customers and partners to the power of PaaS for SaaS integrating multiple Oracle Cloud Services. Because of who we are and what we do, our natural reaction was, of course....hold a hackathon! Enter @MishaVaughan who had just run a very successful UX Expo and Partner training tour to share her wisdom and make some introductions, and we were off to the races.
The iconic Sydney Opera House
Our goal for the event was to help enable Partners to confidently be able to integrate multiple Oracle Cloud Services. To do so, we wanted a large selection of them and a little time to let the Partners tinker on their own before the event. Our Paas for SaaS arsenal included no less than 14 Oracle Cloud Services: Database and APEX, Mobile and MUX, IoT, Business Intelligence, Data Visualization, Process, Document, Sites, Integrated, Application Builder, SOA and SaaS HCM and Sales.
We had huge support from John Pisani and Kylie Krinas to recruit rockstar Partners: SDS, Accenture, UXC Red Rock, Ekulus, Limepoint, NTT and Rubicon Red. It was great fun working with so many talented people.
The technical challenge consisted of integrating at least three
Oracle Cloud Services. But, our real goal was helping Partners learn
how to integrate Oracle Cloud Services, so we decided to make it fun.
We provided a selection of devices teams could use use (e.g.; Raspberry
Pi’s, sensors, beacons, drones, Anki cars, ESP chips, robotic arms, Spheros,
etc.), or told teams they were welcome to bring their own.
Our fearless leader, Jeremy Ashley kicking off the hackathon
To ensure maximum learning and success, we provided Oracle experts in the various Cloud Services to help teams overcome obstacles quickly. Our mentors came from within development and the ANZ Sales Consulting org (including the creators of the now famous Cloud-enabled Anki car demo). We did a quick kickoff, and let the teams get to work to maximize the time they had to come up with their solution. Nothing like having 28 hours to focus your efforts, is there?
The teams wasted no time in brainstorming their ideas. We assigned mentors to be part of the teams based on the initial elevator pitch and scope the Partners told us. Additionally, we had a few floating mentors with expertise for services almost all teams used (Mobile, Integrated CS, and IoT). The place where we hosted the hackathon was abuzz, whether from spirited discussion, or flying drones and beeping sensors. Many teams worked late into the night.
Chris Muir and Mark Vilrokx doing some mentoring magic
Mentors Raymond Xie and Jason Lowe doing some late night troubleshooting
For inspiration, and/or when the teams needed a break, we had a few Cloud-enabled demos set up that participants could try out on their own, including an 88 track Anki Car demo mentors Stuart Coggins and John Graves built (is that a world record?), and Raymond Xie and Ed Jones' demo using a toy guitar to control both a virtual and real world game.
Mindi Cummins and Raymond taking a break with the SDS crew
On Day 2, we had a brief morning regroup, then let the teams get back to work for the last sprint before code freeze at 2 pm. After teams checked in their code to Developer Cloud Service, they had an hour to practice their pitches before pitching in 3 minutes to our esteemed panel of judges.
We judged on several factors:
All the entries exceeded the 3 services goal by a long shot, with one team hitting 9 services. Winning team NTT's entry "How Green is your Cactus" used data from multiple IoT-enabled devices (e.g.; Fitbit, scales, blood pressure tracking, etc.) and integrated with DB, APEX, IoT, Data Visualization CS, BI and Application Container Cloud Service for a fun demo that provided a holistic view of your health. Other entries included incident response, an app to improve the conference experience for participants, a kudos app, and other health-related apps, taking advantage of the multitude of internet-enabled trackers on the market today.
The Australian Integrated Cloud Hackers!
The event was a ton of fun, and a huge learning experience for all involved, including our mentors. We all did a few projects on our own in advance of the hackathon to be confident in our abilities to troubleshoot, if necessary. It was great to be able to meet and learn from experts in the different services.
To put on a hackathon like this with so many moving parts and organization across continents, it took a huge cast of dedicated individuals to make it happen.
Thanks to our judges: Paul Schlawe, Marc Caltabiano, Patrick Elliott, Jake Kuramoto and Jeremy Ashley, who sponsored the event and had the difficult task of determining the winning teams.
Thanks to our Mentors, who put in many, many hours in advance of the hackathon to make sure it was a positive learning experience for our Partners. After a few months of cross-Pacific phone calls, I feel like I know them well. I'm in awe of their knowledge. Plus, it's true what they say about Australians being a lot of fun! Thanks to Stuart Coggins, John Graves, Jason Lowe, Darryn Hinett, Vicky Falconer, Ashley Cheuk, Carlos Itturia, Alex Blyth, Vijay Yenne, David Reid, Chris Muir, Ed Jones, and Mark Vilrokx, Noel Portugal and Raymond Xie who joined us from the UX AppsLab team.
Real thanks goes to John Pisani, who organized the entire event in Australia, making it all look so easy.
Mille Grazie to John Pisani for making this happen in Sydney and Jeremy Ashley for Cloud Apps UX sponsorship
Last thanks: the event wouldn't have happened at all if we hadn't had tremendous support from Global Demo Services, who gave us all environment access, was on call 24/7, responded immediately to any questions or issues, and generally did everything in their power to make this event a success.
All in all, it was an amazing way to end the year. After 16 Innovation Events this year, we're ready to take a little time and do some reflection and planning as we get ready for 2017. I know we all hope that it includes another trip to Oz.
More info on the Integrated Cloud Hackathon: