On July 21-22, we hosted a two-day hackathon called “Hack the Now and Next: Alexa Edition”.  The hackathon which was held at our Seattle offices focused on sharing Amazon Echo’s voice technology.

Alexa is the brain behind the voice service that powers Amazon Echo and its family of devices. Alexa has capabilities – known as skills – that provide customers with personalized experiences making everything simpler and allowing users to play music, order coffee or call an Uber, all with just the power of your voice. For example: “Alexa, what’s the weather like in Maui?”. There are now more than 15,000 skills!

The first day, we kicked off the hackathon by serving pizza and beer to an excited group of participants. It was a great opportunity to gather some insight from the hackathon attendees and get to know their ideas.

The following day was spent  by learning, creating and building solutions between people that had not  met prior to the event. Globant’s leaders and consultants showed up to support the hackers with both technical leadership, compelling ideas and bold encouragement.

To close the hackathon we showed demonstrations of each solution.There were many interesting ideas presented, including “Pop Chef” where you could hear recipes based on what you’ve seen on your favorite TV show, and “Now Tonight” where a user can ask Alexa for evening entertainment options around the city.  The best solution was “Ask SAM” (SAM is the nickname for the Seattle Art Museum). This solution is very compelling as it is  a guide for young  people touring the museum. An Echo Dot was placed at eye level for a young person and would answer simple questions about works of art, as well as engage in games based on the artwork. The winning team members each received an Amazon Echo as a reward for their efforts.

All in all, the event was a great success. “What makes Seattle a special place is not only the level of talent but their passion for new technology. It was great to see the excitement that an event like this generates”, said Jeff Rubingh, VP of Innovation.

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