Bringing together innovators from around the company, BT’s annual hackathon challenges participants to create and present a development project in just 24 hours. This exciting, collaborative event invites people from all departments to form teams and devise a solution that overcomes a challenge or improves a work process. Participants share creative ideas, network with their peers and enjoy a fast-paced learning experience. “The hackathon isn’t just for developers, but a way to get everyone involved in trying out new ideas and technology to see how it can improve our organization,” says Beth, a DevOps team member. “The event allows each of us to work with new people and try something many of us do not have the time or opportunity to check out.”
This year’s competitors
In the spirit of healthy competition, participants are pushed to think outside the box and generate an imaginative proof of concept. “Our annual hackathon allows teams to take a future-forward viewpoint and reach out into emerging technologies,” says Doug Wilson, Managing Partner at Breakthrough Technologies. “Programmers and developers are able to collaborate with members of our sales team and share in a creative process that is fun, innovative and quite magical. Our staff members are drawn to this annual event, and it reminds us why we do what we do every day.”
This year’s hackathon had five teams, with participants meeting in person and via Zoom to create their presentations. The groups used a variety of technologies, including Drupal 9, Loco, React, Rekognition, Tauri, Svelte and Tailwind CSS.
An automated way to view and complete peer review forms that are given every 6 months to employees for self-review and to teams to review colleagues.
Rekognition software by way of Amazon Web Services (AWS)
An image gallery website that allows you to filter or search for a person in the BT archive using AI and recognition software
Tari, Svelte, and Tailwind CSS
A cross-platform dual-pane file browser for Desktop.
Smart shopping list that pre-populates commonly purchased items and suggests items based on your shopping habits.
S.E.A.R. (Sales Easy Access Rolodex): A searchable, cross-referenced database for clients, vendors and competitors that includes reminders for outreach and engagement.
The winning team
Once the 24 hours were up, teams presented their ideas to the larger group, where each hackathon participant could submit their vote. Judging was based upon the technology, application and presentation. This year’s win went to the Devless team and their Sales Easy Access Rolodex (S.E.A.R). Creating a one-stop database of all clients and customers, this searchable catalog includes contact information, projects, contact person, logos for social media and the vendors used.
The team selected Loco Maker, a low-code platform built by Breakthrough Technologies in March of 2018, that allows users to build and deploy an app quickly using the Loco library or by creating a custom app. Users can build a template for the data they wish to collect and store and can modify the deck with custom properties to capture and store different data types. “Loco was a really easy tool to use and allowed us non-developer folks to build something impressive enough to win the competition!” says a Devless team member. “It’s a real tribute to BT that a group of non-developers could utilize a home-grown tool and build a functioning integrated database within a day.”
“I was blown away by the talent of everyone who participated in this year’s hackathon,” adds LaRaie Zimm, Social Media Manager at Breakthrough and member of the Devless team. “It was such a great team-building exercise, and we had a chance to create something from scratch that served our team and the company as a whole. Going forward, we will actually use what we've made and will continue to build the database and integrate it with BT apps and datasets.”
We are looking forward to next year’s Hackathon! Managing Partner and CTO Gus Koumarelas said, “Every year, I'm amazed by the creativity of our hackathon participants and how much they are able to build in such a short period of time. Besides being a fun event, the ideas that originate in our hackathons often find their way into BT's products and services that benefit our clients.”