For the last 3 years, we’ve held “Ship It Day”: a 24-hour hackathon where the goal is to successfully carry out an innovative project from start to finish. This event is an opportunity for our teams to showcase their talent and creativity through a range of projects that are (more or less) useful for our company and our customers.
This year was a special edition, as our French and international teams were all gathered together at our Bordeaux headquarters during our internal company summit. It made for a unique occasion to share ideas with colleagues from Paris, Munich, London, Hamburg, New York and Singapore. Our participants made the most of this cultural diversity and did not fail to surprise us with their vast imaginations! In total, 18 project teams took part in this challenge.
This 3rd edition came with its share of surprises… here’s a sneak peek:
Projects, innovation, fatigue (the good kind) and surprises…
Several projects made their mark during these two days. Participating teams worked hard – until the wee hours in some cases – to be ready to present their project to the whole company. Here’s the proof in pictures of the late-night tests of the impressive S.P.A.T. (“Smart Physical Alerting Tool”):
Luckily for our fearless participants, the refuelling team was on hand during these 24 hours to provide supplies for survival: fruit, hot dogs, pizza and, of course, all kinds of sweets… a cornucopia of fine gastronomic products, each healthier than the last, to feed the neurons of our creative teams! Some were even lucky enough to enjoy a personal breakfast delivery service:
In addition to being catered to by the refuelling team, our hackers also got to try out a surprise activity…
They could choose from different virtual experiences, from skydiving to a rollercoaster ride to bungee jumping. Perfect for stimulating our creativity!
While some preferred a relaxing moment paragliding over San Francisco, others opted for more adrenaline and thrills with a daredevil BMX ride. We witnessed some memorable reactions and a few major wipe-outs (all virtual, luckily). All in all, it was a great surprise and a fun moment that our Ship It teams thoroughly enjoyed.
After 24 hours, teams were ready to present their projects. The rules were simple: Each group had 10 minutes to present their project and convince the audience why it deserved to win.
Many projects focused on improving AT Internet’s products and services for customers – for example, the project “Let’s analyse our clients’ bot traffic” studied how we could launch a tool to analyse bot traffic using the Analytics Suite 2’s features to detect the volume of visits from good bots, bad bots, and real human visitors. This would represent a real qualitative improvement to the analytics data, which could be vital for our users when we consider that bots are responsible for more than half of all web traffic. Other internal and external challenges and opportunities were also tackled, and each team presented their project brilliantly before it was time for all AT colleagues to vote.
The top winner: Meet me, I’m famous
After a persuasive demo and the promise of a super-useful tool, the team behind the project “Meet me, I’m famous” took the grand prize for this 2018 edition.
Their idea involved the creation of a chatbot for Slack which would facilitate the planning of meetings. Connected to our calendar system and the company’s conference room reservation system, the bot identifies the common free windows of time in all meeting participants’ calendars, and also detects which conference rooms are available during these times. The bot then suggests meeting times and conference rooms that work for all participants – users simply choose which option they prefer, and the bot takes care of room reservations and meeting invitations.
This tool was awarded first place for its ingenuity and for the time-savings it represents for those who regularly organise meetings. Bravo to Charlotte, Matthieu, Florian and Julien!
Second place: “Customer experience: Let’s add nice, funny messages to our tools”
How can we improve the customer experience when there are issues with navigation in our interfaces, or longer loading times? Clément, Fabian, Gérald, Romain, Rémy and Ashley set out to answer this question.
Their idea was to display fun and humorous content during loading periods, and to personalise certain error messages which are often too stiff and formal. The team revisited existing interface messages and presented innovative and unique new concepts which were a hit with the jury. Bravo to them!
Third place: “IoT & Co.”
While this project wasn’t too GDPR-compatible, it was terribly funny and effective! Following the project to covertly collect data from colleagues’ smartphones during last year’s Ship It Day, Arnaud, Erwan, Sébastien, Thomas and Yacine set out this year to track objects we use on daily basis.
By hiding sensors in various spots around our offices, the team collected data – without our knowledge – about our movements and interactions with certain objects. They created a complex and innovative system for collecting this data and then linked it to a real-time interface for data collection and analysis. It was an analytics study that had everyone smiling!
Other projects definitely deserved a spot amongst the winning teams for their ingenuity and their quality. Even if we can’t cite them all in this article, here’s a quick look at the most creative ideas that emerged from this Ship It Day 2018:
“Encourage development best practices with SMIF”: Linked to our developers’ alert system, this automatic dart turret targets and shoots at developers who’ve made errors! Hats off to this team for this highly original mechanism made fully functional in less than 24 hours.
“3D printed visualisation of our data“:
This project saw the development of an innovative system for converting our data into 3D format. The idea would be to transcribe data into a unique object thanks to 3D printing. Over the 24 hours of Ship It Day, this team worked with a small 3D printer to build a real dataviz object, and the result was impressive!
… In summary, the 2018 Ship It Day brought us a wide diversity of projects and ideas which once again highlighted the talented minds of our teams.
Bravo to all participants and organisers of this year’s edition which was a major success. See you next year!