It’s back and it’s bigger than ever before. In case you’re lost, TADHack is the largest telco application hackathon in the world. It graced Sri Lankan shores last year thanks to hSenid Mobile. This year TADHack Sri Lanka returned and it now arguably Sri Lanka’s biggest hackathon.
Last year, hSenid Mobile only held one satellite event in Sri Lanka. This year they held TWO satellite events which were held simultaneously both here in Colombo and in Jaffna. That’s just Sri Lanka! They also organized another one in Bangladesh. The stakes have risen.
So what did 19 teams in both Jaffna and Colombo produce after 2 days of hacking? Here’s the full list with all the details you’d want.
First up, we have Team Exaclibur. No their app won’t make you the rightful ruler of England, just your house. Dubbed SMART E, Team Excalibur’s app gives you the ability to control the power suply of your house.
All it takes is a simple USSD code or a single click on a web interface and BOOM! You can now cut the power to anything in your house. Like any smart home system, it requires a few smart switches installed in your house. However, SMART-E seems to use low cost hardware so it won’t cost an arm and a leg like other smart home systems. The team didn’t give an exact price but our wallets are interested.
Rapido Shopping by Team Intelligentz aims to help it’s users find products they want via USSD. Firstly businesses are required to register with the app. Afterwards, once a user enters a USSD code, it gets the user’s location and checks in 3km radius if any registered business has the product before gradually expanding the search radius.
eCarry by Team Paradox is pretty much Uber for couriers. You register as a courier on their website and get paid to deliver products to people. Once you’re registered as a courier, customers can track you with an Android application.
Now if you want to get something couriered, simply send a USSD code with a request. Once a courier delivers your package, you’ll get a confirmation message and be asked to submit some feedback via USSD. Did we just answer the question of where the next Uber is? Only time will tell.
Admalla by Team EGreen is a localised ad network. It uses the WebRTC API which will allow users to make calls with advertisers and send SMS’ within the browsers. Admalla supposedly also has a better way of searching for ads and allows you to save queries. It looks like Team EGreen is fighting a David vs Goliath battle without the slingshot.
Another smart home system, Sweet Home by Team Extrogene monitors and control the conditions of your house. Sweet Home works on both USSD and an Android app. Initially you’ll have to setup a control box which costs $150 and then you’ll have to pay for the wiring based on the size of your house.
Kitcheneour by Team Captiosus is a monitoring system for your kitchen. Yup it constantly monitors your pantry and lets you know if it’s under stocked. The team has built a Raspberry Pi device with a weight sensor which is used to do the monitoring. Once it’s been identified that your pantry is running low, the system sends a message to your phone. How much will it cost? $100.
Team T Simple
Daily workers like mason workers can’t find jobs. Customers have a tough time find daily workers. Enter Day Worker Finder by Team Simple. Day Worker has two sides to it.
The first is a USSD app which daily workers can use to register with the service and get jobs. The second is a website that helps you connect with these daily workers to fix the broken stuff around your house.
How much does it cost? Only Rs. 5 for each SMS you send. That’s it. It’s cheap but the judges weren’t convinced that the workers you find with the app are credible. What’s to stop them from robbing your house blind?
Team Tuk Tuk
These days it’s easier to get a TukTuk than it is to get a license for your vehicle. Just dial a number and one is racing towards you knocking over everything else. Now what if you don’t know the number? You’re stranded on the road signalling Tuk’s hoping one will stop with a meter. That’s during the day. If it’s during the night then boy are you screwed.
This is where Team Tuk Tuk’s app TukTuk (the app is one word) comes into play. With just a single tap you’ll get a list of nearby tuktuk drivers you can call. It won’t cost you a cent either because it’s the drivers who’ll be paying a monthly fee. Speaking of drivers, most of them won’t have smartphones. This is why the team built a USSD app with the help of hSenid Mobile API’s for the tuktuk drivers to connect them with the customers.
One of the biggest problems our world faces today is trash. We have tons of trash. A few tons of which is recyclable. Now if we recycled the products in these few tons, the burden on Mother Nature will be significantly less. However here in Sri Lanka we generally don’t know who does recycling.
This is where the green project by the Greeen Team (3 e’s) comes in. The 1st part of the project is an app that connects the general public with recycling collectors. Simply type the USSD code and you’ll get a list of recycling agents in your area. On the other side, there’s a web interface and smartphone app for collectors. Both the web and smartphone apps work together to tell the recycling agents what waste people have for recycling.The 2nd part of the project is a $45 waste bin that helps recycling by sending alerts to garbage collectors when it’s full.
According to the team’s research there is a gap in the market for recycling products. So in addition to saving the planet they have a way to make money off it. Tony Stark or Batman might want to meet this team for a few ideas.
Here’s a team with a project that you don’t see every day: a smart clothes line. Known as the Intelligent Clothes Line, it comes in 3 versions. The iRoof is for those of you who have little space and dry clothes indoors or on a balcony. The iClothesline is for those of who have space for a clothesline in the yard. Finally there is the iClothesRack which is aimed at industrial use.
Now what exactly makes these 3 clothes lines intelligent? Well it’s smart enough to tell you what the weather is like: is it raining or is it hot where you left your clothes to dry? You can use this data to help you make decisions with the USSD or web app that can be used to control the clothes line.
Yes, we have ANOTHER team with a smart home system. This one though seems to be slightly closer to the ones that we’ll put in the homes of the future. Team Strikers’ system not only allows you to control your appliances with an app, it’ll allow you to control them with your voice!
In theory, you can walk into your home and say, “lights on! TV on!” and voila your lights and TV are on. In practice however the team’s voice control didn’t have a 100% success rate during the demo.
Gossip is one of the hottest news topics today. This team has a USSD app that’ll aims to keep you updated with the latest and hottest gossip there is. Simply select your categories and you’ll get text messages with the latest gossip in that category in just 150 characters. All it’ll cost you is just a one-time subscription fee. Essentially it’s the Twitter USSD app, where you pay to get news in categories.
Finding an electrician or plumber in Sri Lanka is easier said than done. Google plumbers in any US city and you’ll get multiple results including locations on Google Maps. Sadly, it’s the exact opposite here in Sri Lanka.
This is where Team Eagle’s solution comes in. It helps you connect with the daily wage workers in your area when you need them. The workers themselves can sign up using a USSD app. Once they’ve registered with the service, you can find and get in touch with them on a web app.
It’s a simple solution for everyone. However just like Team T Simple, Team Eagle hadn’t explained exactly how they’d make sure these daily workers aren’t nightly criminals.
Schedules aren’t something we Sri Lankans are known to adhering to. Either we are 30 minutes late or it got changed. The former is next to impossible to fix, but the latter can. Enter InqurTime by Team JoomTriggers.
Primarily aimed at institutes, the InqurTime seeks to inform you of any changes that happen to your schedule. It works on USSD, SMS and on the Web. They also have a website, which is nothing more than a landing page at the moment.
Team Big Buddies
Here’s a team with an app that’s not made for you, unless you’re a sales rep looking for extra money. The team’s app is all about offers. Firstly a business has to register on a website and list any offers it’s having. Once that’s done, any sales rep can get the reference code for the offers via a USSD app. These codes can be given out by the sales reps that get a commission when a customer uses the reference code. The Uber for sales reps perhaps?
Tuktuk Lanka by Team Moz as the name suggests, is an Android app that aims to connect you with tuktuk drivers. No USSD here. You can sign in to the app (after paying a Rs. 30 sign up fee) with your phone number as a customer or a tuktuk driver. As a customer you can see a list of tuktuk drivers in your locale. As a driver you’ll see customers nearby, whom you can call for Rs. 5.
With the lack of a USSD app in Team Moz’s solution, we have to give the edge to Team TukTuk. Most TukTuk drivers have yet to switch over to smartphones.
Team Arrow’s solution, Home Buddy is a smart home system that focuses on security. With a variety of sensors, the system will constantly monitor your house for burglars, gas leaks, fires etc. If it detects any issues then you’ll instantly get an SMS informing you to call the police or the fire brigade.
What’s the best part? You turn it on and off with voice commands. All it costs is $70 and you don’t need an internet connection. It might not turn on the lights or TV automatically when you get home but at least it’ll make sure your lights and TV are safe.
Finding a parking spot in the middle of the city is a challenge to say the least. Team MPark aims to make this challenge a simple task. Simply give your area and the USSD app will give you a list of parking locations nearby. You can then reserve the spot that’s most convenient to you in the list. That’s all there is to it. A few taps to save you hours of driving around in circles.
Team Inglorious Masters
Life without the comforts of modern society such as Electricity or Internet access, is a bit uncomfortable to say the least. As we in Sri Lanka know, it never gets easier no matter how many times we get disconnected from these services – especially when customer service is non-existent. *cough* CEB and SLT *cough*
This is where Project Switch by Team Inglorious Masters comes in. It has a module which constantly monitors the infrastructure of a service for any breakdowns. If a breakdown occurs then the service providers instantly get location based reports of the breakdown instantly. Meanwhile customers can make queries via a USSD app on the status of the system.
It doesn’t fix the problem of faulty infrastructure but it’s a start at fixing the poor customer service of said infrastructure.
That’s the teams of TADHack Sri Lanka 2015
Following the presentations by the teams, we saw a team from Orange Electrical take the stage. They shared with us a cool demo of the Orange Box, an IOT control device developed in partnership with hSenid Mobile. The demo in question was how the Orange Box could be used to control a robotic arm via USSD.
Now it’s time for the big question: which team won?
Quite a few teams actually. TADHack Sri Lanka was very generous this year.
For starters, loft1024 will be giving away incubation spaces to the following teams:
- Big Buddies
Secondly we have the Lankan Angel Network giving the following teams a chance to pitch their ideas to the network and gain funding to start a company:
- Greeen team
- Inglorious Masters
Finally three of the nineteen teams were declared the official winners of TADHack Sri Lanka. The lucky teams are:
● The Greeen Team in 3rd place
● Team Paradox in 2nd place
● Team MPark being the winner at 1st place
With that 2 days of gruelling hacking came to an end, officially. Unofficially the battle continued as the teams saw their pitches being showcased at the global TADHack Event as well. End of the day, everyone’s a winner at TADHack. Literally, which is what makes it awesome.
With that we bid farewell, looking forward to TADHack 2016 which we expect will be even bigger and better.