Rakuten Technology Conference (RTC) is an annual event held in Tokyo in the last week of October. For this 12th edition of RTC, Rakuten RapidAPI organized a week-long hackathon for the first time. Over 130 participants registered for the hackathon, and 10 teams made it to final presentations with working prototypes.
Here’s what they had to say about the event:
“The RTC Hackathon event brought us together as a team. In a week we managed to discuss and agree on the concept, design and overall structure of the service. Mentorship provided during the event gave us valuable insights and helped us structure the flow more efficiently.”
– Team Village People
“It was great opportunity joining this hackathon. All the members in our team really involved in production. We could learn lots of things by attending several workshops. And through the hackathon, we could meet with many people. I think that was the best point of RTC hackathon.”
– Team Taizanians
We were impressed by the energy, passion and calibre of our participants, and how many of them used APIs to solve problems and innovate. Here are our top picks from the event.
Overall Winner: Team No Name
Team No Name won the overall prize for the hackathon as judged by a panel of judges. We were impressed by the holistic business and technology thinking that the team brought to their idea and prototype. In addition, we found them to be super coachable and the investment they made into honing their pitch early was a strategically smart decision that gave them the edge. Kudos to Miguell Malacad for executing the presentation superbly.
Application: Super Nannies
Super Nannies is a service that connects working parents with childcare services, to help working parents balance career advancement and caring for their children. Parents fill out their information and the service uses that info to find relevant, curated, and safe activities for their children to engage in. Powerful security-centric features (SMS, email verification) and AI features (face recognition, chat-bot that is fed by action recognition) ensure trust is maintained between all parties involved.
Aside from the use of AI to provide security for trusted authentication (SMS, Face-recognition, email), we use security camera feeds to create a description in text of the actions of the kids and nannies in real time, and we will use Natural Language Processing to make this information available to the parents via the chat-bot and in-app notifications. With this we want the parents to be informed of the kids and nanny status at their own availability but also we want to prevent dangerous situations for the kid and notify the parent as soon as possible if the something goes wrong so they can take actions accordingly.
- Front-End: React Native (https://facebook.github.io/react-native/)
- Back-End: Google Firebase (https://firebase.google.com)
- APIs used:
Best use of Data: Team Taizanians
Team Taizanians addressed a real-world problem that affects Rakuten and every other eCommerce service in the world. How can we help users make sense of a vast amounts of product review data in a simple digestible format? They also won a special prize by Microsoft. This team was formed almost entirely of new graduates with little programming experience which was another reason that made the win extra special.
Application: Rakuten Ichiba Product review system
This application visualizes product reviews on Rakuten Ichiba. We extract important key phrases from all reviews, and visualize them as one image on a word cloud. More popular words are displayed visually larger. This lets users easily capture product features and also captures product sentiment. This format offers a way to capture objective product ratings at scale.
Coolest Business Model: Team Village People
Team Village People stood out because it was built by a team that included working moms who experienced the painpoints that their users felt. This authenticity stood out in the opening statement of their pitch “it takes a village to raise a child”. The solution they came up with was elegant and effective: Uber for child care. Their application creates a community so that non-working moms earn an income by helping take care of the children of working mothers. The quality of their presentation and coding quality stood out as a testament to skills crafted at Tokyo Techies.
MomBop Application is a service not just to connect moms, but create a wholesome community, supporting and helping each other out. It offers three main functionalities:
- Match moms based on similar interests and characteristics: area, age, languages etc. Moms can make friends, chat and share their experiences with each other.
- Match kids based on similar interests and characteristics. If your son is interested in computers, you can find other moms in the area with same-age kid and same interest.
- Moms can help each other out and EARN MONEY. Create events: playdates, birthday parties and sleepovers and even babysit for each other from time to time. If needed moms can set and charge fees for that. Other moms can pay for parties (share expenses).
Eventually what this service is trying to accomplish is to bring village to big cities. It takes a village to raise a child. This app can help moms create it and benefit from it. Kids feel included. Moms feel the support. And some are earning money.
- Cross platform application implemented in React Native.
- Spring Boot application with REST API
- APIs used(that we have tested, used and we will use in the future):
Best use of APIs: Team Food Facts
Team Food Facts executed their idea well and impressed us by how they used APIs to quickly execute their application and build in the necessary data. This included Microsoft Computer Vision for OCR on food labels, Spoonacular API to reference product nutrition data by product SKU, and Nexmo SMS API for notifications.
Application: Food Facts
Are you eating right? Whether you are a health-conscious, fitness-freak or have some personal preferences over food or going through some medical conditions, you always need to check before you buy some food products. The Food Facts is a mobile app which helps you understand your food better. All you have to do is to scan a food label with ingredients for the app will tell you instantly whether it is right for you or not.
Before scanning the labels, you have to provide few details about your dislikes, food allergens and your medical conditions (if any). Also, the app can send a result summary to someone via SMS.
- Front-end: NativeScript with Angular
- Back-end: Node.js with Express
- APIs used
- Naveen Kumar [https://twitter.com/knaveen]
We were inspired by how everyone embraced using APIs to power their applications, whether or not they were on our platform. Here are some of the things that our users had to say about Rakuten RapidAPI during the event.
“It’s really fast to develop with the help of Rakuten RapidAPI due to the code examples already provided and the protection of the API keys, payment handling and statistics all in one place. That means that there is more time for innovating in our own ideas and focus on the creation of an app with a good impact, than worrying about complex configurations or ramp up time.”
– Team No Name
“Rakuten RapidAPI is developer friendly and easy to use once you setup your account. The integration of the API with our app was a piece of cake. In their marketplace, they have diverse range of APIs which covers almost every use cases.“
– Team Food Facts
We wanted to thank all the participants for being part of Rakuten RapidAPI’s very first hackathon at RTC. We look forward to seeing you all next year’s bigger and better event!