Some travel companies will spend months and acres of resources developing applications and web services for customers and clients - developers at the Tnooz THack did it ten days.
The event, produced in conjunction with Expedia UK
, saw developers from across the industry take part, using a number of normally closed APIs as well as others freely available on the web.
Winning the gold prize at the event in London this week was an entry from Kevin O'Sullivan of SITA Lab
, combining APIs made available exclusively for the event from flight search startup Everbread
, tours and activity reservation system TourCMS
and social planning service TripBod
, with the Android mobile voice recognition software, HTML5 code and Google Maps.
The hack worked by allowing a user to search for flights on a mobile simply by speaking into the handset. Similar searches for what's on offer in the local area can also be carried out, as well as finding a local "tripbod".
Details of the flights, activities and the tripbod service are all streamed back to the mobile.
The judges of THack London (Alex Gisbert of Expedia, Timothy O'Neil-Dunne of T2Impact and Sally Broom of Tripbod) had this to say about O'Sullivan's effort:
"The intro of voice as a way of searching travel was highly original and the presentation of the various options for use led the judges to believe this was also commercially very viable. The ability to match voice with a multiple data sources scored highly with the judging panel."
Here is a clip of O'Sullivan demonstrating some of the features (the video was shown as part of his presentation to the judges and audience at Travel Technology Europe this week):
The judges awarded the silver place to James Addison of Skyscanner for his hack, Advent. The service is a ad serving system using Expedia and Everbread's APIs for flight comparison within advertising units.
Addison explains the hack here in this clip.
"An innovative approach to a large untapped market with huge potential. The judges liked the simplicity yet effectiveness of the concept and it ease of implementation makes the concept very scalable."
Bronze went to James Dunford Wood and Alastair James of Worldreviewer for their project known as Spin. The hack combined flight search from Expedia and tour operators Thomas Cook, Thomson and First Choice with content from TourCMS, TripBod and Flickr.
Gisbert, O'Neil-Dunne and Broom were impressed with the final result:
"A fantastic iteration of something that has been done by others such as Kayak and Opodo, but with much less resource. The judges, however, valued the creative use of multiple APIs and outstanding UI."
The other participants at the event were:
- Paul Slugocki (TourCMS)
- Edd McArdle and Riaan van Schoor (Inside Group)
- Stuart Grant (GeoMe)
The judges were enormously impressed with the level of effort, creativity and imagination that went into every single one of the products created for THack.
Slugocki created a fantastic modular ad system for TripBod services to run on other websites; McArdle and van Schoor took flight search to a wonderfully creative new level with bouncing balls; Grant combined an astonishing numbers of APIs for a n extremely slick events and content search service.
Here is the full presentation from this week, including the other hacks.