PoliHack is the first hackathon organized by the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. A lot of us here at tapptitude have been students of this university, so we know there are a lot of talented, bright minds walking the halls of UTCN – *wink wink*.
Having been their partners for several other similar events, like Battlelab Robotica 2016 and ElectroTech XXIII, we knew we just had to be there again for this year’s PoliHack event – PoliHack v5.0 to be more precise.
What better place for us to share our knowledge than with future app developers? We packed our bags, packed the prizes, and joined the teams fighting the Mobile App battle. Here’s how it all turned out:
PoliHack: creativity hackathon
The people behind organizing PoliHack describe it as “the challenge where creativity knows no limits”. Students, organized in teams of up to four members, compete within one of the four categories: Embedded, Mobile App, Desktop/Web App, and Junior Programming. They compete with an idea they come up with and present to the jury in the 48 hours in which the hackathon takes place.
PoliHack started out two and a half years ago as an element of another event organized by OSUT – ElectroTech. The hackathon brings smart, hard-working students closer to companies interested in investing in real talent. We also wanted this to be an extracurricular activity that would promote team work alongside innovation.
– Victor Dinica, hackathon organizer
The code used by the teams had to be written in the 48-hour frame. The students could use whichever coding language would fit their mobile projects best. The written code mattered, but seeing that time was short, the jury was after the students’ ideas and entrepreneurial spirit.
The members of the jury noted:
- the viability of the solution proposed by the teams
- and how complex it is,
- how relevant the app idea was to the given theme,
- how efficient and creative the students went about fulfilling the task,
- as well as the look of the proposed UI of the app.
This hackathon is dedicated to every student out there who wishes to broaden their coding skills alongside like minded individuals, passionate about tech as well. Via this event, we wanted to encourage students to either learn something new, or improve their knowledge in a specific domain. The 2017 edition of PoliHack managed to successfully combine the technical, as well as the entrepreneurial side of developing a product. Our partners provided prizes that were definitely a great reason for our students to do their best in the competition.
– Victor Dinica, event organizer
Hackathon challenge: Smart Festival
Seeing that we are a mobile app development agency, we took it upon ourselves to mentor and help the teams competing in the Mobile App category. We decided to send in our Product Discovery squad: a delivery manager with coding skills, a product strategist with a taste for marketing, and a UX designer with a passion for everything mobile. They worked with the students as they would with any of our clients. They took the time to understand the idea and develop a business model around it.
The theme for the Mobile App category was Smart Festival. The teams did their best to come up with relevant and helpful solutions for the people attending a festival.
Never get lost with the PoliHack winning app
The team to win our hearts and first prize in the Mobile App category were the CyberPunks: Lucian Lutas, Nicolae Dudas, and Razvan Ciubanu. Here’s how they pitched the idea:
Did you ever get lost from your group at a festival? Or maybe you lost a friend and weren’t able to find them until the very end. Using this app you are able to create a closed group where you can stay in direct contact with any member of the group. The live map shows you their exact position, and you can also see all the events happening at certain interest points. The app features a schedule where you can see all the events and decide if you want to attend any of them. A reminder won’t let you forget to go there. Your friends will be able to see all of your activity through a group chat system – just like you’ll be able to keep up with their whereabouts.
– Lucian Lutas, CyberPunks team member
The CyberPunks had a great time at PoliHack, though it’s definitely not their first time attending this kind of event. Lucian, Nicolae and Razvan have pretty much made a habit out of attending similar tech events. No wonder they didn’t have a hard time coming up with an idea for the Smart Festival theme either. They had their app idea within the first 15 minutes after the theme for the Mobile App category was announced. They made a lot of iterations to the original idea along the way. “The changes weren’t big, but they made a difference”, says Lucian. They found the tapptitude mentors were a big help when it came to smoothing out the UX of the app.
When asked about the most difficult part about their entire hackathon project, Lucian tells us it was “coming up with a name”. Finally, they chose the name Festeam. The CyberPunks want a whitelabel app – one that the brands (the festivals) using it could customize to their liking.
And what are the future plans for the Festeam app?
“We’re working on a secured server for the chat feature of the app. We’re also seriously considering developing a gps tracker bracelet that would come with the app. This would be a great investment for the companies that organize hiking trips. Every person in the hiking group would have a bracelet, enabling the lead hiker to always keep track of where everyone is. This way, many uncomfortable, even dangerous situations could be avoided” says Lucian Lutas, CyberPunks team member.
More mobile app ideas from PoliHack
The second winning idea was an app that would be a legitimate marketplace for selling festival tickets. The app would provide a scam free environment for people selling and buying festival tickets. Every ticket uploaded in the app would be given a unique code. Once passed on to someone else, that code is no longer available for use. When a transaction is completed, the ticket is no longer up for the taking.
The third prize of the Mobile App category went to the idea of an app that would help the user keep track of all the money spent at a festival. The user would be able to upload their credit card on the app, making it possible for them to make purchases in a quick, easy manner – straight from the phone, no need to carry money around all the time. Everything sold at the festival would have a QR code attached to it. When making a purchase, the user simply scans the product’s QR code using the QR code scanning feature of the app. The purchase is being made straight from the phone, using the provided credit card, and the purchase is logged within the app, for the user to check up on any time.
The 48 hours we spent with the students participating at the 2017 PoliHack event went by fast. They were filled with great ideas, smart questions, and even smarter solutions. We are delighted that events of this kind take place in Cluj-Napoca, and are proud to have been a part of it. And we highly encourage students with a passion for tech to participate in events such as this one. You never know who might be watching. 🙂