February 9, 2022
24i Hackathon 2022: Two amazing days of teamwork and video innovation
In the early days of February, 24i’s brightest minds came together for our first global hackathon event since late in 2019. Head of Product Marketing and Strategy, Pim Verbij, helped organize the event. In this blog he looks at some of the amazing video innovations that arise when you give dozens of streaming fanatics free reign to think up the future.
The video streaming market never stands still and our team is bursting with ideas for ways to improve the user experience for both consumers and the Pay TV and OTT services that use our products to serve those consumers. But it can be hard to find time to innovate when you’re all busy working on customer projects. So there was a lot of excitement around the company at the chance to do our first Hackathon since the Covid pandemic hit.
It was really great to see so many of our colleagues taking part - we had 14 teams competing over two days on two continents and from five different offices. People collaborated across time zones, often with some team members video calling-in to join colleagues who had gathered face-to-face as Covid restrictions allowed. We were also really pleased to see how many of the teams pulled together people from different functional areas within the company.
Over 100 people from 24i joined the live online demonstration event where each team was able to present their idea to the rest of the company. The winners were chosen by a panel of judges from across the company plus the results of an audience vote after the demos.
Focus on video innovation to improve shared viewing experiences
There was no specific theme for this event, giving the teams total freedom to dream up any kind of project they liked. Not surprisingly, given the way media viewing has changed in the pandemic, a lot of the projects focused on ideas to improve the shared viewing experience.
One team looked at integrating real-time chat functionality into our white-label video streaming applications. Meanwhile the winning concept, created by a team based in our Copenhagen office, tried to solve the challenge of too much choice in streaming apps. They successfully planned, created and demonstrated a tool for choosing something to watch together. At the demo session 40 colleagues around the company used the tool and succesfully agreed on what to watch! We hope this feature will make into our platform soon, so stay tuned for more details.
Second place in the competition went to a team in Madrid who made innovative use of tiny Bluetooth beacons that can be attached to a consumer’s Smart TV. This project was more about remembering individual viewing preferences than a shared experience.
Boosting engagement in video streaming apps
Some of our teams focused on video innovations that could help our customers reach their business goals. One project looked at the “gamification” of streaming, giving consumers the chance to earn points for viewing certain videos or completing quizzes in the app. Another team worked on optimising in-app banner advertising. Two great ideas designed to boost engagement and find additional ways to monetize content.
There were also some cool proof-of-concepts created inside our Backstage app management interface, including the third-placed team who were based in our Brno office in the Czech Republic. I can’t tell you much about the work these teams did, because some of them were so impressive they’re already heading for our product roadmap. All I can say is watch out for exciting developments in Backstage soon!
Dreaming up the future of user experience testing
At 24i, we’re really proud of our test labs that help us to validate the quality of our user experience on hundreds of different devices. So it’s only fitting that a couple of our projects focused on improving the testing process. Here in Amsterdam a team used facial recognition technology and eye-tracking to automatically detect which implementation of a specific image or screen gained more attention than others when viewed by a team of testers. At the same time another colleague was working on a solo project with biometric data from an Apple Watch to track user sentiment.
Doing good in the world, while having a lot of fun
Over two fantastic days of hard work and innovation we all had a lot of fun and came up with some brilliant ideas. But we also did some good. The winning team walked away with a shiny trophy but the winnings were split between charities chosen by the top three teams.
24i donated 500 euros to The Danish Multiple Sclerosis Society and 250 euros to Aladina, a charity that helps children with serious illnesses in Spain. The final 100 euros went to APOPO, a non-profit that trains African giant pouched rats to save lives by detecting landmines and tuberculosis.
Well done to all the teams. We’ll be back with our next Hackathon in a few months time. This time, we’re considering a theme for the event - looking at ways to reduce the environmental impact of streaming.
If you'd like to join our team and be part of the next Hackathon to shape the future of streaming, why not check out our current vacancies in Madrid, Brno, Copenhagen and Amsterdam, as well as remote positions.