By Alexander Kharlamov, Director of Engineering
Earlier in 2018, we hosted our third Mark43 Hackathon. Similar to how we ran it last year, the hackathon coincided with our Roll Call Week, when the entire company gathered in our New York office for a week of company-wide team building activities. Just like our previous two hackathons, this one was a rousing success and produced projects that will be built and deployed for our customers (so far we have 17 hackathon projects deployed). Mass quantities of food and beverages were consumed, some incredibly cool projects came to life, and a good time was had by all.
Since this was our third hackathon, we already knew what works and what doesn’t, and only made small improvements to the process. In advance of the Hackathon, projects ideas were presented. From there each participant chose the projects they wanted to work on, forming teams that included engineers, designers, product managers, and QA analysts.
Once the teams were finalized, the hacking began in earnest. Participants raced the clock to develop and build products that were worthy of the top prizes. This year, the two categories were — “Dope New Products or Features,” and “Dope Internal Tools.” The first and second place winners in each category were awarded gift certificates for cool restaurants. Winners also received trophies, but of course, the most important prize was the bragging rights.
Similar to last year, it was astonishing to see the amazing creativity from our team. Check out some of our top hackathon projects:
Team Orpheus developed a voice control functionality that first responders can use to communicate with dispatchers during emergency calls. This tool works within our CAD, providing first responders the option to vocalize their requests, normally sent through messaging, meaning they can keep their eyes on their surroundings.
Team Blotterz created an online crime blotter that integrates with Mark43 RMS with department’s Twitter accounts. The act of sending the crime alert tweets is built to as an automated post, taking the burden of sharing crime news off of officers.
The Mugshot Lineup team built a photo lineup for detectives. Detectives use photo line-ups during their cases as a way to show victims possible suspects. Manually searching and the time it takes to set-up the lineup takes time away from case work. This mugshot lineup integrates with our RMS and helps to not only eases the pain detectives often experience but also contains a randomization feature.
The hackathon came and went too fast, and I wish we could spend more than three days working on these amazing projects. For some teams, they were able to spend more time on their projects as seven projects have been added to our product roadmap!
After the award ceremony (and company wide party!) we all had to get back to our day jobs of making the best tools on the market for police officers to keep our streets safe.
The next hackathon will be here soon enough!