Hey Google, ask Workstreams to plan a Hackathon!

Hacking the voice revolution with Google and Kiwi.com

In this post, we’ll highlight the startup’s work while building voice interfaces, as well as the recent Hackathon experience with the Google Developer Group Brno and Kiwi.com in the Czech Republic.

Hackathon: an event, typically lasting several days, in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming. The word is composed of ‘hack’ and ‘marathon’.

We at Workstreams.ai are currently developing a task management tool that meets you where you already work by being rooted in your communication channels — the best example being the bot’s presence in the application Slack. You can create and edit tasks right inside of Slack or do the same thing on the web app by using its Kanban board. Tasks on the board also link back to specific Slack channels. This means users have no overhead and don’t need to do any switching between chat apps and task management tools. Pretty cool huh?

For us, though, that’s not enough, considering that we want to meet you as a tool on comfortable ground, on your own terms. To properly achieve that, we had to venture into the the wild-west of voice user interfaces. Imagine for a moment a world where you can manage all of your tasks without opening a laptop or even having to use your hands. What if you could just talk to your device and it would assist you with your work? A Personal assistant!

For the last few months, we at Workstreams.ai have been developing exactly such an assistant as an early-stage voice application tool on the Google Assistant Platform. This ‘personal assistant’ manages your tasks with nothing more than the sound of your voice. It’s called, you guessed it –
Workstreams Voice.

In order to offer up some knowledge about developing voice applications and share our unique experience with the Google Actions Platform, we partnered with GDG Brno and Kiwi.com for the first time ever 24-hour Voice Hackathon in the city Brno in the Czech Republic. The topic of the hackathon was Traveling with Google Assistant & Kiwi.com.

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Kickoff presentation — “Voice Hackathon Brno”

We, of course, then traveled to the Czech republic to make it happen. In total, there were about 25 participants at the hackathon, along with 11 mentors and speakers (including our own four-man-strong team).

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Mentors and Speakers

The event kickoff began on Friday, at 7pm with an intro presentation and a small meet-and-greet with pizza and drinks for all of the participants and mentors.

Shortly after the pizza, there were several talks and workshops on a range of voice topics to warm up the crowd for the big hackfest. Here were the talks:

  1. Getting started: Hey Google: Actions in Action (Denis Valášek)
  2. Firebase Introduction (Dominik Šimoník)
  3. API Sources for Hackathon — Kiwi API (Josef Duda)
  4. Google Assistant Directory & Invocations — Theory vs Practice
    (Roman Roznovsky)
  5. Best practices in developing Voice Apps (Anh Duc Nguyen)
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Workstreams.ai presents some real world experiences

Each topic presented at the beginning of the hackathon gave the participants a solid overview of the world of voice applications. They also revealed some key info about who had already built voice apps and how they went about doing it. The talks ranged from introductory subjects to more sophisticated real-world examples. Speakers also shared their unique experiences while building voice apps.

Then things got serious. All of the hackers had from Friday night until Saturday, 6pm the next day to get their hands dirty and build their very own Google Action. Starting with the creative process of finding a use case, designing their first voice assistant conversations and implementing the prototype.

Saturday, 6pm: The final countdown! All of the hacking teams polished their voice apps and prepared their winning presentations. Everyone presented their solutions in five-minute pitches to the crowd and to the hackathon jury. The jury was comprised of conversational designers, Google experts, and high-up professionals in the IT industry. The app use cases ranged from personal travel recommendations to health applications meant functioning as personal assistants during travel. In the end, the jury had to go through the painful process of selecting which teams were top contenders and award them the winning prize — free Google Assistant devices and travel credits from Kiwi.com.

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Congratulations to the winning team “ARTIN

Thank you all!

On our journey back from the Czech republic, our team felt a renewed sense and excitement for the challenges that lie ahead — as well as a profound feeling of being bit by the travel bug. We want to give credit and a massive amount of thanks to the incredible organiser Martin Krcek, the awesome host Kiwi.com, the supportive GDG Brno Community and most of all to all of the amazing participants at the event. You guys were truly inspiring and it was a pleasure to hack with all of you. We look forward to our next voice-driven adventure.

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P.S. If you have some feedback about the hackathon or you just want to give us some love, post it in the comments or let us know over our social media channels (IG: workstreams.ai, Twitter: Workstreams.ai). Also follow us on Twitter to get the latest updates on all of our upcoming events and future hackathons :)

With that being said: Get shit done & Hack on!

Written by

Results-driven task manager / Agile Kanban board

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